Spanish Citizenship through Sephardic jew in Spain

lucia lagunas reyes - Our Spanish Citizenship through Sephardic jew in Spain lawyer expert

How Sephardic Jews Can Gain Spanish Citizenship

It’s well known that the state of Israel provides incentives for people with Jewish heritage to move their lives there. The reasons why seem obvious. That said, there are other countries where similar practices are being adopted. For example, while it’s true that many people at any given moment are attempting to apply for Spanish citizenship Sephardic Jews are temporarily at an advantage. For a Sephardic jew Spain is a good place to work and live.

In recent years, the Gobierno de España implemented a statute dictating that any Jewish people with determinable Spanish heritage could apply for citizenship in the nation of Spain. While it’s true that this ruling is no longer in play, other possibilities exist to achieve this outcome for Jews hoping to work or exist as a resident there.

Spain sephardic citizenship deadline
jewish person of spanish or portuguese descent

The Jews settled in many places throughout history. Back in 1492, Spain issued an order which left its Jewish community with a small set of harsh choices. Jews who lived there were forced to choose between converting out of their religion, leaving the country permanently, or facing an untimely death. The Spanish Jewish community during that period was among the largest on Earth, despite previously suffering through mass killings and forced conversions a century beforehand. The history of Jews in this region spanned at least 1,700 years, boasting scholars, poets, diplomats, philosophers, and merchants.

To this day, historians cannot come to consensus on how many Jews were forced out of the country. Estimates range from forty to a hundred thousand. Those who fled ended up in various countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire, and North Africa.

The language spoken by Sephardic Jews is Ladino, a modified version of Spanish from the 1400’s. It ties them to Spanish culture, which they treasure.

Several thousand Jews chose to convert and remain in the country, although they were tragically subjected to the horrors of the Inquisition. For the first twenty years of this infamous event, some two thousand Jews were thought to be murdered, and thousands more are understood to have been tortured and or slaughtered throughout its duration. Every Sephardic Jew Spain persecuted deserves to have their history preserved.

2015 was the year in which the authorities in Spain decided to make things right. No members of parliament voted against the vote to begin inviting eligible Sephardim who can prove their Spanish roots to become citizens once again.

This provision offered by Spain is as powerful as it is unique. It is a symbol of the maturity of the European country’s values, and its dedication to atoning for the wrongdoings of the past. These days, Spain is home to one of the tiniest populations of Jews in the entire continent, ranging between fifteen and forty-five thousand in a country with tens of millions of people living there.

While this momentous decision is to be lauded, the end result is not so simple. The process to apply for and receive citizenship is an ordeal. There are a lot of rules to abide by which will unfortunately exclude many hopeful applicants, but their eligibility can possibly change for the better in the future.

Jewish people with demonstrable Spanish bloodlines are sometimes referred to as Sephardic Jews due to the fact that Sephardim means Iberian Peninsula in Hebrew. To date, there exist a number of advantages in the case that they wish to become Spanish citizens. In this article we will help you determine your options and what documentation you will require before filing your application.

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Applying for Citizenship in Spain as a Sephardic Jew

Those who can show Sephardic ancestry are allowed the possibility of becoming a Spanish citizen. That being said, it won’t be all you need to do or show. Let’s take a closer look at the relevant factors that go into the process.

First, we’ll need to establish exactly what constitutes a Sephardic bloodline within the context of the Spanish legal system. You’ll need to prove that close family members are currently Spanish Jews. Such family members include: a biological parent (or an adoptive one), a grandparent, great-grandparent, or a great-great-grandparent.

What are the Specific Routes for a Sephardic Jewish Person to Earn Spanish Citizenship?

Sephardic jew in Spain
a jewish person of spanish descent

As of this writing, there exist four methods of achieving permanent residence in this European country for those of Sephardic origin.

1. Naturalisation

This was the most common sought method before the 2015 law expired. It’s typically a requisite for applicants to be able to establish a decade’s worth of residency. For Sephardi Jews, however, only two years of residency in Spain are necessary. The idea is for every Sephardic Jew Spain brings in to be an upstanding citizen.

Beyond all this, you’ll need to pass a couple of exams. There’s the DELE, a language examination with an A2 ranking. After that is the CCSE, which tests your understanding of Spanish culture. In order to secure your naturalisation, you also need to not have a criminal history.

2. Marriage

In the event that you are the spouse of a person born in Spain, and that person is still a resident there, you can use your marriage to apply to be a citizen. You will need to possess a permit for legal residence for twelve months.

Additionally, you’ll need to have a few more documents handy for presentation. These include your marriage certificate and both your and your spouse’s passports and birth certificates.

3. Family History

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Another popular route to citizenship in Spain is taking advantage of your family relations. In the case that your immediate family (parents or grandparents from within the last four generations) was born in the country, you can use that to your advantage. It also helps if a Spanish family adopted you before you turned 18.

To use this method, you’ll need your passport or any equivalent papers, including for marriage it that applies, documentation of employment while living in Spain, and an examination of your history to check for criminal activity or convictions. You’ll also have to take the CCSE and the A2 DELE, as well as be able to prove you made all the appropriate payments for relevant fees. The reasoning behind this is that Sephardic Jew Spain grants citizenship should be able to communicate effectively with the populace.

4. Portuguese Citizenship

Portugal is another nation which assists Sephardic Jewish people in pursuing citizenship. Both Portugal and Spain exist within the Iberian Peninsula. This region is a site from which Jews have had to flee in times past, so the national governments there implement expedited application processes to account for this unfortunate history. The Sephardic communities in these countries are tightly woven together.

This is certainly more of a roundabout method compared to the first three listed, but it is still effective. In the event that your attempt to gain Spanish citizenship via birthright or family relations does not work, you can try to receive Portuguese citizenship as an intermediary step. After successfully becoming a national in Portugal, you only need to reside in Spain for two years in order to file an application for Spanish nationality.

Also make sure you have the following documents available: your permit for residence, passport, birth certificate, a certificate proving lack of criminality received from Portuguese law enforcement/the country you currently live in or were born in, and any document proving your Sephardic Jewish-Portuguese heritage. This last document can revolve around namesake, family lineage, language, or anything along those lines, as long as it is legitimate.

Due to the expansive nature of the requirements for undertaking this venture through any of the methods covered so far, it is highly recommended that you do not shoulder the entire workload alone. Immigration lawyers specialize in procuring the correct documents and analyzing them to ensure they provide the necessary value. They can also provide advice, aid and consulting to help you get through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. The laws around concepts like dual nationality are difficult to traverse for experts, let alone average citizens.

FAQ for Sephardic jew in Spain

How can I find out whether my last name has Judeo Spanish ties?

We recommend checking out If your surname pops up on a list there, it’s a good sign that you have the required ancestry.

What’s the timeframe for obtaining Portuguese citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

It varies. It depends on what information you provide in your application and documentation. There’s also no guaranteed timeframe for how long it will take for your application to be processed. This is a revolutionary process to be enacted. For a Sephardic Jew Spain offering this kind of deal is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I am not eligible for this process, what to do if I want to live in Spain?

If for any reason you are not eligible for this process you can look for other alternatives such as non-lucrative visa, golden visa or entrepreneur visa, our team will be able to help you with any doubts you may have.

Do you want to live in Spain?

Our law firm has more than 15 years of experience.

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What organizations are legally eligible to verify claims of Jewish ancestry?

The FCJE is a good starting place to find a proper authority – the Fedeacion de Comunidades Judias de España

The Impact of COVID-19 on Application

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a jewish person of spanish descent

Up until now, the description of the application process hasn’t taken into account how things have changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It goes without saying that travel, and especially international travel, has been severely restricted. This means that a lot of people who dutifully filed applications for Spanish citizenship as Sephardic Jews have not been able to move through the process as they normally might have. As far as it goes for the average Sephardic Jew Spain is one of their homelands, so this pandemic is a tragic development.

To rectify this dilemma, the national government has stated its intention to prolong the original deadline for Jews to apply. The extension is for twelve months, until September of 2021. It should be noted that this is pertains to people who initially filed their request before October of 2019, the date of the original deadline. The filing needs to go through the justice ministry’s platform.

The justice system in Spain has said that this extended deadline comes with a compulsory exam based on the Spanish culture and Constitution. This test was curtailed at first due to the virus, but it has been reenacted. Upon completion, participants are allowed time to journey to Spain so that a necessary appearance with a notary can be made.

In 2019, the Spanish authorities counted over 130,000 individuals who claimed Sephardic Jewish ancestry and intended to obtain citizenship due to the 2015 law. Some 20%-30% of the 13 million or so Jews worldwide are estimated to have a lineage tracing back to the Iberian Peninsula. For a Sephardic Jew Spain is offering a new life with ties to their old roots. They’ve strived to ensure the survival of their culture and their interpretation of the Spanish language.

It’s clear that showing evidence of having lived in Spain helps improve your application. As far as acknowledging Jewish Heritage Spain has clearly progressed quite far. Every instance of Spanish citizenship Sephardic people earn is a step in the right direction. Every Sephardic Jew Spain intends to welcome with open arms can look forward to honoring their ancestors by reclaiming of the homes that used to be their birthright.

14 thoughts on “Spanish Citizenship through Sephardic jew in Spain

  1. Esti Kan |

    I am a Jew from Turkey living in Israel.
    My brother in Turkey received Spanish citizenship. What can I do in order to apply for Spanish citizenship also? I am also practicing and dancing Flamenco for the last 10 years.

    1. My Spain Visa |

      You can contact us through the contact form to see if we can help you in the whole process of obtaining your Spanish citizenship.

  2. Emilio Rojas |

    I was sending a litter history about my grandparents Sephardy’s emigration to Argentina a long time ago. I hope you receive my email, Thank you for your attention.

    1. Anna - Lawyer of My Spain Visa |


      One of our lawyers will contact you.


  3. Lydia |

    Hi! As I am too late to apply for a Spanish passport? I am a British Sephardic Jew by heritage on my mother’s side.

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions.


  4. Stephani Hayden |

    Hello. My name is Stephani and I am wondering about becoming a Spanish Citizen with my Sephardic family ties to Spain. We are from Morocco and originally Spain. Looking forward to hearing back from you guys!

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about Sephardic jew in Spain


  5. Esme Emmanuel Berg |

    How can I find out the status of my application for citizenship as a Sephardic Jew?

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about the spanish nationality by Sephardic jew Spain


  6. Benlamin |

    Hi , does applying for the spanish citizenship through the Naturalization pathway for a sephardic Jew need an exam of language and culture ?

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about Sephardic jew in Spain.


  7. Ruben Uzan |

    Hi, i would like to apply

    1. Anna |

      Hi Ruben

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for obtain the nacionality Sephardic jew.


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