Spain is home to quarter of new European citizens

One in four foreigners granted citizenship within the European Union lives in Spain, new figures show, more than in any other member state.

Spain is home to quarter of new European citizens
A man holding a Spanish passport. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua / AFP.

Nearly one million citizenships are granted across the European Union annually and almost 23 percent became citizens of Spain, according to a Eurostat report released on Wednesday.

At 225,800 this was the highest number of people given citizenship in any country across the EU, showed the latest figures relating to 2013.

Spain was followed in second place by the United Kingdom which gave citizenship to 207,500 or 21 percent of the total EU citizenships handed out.

A vast majority of those granted citizenship in Spain came from outside the EU with only 1 percent coming from another member state.

The biggest group of people granted citizenship in Spain came from Colombia at 17.2 percent, followed by Ecuador at 17 percent and Morocco at 13.4 percent.

Latin Americans seeking EU citizenship overwhelming wanted to become citizens of Spain with 97 percent of Bolivians and 95.2 percent of Ecuadorians applying for Spanish citizenship.

Sweden, Hungary and Portugal all had higher acceptance rates when it came to granting citizenship, each handing out citizenship to at least six people out of every 100 foreign residents.

Spain was not that far behind, giving citizenship to 4.5 out of every 100 foreign residents.

Still, while Spain may issue the highest number of citizenships across the EU, the Iberian peninsula has not been so open to asylum seekers.

Spain granted asylum to just 1 percent of the EU total last year and has complained about plans to share the responsibility of the influx of refugees across Europe through a quota system.

Individuals may apply for Spanish citizenship after ten years of residency, but refugees must only wait for five years and those coming from countries that once belonged to the former Spanish Empire need only wait for two.

Spain recently granted dual citizenship rights to descendants of the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from the country during the Spanish Inquisition about 500 years ago.

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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?