Procedures and Requirements for Spanish nationality

17 minutos de lectura

Nationality is the legal link that unites a person with the state and is considered a fundamental right, it is not obtained only by being born in a certain country, but we can opt for it through a process complying with certain requirements and presenting specific documentation as appropriate. the case.

The requirements for Spanish nationality they vary due to the fact that there are different applications depending on the time of residence, the condition and the nationality of the applicant; for each of the cases, in addition to the fact that, according to the Spanish Ministry of Justice, the interested party must prove good civic conduct and a sufficient degree of integration into society.

Requirements for Spanish nationality

by marriage

The first thing we must clarify is that Spanish nationality by marriage itself does not exist, in this case one opts for nationality by residence, the fact of being married to a Spanish citizen only reduces the legal residence time required before being able to apply for nationality , the requirements in this case are:

  • Being a foreign citizen legal resident in Spain for 1 year.
  • Be married to a Spaniard for one year and not be separated in fact or legally at the time of the application.
  • Literal birth certificate of the Spanish spouse, issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Literal marriage certificate issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Certificate of Coexistence or Joint Registration with the spouse.
  • Standard application form. In case of presentation in electronic headquarters, it will be replaced by the online form
  • Foreigner Identity Card. Family Card of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of the Central Registry of Foreigners or of the Registry of citizens of the Union.
  • Complete and valid passport of the country of origin.
  • Certification of birth of the interested party, duly translated and legalized.
  • Criminal record certificate from your country of origin, translated and legalized, in accordance with existing international conventions or consular certificate of conduct issued on the basis of consultation with the competent authorities of the country of origin
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Criminal record certificate from the Central Registry of criminals. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Diplomas from the Instituto Cervantes of the CCSE test and the DELE test. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice stated in the application form. In the case of nationals of a country in which Spanish is the official language, exempt from taking the DELE exam in accordance with the Nationality Regulations by residence, valid passport or nationality certificate proving the exemption. Likewise, knowledge of the Spanish language may be accredited by means of the contribution of the official certificates of the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language, the Aptitude certificates and the Elementary Cycle Academic Certifications, issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Competent Departments of the Autonomous Communities, or Official Language Schools, in accordance with current legislation.
  • Payment of the fee, €102, prior to sending the application

by last name

In this case, it is also necessary to clarify: for months some lists of Sephardic surnames (Jews originating in Spain) have been circulating with which Spanish nationality could be applied for by naturalization letter, this is not necessarily true since the fact that your surname appears in any of the aforementioned lists does not mean that you can acquire Spanish nationality or that you are of Sephardic origin.

Applications can be submitted at any time before midnight on October 1, 2018. However, Law 12/2015 provides for the possibility that the Council of Ministers may extend this period for another year.

  • Standard application model In the event of submission in the electronic office, it will be replaced by the online form
  • Foreign Identity Card, Family Card of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of the Central Registry of foreigners.
  • Complete and valid passport of the country of origin.
  • Certification of birth of the interested party, duly translated and legalized.
  • Criminal record certificate from your country of origin, translated and legalized, in accordance with existing international conventions or consular certificate of conduct issued on the basis of consultation with the competent authorities of the country of origin
  • Marriage certificate if the applicant is married.
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Criminal record certificate from the Central Registry of criminals. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Diplomas from the Instituto Cervantes of the CCSE test and the DELE test. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice stated in the application form. In the case of nationals of a country in which Spanish is the official language, exempt from taking the DELE exam in accordance with the Nationality Regulations by residence, valid passport or nationality certificate proving the exemption.
  • Identity card for a foreigner, residence card for a family member of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of Registration of a citizen of the Union. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Payment of the fee, €102, prior to sending the application

By Residence

  • Standard application model In the event of submission in the electronic office, it will be replaced by the online form
  • Foreigner Identity Card. Family Card of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of the Central Registry of Foreigners or of the Registry of citizens of the Union.
  • Complete and valid passport of the country of origin.
  • Certification of birth of the interested party, duly translated and legalized.
  • Criminal record certificate from your country of origin, translated and legalized, in accordance with existing international conventions or consular certificate of conduct issued on the basis of consultation with the competent authorities of the country of origin
  • Marriage certificate if the applicant is married.
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Criminal record certificate from the Central Registry of criminals. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application form
  • Diplomas from the Instituto Cervantes of the CCSE test and the DELE test. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice stated in the application form. In the case of nationals of a country in which Spanish is the official language, exempt from taking the DELE exam in accordance with the Nationality Regulations by residence, valid passport or nationality certificate proving the exemption. Likewise, knowledge of the Spanish language may be accredited through the contribution of the official certificates of the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language, the certificates of Aptitude and the Elementary Cycle Academic Certifications, issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Competent Departments of the Autonomous Communities, or Official Language Schools, in accordance with current legislation.
  • Payment of the fee, €102, prior to sending the application

Additional documents that must be provided in specific cases:

Refugees:

  • Identity card of foreigners stating their refugee status.
  • Blue Passport of the 1951 Geneva Convention (if available).
  • Certificate from the Asylum and Refuge Office of the Ministry of the Interior (this certificate will be valid for six months from the date of issue) stating:
  • Name and surname.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Parent names.
  • that maintains its condition refugee.

Born in Spanish territory:

  • Literal birth certificate of the interested party registered in the Spanish Civil Registry

Those who have not timely exercised the right to opt:

  • Birth certificate of the Spanish father/mother.
  • Literal birth certificate of the interested party registered in a Spanish Civil Registry or judicial resolution stating the adoption by Spanish or the recognition of parentage.
  • Persons under guardianship, guardianship or non-provisional foster care.

In cases of foster care:

  • Order of the competent Court by which the person who is going to exercise guardianship, guardianship or foster care is designated.

In cases of fostering by a Spanish institution:

  • Resolution of said Institution assuming guardianship, guardianship or foster care.

Widowed of Spanish.

  • Literal birth certificate of the spouse issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Literal marriage certificate issued by the updated Spanish Civil Registry, that is, issued on dates close to the application for nationality.
  • Death certificate of the spouse.
  • Certificate of joint registration or cohabitation on the date of death of the spouse.

Spanish descendant:

  • Literal birth certificate of the Spanish father/mother.
  • Grandfather/grandmother literal birth certificate, only when one of them, or both, are of Spanish ancestry. In this case, the birth certificate of the father/mother of Spanish descent must also be presented, whether or not he/she was Spanish.

For foreign children

Spanish law already allowed people whose father or mother was originally Spanish and born in Spain to opt for Spanish nationality, however Law 52/2007, known as the Law of Historical Memory, recognizes the injustice that the exile of many Spaniards during the Civil War and the Dictatorship.

Consequently, it allows the acquisition by option of the Spanish nationality of origin to persons whose father or mother was originally Spanish and to the grandchildren of those who lost or had to renounce their Spanish nationality as a result of exile.

The Historical Memory Law extends the possibility of acquiring Spanish nationality by option to the children of a Spanish father or mother of origin, even if they were not born in Spain.

  • Application according to MODEL I, which can be downloaded from the website of the Spanish Ministry of Justice and can also be found at the Embassy or Consulate General of Spain closest to your home.
  • Literal birth certificate of the interested party, issued by a local civil registry abroad, legalized or apostilled if applicable. The foreign civil registry must report on the legalization and apostille procedures.
  • Literal birth certificate of the applicant’s father or mother originally Spanish. This certification must come from a Spanish, consular or municipal Civil Registry, or from a foreign civil registry.
  • Two photocopies of the identity documents of the applicant and the parents (Spanish passport if the father or mother is of Spanish nationality, if the applicant is a minor).
  • Two photocopies of the Spanish Family Book of the parents (if the marriage is registered in the Spanish Civil Registry) or original and photocopy of the LITERAL marriage certificate of the Local Registry (legalized and translated by the Consulate of Spain of the place of origin if married outside of the European Union).
  • Photocopy of proof of residence.

How to obtain Spanish nationality?

By Origin

They are considered Spanish of origin:

  • Those born to a Spanish father or mother.
  • Those born in Spain when they are children of foreign parents if at least one of the parents was born in Spain, except for children of diplomats.
  • Those who are born in Spain to foreign parents, if both lack nationality, or if the legislation of neither of them attributes a nationality to the child. In this case, a file can be made in the Civil Registry of your home to declare Spanish nationality with the value of a simple presumption.
  • Children born in Spain whose parents’ identity is unknown.
  • Those under 18 years of age who are adopted by a Spaniard are also Spanish of origin.

By Residence

In this case, the applicant’s continuous legal residence in Spain is required for 10 years immediately prior to the application. With some exceptions in which this period is reduced:

  • Five years: for the granting of Spanish nationality to those who have obtained refugee status
  • Two years: for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin.
  • One year:
  • Who was born in Spanish territory.
  • One who did not duly exercise his right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.
  • Those who have been legally subject to the guardianship or foster care of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if they continue in this situation at the time of the application.
  • Those who, at the time of the application, have been married to a Spaniard for a year and are not legally or de facto separated.
  • The widower of a Spaniard, if at the time of the spouse’s death they were not separated, in fact or legally.
  • Those born outside of Spain to a father or mother (also born outside of Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all of them originally had been Spanish.

By Nature Charter

This is a special case and will be granted or not at the discretion of the Government by Royal Decree, after assessing the concurrence of exceptional circumstances. According to Law 12/2015, this benefit will be granted to those who prove they are of Sephardic origin, in a period of 3 years (OCT2015 – OTC2018) and it is expected that this period can be extended for another year.

by option

The option is a benefit granted by the Spanish State in specific cases:

  • Those who are or have been subject to the parental authority of a Spaniard. This possibility expires when the interested party reaches the age of 20; in case of emancipation, the period will be two years from when he reaches the age of majority.
  • Those who are children of Spanish citizens born in Spain.
  • Those whose parentage determination (establishing who the parents of a person are) or birth in Spain occurs after eighteen years of age. In this case, the term to apply for nationality is two years from the date of parentage or birth.
  • Those people whose adoption by Spaniards occurs after eighteen years of age. In this case, the right to choose exists until a period of two years has elapsed from the constitution of the adoption.

By possession of state

This is a rare case and even a bit confusing: it is aimed at people who are presumed to be Spanish either because they were born in the country and have not received any other nationality or based on a title registered in the Civil Registry. Spanish nationality will not be lost even if the title registered in the Civil Registry is annulled.

Whoever requests it must have exercised their Spanish nationality in good faith (without knowing that they are not really Spanish) for 10 continuous years, they must have behaved considering themselves to be Spanish, both in the enjoyment of their rights and in the fulfillment of their duties. in relation to bodies of the Spanish State.

Steps to obtain Spanish nationality

  • You must download the standardized application model approved by Resolution of 05/07/07 of the Undersecretariat from the web portal of the Ministry of Justice and fill it out.
  • The most complicated thing when it comes to processing the nationality is obtaining and coordinating all the documents so that they are on their date, since sometimes they expire before being able to have them all. Therefore, it is very important to know what these documents are and where they should be requested. Please note, in all cases, that if any of them are missing, the request will not be valid.
  • Pass the constitutional and sociocultural knowledge test (CCSE) and, if you do not come from a Spanish-speaking country, the language exam (DELE level A2).
  • Once the approval of Spanish nationality has been notified and the receipt of the resolution in which the concession is made is signed, the oath of fidelity to the King and obedience to the Constitution and Spanish laws, the declaration is made in which the previous nationality is renounced except for those coming from Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal and the registration as a Spanish citizen in the Registry. After the official and reliable notification is given, either by certified mail or in the Civil Registry, there are

Where to go to obtain Spanish nationality?

The application can be processed at any Spanish Civil Registry office that is closest to your home, through the web portal of the Spanish Ministry of Justice, for which you must digitize all the requested documentation and attach it to your application, which must be signed and sent. to the same body in a maximum period of 4 months, and in case of being abroad through the Spanish Consulate.

Additional requirements to obtain Spanish nationality

  • The term of continuous legal residence required as the case may be, generally this required period is 10 years but as we saw previously it can be reduced to 5, 2 and even 1 year depending on the situation of the applicant, their origin or the reason for the application. .
  • The Spanish Law requires «a sufficient degree of integration into society», previously the registrars conducted the interview in which they determined whether or not this condition was met, currently the approval of two tests is required, the first is mandatory for all applicants, It is the constitutional and sociocultural knowledge exam of Spain (CCSE) and in the case of those who do not come from Spanish-speaking countries, they must also pass the DELE test at level A2, which will basically prove that they understand and use the Spanish language on a daily basis. . Both are applied by the Instituto de Cervantes for a cost of €85 and €130 respectively.
  • A «good civic conduct» must be accredited, therefore both criminal record certificates must be presented.
    To request the first one, all you have to do is buy an official criminal certificate form and send it by mail to the Central Registry of Convicts and Rebels together with a photocopy of our document. The second must be issued in the country of origin of the document and legalized through diplomatic channels.

Benefits of obtaining Spanish nationality

The main benefits of acquiring Spanish nationality is acquiring all the rights of a citizen of the European Union, which allows you to reside and work freely without visas or permits in any of the States belonging to the EU.

Study at European universities with special rates, transfer citizenship to children and spouses, have the protection of European consulates abroad, be able to hold academic positions at all European universities.

How long does Spanish nationality last?

Spanish nationality only expires according to what is written in article 224 of the Spanish Civil Registry Regulations when 180 days have passed since the notification of the concession has not been made, however it can be lost for different reasons than the case of those who are not Spanish by origin would:

use for 3 years the nationality that was renounced when acquiring the Spanish one, when they voluntarily enter the military service or hold political positions in foreign States against the prohibition of the Spanish government, or when by judgment it is declared that falsehood was incurred , omission or fraud in the acquisition of nationality.

As we can see, obtaining Spanish nationality can be somewhat cumbersome, as well as expensive, since counting the fee and the CCSE and DELE tests, the cost for the application is approximately €317, without counting the expenses for processing the necessary documentation in your country of origin, plus the legalization of each document, however we cannot deny that the benefits make all this worthwhile.

If you are going to apply for Spanish nationality, clarify what type of procedure you must start and what are the requirements for it, pay special attention to the necessary documents, the validity times and the time it will take you to request and legalize them in some cases, remember that if If any of them is missing or expires, your application will be discarded. In some cases it is prudent to ask for the help of a lawyer to carry out all the paperwork, but it must be taken into account that the lawyer’s fees can significantly increase the cost of the process.

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