Worried after Brexit? Here’s how to become Spanish

The Local Spain
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Worried after Brexit? Here’s how to become Spanish
Photo: Patrick Dobeson/Flickr

Now the UK has voted to leave the EU many Britons living in Spain will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a Spanish citizen. Here’s some guidance.


British expats in Spain will be forgiven for feeling uneasy on Friday morning after the majority of their compatriots back home voted to leave the European Union. 

Although the impact of Britain leaving the EU on the lives of expats is not clear some some British nationals do not want to wait around to find out.
Some are already considering Spanish citizenship.

Nationality via residence 

Becoming a Spanish citizen requires giving up your British nationality and passport. 

This form of requiring nationality requires the person concerned to have been a legal resident of Spain for an uninterrupted period of ten years immediately prior to the application 

According to Spain’s Foreign Office applicants must prove “good citizenship” and “a sufficient degree of integration in Spanish society” - which includes being able to speak Spanish and taking part in social activities with Spaniards. 

Applications must be submitted to the Civil Registry of the place of residence. 

Once you have been approved, you have to swear your loyalty to the King and promise to obey the Spanish constitution and laws. 

You also have to renounce your previous nationality.


One way to drastically shorten the waiting time to gain Spanish nationality is to be married to a Spaniard.

If you have been married to a Spaniard for at least one year, you can apply for Spanish nationality, also via the Civil Registry in your place of residence.

You have to still be married to a Spaniard upon application, no separated or divorced people need apply. 

Widows and widowers of Spaniards can also immediately apply for Spanish citizenship. 

Spanish parents 

You can apply for Spanish nationality if one or both of your parents or grandparents is Spanish, even if they were born outside of Spain. 

Conversely you can also apply for citizenship if you were born in Spain to foreign parents. 

Again, you need to contact your local Civil Registry. 



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