How to process Spanish Nationality?

Numerous individuals reach out to us to initiate the nationality procedure, due to their long-term legal residence in Spain or their marriage to a Spanish citizen, among other circumstances. However, before delving into the Spanish nationality acquisition process details, let us first provide a brief overview of the “Spanish Nationality.” concept.

So, what precisely is nationality?

Nationality is not only the legal connection that binds an individual to a particular state but also grants individuals the status of being a national. 

Furthermore, nationality is regarded as a fundamental right that grants individuals rights and responsibilities towards the state. However, to avail oneself of this right, it is necessary to understand who is eligible for Spanish nationality acquisition.

Obtener la Nacionalidad Española

Who can receive Spanish Nationality?

These are characteristics that a person must have to manage Spanish nationality.

Spaniards of Origin

Who are Spaniards of origin?

Those born of Spanish parents provided that only one of the parents is Spanish.

Foreign-borns in Spanish Territory, provided that one of their parents was born in Spain 

Foreign-born in Spanish Territory, provided that none of the parents´ country grant the child Nationality, which is called nationality for value of simple presumption.

Children born in Spain whose parents’ identity or whereabouts are unknown.

Children under 18 years of age who are adopted by a Spaniard will also be Spaniards of origin. If the adoptee is over 18 years old, he or she may opt for the Spanish nationality of origin two years after the adoption has been constituted.

Nationality by Choice

According to Spanish legal system, foreigners who meet one of the following requirements are eligible to apply for Spanish Nationality: 

  1.  if the foreigner was adopted by a Spanish national, s/he has 2 years after reaching the maturity age to choose Spanish Nationally (maturity age is considered based on the Country-of-origin regulation). For instance, if, based on law, is 18, he individual may apply by 20 years of old.
  2. Persons whose father or mother was born in Spain and holds Spanish nationality.
  3. Individuals who can establish their parentage or birth in Spain after reaching the age of 18. In this situation, the window to apply for nationality is two years following the determination of parentage or birth.
  4. Individuals who are adopted by Spanish nationals after reaching the age of 18. In this case, the right to apply for nationality endures until two years have elapsed from the time of adoption.

For the first two options, the nationality application process is carried out at the Civil Registry where the applicant is registered. It should be noted that the required documentation and procedure differ based on the age of the applicant.  If the applicant is below 14 years of age, both parents must be present at the Civil Registry to apply for the minor’s nationality. If the minor is between 14 and 18 years old, minors must be accompanied by one of their parents and must sign the application themselves. If the applicant is above 18 years of age, they may submit application in person. 

At Extranjeristas, we provide comprehensive assistance and guidance on all aspects of the application process, including appointment scheduling at the Civil Registry and client accompaniment if the application is submitted at a Civil Registry in the province of Barcelona.

Nationality by Residence

It is the most common scenario for applying for Spanish nationality. In this regard, Spanish law stipulates that a foreigner must have legally and continuously resided in Spain for a certain period before applying for nationality. Below, we will provide details on the required periods of residence for each specific case:

Ten years: This is the general requirement for any foreigner, regardless of their country of origin.

Five years: This period applies to those who have been granted refugee or stateless status.

Two years: This period applies to nationals of Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or persons of Sephardic origin.

Additionally, Spanish legislation identifies six groups of people who may apply for Spanish nationality by demonstrating only one year of legal residence in Spain. These groups are:

  1. Those who were born in Spanish territory.
  2. Those who have not exercised their right to acquire Spanish nationality in due time.
  3. Those who have been legal under the guardianship, custody, or foster care of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if they are still in this situation at the time of application.
  4. Those who have been married to a Spaniard for one year at the time of application provided that they have not been legally or de facto separated.
  5. The widow or widower of a Spaniard provided that at the time of the spouse’s death, they were not separated, either legally or de facto.
  6. Persons born outside of Spain whose father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, were originally Spanish.

To apply for nationality under the aforementioned categories, the procedure must be carried out at the Civil Registry where the applicant is registered. The documentation and procedure to be presented vary depending on the applicant’s age. If the applicant is under 14 years old, both parents must appear at the Civil Registry to present the nationality application of the minor. If the minor is over 14 but under 18, the minor must sign the application and must be accompanied by one of his/her parents. If the minor is over 18 years old, the applicant can apply in person. At Extranjeristas, we provide comprehensive advice and assistance, including the management of appointments at the Civil Registry, and accompanying the client if the action is carried out in a Civil Registry in the province of Barcelona.


Exams to manage Spanish Nationality

For individuals from Latin American countries, it is essential to take the Constitutional Knowledge Exam (CCSE) as the first step towards applying Spanish nationality. This exam is administered by the Cervantes Institute and is mandatory to receive the certificate of approval required for the nationality application. The cost of this exam is currently €85.

Individuals from non-Spanish speaking countries must also take the DELE2 Spanish exam, which is divided into two parts: oral and written. The exam is administered by the Cervantes Institute, and the current cost is €130. It is mandatory to pass both exams for individuals from non-Ibero-American countries.

Our office will take care of the registration process for both exams, from registration to of the results. However, it is important to note that individuals who have completed their studies in Spain and possess a certificate of ESO or Bachiller are exempt from taking these exams. After passing the required exams, applicants must submit their application and pay a fee of €103.02 to the Ministry online. Once approved, it is essential to make an appointment at the local Civil Registry Office within six months for the Spanish oath of citizenship procedure. 

If you find yourself in any of these situations, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will provide advice on the best choice, take care of exam management, review and advise on necessary documentation, monitor the application process, and book the appointment at the corresponding Civil Registry Office for the oath-taking ceremony. We will also arrange an appointment with the police in your town for the issuance of the Spanish ID card and passport upon receiving a favorable resolution for your nationality application