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obtain Spanish Nationality

Many people wonder whether to obtain Spanish Nationality and what their options are in order to reside legally in Spain for a long time. Others wonder about citizenship options if they plan on residing in Spain indefinitely. 

The length of residency in Spain that you have to date,  along with other requirements, often determines your options. The good news is that there are several ways to obtain Spanish Nationality, so read on to better understand the process.

Who can obtain Spanish Nationality?

There are four different periods of legal residence in Spain. And also, other different requirements for someone to request Spanish Nationality:

10 Years

  • In general, to obtain Spanish nationality based on residency, a person must have had legal and continuous residence in Spain for 10 years prior to the application. This applies to individuals who do not fall under any privileged exceptions.
  • It is important to note that the applicant must not have left Spain for more than 6 months during those 10 years. However, the administration may apply even stricter time limits depending on the case. This category is applicable to individuals who have resided in Spain for an extended period and have not met the criteria for any other exceptions.
    • Example: Maria, a citizen of Argentina, has been living legally in Spain for the past 10 years. She has met all the requirements and has not left the country for more than 6 months during this period. Maria is eligible to apply for Spanish nationality based on her residency.

5 Years

  • Individuals who hold refugee status in Spain can obtain Spanish nationality after a period of legal residence of 5 years. 
  • This exception recognizes the unique circumstances faced by refugees and offers an expedited pathway to obtaining Spanish nationality.
    • Example: Ahmed, originally from Syria, sought refuge in Spain and has been granted refugee status. After living in Spain for 5 years, and not leaving the country for more than 6 months during this period, Ahmed has eligibility to apply for Spanish nationality.

2 Years

  • A person can obtain Spanish nationality after only 2 years of legal residence in Spain if they are citizens from Ibero-American Countries, Andorra, The Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal.
  • The applicant must not have left Spain for more than 3 months during the 2 years before the application.

1 Year

It is possible to apply for Spanish citizenship after having resided legally in Spain for only 1 year in the following cases:

  • The applicant was born in Spain.
  • The aspirant did not duly exercise their right to acquire the Spanish Nationality by choice.
  • A Spanish citizen or institution legally subjected the applicant to guardianship, custody, or fostering for two consecutive years.
  • At the time of the application, the applicant has been married for one year to a Spaniard and is not legally or de facto separated.
  • The applicant is a widow or widower of a Spaniard if at the time of the death of the spouse, they were not legally or de facto separated.
  • If the applicant was born outside of Spain but their parents (born also outside Spain) or grandparents were Spanish, provided that all of them had originally been Spanish.

In these cases, the applicant must not have left Spain for more than 3 consecutive months during the year before the application is presented.

Will I lose my current Nationality if I obtain the Spanish Nationality?

Obtaining Spanish nationality does not necessarily require renouncing one’s current nationality. There are exceptions that allow applicants to obtain dual nationality, meaning they can hold both Spanish nationality and their original nationality. 

This allows individuals to maintain their connections to their home country while enjoying the benefits of Spanish citizenship. The following countries and regions allow for dual nationality with Spain:

    • Ibero-American Countries
    • Andorra
    • Philippines
    • Equatorial Guinea
    • Portugal

How can I apply for Spanish Nationality?

There are two ways to apply for Spanish nationality based on residency:

  1. Digitally: Via the website of the Ministry of Justice. The online application process provides a convenient and accessible option for individuals to submit their applications and track the progress of their cases.
  2. In person: Applications for Spanish citizenship by residence or writs related to them may be filed in any of the entities referred to in Article 16 of Law 39/2015, October 1:
    • Registration offices of the General State Administration
    • Registration offices of the Autonomous Communities
    • Local Entities Registration Offices

How Can Lexidy Help?

Seeking professional assistance from specialized immigration lawyers in Spain can be extremely beneficial during the application process for Spanish citizenship. Obtaining Spanish nationality through residency is an important milestone for individuals who have made Spain their home. By understanding the specific residency requirements and documentation, you can take the necessary steps to become a Spanish citizen. At Lexidy, we are committed to making that happen.

Contact us to learn more about Spanish citizenship options through residency.

Edited by Lexidy Staff June 11, 2023

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