Getting the Spanish nationality

1. How to become a Spanish national

Spanish Nationality may be acquired in different ways:

1.1. By Birth

The following persons are considered to be Spanish nationals of origin:

  • Any child, wherever born, whose father or mother is a Spanish national.
  • Every child born in Spain, whose parents are foreigners and the father or mother is born in Spain. Exceptions are children of diplomats.
  • Any child born in Spain whose parents are stateless persons.
  • Any child born in Spain, whose parents’ identity is unknown.
1.2. By adoption

Any foreign child under 18 years old who is adopted by Spanish nationals, acquire the Spanish nationality since he or she is adopted.

If the adopted is older than 18 years old, he or she may apply for the Spanish nationality within 2 years from being adopted.

1.3. Derivative way
  • By option: Those persons who have been subject to the “patria potestas” of a Spanish national, provided that they apply for the Spanish nationality before reaching the age of 20 years or within a term of 2 years since their emancipation.
  • The Spanish Government may grant the Spanish nationality under some special circumstances.
1.4. By residency

The basic requirement for applying for Spanish nationality is a continuous residence period in Spain of 10 years.

This varies for those persons to whom asylum has been granted, in which case 5 years of residence will be required. 2 years of residence will be required for South Americans, persons from Andorra, Filipines, Guinea Ecuatorial, Portugal or Sephardic Jewish.

The period of residence will be reduced to 1 year in the following cases:

  • For those persons born in Spain, whose parents are foreigners legally residents in Spain.
  • For the spouse of a Spaniard.
  • For those persons who did not apply for their Spanish nationality within the legal period established to acquire the Spanish nationality by option.
  • For the widowed of a Spanish national, provided that the spouses were not separated at the time of the spouse’s death.
  • For the foreigner, whose father, mother, grandfather or grandmother were Spanish nationals by birth or residence.

Dual nationality is recognized to South Americans, who are not obliged to renounce their original nationality to apply for the Spanish nationality.

1.5. By registration in the Spanish Civil Registry

Those persons registered at the Spanish Civil Registry for at least, 10 years, on good faith, will be considered as Spanish nationals.

2. Applying for Spanish Nationality

2.1. Who may apply for Spanish nationality?

Any of the following persons may apply for the Spanish nationality:

  • Any person aged 18 years or emancipated.
  • The person aged than 14 years assisted by the legal representative.
  • The legal representative of the minor under 14 years of age or incapable, previous authorization of the authority in charge of the Spanish Civil Registry and previous statement of the Public Prosecutor.
2.2. How to apply for Spanish nationality?

The official application form to apply for Spanish nationality must be filed to the Civil Registry corresponding to the town where the applicant lives.

The following documents will be required:

  • Your own birth certificate and your spouse’s birth certificate, if you are married with a Spanish national, in which case the marriage certificate will be also required.
  • Consular certificate, containing the following:
    • Your former nationality
    • Your criminal records
    • Your military situation with your home country.
  • A certificate of Spanish criminal records.
  • Your registration at the Spanish town Council.
  • A police certificate stating the time of legal residence in Spain.

Any foreign documentation must be officially translated into Spanish and authenticated by the consulate of your country of origin.

The Spanish authorities will decide upon granting the Spanish nationality within a term of 18 up to 24 months from the date of application.

4. Getting legal help

We can take care of all the paperwork for you regarding your Spanish nationality application. Start by asking your legal questions to our lawyers for a fixed one-off price:

» Ask an English-speaking Spanish lawyer now.


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