Spanish nationality allows individuals to fully enjoy the rights and privileges offered by Spanish citizenship (https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-1954-10882). Throughout history, Spain has developed different ways of acquiring Spanish nationality. It can be obtained through family ties, residency, or birth in Spanish territory. At A&O Abogados, your immigration law firm, we will explore the main ways of acquiring Spanish nationality and the requirements associated with each of them.
1. Nationality by descent
Nationality by descent is one of the ways of acquiring Spanish nationality. It applies to individuals who have at least one Spanish parent. According to Spanish legislation, Spanish nationality by descent will be recognized for children of Spanish fathers or mothers, regardless of their place of birth. However, there are certain exceptions and requirements that must be met in some cases, such as in situations of international adoption or when the Spanish father or mother has previously lost their nationality.
2. Nationality by residency
The acquisition of Spanish nationality by residency is based on the principle of integration and commitment to Spanish society. According to current legislation, foreigners who have legally resided in Spain for a continuous period can apply for Spanish nationality. The requirements for this form of acquiring Spanish nationality vary depending on the applicant’s personal situation, but they include:
a) Legal and continuous residency in Spain for a specified period of time (usually between 2 and 10 years, depending on the circumstances).
b) Good civic conduct and absence of criminal records.
c) Basic knowledge of the Spanish language and Spanish culture.
d) Passing a constitutional and sociocultural knowledge exam of Spain (CCSE) and a Spanish language test (DELE) in certain cases.
3. Nationality by option
This form of acquiring Spanish nationality is granted to certain individuals who meet specific requirements established by law. For example, children of a father or mother who were originally Spanish and born in Spain, even if their parents do not reside in Spanish territory, can opt for Spanish nationality within a specified period.
Additionally, those who have been adopted by Spanish citizens can also opt for Spanish nationality. The option must be exercised within a specific timeframe and by meeting the requirements established in each case.
4. Nationality by grant
Nationality by grant is an exceptional form of acquiring Spanish nationality. In this situation, the Spanish government can grant nationality to a person discretely, based on exceptional circumstances such as personal, work-related, cultural, or scientific merits that represent an interest for Spain.
5. Spanish nationality under Law 20/2022, dated October 19, 2022, November 16, 2022. This form of acquiring Spanish nationality is a novelty introduced by Law 20/2022, dated October 19.
It establishes, in its eighth additional provision, the forms of acquiring Spanish nationality for:
a) Individuals born outside of Spain to a father or mother, grandparent, who originally were Spanish and who, as a consequence of having suffered exile for political, ideological, or religious reasons or due to sexual orientation and identity, have lost or renounced Spanish nationality.
b) Children born abroad to Spanish women who lost their nationality by marrying foreigners before the entry into force of the 1978 Constitution. (Spanish women who married Brazilians after August 5, 1954, did not lose Spanish nationality).
c) Adult children of those Spaniards to whom their original nationality was recognized under the right of option according to the provisions of this law or under the seventh additional provision of Law 52/2007, dated December 26.
It is important to highlight that obtaining Spanish nationality entails not only rights but also duties and responsibilities towards the State and Spanish society. Therefore, it is essential for those who wish to acquire Spanish nationality to adequately inform themselves about the requirements and seek legal advice to ensure a successful and smooth process.
Regarding the procedure and requirements, we distinguish according to the type of application. At A&O Abogados, your law firm in Marbella, we explain them to you.
1. Nationality by residency
One of the most common ways to obtain Spanish nationality is through residency. To qualify, you must meet the following general requirements:
a) Legal and continuous residency in Spain for a specified period of time, which may vary depending on your situation. Generally, a period of 10 years of residency is required for most applicants, but there are exceptions:
– 5 years of residency for those who have obtained refugee status.
– 2 years for citizens of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal.
– 1 year for those born in Spanish territory or for spouses of Spanish citizens.
b) Certificate of Criminal Record, demonstrating impeccable civic conduct.
c) Proof of integration into Spanish society, such as demonstrating basic knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. This can be done through the constitutional and sociocultural knowledge exam of Spain (CCSE) and the diploma of Spanish as a foreign language (DELE) in certain cases.
2. Nationality by descent
If you have at least one Spanish parent, you can opt for Spanish nationality by descent. The main requirements for this type of acquisition are:
a) Birth certificate of the Spanish father or mother.
b) Demonstrate your family connection through birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption papers, or any other legally valid documents.
c) In some cases, it may be necessary to prove filiation through a DNA test.
3. Nationality by option
Nationality by option is a way to acquire Spanish citizenship in specific cases. Some situations that qualify for the option are:
a) Being the child of a father or mother who would have been Spanish and born in Spain, even if the parents do not reside in Spain.
b) Being a person adopted by Spanish citizens and meeting the requirements established in the applicable legislation.
4. Nationality by grant
Nationality by grant is an exceptional way to obtain Spanish citizenship. In this situation, the Spanish government has the discretionary power to grant nationality to individuals who demonstrate exceptional circumstances, such as personal, work-related, cultural, or scientific merits that represent an interest for Spain.
5. Nationality under Law 20/2022, dated October 19
Depending on the specific provisions established in the law, you will need to complete and submit the corresponding annex as indicated.
Once you meet the requirements for the chosen form of acquiring Spanish nationality, you should follow the following general steps:
1. Submission of the application: Fill out and submit the application form along with the required documentation to the corresponding Civil Registry.
2. Payment of fees: Pay the administrative fees established by the government.
3. Evaluation and study of the file: Once the application is submitted, the competent authorities will examine the documentation and verify compliance with the requirements.
4. Resolution and oath or pledge of loyalty: If your application is approved, you will receive a favorable resolution and will be required to take an oath or pledge of loyalty to Spain.
Acquiring Spanish nationality is an exciting and rewarding process that opens up a range of opportunities. The requirements and procedures may vary depending on the form of acquisition, so it is important to gather proper information and seek relevant legal advice to ensure a smooth and successful process.
Please remember that each case is unique and there may be specific requirements based on your personal situation. Having the support of A&O Abogados, your specialized nationality law firm, will help you navigate the complex path to Spanish citizenship, providing you with confidence and peace of mind at every step of the process. Do not hesitate to seek the appropriate legal support to fulfill your dream of becoming a Spanish citizen!. Feel free to contact us now.
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