Spanish Citizenship: 5 Legal Ways to Obtain It

There are several options to obtain Spanish citizenship. Undoubtedly, it is easier to become a citizen of the country if you were born there, have married a Spaniard, or have been adopted by a resident of Spain. However, even those who have never been in the country and do not speak the language can obtain a Spanish passport. For this, it is necessary to reside in Spanish territory for 10 years with a residence permit.

Options for obtaining citizenship:

  • If the parents (one or both) have Spanish citizenship, their children will automatically obtain it. Also entitled to citizenship are those born in the country if at least one of the parents is a Spanish citizen.
  • Those who are under guardianship, adopted, or fostered by Spanish citizens have the right to apply for Spanish citizenship.
  • Those who have legally resided in Spain for at least 10 years can apply for Spanish citizenship.
  • The most popular and reliable method of obtaining citizenship is to reside permanently in Spain legally for ten years.

How long must one live legally in the country to obtain citizenship?

1. After 1 year of stay in the country, citizenship is granted to:

  • those born in Spain (regardless of the parents' citizenship)
  • those not born in Spain, but having ethnic Spanish ancestors
  • those whose spouse is a Spanish citizen, the marriage has lasted 1 year and the marriage is not fictitious
  • those who have been widowed while married to a Spaniard, and the marriage was valid until the time of the spouse's death

2. After 2 years of residence in the country, citizenship is granted to:

  • those with citizenship from one of the countries of North or South America (most countries in these regions are on the list), Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines
  • any member of the Jewish sub-ethnic group "Sephardi" living in the Iberian Peninsula (legally established right in 2012)

3. After 5 years of living in Spain, citizenship can be applied for by:

  • those who have refugee status

4. After 10 years:

  • all other categories of people living legally in Spain obtain citizenship

Residence Permit, Permanent Residence, Citizenship…

Before obtaining the right to citizenship, the applicant must follow a certain algorithm of actions. First, a residence permit is processed. Then, fulfilling a series of conditions, the residence permit can be converted into permanent residence, that is, making Spain your permanent place of residence. There are different ways to obtain a residence permit, so each person can choose the option that best suits their needs:

  • The residence permit for students (during the study period) is granted to those studying at Spanish educational institutions. Often, after completing the studies, the student's departure from Spain interrupts the ten-year period necessary to obtain citizenship. In such cases, it is necessary to start again.
  • The residence permit with the right to work is processed for those who have an employment contract with a Spanish employer.
  • The residence permit that does not grant the right to work is granted to family members of Spanish citizens or financially independent foreigners who own real estate and have a certain income in another country. Once this residence permit is obtained, they must live in Spain at least 6 months a year.
  • The Golden Visa is issued in case of purchasing a property for a price of half a million euros or more (mortgage excluded), opening a deposit in the bank of 1 million euros, or buying public debt for a value of 2 million euros or more. The Golden Visa is granted with the right to work.

To process the residence permit, a set of documents is needed: application, passport, several photographs, health insurance, bank statement, property owner's documents, as well as confirmation of the lack of criminal record. To verify the information provided by the applicant, the staff of the Spanish consulate usually need several months.

Spanish Citizenship: 5 Legal Ways to Obtain It

Permanent residence status is requested after five years and, in fact, is equivalent to citizen status. The only difference is the lack of capacity to vote and serve in the armed forces. After another five years after obtaining permanent residence status (that is, a total of 10 years of legal residence in Spain), the documents for citizenship are submitted.

Simultaneously, it is necessary to prepare for the exam on knowledge of the language, history, and culture of the country, as well as its legislation. In addition, it implies renouncing the citizenship of the Russian Federation, as well as swearing allegiance to the Constitution and the King of Spain.

Features and Advantages of Spanish Citizenship

Before deciding to move to Spain and subsequently obtain citizenship of the country, it is necessary to know some nuances. For example, purchasing property in Spanish territory does not imply automatic acquisition of citizen status. However, it is an important step in this process. While purchasing a home for half a million euros almost guarantees obtaining a residence permit, acquiring less expensive property and having a stable income outside of Spain provides the opportunity to apply for a residence permit that does not imply subsequent employment in the country.

Being born in Spanish territory is a solid reason for a child to obtain citizenship. But first, the child receives the same type of residence permit as their parents. After 1 year, the documents for citizenship are submitted. However, the parents do not receive any benefit in obtaining citizen status.

Spanish citizenship offers a wide range of opportunities. Above all, it will not be necessary to comply with certain periods of stay in the country, you will be able to travel within the European Union without needing a visa, vote, and receive diplomatic protection abroad.

Remember that dual citizenship cannot be obtained in Spain, so you will have to choose which country you want to be a citizen of.