Who Is Eligible for Spanish Citizenship by Descent?
With the help of experts, you can ensure that your official documents validate your Spanish heritage. We can also handle the complex Spanish bureaucracy for you.
You are eligible if one or both of your parents or grandparents were Spanish nationals and lost their citizenship by option due to exile for political or sexual orientation and identity reasons.
Having Spanish citizenship by descent is one of the best ways to obtain a second passport. This is because it is based on the principle of “jus sanguinis”, meaning that you are automatically a citizen by your family heritage (blood).
If you have grandparents who were born in Spain, then you could be eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship by descent. The process is quite complex and involves presenting many documents that demonstrate your family’s link to the country. The most important documents are the birth and death certificates of your parents as well as any relevant documentation relating to any siblings you may have. The documentation will need to be translated into Spanish and legalized with an apostille or the equivalent in your country.
In some cases, you can apply for citizenship by descent if you were born in Spain but your parents were stateless. You will also be eligible if your parents are foreign citizens and you were adopted by a Spaniard before the age of 18. Lastly, you can apply for Spanish citizenship if you were born abroad but your parents or grandparents were natives of Spain and lost their nationality due to persecution or other reasons.
As a rule, you will need to be a resident in the country for 10 years before you can apply for citizenship by descent. However, this can be reduced to two years if you are a refugee, married to a Spanish citizen or the child or grandchild of a native of Spain. Alternatively, you can apply for citizenship by descent after two years of residence in Ibero-American countries such as Andorra, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal or, if you are Sephardic, through the Historical Memory Law.
In addition to the residency requirement, you will need to provide proof of your ancestry as well as pass examinations on the Spanish language and culture. As a result, this path is not for everyone and you should consult with an expert to ensure that you meet all of the requirements.
The Grandchildren Law
In an attempt to make amends for the expulsion of Jews in 1492, Spain introduced a new route to citizenship that allowed descendants to apply for Spanish citizenship by descent without meeting the residency requirement or other criteria. This is known as the “Grandchildren’s Law” or “Ley de Nietos”.
The process can take a few months for children of a Spanish parent and up to a couple of years for grandchildren. This is because the process requires extensive due diligence to verify all of the information provided, which can be difficult and time-consuming in the case of long-distance ancestry.
Whether you’re interested in applying for citizenship by descent or want to find out more about other pathways, our experts can help. Get in touch today to discuss your situation and see how we can support you. We offer a full range of services to help you navigate the complicated world of Spanish citizenship laws.