Can a British citizen obtain a Spanish passport & citizenship?
With its rich cultural and historical background, visitors from all around the world love to experience what Spain has to offer. To obtain a Spanish passport, you must first qualify and acquire Spanish citizenship. There are rules in place for getting a Spanish passport, and understanding the laws surrounding Spanish citizenship can make the process easier.
In this guide, we explain the different ways of qualifying for Spanish citizenship as a British citizen and answer common queries on obtaining a Spanish passport.
Click on a link to jump to that section:
- Qualifying for Spanish citizenship as a British citizen
- Can you maintain British citizenship when applying for Spanish citizenship?
- Does Spain allow dual citizenship?
- Choosing between Spanish citizenship and permanent residency
- Getting assistance in your Spanish citizenship application
- Obtaining Spanish citizenship – frequently asked questions
Qualifying for Spanish citizenship as a British citizen
Passport eligibility is conditional on obtaining Spanish citizenship. After you have lived in Spain for five years, you can apply for permanent residence. After ten years, you can apply for Spanish nationality and a Spanish passport. Some exemptions exist that allow certain individuals to apply sooner - for example, if you marry a Spanish citizen or the child of a Spanish parent.
Criteria enabling an application for Spanish citizenship include the following:
Application through descent
You can obtain Spanish citizenship by descent if of any of the following apply and you have supporting evidence:
- One or both parents are Spanish nationals.
- Both parents were born in Spain
- Adoption by Spanish national prior to your 18th birthday
- You have Spanish grandparents
Application through marriage
In order to qualify for Spanish citizenship through marriage , following your marriage to a Spanish citizen you are required to have lived in Spain with your partner for a minimum of one year from the date your residence permit was granted. Once you have lived in Spain with your spouse for at least one year, you will then be able to start the application process for Spanish citizenship which can be submitted online together with the required supporting documents.
Application through naturalisation
Once you have maintained Spanish residency for ten years, without acquiring a criminal record, you are eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship through naturalization. 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.
Can you maintain British citizenship at the same time as obtaining Spanish citizenship?
When you apply for Spanish citizenship, you must renounce your British nationality and passport, unless you qualify for an exemption.
Does Spain allow dual citizenship?
Spain only permits dual citizenship primarily for citizens of an Iberoamerican countries (South American) that comprise former colonies of Spain, similarly countries equatorial Guinea (African) and you will have to denounce your original nationality; the exception being Sephardic Jews and their descendants who are able to retain their original nationality after they have obtained Spanish citizenship.
Applying for a Spanish passport
You can apply for a passport through any of the following places:
- Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Your local Spanish police station
- Spanish embassy or consulate if you are abroad
Requirements to get a passport from Spain
Providing you’re already a Spanish citizen, you need to prepare the following requirements to get a Spanish passport:
- A completed application form
- Two photos 32×26 mm– must be recently taken and must have a white background
- A valid national ID/your Spanish ID
- The necessary fees for processing the application
- In future to renew your Spanish passport, you will also require your expired passport
Choosing between Spanish citizenship and permanent residency
As a Spanish permanent resident, you can enjoy many of the same benefits as Spanish citizens. For example - you can move around the EU for limited periods and do so for longer with permission. If you obtain long-term permanent residence in Spain, you can also retain your nationality and passport issued by your country of origin. You should also bear in mind that your benefits and rights are limited in comparison to obtaining Spanish citizenship.
If you become a Spanish citizen, you will need to give up your original nationality. As a Spanish citizen however, you will be able to enjoy all the same rights as other Spanish citizens. You will also be able to vote in Spanish elections and you will find it easier to find work in Spain.
Getting assistance with your Spanish citizenship application
The team of Spanish lawyers/Abogados at Giambrone can advise you should you wish to acquire Spanish nationality. You can find out more about how we can help you here.
You can obtain comprehensive advice from our expert team of specialist lawyers by completing an online enquiry form here.
Frequently asked questions
Should I apply for Spanish citizenship or Spanish residency?
As stated above, there are benefits of each option. You should consider that you will have to renounce your current citizenship if applying for Spanish citizenship and weigh up the advantages of being a Spanish citizen provides you with, which amounts to far more rights than having permanent residency.
Is dual citizenship allowed in Spain?
Unless you have Spanish ancestry, or are a Spanish descendent, or are from one of the categories of countries mentioned above, Spanish dual citizenship is not permitted.
Can you get a Spanish passport through marriage?
Yes – you can find out how to apply for Spanish citizenship through marriage here.
How much does a Spanish passport cost?
Obtaining a passport in Spain currently costs €26.02.