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Spanish nationality through residency: everything you need to know


Are you interested in acquiring Spanish nationality through residency? In this post we tell you everything you need to know when applying for it, from paperwork and the documentation you must gather and submit, to the resolution deadlines (we can already tell you that our team of experts has achieved favorable resolutions in just over 5 months. See details below).

1) Did you know that the Spanish passport is one of the strongest in the world?

The Henley Passport Index is the original and authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a visa.

This index has published a worldwide ranking of passports, based on historical data spanning 19 years, and includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.

Well, according to this index, the Spanish passport ranks first in the list of strongest passports in the world (tied with other countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Japan or Singapore. Specifically, the Spanish passport allows travel to 194 destinations without the need for a visa.

2) What is Spanish nationality through residency?

The acquisition of Spanish nationality through residency is a crucial step towards full integration into Spanish society. To obtain it, a series of requirements must be met. But, first, what do we understand by Spanish citizenship through residency? This is one of the ways to acquire Spanish nationality.

Specifically, through this procedure a foreigner who has been residing in Spain legally and continuously for a certain amount of time can apply for Spanish nationality.

This is the most common way to obtain Spanish nationality and the one chosen by the majority of foreigners residing in Spain.

3) How to obtain Spanish nationality through residency | Requirements

The main requirement for acquiring Spanish nationality through residency is that you must have resided in Spain for 10 years. However, 5 years is sufficient in the case of persons who have been granted refugee status and 2 years in the case of nationals from the following countries of origin:

  • Latin American countries
  • Andorra
  • Philippines
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Portugal
  • Sephardic countries

There are certain situations in which one year of residency is sufficient. This is the case for:

  • Someone born on Spanish territory.
  • A person who has not exercised in a timely manner the right to opt in.
  • A person who has been legally subject to tutelage, curatorship with full powers of representation, guardianship or foster care by a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if he/she is still in this situation at the time of applying.
  • A person who at the time of applying has been married for one year to a Spanish man orwoman and is not legally or effectively separated.
  • The widow or widower of a Spanish citizen, if at the death of the spouse there was no legal or effective separation.
  • A person born outside Spain to a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who were originally Spanish.

When acquiring Spanish nationality through residency, it is important to know that:

  • The residency must be legal, continuous and immediately prior to applying for nationality.
  • The person interested in obtaining Spanish citizenship must justify good civic conduct as well as a sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society.
  • The applicant must not have a criminal record, either in the country of origin or in Spain.
  • The corresponding documentation must be valid and current.

The Directorate-General for Registrations and the Notariat has a criterion and established guidelines for this situation so that a foreigner can obtain Spanish citizenship:

  • In case of applying for nationality for having 10 years of residency, absences from Spain cannot exceed 6 consecutive months during this period.
  • In case of applying for nationality after 5, 2 or 1 years, absences from Spain cannot exceed 3 consecutive months during these periods.

For its part, case law holds that there is legal and continuous residency when the absence is occasional for justified reasons and when, despite absences, the link with Spain can be accredited in terms of livelihood, forming of personal, family, social, administrative and other relationships that make up the way of life of the person interested in acquiring Spanish nationality through residency.

5) Who can apply for Spanish nationality through residency?

  1. The person interested in acquiring the nationality, provided he/she is of legal age (+18) or is emancipated.
  2. Anyone over 14 years of age through their legal representative.
  3. The legal representative of the minor of 14 years of age.
  4. The legal representative of the person with judicially modified capacity or the person with judicially modified capacity alone, duly assisted, as resulting from the incapacitation ruling.


6) Documents required to acquire Spanish nationality through residency

Once verified that the main requirement for legal residency has been met, the applicant needs a series of documents to qualify for Spanish citizenship:

  1. The first step in applying for Spanish nationality through residency is to complete the application form.
  2. Foreigner’s Identity Card (TIE), or Certificate of Registration as an EU citizen.
  3. Complete and valid passport from the country of origin of the applicant.
  4. The applicant’s birth certificate, a valid and current criminal record certificate and the certificate of census registration.
  5. Fifth, the applicant must submit the Diplomas of the Cervantes Institute that confirm their having passed the test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge (CSEE) and the Spanish language knowledge test (DELE). For more information: Online tests to obtain Spanish nationality.
  6. Proof of payment of the corresponding fees must also be submitted.

Please note: this is the essential documentation; in some cases you may need to provide more information. Furthermore, it is also important to know that these documents can be replaced by certain authorizations depending on the applicant’s personal situation, so we recommend that, when gathering all the documentation, the applicant should solicit the advice of experts on Spanish nationality.

Important: All documents must be valid and current at the time of applying for Spanish nationality through residency.

7) Is it possible to obtain Spanish nationality through residency in less than 6 months?

Everything will depend on whether or not managing the application is placed in the hands of experts. It is obvious that from the time the application is submitted until the nationality is obtained, it is inevitable to have to undergo a waiting period. However, if certain precautions and frequent errors in managing the procedure are taken into account, we can guarantee a reduced delay.

In recent months, our Talent & Mobility team has won favorable resolutions issued in record time to date, with a significant and notable reduction in waiting times.

As pointed out by Celeste Mercado, an expert in international mobility and immigration of this firm’s Talent & Mobility business division, it is indispensable to delegate this kind of procedure to experienced and recommended professionals in the field.

In this regard, our team has won favorable resolutions in just over 5 months. An undoubtedly enviable waiting time for many other applicants, especially when the average waiting time in Spain is from 1 to 3 years.

A nationality dossier that is correctly processed and studied in its entirety from start to finish by experts is much more likely to be resolved in less time.

The best thing about our profession as experts in Spanish nationality is to be able to share the success of an application managed by us, but this satisfaction and joy are multiplied when we also have a favorable resolution.

8) Do you want to obtain Spanish nationality through residency?

Contact our professionals for more information. We obtain nationality for you in record time!

Any Questions?

If you have any questions or want more information on our services free of any obligation, do get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

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