Nationality by Residency

To obtain Spanish nationality, it is necessary to have lived in the country for 10 years, or to have ancestors who have had Spanish nationality. There are factors which can reduce the length of time before a person can be considered to be a Spanish national legally and by the state.

Our firm regularly helps non-Spanish nationals to register in Spain and to obtain Spanish nationality. If you would like our English-speaking lawyers to help you with the process, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.

If you are looking for information about how to apply for a NIE, please visit our page which describes the NIE application process. Click here to view our NIE guide.

Below are some common questions asked by people before applying to become Spanish nationals:

  1. How long does it take for an EU citizen to obtain a Residency Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia) in Spain?  And what is the procedure which the applicant must follow?

To apply for a Residency Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia), it is necessary to pre-book an appointment. Generally, they give out appointments a month after the date of booking.

Additionally, it is necessary to book the appointment at certain times (i.e. first thing in the morning) or the time may pass to request an appointment. They ask you for proof of work and a registration. If you have 5.200 euros in a Spanish bank account, you do not need the proof of work. What’s more, you should have a rented property to be able to register. EU citizens will also need their European health insurance card, and DNI (if they are used in their country).

  1. Is it possible for an EU or non-EU spouse or family member to obtain the Residence Permit on the grounds of family reunification?

Yes, there is permission for family reunification. It is relatively short and in 3-5 months it should be achieved. Meanwhile, a visitor come for 3 months on a tourist visa, so therefore families should not have to separate before the process is complete.

  1. After how long can a person apply for Spanish citizenship? What are the requirements?

If the person seeking nationality does not already have any additional nationality and they are not descendants of Sephardic Jews, the process of achieving nationality is 10 years of residence.

If they are a descendent of Sephardic Jews, we would be able to request the nationality immediately, but this would have to be checked.

With respect to the acquisition of nationality by residence, the Government accepts the residence of the person legally, continually and indefinitely in Spain after

10 years, before the request. There are cases in which the period of residency reduces; these are:

5 years: For the acceptance of nationality for people who are considered to be refugees.

2 years: for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin.

One year for:

– Someone who has been born in the Spanish territory.

– Someone who has not properly exercised their right to Spanish nationality by choice.

– Someone why has been legally subjected to the guardianship (under the vigilance of a tutor), care or fostering (which has been decided by the public entity which legally delegates the protection of minors and fostering) of a citizen during two consecutive years, even if the situation is ongoing at the time of requesting the nationality.

– Someone who, at the time of requesting, has been married to a Spaniard for at least one year and is not separated judicially or de facto.

– The widow of a Spaniard, if at the time of death, the couple were not separated, de facto or judicially.

– The mother or father was born in Spain, or grandparents, as long as they originally from Spain.

Should you need further information, or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.

Piñera del Olmo

Granada del Penedès 10, entlo
08006 Barcelona

Tel: +34 93 514 39 97

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