Spanish Citizenship and Dual Nationality

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

Posted by Dreamer

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

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. 





Last updated 13 01 2021

Donation to

If you find this site helpful, please leave a donation for us. This will encourage us to remove ads, keep responding to your questions and add more great information about living in Spain to


If you'd like to ask a question for discussion, please mosey on over to the Spain Forum. See our posting rules and instructions here.

bigboy said:

My grandfather and my mother were both spanish citizen, am I a citizen of spain? Do I have to stay in spain for 1 year to become a Spanish citizen?

bigboy said:

I want to search for my grandfather's birth records in Barcelona, Spain maybe in Caster. He was born in 1905. He was Luis Bouffard Y Oliver. His father was Enrique Bouffard and mother was Carmen Oliver. Please help me find it.

Gareth said:

I'm an Indonesian (a Minahasan, to be exact/ the Minahasans are group of who live in the Indonesian province named North Sulawesi. This province located south of the Phillipines.) that has some Spanish blood in me. My great-great-great grandfather on my father side was a Spaniard. Would this fact be considered if I applied as a Spanish citizen?

papaco95 said:


My husband is from Spain and I'm from US. We are going to retire and live in Spain this year. What do I need in order live there legally? We also have 3 adult daughters will it be easy for them to get citizenship?

Need help urgently 😊

Thank You

lourdesg said:


I'm from the Philippines but my parent (father) was born here in Cebu City with Spanish parents in 1929. It is also stated in his birth certificate that he is a Spaniard. Will it be difficult for me to apply for Spanish citizenship?

veki said:


My daughter is a minor and was born in Spain but lives in Serbia. Can she apply for citizenship without renouncing? She has Serbian citizenship already.

Thank you.

rpinera said:

Hi Lourdes,

I recommend you contact paul @ emlegal . eu
He is a lawyer specializes in issues of Spanish citizenship to Sephardic people.


naisha said:


I'm from the Philippines. My Great Grandfather, Great Grandmother(mother side), is a citizen of Spain, but they also live here in the Philippines,my grandfather(mother side)is of course a Spanish, but i don't know if he was born in Spain or here. My Mother is a half Spanish, but not a citizen of spain, because she was born here. I'm already 20 yrs old. So my question is, can I have a dual citizenship?

Thank you!

Abdul Alim Hasson said:

okay i am African American do i have to wait ten years to become a citizen of Spain? But three or four generation have gone by my great great grant grandmother she was from Spain. Do it matter what kind of Spanish i speak? Where i live right now i have been taught Spanish by a lot of Mexican an Puerto Rians.

michael said:


My grandfather is Spanish on my mother side. my family middle name (Lucinario)with my grandfather.can I have dual citizenship?

Thank you

sallaj said:


I was born spain in 1982, I have a jordanian nationality now ,my parants are not spanish.

how can I get the a citizen of Spain.


sallaj said:


Any lawyer specializes in issues of Spanish citizenship ?

Thank you,

Naza said:

Dearest subscriber,

My husband was born in Spain. He has certificate of birth of being born in Barcelona. His parents are from Iraq. We live in Iraq now. Can he apply for Spanish citizenship?

Your answer would be much appreciated.
Best Regards

Calen said:


I am a filifino citizen but my grand parents where born in spain, unfortunately my father was born here in the philippines. I have some cousins from my fathers side who were now have their citizenship in spain. I just want to know what are the requirements for to be able to apply for spanish citizenship.

Thank you.

chaudhary omar said:


Can anyone help me out how long it take to get Spanish nationality after passing our interview. I am from Pakistan and my wife is Spanish.they send me the letter after the interview that now we send our document to Madrid. Any help or any lawyer out there proceed my application faster. Its almost been six month from the date we first submitted the to the interview and the last letter showing they forward our file.


fernando antonio said:


My great grand father was a Spanish soldier assigned in the Philippines his name is German Lopez Y Vibar of Cordova,Spain. Am I entitled to have a dual citizenship? What documents do I need? Please assist me on this matter.I am Fernando Corazon Antonio y Del Prado I speak Spanish and English.i am now a resident of Baguio City Philippines.

Thank You and more power.


Register, then sign-in with your SpainExpat username to post your comments.

Go to Top

Recent Discussions
La Liga table , Spanish Football Round Up - By: jurdyr

Total Views: 10498, Last Post On: 01/12/2021 07:59 am By: Alessandro01

But what if I don’t like French Fries? - By: mightyfrea

Total Views: 13622, Last Post On: 01/12/2021 07:56 am By: Alessandro01

How do you spend your weekend in Spain? - By: Garry_Oldman

Total Views: 1928, Last Post On: 02/25/2019 11:21 pm By: Alessandro01

Online Shopping from Spain... who delivers? - By: The Expatriator

Total Views: 7524, Last Post On: 02/24/2019 05:24 pm By: TolDR

Inflatable swimming pools - for all the family! - By: susanspain

Total Views: 7356, Last Post On: 02/10/2019 10:23 am By: angelala

Top 10 Tips for Learning Spanish - By: don Pablo

Total Views: 6497, Last Post On: 02/09/2019 04:30 pm By: mikkelkasper

Spanish Culture and Lifestyle - By: hollysurly

Total Views: 3874, Last Post On: 02/06/2019 05:30 pm By: Kate2228

Recent Talkbacks
On EU Residency in Spain for EU Citizens, Their Spouses and Family Members, Dreamer said:

"Hi Billy,

The article has just been updated with all the new info."

On EU Residency in Spain for EU Citizens, Their Spouses and Family Members, redglasses said:

"Can a british resident live in spain? Is Britain considered part of the European Union?
What about taxes for running a business in Spain for an Expat?"

On Moving to Spain, rojo36 said:

"Glasgow Man and Van has a dedicated team of movers who can provide a reliable removals service to Spain. We are often able to move you along with your belongings if transport is a problem, keeping the cost down."

Expats on Facebook