Applying for Spanish citizenship What is required

Spain is widely regarded as having the best year-round climate among European countries, and obtaining Spanish citizenship is a highly attractive option for many. Being aware of the necessary steps to take, the required documents and laws surrounding Spanish citizenship can make the application process straightforward.

On this page, we provide a full guide to applying for Spanish citizenship.

Click on a link to each section:

How can obtaining Spanish citizenship benefit you?

Obtaining Spanish citizenship can provide the following benefits:

Travelling is easier

Travelling to Spain will be easier for you and your family if you are a Spanish citizen, particularly if you travel to and from Spain on a regular basis. You’ll get a Spanish ID card that fits in your wallet, rather than passports or permit papers, for example.

Seville Spain

It is easier to live and work in Spain

If you gain Spanish citizenship via naturalisation, you can work in Spain with far more ease. You will also be granted the right to live and work anywhere within the European Union.

The right to vote

To most Spanish residents, native-born or otherwise, the right to take part in voting is an important part of life. Obtaining Spanish citizenship allows you to take part in voting as well as other political activities.

The different methods of applying for Spanish citizenship

Applying through marriage

Following your marriage to a Spanish citizen, this method requires you to have lived in Spain with your partner for a minimum of one year from the date your residence permit was granted.

You will also be required to provide identity documents, including a full passport and a birth certificate for both your spouse and you, as the principal applicant. You will also need to provide your marriage/civil registry certificate and proof of registration at the town hall showing your presence on the local census.

In addition to these requirements, you will also need to pass the CCSE (Constitutional and Sociocultural Aspects of Spain) and DELE (Diploma of Spanish) exams. You can read more about taking the CCSE and DELE tests here.

Once you have lived in Spain with your spouse for at least one year, you will then be able to start the process and submit your application online together with the required documents, and translated copies.

For more guidance, read our full guide to applying for Spanish citizenship through marriage here.


You are eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship through naturalisation if you have experienced Spanish residency for ten years and have no criminal record. You will also be required to pass the DELE and CCSE tests to check that you are proficient in the Spanish language and have an awareness of the general culture.

There are some exceptions to this, however. If you are a refugee, you may apply after five years of residence in Spain. Nationals from Ibero-American countries or Spanish territories may apply for citizenship after only two years. Those who fall under this bracket may originate from Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal. This policy also applies to those of Sephardic Jewish origin.

You can read more about applying for Spanish citizenship as a Sephardic Jew here.

When applying for Spanish citizenship through naturalisation, you must complete an application form either entirely online through the SEDE electronica, or this can be done in person at the Spanish Civil Registry. This is when you will need to present all of your documentation and copies, as well as fully certified and translated copies as necessary.

For more guidance on applying for Spanish citizenship through naturalisation, you can read our full guide here.


You can obtain Spanish citizenship by descent if you can prove of any of the following:

  1. Your mother or father is Spanish
  2. You have foreign parents, and at least one of them is a Spanish national
  3. Both your foreign parents were born in Spain
  4. You were adopted by Spanish nationals prior to your 18th birthday
  5. You have Spanish grandparents

If applying through this method, you will need to provide documents that prove you have Spanish relatives or have been adopted by Spanish citizens.

You can read our full guide to applying for Spanish citizenship through descent here.

You may also apply for Spanish citizenship through possession of status. This means that you have possessed or been using Spanish nationality for ten years, unaware that you were not truly a Spanish national. In this case, as long as you have been doing so in good faith, you may continue to do so.

How much does a Spanish citizenship application cost?

You will need to pay 60 to 100 Euros to the relevant authority at the beginning of the application process – this is non-refundable whether or not your application is successful. However, you should expect some other fees related to obtaining certain documents you may have to provide.

What is the difference between permanent residence and Spanish citizenship?

Spanish citizenship provides you with the same rights as other Spanish citizens. For example, you are provided with the right to vote in European/national elections and the freedom to move around the EU freely. Permanent residency allows you to retain your original nationality and passport while living as a Spanish resident. You can move around the EU for limited periods, and for longer with permission.

Can I obtain Spanish dual nationality?

If you obtain Spanish citizenship, you will have to renounce your original nationality. There are exceptions to this if you are from a Spanish-American country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal. Sephardic Jews and their descendants are also allowed to obtain dual citizenship in their home country.

How can an immigration service help you with your application?

When going through the process of applying for Spanish citizenship, the right support can make a considerable difference between struggling and success. Giambrone & Partners can help you at every step of the way when completing your application.

Giambrone & Partners' lawyers can guide you with filling out the various forms without errors that may slow the process down. If you aren’t sure which documents you will need, or which may require translated copies, our expert immigration lawyers can make this clear, as well as providing any legal advice you may need.

Are you ready to start the process of applying for your Spanish citizenship? Get in touch to see how we can help you.

Related content

How to apply for Spanish citizenship through marriage

Can I obtain Spanish Citizenship through Sephardic Ancestry?

How to obtain Spanish citizenship through descent?