Gaining Spanish citizenship can be a life-changing event, offering you the chance to be a part of Spain’s rich culture and heritage. It also comes with a host of benefits like the freedom to live, work, or study anywhere within the European Union. If you’re contemplating making Spain your permanent home, here’s everything you need to know about obtaining Spanish citizenship.
Who Can Apply for Spanish Citizenship
Foreign nationals residing in Spain are generally eligible to apply for citizenship, but there are different paths depending on specific situations. The most common pathway is through long-term residency, typically 10 years. This period is shorter for refugees, who only need to reside in Spain for five years to qualify. Nationals from Latin American countries, Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines, and a few other territories can apply after a reduced period of two years.
Descent is another way. Children and sometimes grandchildren of Spanish citizens are automatically eligible for citizenship.
Marriage can also expedite the process. If you are married to a Spanish citizen, you can apply for citizenship after just one year of legal residence in Spain.
Image credit: Global Residence Index from Unsplash
Conditions for Obtaining Citizenship
Certain conditions must be met to become a Spanish citizen. First, a clean criminal record is crucial. Spain wants to make sure its citizens are law-abiding individuals.
Second, you need a reasonable understanding of Spanish culture and the Spanish language to integrate effectively. The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) and the Constitutional and Sociocultural Knowledge of Spain (CCSE) tests are usually required. These exams evaluate your proficiency in the Spanish language and your understanding of Spanish culture and governance.
Third, you’ll be required to take an oath of allegiance to the King and promise to obey Spanish laws and customs.
Procedures and Processes
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, the next step is to gather all the required documentation. This will usually include birth certificates, passports, proof of legal residence, and other identification documents. These documents need to be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
You can submit your application either online or at your local Civil Registry. Application fees generally exist and are non-refundable. After you’ve submitted your application, you can expect to wait up to two years for an approval.
Staying updated on Spanish immigration law is crucial as policies can change. Recent legislation now allows descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th century to apply for citizenship. The government has also streamlined some procedures to make the application process easier and faster for specific groups.
In conclusion, becoming a Spanish citizen involves several steps, each with its own set of requirements and conditions. It’s a complex procedure, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The team of qualified lawyers at Lusa Legal can offer you tailored advice and guide you through all the necessary procedures, making the journey to Spanish citizenship smoother and less stressful. So if you’re contemplating this big step, remember that professional help is available to ensure you meet all the requirements and successfully complete all the steps involved.
Contact our lawyers today: +34 661 80 08 99 (WhatsApp)