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Can Children Born in Spain Get Spanish Citizenship?

Children Spanish Citizenship

Spain is a great place to have a family. The country has a high quality of life with low crime and incredible weather. Spain allows also children to get Spanish Citizenship.

One of the benefits of being an international family in Spain is that your children will have the opportunity to become multilingual from a young age and will benefit from a high standard of education.

Even as they get older, they can enjoy access to Spain’s world-class universities and higher education system with tuition fees that are much more affordable than in the US or the UK. 

However, one of the most important things about having a child in Spain often goes unlooked – their citizenship rights.

Citizenship and nationality are a crucial part of a person’s identity. This journey can start early for children if their parents are interested in Spanish citizenship.

Firstly, it indicates their background, family history and cultural outlook on life. Furthermore, it confers also gives a person certain rights, privileges and obligations when they have specific citizenship.  

It will define, in some part, who they are and how much freedom they will enjoy as they get older.

The question “are children born in Spain automatically Spanish citizens” is complex to answer. The law changed in 2018 and many are still confused. However, this blog will answer this question and more!

Our English-speaking lawyers in Spain are here to explain more about Spanish citizenship by birth.

How do countries decide nationality?

“Ius Sanguinis” and “Ius Soli”

Ius Sanguinis is right by blood. This means a child inherits the nationality of their parents even if they were born in another country. 

Ius Soli, however, is when citizenship is inherited from the country of birth, regardless of the parent’s nationality. 

Different countries and legal systems usually apply one of these to determine citizenship.

How does Spain handle Children and Spanish Citizenship?

Spain follows the right of blood or “Ius Sanguinis”. This means that those born in Spain generally inherit the nationality of their parents. 

However, there are several exceptions that apply to this rule. So someone can be of Spanish origin if they are:


      • Born to a Spanish father or mother.

      • Born in Spain to foreign parents but one parent had also been born in Spain. This doesn’t apply to children of diplomatic or consular officials.

      • Born in Spain to foreign parents however neither nationality nor their country of nationality allows nationality for those born abroad.

      • Born in Spain and the parentage cannot be determined.

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    Can Children ever become Spanish citizens?

    Spain applies the nationality of the parents to the newborn. So it’s vital if your child is born in Spain that you apply for nationality from either one of the parent’s countries.

    However, the parents can apply for Spanish citizenship for the child after just one year of legally residing in Spain.

    For the child to qualify, the parents must obtain a passport from one of the countries where the parents are citizens. They need to apply for a residence permit and after one year of residence, they can apply for nationality on the child’s behalf.

    If the child is a minor, they will not have to pass the language or culture exams, which makes the process simpler.

    If the parents are European citizens, they can apply for a special permit for children born in Spain of Spanish residents, which will have the same duration as that of the parents.

    Gaining Spanish citizenship gives the child important rights such as the right to vote and to receive protection from the Spanish government when traveling internationally. It also allows them to permanently reside in Spain, which is a right that can be revoked for some EU citizens, under extreme circumstances, who live in Spain.

    What else do I need to know?

    It’s essential to consider the nationality laws of the other countries that are involved. Some countries will not allow children born outside their borders to become citizens, like Saudi Arabia for example. In this situation, Spain will grant Spanish citizenship to the child.

    Non-EU parents with legal residence in Spain have the right to travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region but cannot work. If you obtain Spanish citizenship for your child, they will also get EU citizenship.

    This gives them the right to live and work throughout the European Union, which gives them greater access and opportunity than non-EU citizens.

    It’s vital to work with an expert immigration and citizenship lawyer. They understand the rules locally as well as the hundreds of scenarios internationally that could affect the rights of your child

    We can help with all aspects of life and work in Spain. Get in touch today, or request a free consultation below to learn more about children and Spanish citizenship.

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