There are various ways on how to obtain Spanish nationality and here we explain them all; nationality by origin, by option, by residence, by letter of nature and by possession of state.
When we talk about Spanish nationality, we often think only of acquiring it through residence, i.e., applying after legally and continuously living in Spain for a certain number of years.
However, there are various ways to acquire Spanish nationality. Regardless of the method, individuals have the same rights and obligations as any other Spaniard, regardless of how they became Spanish.
In this post we cover the following: (click any section to see its content)
How to obtain Spanish nationality:
- SPANISH BY ORIGIN »
- SPANISH BY OPTION »
- SPANISH NATIONALITY BY RESIDENCE »
- NATIONALITY BY LETTER OF NATURE »
- NATIONALITY BY LETTER OF OF STATE »
- ALL TYPES OF RESIDENCY AVAILABLE IN SPAIN »
- SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A SOLICITOR »
SPANISH BY ORIGIN:
- Those born to a Spanish father or mother.
- All those born in Spain to foreign parents if at least one parent was born in Spain (except for children of diplomats).
- Those born in Spain to foreign parents if both are stateless or if neither country’s law attributes nationality to the child. In this case, an application can be made at the Civil Registry of their residence to declare Spanish nationality with the value of a simple presumption.
- Children born in Spain whose parents’ identity is unknown.
- Minors whose first known place of stay is Spanish territory are presumed born in Spain.
- Minors under 18 adopted by a Spaniard. If the adopted individual is over 18, they can choose Spanish nationality within two years of the adoption.
NATIONALITY BY OPTION:
Option is a benefit offered by Spanish legislation to foreigners under certain conditions for acquiring Spanish nationality. The following have the right to acquire Spanish nationality through this route:
- Individuals under the guardianship of a Spaniard.
- Those whose father or mother was Spanish and born in Spain.
- Persons whose determination of filiation (establishing parentage) or birth in Spain occurs after the age of eighteen. In this case, the period to opt for nationality is two years from the determination of filiation or birth.
- Individuals adopted by Spaniards after the age of eighteen. In this case, the right to choose exists until two years after the adoption is constituted.
Who can make the option:
- If the person entitled to the option is a minor or incapacitated, the option declaration will be made by the legal representative of the optant.
- If the person is over fourteen, they can do it themselves assisted by their legal representative.
- The incapacitated person, if allowed by the incapacitation judgment.
The interested party if emancipated. This possibility expires when the interested party turns 20, unless, according to their personal law, they do not acquire majority at 18, in which case the period will be two years from acquiring majority.
Where to make the application:
Procedures for applying for Spanish nationality by option will be carried out at the Civil Registry of the interested party’s residence or their representative, as the case may be.
SPANISH NATIONALITY BY RESIDENCE:
This method of acquiring nationality requires the person’s legal, continuous residence in Spain for ten years immediately preceding the application. There are cases where the required residency period is reduced; these are:
- Five years: for granting Spanish nationality to individuals who have obtained refugee status.
- Two years: for those born in Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or individuals of Sephardic origin.
- One year for:
– Those born in Spanish territory.
– Those who did not properly exercise their right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.
– Those legally under the guardianship (under the supervision of a guardian), custody, or fostering (fostering that allows the reduction of legal residence to one year is one in which there is a resolution from the public entity entrusted with the protection of minors in each territory and fosterings that are judicially recognized) 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 for one year to a Spaniard and are not legally or factually separated.
- The widower or widow of a Spaniard if, at the time of the spouse’s death, they were not separated, legally or factually.
- Those born outside of Spain to a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who originally were Spanish.
In addition, the interested party must demonstrate good civic conduct and a sufficient level of integration into Spanish society.
Who can apply:
- The interested party, by themselves, provided they are over 18 or emancipated.
- Those over 14 assisted by their legal representative.
- The legal representative of the under-14-year-old.
- The incapacitated person alone or the legal representative of the incapacitated, depending on what the incapacitation judgment indicates.
Where to submit the application:
- This should be submitted to the Civil Registry of the applicants residence.
NATIONALITY BY LETTER OF NATURE:
Nationality by letter of nature is a form of acquiring Spanish nationality that is gracious and not subject to the general rules of administrative procedure. It will be granted or not at the discretion of the Government through a Royal Decree, after evaluating the concurrence of exceptional circumstances.
In the event that nationality is acquired by residence, letter of nature, or option, the individual must:
- The person over 14 years old and capable of making a declaration by themselves must swear or promise allegiance to the King and obedience to the Constitution and laws.
- Declare renunciation of their previous nationality, except if they are a person holding the nationality of an Ibero-American country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal.
NATIONALITY BY POSSESSION OF STATE:
The right to Spanish nationality by “possession of state” is granted to a person who has possessed and used this nationality for ten years continuously, in good faith, based on a title in the Civil Registry. Spanish nationality will not be lost even if the title registered in the Civil Registry is annulled. The interested party must have maintained an active attitude in such possession and use of Spanish nationality, meaning they must have behaved considering themselves as Spanish, both in enjoying their rights and fulfilling their duties in relation to organs of the Spanish State.
ALL TYPES OF RESIDENCY AVAILABLE IN SPAIN:
- Golden-Visa Spain (Spain citizenship by investment)
- Non-Lucrative visa Spain (Spain visa non lucrative)
- Self-Employed visa Spain (self employed expats in Spain)
- Digital-Nomad visa Spain (remote worker in Spain)
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Permanent residency is obtained after 5 years of Spanish Residency through Self-Employed Residency, Digital-Nomad, Non-Lucrative Residency or Golden-Visa. This followed by 5 years as a permanent resident in Spain and means you can then obtain Spanish Citizenship with a Spanish Passport.