How to obtain Spanish citizenship through naturalisation

With a wonderful climate, excellent cuisine, fascinating history and culture, there is a lot to enjoy about living and working in Spain. For these factors amongst others, many people seek to become Spanish citizens, naturalisation is one of the most popular methods through which to obtain Spanish citizenship.

In this section, we will explain the benefits of obtaining Spanish citizenship, what is required to obtain Spanish citizenship by naturalisation, which documents you require, completing your application, and the costs

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What are the benefits of obtaining Spanish citizenship?

Obtaining Spanish citizenship can be beneficial for a number of reasons. If you gain Spanish citizenship via naturalisation, you can work in Spain.

You will receive a Spanish passport, which will make travel between Spain and the rest of the EU far easier. If you are travelling with other  Spanish citizens, for example, you will not be separated at the airport.

Another benefit of being a Spanish citizen is being able to vote in Spanish elections. This is not a right held by those who are only residents in  Spain and do not hold Spanish citizenship – being able to vote enables you to have a say in the running of your adopted country.

passport glasses hat and money travel package

What is required to obtain Spanish citizenship by naturalisation?

In order to obtain Spanish citizenship by naturalisation, you must have resided in Spain for ten years or more and have no criminal record. You will also be required to pass two tests to check that you are proficient in the Spanish language and have an awareness of the general culture. These exams are A2 Spanish language test (DELE) and the cultural exam called CCSE. You can find out how to prepare for the DELE and CCSE exams here.

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 territory 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.

What documents do I need to apply for Spanish citizenship through naturalisation?

When applying for Spanish citizenship via naturalisation, you will need certain documents, including a birth certificate, a valid passport, proof of your legal residence in Spain, evidence of no criminal record, proof that you have health insurance coverage, and any marriage or divorce certificates (if relevant). You will also need copies of these documents, together with proof that you have paid the 60-100 Euro application fee.

How do I fill in an application form for Spanish citizenship?

You must complete an application form and submit it – you may apply entirely online through the SEDE electronica, or you can do so in person at the Spanish Civil Registry. You will need to present all of your documentation and copies, as well as fully certified and translated copies where necessary.

How much does it cost to apply for Spanish citizenship?

At the beginning of your application, you are required to pay €60 to €100 at the beginning of the application process. The fee is not refundable, even if your application is unsuccessful.  Should you need to obtain other documents, there may be a fee associated with making sure that these additional documents are legally valid in Spain.

What are the other ways to apply for Spanish citizenship?

If naturalisation is not the right route for you, you may also apply in other ways. These include an application through marriage –  if you marry a Spanish citizen and plan to take up residence in Spain. You may also apply through descent, through your maternal or paternal line, as well as through your grandparents.

You may also apply 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.

Who can help me in the process of applying for Spanish citizenship?

It is invaluable to seek professional guidance and support to help ensure your application doesn’t get rejected. Giambrone's Spanish immigration lawyers are experts and can support you through every step of your application and make sure you have not made any mistakes on your application forms that could lead to rejection. Giambrone's immigration team can provide you with assistance and will also be able to assist you should you wish to buy a property in Spain, or any other aspects in respect of your integration into Spanish society.

Frequently asked questions

How long do you need to live in Spain to get citizenship through naturalisation?

You will need to live in Spain for at least ten years.

Will a Spanish work visa grant me the right to work in any EU country?

If you are a member of an EU country, you will not require a work visa. If you are not, your ability to work will depend on each country’s rules on the employment of foreign nationals.

How much time does it take to process the citizenship application?

It will usually take up to two years to process your application but this can sometimes take longer.

Should you apply for permanent residence or Spanish citizenship?

You will receive more benefits as a Spanish citizen than you would with just a residence permit that allows you permanent residency. However, this depends on whether you would like to keep your current nationality.

What are the benefits of having a Spanish passport?

The benefits of having a Spanish passport are ease of travel around Spain itself and other EU member states. Employment and real estate purchase is far easier.

Can you have Spanish and British nationality?

When becoming a Spanish citizen, you may not have dual nationality if you are British. You will need to renounce your previous nationality.

Can you get Spanish citizenship through your grandparents?

Yes, you may gain Spanish citizenship through your Spanish grandparents.

How much does it cost to get a Spanish passport?

A Spanish passport costs €26.02.

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