Spain sees steep fall in number of new citizens

The number of foreigners taking out Spanish citizenship fell by nearly a fifth from 2011 to 2012, bucking Europe-wide trends, official figures released on Tuesday show.

Spain granted citizenship to 94,100 foreigners in 2012, down 17.8 percent on 2011 figures when 114,600 people took up citizenship in the country, new figures from the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat show.

By contrast, the EU as a whole saw a 4.8 percent rise in the same period.

This drop reflects Spain's decreasing popularity as a destination for immigration during the country's long economic crisis, with many foreigners choosing to head home in the context of soaring unemployment — currently at 23.7 percent.

Only 1.5 percent of Spain's new citizens were from other EU member states, while nearly a third were from Ecuador, 17.1 percent were from Colombia, ten percent were Moroccans and Peruvians made up nine percent. 

The Eurostat figures show that new citizens in Spain made up 11.5 percent of the EU total in 2012 behind the UK (23.7), Germany (14.0) and France (11.7).

The statistics also show Spanish citizenship was acquired by two people per 1,000 inhabitants, above the regional average of 1.6.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


The little-known process you have to do when you become a Spanish citizen

Foreigners who've continuously resided in Spain for ten years have the option of applying for Spanish citizenship. But what happens when your get you new Spanish DNI number? How do you change all your documents over to your new nationality?

The little-known process you have to do when you become a Spanish citizen

Here’s how to request the change of your Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) for your new Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), if you have obtained Spanish nationality. 

The process of becoming a Spanish national is lengthy and you will have to pass two exams to get it – the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a foreign language) test and the CCSE citizenship test, testing your knowledge of Spain’s Constitution, its society and its cultural heritage.

READ ALSO – Quiz: Can you pass the Spanish citizenship test?

But what about when you’ve passed both tests, you’ve gained your Spanish nationality and you’re finally holding that Spanish national identity card, the DNI in your hand?

In order for your DNI to really take effect, you’ll have to change your NIE for your new DNI number. To do this, you will have to carry out a series of procedures to update all the official paperwork and verify your identity. 

READ ALSO – Step by step: how to apply for Spanish nationality

How to make the exchange 

To carry out this procedure, you must notify the Social Security office, so they can change your number and your nationality. This procedure can be carried out electronically using your Digital Certificate or [email protected] here

Via the above link to the Social Security office, you must fill out the Modelo TA.1 form to make the exchange. You will need to fill out all your personal details, as well as include copies of your old NIE and your new DNI.  

Certificate of proof

You will also need to apply for a Certificado de Concordancia at the foreign office of your nearest National Police station. When you are making a cita previa or prior appointment to do this, you should choose the option (Certificados de Residencia, de no Residencia y de Concordancia).

This certificate is used to prove that you are the same person who now has a Spanish DNI. You can use it at various official places such as the tax office, Town Hall, the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) office, banks and any other administrative offices.

You can now inform other authorities of your exchange, including the tax office or Agencia Tributaria as well as your local Town Hall or Ayuntamiento. You will also need to request a new padrón certificate, stating your new nationality.

Other official offices you should inform of the change include your bank, your notary if you bought a property using your NIE, and the DGT office, if you need to change your driving licence too.  

READ ALSO: What are the reasons for losing Spanish residency or nationality and can I get it back?