Spanish Citizenship and Dual Nationality

06 March 2021

How to become a Spanish Citizen


Information about the different paths to becoming a Spanish citizen, how to apply for Spanish nationality, and issues regarding dual nationality.


To obtain Spanish citizenship you will need to swear loyalty to the King and promise to obey the Spanish Constitution and laws.

The Paths to Spanish Citizenship

Would you like to become a Spanish citizen with a Spanish passport and a fascinating country to call your permanent home? You may be eligible for Spanish citizenship based on your family ties, nationality, or legal residence in Spain:

1) Residence as a Means to Spanish Citizenship

  • You have been a legal resident of Spain for at least 10 years.
  • You are a citizen of a Latin American country, Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines, or Equatorial Guinea, and you have been a legal resident of Spain for at least two years.
  • You have obtained refugee status in Spain and have been a legal resident for at least five years.
  • You fulfill one or more of the following conditions: you were born in Spanish territory, you have been married to a Spanish citizen for at least one year, you were born abroad to Spanish parents and/or grandparents, you did not previously exercise your right to Spanish nationality when given the option, you are a widow or widower of a Spanish citizen provided that you were not separated upon your spouse’s death, or you were a ward of the Spanish state for at least two consecutive years. In addition, you have been a legal resident of Spain for at least one year.

 

2) Opting to Become a Spanish Citizen
 

  • Your parental guardian is a Spanish citizen.
  • One or both of your parents was or were Spanish and born in Spain.
  • You are a grandchild of a Spanish citizen who lost or was forced to renounce their Spanish citizenship as a result of exile.
  • You are of Sephardic descent and can prove it.
  • After the age of 18 you were adopted by Spanish parents. (If you wish to become a Spanish citizen, you have up to two years from the date of the adoption in which to do so.)
  • After you have reached the age of 18, it was determined that at least one of your parents was a Spanish citizen or you were born in Spain. (If you wish to become a Spanish citizen, you have up to two years from the date of the determination in which to do so.)

 

Application for Spanish Citizenship

You can apply for Spanish citizenship at the Spanish Civil Registry (Registro Civil) closest to your home. If you reside outside of Spain, you can apply at your nearest Spanish consulate.

You will need to present the following documentation:

  • A completed application form.
  • Your passport.
  • Empadronamiento certificate (if you reside in Spain).
  • Foreigners Identification Card, EU-Family Member Residence Card, or Foreigners Certificate from the Central Registry (if you reside in Spain).
  • Your birth certificate, translated into Spanish (if it is not already in Spanish) and legalized.
  • The birth certificates of your minor children (if you have any), translated into Spanish and legalized.
  • A Certificate of Criminal Convictions (Certificado de Antecedentes Penales) from the justice authorities in your home country, translated into Spanish and legalized.
  • Proof of sufficient economic resources to be able to live in Spain.

 

According to your specific circumstances you will also need to provide the following documentation:

  • Born in Spanish territory: Your birth certificate as registered with the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Born to Spanish parents: Your birth certificate demonstrating that your mother and/or father was a Spanish citizen.
  • Spanish descendant: The birth certificate of your Spanish citizen mother and/or father. Or the birth certificate of your Spanish citizen grandmother and/or grandfather as well as the birth certificate of the Spanish descendant (your mother or father), even if they did not become a Spanish citizen.
  • Sephardic origin: A certificate from an Israelite organization recognized in Spain that accredits your Jewish-Sephardic faith; explanation of your Sephardic cultural ties by way of language, last names, or other proof; and justification regarding your desired inclusion in the registry of Spanish Sephardic families.
  • Married to a Spanish citizen: Your marriage certificate issued by the Spanish Civil Registry as well as a joint empadronamiento certificate or cohabitation certificate.
  • Widow or widower of a Spaniard: Your spouse’s birth certificate as issued by the Spanish Civil Registry; your updated marriage certificate issued by the Spanish Civil Registry; your spouse’s death certificate; and a joint empadronamiento certificate or cohabitation certificate to prove that you lived together at the time your spouse died.
  • Refugee: Your certificate certifying refugee status as issued by the Ministry of the Interior’s Asylum and Refugee Office.

 

In order to obtain Spanish citizenship you will also need to swear loyalty to the King and promise to obey the Spanish Constitution and laws. Unless you are allowed to keep the nationality you had prior to becoming a Spanish citizen as a dual national (discussed below), you will also need to declare that you have renounced your original citizenship.

Where possible, you should always use the passport of the country you’re entering.

Dual Nationality

In becoming a Spanish citizen, you may or may not obtain dual nationality or be required to renounce your current citizenship. Citizens of Latin American countries, Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines, or Equatorial Guinea are not required to renounce their citizenship, and their dual nationality is bilaterally recognized. In other cases things can go a bit differently. For example, UK citizens, when becoming a Spanish citizen, are required to renounce their previous citizenship, yet this is not allowed by the UK. This means that you would then have two nationalities (but not dual nationality) as Spain would not recognize the UK nationality. US citizens, if they do not intend to relinquish their US citizenship, may renounce their US citizenship to the Spanish government as required to obtain Spanish citizenship, but still retain their US citizenship anyway. Needless to say, Spain would not recognize the US nationality. In the case of citizens of other countries, it is possible you may lose your original citizenship upon acquiring Spanish citizenship. As a general rule, if you are not a citizen of a Latin American country, Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines, or Equatorial Guinea and you wish to retain your original citizenship as well as acquire Spanish citizenship, you should consult a legal professional for the latest policies regarding Spain and your country of original citizenship. Where possible, you should always use the passport of the country you’re entering. For example, if you have US and Spanish citizenship, use your Spanish passport when arriving in Spain and your US passport when arriving in the US.

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