Can you get Spanish citizenship through your grandparents? Who qualifies and the steps to take

Discovering that you are eligible for Spanish citizenship can be exciting and open up a world of opportunity to you. One way in which you may be eligible for Spanish citizenship is through descent - that is, if your family heritage is Spanish. This can include a Spanish parent, grandparents or great-grandparents, and means that your right to apply is based on jus sanguinis (the right of blood).

In this piece, we look at who can apply for Spanish citizenship through having grandparents of Spanish origin, what documents you will need to pass on Spanish citizenship to your child and applying for dual citizenship. We will also cover some frequently asked questions regarding Spanish citizenship to alleviate common concerns and queries regarding this process.

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Who can apply for Spanish citizenship through Spanish grandparents?

Not all descendants who have Spanish grandparents or great-grandparents may be eligible for Spanish citizenship. There are actually four cases where you would be able to apply for citizenship based on jus sanguinis through Spanish grandparents.

You may qualify for citizenship through Spanish grandparents if you are the grandchild of a Spanish grandmother who then went on to marry a non-Spanish citizen before the 1978 constitution was in place.

If your grandparents left Spain and obtained citizenship in another country, thereby losing their Spanish citizenship, you are now able to apply under jus sanguinis for Spanish citizenship.

Another way in which you can qualify is if you are the grandchild of Spanish nationals who, being eligible to obtain Spanish citizenship, lost this as no desire to keep citizenship was expressed once reaching the age of legal adulthood (18).

Finally, you may apply for Spanish citizenship through Spanish grandparents if you are the child of parents who received Spanish nationality through origin. If this is the case, you may have previously not been able to become a Spanish national as you were under 18 (and therefore legally not an adult) when these new laws regarding jus sanguinis first came into force.

You can find out more about qualifying for Spanish citizenship in our full guide.

Applying for Spanish citizenship

If you have Spanish relatives, you can apply for Spanish citizenship through being granted formal recognition - that is, acknowledgement of your right to Spanish nationality through blood.

If you are based in Spain, you will be able to submit your application to the Central Civil Registry, booking an appointment several weeks ahead of time. If you be based outside of Spain, you must apply to the Spanish consulate in your own country.

When it comes to the day of your appointment, you will submit proof of your right to apply for citizenship under certain given circumstances - this will prove your bloodline, as you will need to show the birth certificates or registration of yourself and your relevant relatives. Find out more about the documents you will need here.

After you have submitted your application and had your appointment, you may wait up to twelve months to hear back - if the result is in your favour, you will become a Spanish citizen and be able to obtain a Spanish passport, allowing you to enjoy the many benefits of citizenship such as ease of travel, the right to vote, and all the job and cultural opportunities Spain offers.

View of a village in Spain

You can find out more about applying for Spanish citizenship in our application advice section.

What documents are needed to pass on Spanish citizenship to your child?

In order to pass on Spanish citizenship to your child, you are required to produce certain documents. You will need to present your Spanish birth certificate and your naturalisation certificate or else proof of obtaining Spanish citizenship. These documents will need to be translated into Spanish.

You will also require, if applicable, your marriage certificate - this will need to be translated into Spanish and legalised with an apostille. If relevant, you will also need any applicable death certificate, which will also need to be translated into Spanish and legalised with an apostille. Finally, your child’s birth certificate will also be required.

Contact Giambrone by submitting a callback request

You can contact Giambrone for support on obtaining Spanish citizenship today, leaving details of your case and how they can get in touch to help you.

Giambrone can provide support by offering you legal advice and assistance during this process. It can be difficult to grasp all the different kinds of paperwork necessary; however, skilled immigration specialists can help you to understand more about gaining Spanish citizenship by descent. We can also improve your chances of being approved by helping you with your application, ensuring you complete it correctly the first time around.

Submit a callback request here for expert guidance.

Frequently asked questions

What are the methods of acquiring nationality in Spain?

You can acquire Spanish nationality through descent, marriage, naturalisation or possession of status. There are certain exceptions that may allow you to obtain Spanish citizenship quicker, such as through having Sephardic ancestry.

Should you apply for permanent residence or Spanish citizenship?

You will gain more benefits as a Spanish citizen than with just a residence permit that grants you permanent residency. For example – Spanish citizenship allows you to vote in Spain.

How long does it take to become a citizen in Spain?

It can take around two years from start to finish of the citizenship application process

Do you need to take an exam to get Spanish citizenship?

You will need to pass two tests - these exams are the A2 Spanish language test (DELE) and the cultural exam called CCSE. You can find out more about preparing for these exams here.

What is the best way of applying for Spanish citizenship?

The best way of applying for citizenship depends on your circumstances; however, one of the most popular ways is through naturalisation.

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