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Spanish Citizenship by option

Application, procedures and requirements

The right to Spanish nationality by option comes through a link with Spain, different from legal residency. It is a benefit that Spanish legislation offers foreigners who are in certain circumstances, without having to previously reside in Spain.

Individuals who can acquire Spanish nationality in this way include:

  • Those who are or have been subject to the parental authority of a Spaniard.
  • Those whose father or mother had been Spanish and had been born in Spain.
  • Those whose determination of filiation (determination of filiation means establishing who are the parents of a person) or birth in Spain occurs after eighteen years of age. In this case, the term to apply for nationality is two years from the date of determination of filiation or birth.
  • Those persons whose adoption by Spaniards occurs after the age of eighteen. In this case, the right to nationality by option exists until the expiration of two years from the date of adoption.

Who can carry out the option?

  • If the person entitled to the option is a minor or incapacitated, the declaration of option will be made by the legal representative of the applicant. To do so, an authorization from the Head of the Civil Registry of the legal representative's residence, following the ruling of the Public Prosecutor is needed.
  • If the applicant is older than fourteen years, they will do so assisted by their legal representative.
    The incapacitated person, if the incapacitation ruling allows it.
  • If the interested party is emancipated: This possibility expires when the applicant turns 20 years old, except when by their personal law they do not acquire the age of majority at 18, in which case the term will be two years from when they reach the age of majority.

By virtue of the right to Spanish nationality by option, the children of Spaniards nationalized in Spain may acquire nationality whenever they request it before they reach the age of 20 and whenever their parent has taken the oath or promise of rigor to obtain the nationality, before the applicant has reached the age of majority.
The application can be made, both in Spain, before the Civil Registry in the place of residence of the applicant or before the diplomatic representatives of Spain in their country of origin.