How to get Spanish Citizenship

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If you wish to obtain Spanish Citizenship and get their Spanish passport, read on . This article will show you all the four legal routes you can take, plus the requirements you must meet to obtain your nationality. And if you want to get it fast, there will be some valuable tips you can follow to make it possible. So, stay put to discover more about getting Spanish nationality.

Spanish Citizenship

How To Obtain Spanish Citizenship?

The term Spanish Citizenship is the right to live independently in Spain and obtain several benefits such as voting rights and the freedom to work and freely move within the EU. The easiest way of becoming a Spanish citizen is by birth. As long as you’re born in Spain, you automatically become a Spanish citizen. However, the civil code accepts some other ways we’ll see in this article later that foreigners could use to obtain spanish nationality.

When you become a Spanish national, these are the benefits of spanish citizenship

  • All paperwork becomes easy and fast. Acquiring Citizenship in Spain saves you time whenever you have a legal process, as it is easy navigating through the Spanish bureaucracy.
  • You get to exercise your right to vote.
  • You can enter into a total of 183 countries with your Spanish visa
  • Your EU passport allows you to move and work in the European Union.
  • You have peace of mind that the benefits above will not be cut short either through expiry or forced exit.

About Permanent Residency and Spanish Nationality

Foreigners who have lived in Spain for over a decade always look for a better option, whether to apply for permanent residence or Spanish nationality. The truth is, you can still live here indefinitely regardless of what option you choose.

It is then very possible to be a permanent resident if you can prove that you’ve lived in Spain for five uninterrupted years. However, you’re required to renew your card after every five years continually. If you have a permanent residency permit, the benefits you enjoy are the same as those of Spanish nationality. What then differentiates the two options?

To acquire Spanish nationality, however, requires you to reject your original nationality. But if you want to have both, then applying for a permanent residency is the most logical thing to do.

N/b: Rejecting your original race to obtain spanish nationality doesn’t apply to foreigners from Portugal, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, Latin America, and Andorra. You can have dual citizenship in Spain.

Getting Spanish Citizenship

As earlier mentioned, there are four different ways you could use to obtain your Spanish nationality.

  • After living in the country for the required period, you can get Citizenship by residency
  • If you marry a Spanish national, you can acquire your nationality by marriage
  • If you’re a descendant of a Spanish national, you apply by descent
  • Application for Citizenship by option.

So now, let’s have a closer look at each of these available options since they have different requirements that you must understand and meet.

Applying For Spanish Citizenship By Residency

Through a process called naturalization, you can acquire Spanish Citizenship. This process is only possible if you have legally lived in Spain for a specified amount of years uninterrupted. Basically, this option is for foreigners who entered the country through their residence permit and have been renewing them religiously until they reach the required minimum time frame.

The minimum time frame needed for you to live in Spain before you could acquire Citizenship depends on three things; your situation, country of origin, or family ties. Here is a simple breakdown.

  • The general rule is 10 years
  • For refugees, you must live in Spain for 5years before you could think about applying for Citizenship
  • Foreigners from Portugal, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, Latin America, and Andorra only need to live here for a minimum period of 2years. Another advantage is that they can have dual Citizenship
  • If you marry a Spanish national, all you need is one 1year to apply for residency citizenship.

Spanish citizenship requirements by Residency

For a successful application, there are specific requirements you must meet. These are;

  • Counting the years start from the first day you acquire your residence card. That means that any time before getting your card is null and void. The period between card expiry date and renewal date is also not put into consideration
  • The time you visited with either a tourism or student visa is also not counted. those are stay periods
  • The minimum period must be uninterrupted for your application to be successful. There would be an exception if you left the country for a period not exceeding three months.
  • You must have no criminal records for the said period. Your behavior must also be in check before they grant your citizenship application. Ensure you always follow the Spanish laws and renew your residency card early.

Applying For Spanish Citizenship By Marriage

If you want an easier and quicker method of obtaining Spanish Citizenship, then marry a Spanish national. If you’re a foreigner and have lived in Spain as a legal resident for one year, you can acquire Spanish nationality by marriage.

Requirements for Spanish citizenship by Marriage

  • The first step to this option is to marry a Spanish citizen if you’re a foreigner
  • After marriage, you can get a residence or work permit through the family member EU visa. This will enable you to move or work in the EU freely
  • Before you start the application process, ensure you have lived with your spouse for a minimum period of one year. This only counts from the time you obtained your residence card permit.

One more thing to note is that you should register your marriage in Spain as the law requires you to submit your marriage certificate when applying for spanish citizenship through marriage. This doesn’t mean you should strictly marry in the country; the wedding can occur anywhere but make sure you register it in Spain for it to count.

Citizenship By Origin Or Option

This option is for foreigners whose parents already obtained Spanish Citizenship. Suppose you applied for Spanish Citizenship by residency and included details of your child or children like the birth certificate. They become legal Spanish citizens by option within the Spanish territory later on. In this case, your child or children must be under 18 years for it to be valid. They can claim Citizenship for additional two years and enjoy this option until they get to 20 years.

Here is a list of people benefiting from this option

  • Foreigners above 18 years adopted by Spanish nationals.
  • Children born of foreigners legally living in Spain with residency citizenship
  • Those who have been subject to Spaniard custody.

Applying For Spanish Citizenship By Descent

If you’re a child of Spanish parents, then you can quickly obtain your spanish citizenship by ancestry. But this is no longer possible for your children with the new Spanish grandchildren’s law. The new spanish citizenship law completely changed the situation that was once easily possible. This law dictates that you apply for Citizenship if you belong to any of the below categories.

  • If your father or mother got their Citizenship through historical memory, but the law couldn’t allow your children to apply for Spanish Citizenship by option since they were over 18years.
  • Grandchildren of Spanish national women who married foreigners.
  • The grandchildren of Spanish citizens went to other countries and obtained their Citizenship before giving birth to their children.
  • And if you’re a Spanish national’s grandchild, and you lost your chance of becoming a citizen by option since you were already above 18years.

The Application Process For Spanish Citizenship

The process is not all that complicated if you follow the below stages to the latter.

  1. Document preparation and sitting for exams
  2. Submitting your application
  3. After the response, take the pledge of allegiance
  4. Get your passport card from the local police with the document you get after taking the oath.

Now let’s take a look at each of these stages closely.

Document Preparation for spanish nationality Exams

The documents required may differ depending on the type of Citizenship you intend to apply for. But the commonly required documents include;

  • Identification documents including NIE and passport
  • Marriage certificate for those applying for Citizenship by marriage
  • The birth certificate

Both historical and current census

  • Your criminal records. This is very important as any bad record in your name means a clear disqualification. But, there is an exception for a minor case.
  • Your children birth certificates if you want them to become citizens by option
  • A correspondence fee receipt
  • A document declaring that you are economically stable.
  • After passing the required exams, CCSE and DELE A2, attach the document issued with your application documents

What You Must Know About These Tests?

There are two different citizenship tests by the Cervantes institute that you must take and pass before getting the Spanish passport and applying for the Spanish nationality.


This is simply a basic language test that should show how much you understand the Spanish language. There’s no need to sit for these exams if you come from ibero american countries


These are special tests specifically for your cultural knowledge. It is not a must you sit for it if you studied in Spain. Basically, this test asks you about the Spanish government, television, culture, geography, and art. There are a total of 300 questions that you must complete answering within 45 minutes. These many questions and time frames scare many applicants. You can always practice online beforehand on how to answer them.

If you fail the first time, do not despair since you have two more chances to retake it free. But if you fail for the third time, you’re required to pay 85€ before you could re-sit for the same exams.

How To Submit Your Application

You can only send your application documents to the authority once you’re sure you meet all the paperwork and requirements. If not, the authorities will reject your application, forcing you to start all over again. You can either personally submit your application forms to the civil registry office, which you must first book an appointment for it. Submitting personally takes a lot of time. Or do it online, which is convenient; it saves you time and gets your resolution faster.

Just About How Long Does It Take To Process Your Spanish Citizenship Application?

The whole process should take approximately three years. But if you find it hard to wait that long, you could use a vital tip to speed it up. After you’ve applied for Citizenship, the Spanish government has a period of one year to present to you their response. You can check it online after the period elapses.

It is after receiving your response that you can speed up things radically. In case you don’t get a response after the said period, that means that the Spanish government rejected your application. You need to correct the requirements you didn’t meet, then start all over again. But suppose you believe you did everything correctly, and there is no reason why they should reject your application. In that case, you can always appeal through the ministry of justice to get a review then wait for another three or four months before you could get a response from the government.

The applicants who got an appointment for the flag’s jury during their submitted citizenship applications can possibly get their Citizenship within one and a half years.

Can I obtain Spanish citizenship by investment?

No, you cannot obtain Spanish nationality by investment, you can only obtain residency through the golden visa.

The answer is yes, you can. Some could feel that this whole process is complicated, and all they want is a simple, stress-free life. There shouldn’t be any worry at all. A team of immigration lawyers is always available at the ministry of justice to take your case, at a fee, of course.

They are supposed to take you through all the legal processes successfully. The immigration lawyer’s roles include;

  • Determines the right path for you to take. The right path here means the best citizenship option based on your situation.
  • Telling you the required information and documents needed for your citizenship application approval.
  • They will do all the paperwork; you only need to sign and wait for the government’s response.

The best point about getting legal assistance from immigration lawyers is that they can speed up the process.

Acquiring Spanish nationality is straightforward, and now that you already know all the requirements from this article, the process is much easier. You don’t have any other excuse not to apply for your Spanish nationality. Go for it.

Why choose us for your How to get Spanish Citizenship?

We are a Spanish law firm with more than 10 years of experience. We are specialists in immigration and real estate. We respond in less than 3 hours to all your questions or we schedule a call to resolve all the doubts of the client.

We are experts in obtaining How to get Spanish Citizenship so many clients speak well of us on the internet. If you need help with How to get Spanish Citizenship, contact us!

34 thoughts on “How to get Spanish Citizenship

  1. Mario Jose Valverde |

    My father is Spanish but has been living in England since 1966, I was born and live in the UK, can I get Spanish citizenship.

    1. Anna |


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


  2. Hector Lizardi |

    I am a US citizen interested in dual citizenship. My goal is to retire very soon and spend time between Spain and the US. My uncle has dual citizenship, will that help?
    Thank you

    1. Anna |


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


  3. Steve Cross |

    Hola – buenos días,

    Espero que puedas responder una pregunta. Sigo recibiendo diferentes respuestas, incluso de abogados españoles, así que les pregunto:
    Para solicitar la ciudadanía española después de solo 2 años de residencia en España como nacional de un país iberoamericano, ¿tendría que haber nacido en ese país y/o tener padres nacionales de ese país?
    ¿O es suficiente simplemente convertirse en ciudadano naturalizado de ese país después de residir allí durante unos años?

    Saludos Steve

    1. Anna |


      Uno de nuestros abogados se pondrá en contacto con usted para asesorarle.


  4. Kelly suzaane |

    I hold philippines passport but i born in Thailand, can i apply for Spanish citizenship after 2 years legal stay in Spain ?

    1. Anna |


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


  5. Chhaylab verma |

    Hi, I was to born(13/01/2006) to a legal resident of spain( father) but i was born in india since my mother did not get a family reunification visa due to the policies of that time and inefficiency of the Spanish government am i eligible to claim Spanish citizenship? If yes, please guide me on how i can get Spanish citizenship.
    Thank you
    Chhaylab verma

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about the spanish citizenship


  6. Francesca Longhurst |

    I would like some guidance to determine whether I am eligible for Spanish citizenship/passport. I am 20 years old.

    I was born in Spain and lived there for 3 years. I therefore have a Spanish birth certificate and Libro de Familia.
    My grandparents and Uncle have lived in Spain for 25 years and have a Spanish residency permit and are Spanish residents.
    I have an aunt (not blood related) who is a Spanish national by origin and lives there, and my cousins are also Spanish nationals and live in Spain.
    None of my ancestors are Spanish or were born there themselves.


    1. Anna |


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


  7. Edward Dacre |

    Can I get spanish passport by decent and how long will.this take??

    1. Anna |

      Mr Garry,

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


  8. Ritchel |

    Hi there
    Can I ask about my son’s situation. Can he apply spanish citizenship by option even he was 18 years now but he obtain his residence card before he was turning to 18 years old (the delay is because of the pandemic). I was very confused of some requirements for the citizenship which I really need a piece of advice and my son currently studied in Spain as a 2nd year bachelorato student but next school year we are planning him to study only a Spanish language for atleast 1 year. I hope you can help me. He was a Filipino citizen Thank you.

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about the Spanish citizenship.


  9. Adam |

    Good Morning,

    My wife is Spanish and also my newborn son got Spanish Citizenship. we are married for over than year and a half. we are living in Switzerland and our marriage registered in span and, Also we have a family book from Spain. can I get Spanish Citizenship also if my wife and son have it?

    Many Thanks and I look forward to your reply.

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to explain about the Spanish Citizenship.


  10. Vienna Bassan |

    Do you also help in ordering the required birth certificates and death certificates etc?

    I am trying to figure out how long I need to have lived in Spain and when to apply for the citizenship by decent.


    1. Anna |

      Hi Vienna,

      One of our lawyers will contact you to explain all the process.


  11. Mash |

    Hello ,

    What is the process to obtain Spanish Nationality of my Son born in Spain and completed one year here. We are non EU parents but have NIE here

    Thank you

    1. Anna |

      Hi Mash,

      One of our lawyers will contact you to explain all the process for obtain the spanish citizenship.


  12. Muhammad Saleem |

    I have permanent larga duration resident card of spain
    My son born in spain he is spanish national
    Did I can apply tarjeta comuntaria 10 years behalf of my son who is spanish national
    And this tarjeta comuntaria allow me to work in eu countries

    1. Anna |

      Hi Muhammad,

      one of our lawyers will be in touch with you shortly to answer your questions about the Spanish Citizenship.


  13. Hussain |

    I would like to get the Spanish nationality, my grandmother was Spanish and I think I can get the nationality for her, right?

    1. Anna |

      Hi Hussain,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about spanish citizenship.


  14. Stephanie |

    Hello I was looking to obtain the non lucrative visa but I am eligible for citizenship by descent as my grandmother was from Spain. Can I be granted a visa while I apply for citizenship? How does that work with the citizenship process?

    1. Anna |

      Hi Stephanie,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions.


  15. Luis |


    I am an American / Mexican dual citizen whose parents were born in Mexico. I believe my great-great grandmothers on both sides of my families resided in Spain. Would I be eligible for Spanish citizenship?

    1. Anna |

      Hi Luis,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about Spanish Citizenship.


    2. Amjad |

      I would like to obtain Spanish nationality, can you help me?

      1. Anna |

        Hi Amjad,

        one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about spanish citizenship.


  16. Sean Sassen |

    Hi there

    We are processing a move to Spain later this year/early next year. We were going to apply for the Non-lucrative Visa, but I believe I may be eligible for citizenship by descent, if it has been extended to great grandchildren?

    In order to understand if I am eligible, please can you advise what documentation you would require from me?



    1. Anna |

      Hi Sean,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about Spanish citizenship and NLV.


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