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Spanish nationality through residency

Application, procedures and requirements

Nationality is the legal bond of a person to a State, which generates rights and obligations and which is obtained by birthright (jus soli) or through the family bond with their blood related (Ius sanguinis) parents. However, there is another way to obtain nationality, through legal residency.

This way to nationality is regulated in the Spanish Civil Code. The general rule given in article 22.1 establishes 10 years (or more) as the required period of legal residence in Spain. In addition, the individual’s residency must be legal, continuous and valid immediately prior to the request.

However, the legal residency time required for the application of nationality through residency, can be reduced according to the exceptions provided by the same Civil Code, namely:

Reduced residency time requirements:

  • Five years: For those who have obtained refugee status.
  • Two years: For nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin.
  • One year:
    • For those born in Spain.
    • For those who did not duly exercise their right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.
    • For those who have been legally subject to the guardianship (under the supervision of a guardian) or foster care (foster care that allows the reduction of legal residence to one year is where there is a resolution of the public entity that has in each territory entrusted the protection of minors and foster care that are judicially recognized) of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if they remain in this situation at the time of the request.
    • For those who, at the time of application, have been married for one year to a Spaniard and are not legally or de facto separated.
    • The widow or widower of a Spaniard, if at the time of the death of the spouse were not separated, in fact or judicially.
    • For those born outside Spain of a father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all of them had originally been Spanish.

In addition to the legal residency time necessary according to the circumstances of the applicant, they must also demonstrate good civic conduct and a sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society. These are currently shown through the mandatory examinations that the applicant must carry out before applying for citizenship.

CCSE: This is the test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain. It is a test of general knowledge that consists of 25 questions, of which the applicant must answer 15 correctly to get the required grade. The cost is 85 euros.

DELE A2: Since Spanish is the official language of Spain, proof of knowledge of the Spanish language for nationals is required. However, they are exempt from the DELE exam according to the nationality through residency regulation, if they have a second Spanish-speaking nationality that certifies this exemption.

Processing fee: 101 euros.

The documentation to be provided must be appropriate for the circumstances of the applicant mentioned above.