Spanish Citizenship by Descent: The Ultimate Guide
Are you dreaming of living la vida española? Look no further! Spain, with its vibrant culture, relaxed lifestyle, affordable cost of living, exceptional healthcare system, breathtaking landscapes, and numerous job opportunities, has become an irresistible destination for people worldwide.
The allure of Spain is particularly strong for digital nomads looking to work and reside in this magnificent country. If you have Spanish ancestry, obtaining citizenship is simpler than you think. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore how your Spanish roots can unlock the door to a life filled with tapas, flamenco, and sunshine. So grab your sangria, and let’s dive into the process of acquiring Spanish citizenship by descent!
What Does Being a Spanish Citizen Mean?
Being a Spanish national means that you can reside and work in Spain indefinitely, as well as enjoy a set of rights and privileges that Spanish and EU citizenship provide you with.
As a Spanish citizen, you can vote in Spain and travel freely within the EU. You can also move to other EU member states to live and work by holding Spanish citizenship.
Benefits of Being a Spanish National
The advantages of obtaining Spanish citizenship are not limited to enjoying the culture, lifestyle, and urban or natural beauties of the country. There’s much more to it.
Find below the primary benefits of becoming a Spanish national:
1. Acquisition of One of the Most Impactful Passports in the World
The Spanish passport allows you to live and work wherever you want in the European Union, in addition to having great mobility around the world.
2. Freedom To Move Around
By holding a Spanish passport as a Spanish citizen, you have access to the visa-free entrance to over 180 countries.
3. Privilege To Vote in Spain
As a citizen of Spain, you have the right to vote. If you’re considering long-term residency in Spain, becoming a citizen may be a better option so that you can have a say in the governmental or municipal elections.
4. Easier and Faster Paperwork and Bureaucracy
Becoming a Spanish citizen eases and shortens all the bureaucratic processes you’ll potentially deal with in Spain.
5. Perpetuity of Privileges
Spain isn’t going to exit the European Union anytime soon. Hence, all the privileges that come with Spanish citizenship will remain safe and secure for a good while.
Downside of Getting Spanish Citizenship
The most significant disadvantage of becoming a Spanish citizen is that Spain doesn’t allow dual citizenship, which means you’ll have to renounce your original citizenship to shift to that of Spanish. However, if you’re from the Philippines, Portugal, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, or any one of the Latin American countries, this rule does not apply. Hence, you’re not required to give up on your initial citizenship.
It’s a decision that takes good thinking to make. Although Spanish citizenship offers much more, if you want to stick to your national citizenship, it may be a better option for you to obtain permanent residency in Spain, rather than citizenship.
Spanish Citizenship by Descent
The most rapid and effortless way to obtain Spanish citizenship is by descent. To be eligible to apply to become a Spanish citizen by descent, you must prove that you have Spanish ancestry.
In Spain, the right to citizenship doesn’t derive from the birthplace but from the bloodline. If at least one of your parents or grandparents is of Spanish descent, you have the right to apply for citizenship. However, having Spanish ancestry further down the bloodline than grandparents doesn’t grant you any citizenship rights.
Process of Getting Spanish Citizenship by Descent
Although the application process for Spanish citizenship by descent is the briefest route to becoming a Spanish citizen, you still need to prepare beforehand and make sure you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation.
The said documentation includes any certificate that proves that you have ancestors of Spanish descent, and evidence showing that you’ve passed the CCSE citizenship and DELE A2 Spanish language tests.
There’s no accurate answer to the question of how long it takes to obtain Spanish citizenship by descent typically takes up to two to three years. However, there’s an option to speed up the process: getting the appointment with the flag’s jury as coincident with the time of the submission of your appeal. With this little trick, the waiting time can be reduced to one and a half years.
Fast-Track Naturalization to Spanish Citizenship
Normally, you need to reside in Spain continuously for at least 10 years to become eligible for naturalization to Spanish citizenship. However, if you’re eligible, you can apply for Spanish citizenship by descent after residing in Spain for only one or two years.
Recently expedited criteria of physical presence in Spain allows the eligible applicants to obtain citizenship by descent in a much shorter time period. The only thing you need to be careful about is not spending more than three months outside Spain continuously. If you need to stay more than that, you should enter Spain in between and then travel back to the other location.
1. Naturalization After One Year
- Those who were born in Spain
- Those who were born outside Spain to a Spanish mother or father (born inside/outside Spain)
- Those who were born outside Spain to a Spanish grandmother or grandfather (born inside Spain)
2. Naturalization After Two Years
If you’re from one of the Ibero-American countries, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, Portugal, or Andorra, you’re eligible for a fast track to naturalization after two years. Those who are of Sephardic origin are eligible as well.
How To Get Your Spanish Passport
All Spanish citizens are entitled to hold a Spanish passport, which grants many advantages. You can get a Spanish passport by becoming a Spanish citizen through a few routes:
- Legally residing in Spain for at least 10 years
- Marrying a Spanish citizen
- Having at least one parent or grandparent who is/was a Spanish citizen
If you’ve got your Spanish passport through citizenship by residency, moving abroad within the first three years and not using it may result in the Spanish consulate’s initiation of the withdrawal process, meaning that you’ll lose your Spanish nationality.
Required Documents To Become a Valid Applicant
- A valid passport
- Documents proving legal residency (if required)
- Evidence of Spanish ancestry (birth certificate, certificate of death, etc.)
- Spanish marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Proof that you’ve passed DELE A2 and CCSE examinations
- Oath at the Civil Registry
- Application fee payment receipt
Spain Passport Fees and Waiting Time
Spain demands a non-refundable fee that amounts to a sum between €60 and €100 for processing the citizenship applications. There may be additional fees and costs in relevance to the required documentation and certificates for your application to be valid.
The typical waiting period for obtaining a Spanish passport takes around 2 to 3 years. However, the process can speed up if you sync up your flag’s jury appointment with the submission of your application.
Other Routes To Spain Citizenship
If you want to obtain Spanish citizenship but aren’t of Spanish descent, don’t worry, you have many other options to obtain citizenship.
These options include:
- Citizenship by marriage to a Spanish citizen
- Citizenship by naturalization: you can apply for upon continuous legitimate residence in Spain for at least ten years
- Residency by investment: you can obtain residency in Spain by purchasing real estate that’s worth at least €500,000 through the Golden Visa Program and become eligible to apply for citizenship in five years
- The exceptional right for claiming Spanish citizenship of Sephardic Jews
Spanish Citizenship: The Wrap-Up
Well, that’s about it… We’ve given you the basic guideline for obtaining Spanish citizenship by descent. Having Spanish ancestors paves the way for you to become an eligible applicant for Spanish citizenship. Plus, as a Spanish citizen, you’re also automatically entitled to be an EU citizen and enjoy the relevant rights and privileges.
If you’re of Spanish descent and take the liberty to abandon your original citizenship to benefit from the perks of Spanish citizenship and freely travel within or live and work in whichever European city you want, act now. Initiate your process of obtaining citizenship by descent. When the process gets finalized successfully, you’ll have well deserved a good glass of sangria!