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Spanish nationality by option: requisites and essential information


The acquisition of Spanish nationality by option is a legal process by which certain people may acquire Spanish nationality if they have family ties to Spain.

1) Requirements to apply for Spanish nationality by option

First of all, it must be assumed that, according to Spanish regulations, they have the right to opt for Spanish nationality:

1 -Those who are or have been subject to the parental authority of a Spanish citizen. This could be the situation of children of those who have acquired Spanish nationality through the process of nationality by residency. Eligibility up to 20 years of age.

2 - Those whose father or mother was originally Spanish and who were born in Spain. In this specific case there is no time limit for exercising the option.

3 - People for whom the determination of filiation (recognition as a child) or birth in Spain occurred after the age of 18. In this case, the time limit to opt for nationality is 2 years from the moment filiation or birth is determined.

4 - Those over 18 years ofage who are adopted by Spanish nationals. In this situation, the right of option exists until the interested party reaches the age of 20.

One of the first conclusions we can draw is that Spanish nationality by option can be requested by both minors and adults, as long as the interested party is in one of the four situations above.

Secondly, if the interested party is in any of these situations, in order to acquire Spanish nationality by option, he/she must meet these requirements:

  • The interested party over 14 years of age, is capable of making a declaration on his/her own behalf and swears or promises allegiance to the King and observance of the Constitution and the laws.
  • The interested party must give up his/her previous nationality (some people do not have to meet this requirement: natives of countries mentioned in Article 24.1 of the Spanish Civil Code and Sephardics originating from Spain).
  • The acquisition of Spanish nationality must be registered in the Spanish Civil Registry of the domicile of the interested party.

2) Who can apply for Spanish nationality by option?

It can be requested by different people:

  1. The legal representative of the interested party, if he/she is under 14 years of age.
  2. The interested party with the assistance of a legal representative, if he/she is over 14 years of age.
  3. The interested party him/herself, in the event he/she is emancipated or over 18 years of age. Special attention must be paid in this case, since the option generally expires at the age of 20. However, in the event that the interested party is not emancipated at the age of 18, the term to opt for Spanish nationality is extended until two years after emancipation.
  4. The interested party with a disability, as long as the necessary conditions and assistance are provided.
  5. Lastly, this person may also apply for it during a period of 2 years after the termination of the support measures, if any, that had prevented him/her from applying for it previously.

The application for nationality by option must be submitted to the Spanish Consulate of the domicile of the interested party or at the Civil Registry in Spain, depending on the domicile of the interested party.

How long does it take to acquire Spanish nationality by option?

There is no specific timeframe, although processing times are usually short. The processing of the file will depend on the time taken by the Civil Registry.

Taking this variable into account, from our experience we could say that the process takes approximately seven months to one year once the application has been submitted.

Lastly, it is also important to know that the Law of Historical Memory allows acquisition by option of the Spanish nationality of origin to people whose father or mother, grandmother or grandfather, would have originally been Spanish. More details are available here:Spanish nationality by democratic memory.

3) In conclusion

The option allows Spanish nationality to be acquired by those who meet certain conditions. This includes those who have been subject to the parental authority of a Spanish national, as well as those with a Spanish father or mother born in Spain.

4) Do you want to acquire Spanish nationality by option?

At Gesdocument we have a team of experts in foreign affairs and in the acquisition of Spanish nationality.

Looking to obtain Spanish citizenship in record time? Contact our professionals for more information; we will guide and advise you throughout the process.

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