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Ways to obtain the Spanish Nationality

When we talk about Spanish nationality, we only think about obtaining it by residence, that is, after residing certain years in Spain legally and continuously. However, there are other ways to acquire this nationality. Whatever the method of obtention, people will have the same rights and obligations as any other Spanish.

Here are the different possibilities of acquiring Spanish nationality.

Spanish of Origin:

  • Those born to a Spanish parent.

  • All children born in Spain to foreign parents if at least one of the parents is born in Spain (except the children of diplomats)

  • Those born in Spain to foreign parents, if both have no nationality or if the legislation of their country grants the child a nationality. In this case, a file can be made to the Civil Registry of your domicile to declare the Spanish nationality with the value of simple presumption.

  • Children born in Spain whose parents’ identity are unknown. It is assumed that the underage children whose first known place of stay is Spanish territory are born in Spain.

  • Spaniards of origin are also those under the age of 18 who are adopted by a Spaniard. If the adopted child is over the age of 18, he or she may opt for the Spanish nationality of origin within two years from the date of the adoption.

Nationality by option:

The option is a benefit that the Spanish legislation offers to foreigners who are in certain conditions can acquire Spanish nationality. The persons entitled to acquire the nationality by this means are:

  • Persons who are or have been subject to the custody of a Spaniard.

  • Persons whose filiation or birth in Spain is determined after the age of 18. In this case, the period of eligibility for nationality is two years from the determination of filiation or birth.

  • Persons whose adoption by a Spaniards occurs after the age of 18. In this case, the right to opt exists until the expiration of two years from the constitution of the adoption.

Spanish nationality by residence:

This form of acquisition of nationality requires the person’s residence in Spain for ten years legally, continuously and immediately prior to the application. These are cases in which the required period of residence is reduced; these are:

  • 5 years: for the granting of Spanish nationality to persons who have obtained refugee status.

  • 2 years: for those born in Latin American countries, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, Philippines or people of Sephardic origin.

  • 1 year for:

    • The one who was born in the Spanish territory.

    • This option is also available to those who did not exercise their right to acquire Spanish nationality by choice.

    • Anyone who has been legally subject to guardianship, custody or fostering of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years.

    • Anyone who, at the time of the application, has been married to a Spaniard for one year and is not legally or de facto separated.

    • The widower or widow of a Spaniard, if at the time of the death of the spouse they were not separated.

    • Born outside of Spain to a parent, grandparent who originally would have been Spanish.

In addition, the interested party must demonstrate good civic conduct and sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society.

Nationality by naturalization certificate:

The nationality by naturalization certificate is not subject to the general rules of administrative procedure. It shall be granted by the Government by Royal Decree, after assessing the occurrence of exceptional circumstances.

If you have acquired the Spanish nationality by residence, by naturalization certificate, you must:

  • Be a person over 14 years of age who is capable of giving a statement on his or her own will or to promise loyalty to the King and following the Constitution and the laws.

  • To renounce their previous nationality, except in the case of a person holding a nationality of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, or Portugal.

Nationality by possession of State:

The right to the Spanish nationality by “possession of State” shall be enjoyed by a person who has possessed and used this nationality for ten years, continuously, on the basis of a title in the Civil Registry. The Spanish nationality shall not be lost if the tittle is entered in the Civil Register is annulled.

The interested party must have maintained an active attitude towards the possession and use of the Spanish nationality, which means that he must behave as a Spaniard, both in their rights and in their duties in relation to the Spanish State.

For more information about obtaining the Spanish nationality by any means mention above, do not hesitate to contact us at

Rashel Segal


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