Nacionalidad española

What is Spanish nationality and how is it acquired?

Spanish nationality is one of the most attractive nationalities in the world as it offers you the possibility to live indefinitely in Spain, granting you an extensive list of rights and benefits. One of these rights is that Spanish citizenship gives you unlimited freedom to reside anywhere in Spain and the European Union, as well as to work without restrictions.


The most common way to obtain Spanish nationality is by birthright, but it is not the only way. However, the Civil Code admits other procedures that may allow you, as a foreigner, to obtain a Spanish passport. For example, as a general rule, foreigners who have resided in Spain for 10 years can apply for citizenship.


But there are other ways, and perhaps much quicker than you thought!

How to obtain Spanish nationality

There are four main ways in which you can obtain Spanish nationality:


  • By residence: This is the route most commonly used by foreigners. You must be a permanent resident of Spain for at least 10 years before you can apply. You must have a clean criminal record, speak Spanish and have knowledge of the language and culture of the country.
  • By choice: This is also a good option if you have children under 18 living with you in Spain, as they are automatically granted citizenship under this option.
  • By descent: You can also apply if you were born in Spain to a Spanish parent or if you have lived in the country with a Spanish parent for at least 5 years prior to your application.
  • By marriage: If you were married to someone who obtained naturalisation and you cannot count on any other ties to Spain (for example, if your spouse died or left the country) you can also apply for residency.


Each of these has different requirements. So be sure to go through them in detail so you can see which one best suits your needs.

Nationality by residence

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order to be eligible for Spanish nationality. One of the most important criteria is that you must have resided in Spain legally and uninterruptedly for at least 10 years before submitting your application.


In addition, you must be able to prove that you have a sufficient level of integration into Spanish society and be able to demonstrate knowledge of Spanish language and culture.


It is sufficient to renew your residence permit as many times as necessary, and once you have completed the required period, you will be granted citizenship.

Requirements for applying for citizenship in Spain by residence

To apply for citizenship in Spain, you must have lived in the country for a minimum of 10 years and provide proof that you are fluent in Spanish. You also need to demonstrate a knowledge of Spanish culture and history.


But it’s not all that easy, you will need to make sure you meet the following requirements for your application to be accepted:


  • The computation of years starts from the validity of your first residence card. This means that any intermediate period in which you were an irregular foreigner will not be taken into account for the calculation.
  • Nor does any time spent in Spain on a student or tourist visa count towards citizenship.
  • You must have lived the required number of years without interruption. This means that you cannot leave the country for a prolonged period of time (more than 3 months may be grounds for refusal), nor can you leave the country frequently.
  • Showing proper civic behaviour is crucial. The authorities will check your criminal record and police record for any disruptive behaviour. Having speeding tickets or renewing your green card late can work against you here.

Nationality by marriage

Would you like to acquire Spanish nationality? It is possible to acquire Spanish citizenship by marriage. If you are married to a Spanish citizen and have lived in Spain for one year, then you could apply.


After 12 months of living together with your spouse (this is really important), you can start the application process.

Requirements for applying for nationality by marriage in Spain

Marriage in a foreign country can be complicated. In Spain, if you are married to a Spaniard and want to obtain nationality by marriage, these are the requirements:

  1. Consent of the person to marry.
  2. Family members must be Spanish citizens or foreigners with permanent residence in Spain.
  3. Marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry Office of the country where the marriage took place.
  4. Birth details of both parties from their respective countries or from Spain, if they were born in Spain.
  5. If the spouses were not born in Spain, they must have a passport or DNI from their country of origin The terms and conditions are that all parties must be Spanish citizens or foreigners with permanent residence in Spain.


Spanish nationality by origin

Spanish nationality by origin is the type of Spanish nationality obtained by foreigners who voluntarily acquire Spanish nationality, without having to go through the process of applying for residency. This is due to the fact that their parents obtained it before.


If you initiate your application for citizenship by residence, and include the birth certificate of your children in that application, they can become Spanish citizens at a later date, provided that your children are under 18 years of age.

Who can then benefit from citizenship by option?

  • Children of foreign nationals born in Spanish territory.
  • People who are over 18 but who were adopted by Spanish nationals
  • Those who are or have been in the custody of a Spaniard.

Nationality by descent

Spanish parents can obtain a passport for their children immediately and easily, but what about their grandchildren? Are they as lucky?


With the passing of the new law on grandchildren, the situation has changed completely. Nowadays, if you are the grandchild of a Spanish citizen and you fall into one of the groups covered by the law, you can also apply for nationality in Spain.


Under the new law, grandchildren of Spanish citizens can now claim their own Spanish nationality.

Get legal help to get nationality

If you think this is too much information and would like to simplify the process, don’t worry, our team of immigration lawyers are here to help you.


We will manage the whole application process for you: determining the best way forward, getting all the documentation and specific information you will need for your application to be approved, as well as completing and submitting all the paperwork, and all you have to do is sign!


All you have to do is sign! What are you waiting for to get started? Contact us today!