Brexit sparks surge in Brits applying for Spanish citizenship

Brexit sparks surge in Brits applying for Spanish citizenship
Photo: alfonsodetomas/Depositphotos
The number of British residents applying for Spanish nationality has multiplied by 431 percent since the referendum on Brexit in June last year.

New figures released by the Cervantes Institute show the huge surge in the number of Brits seeking citizenship in their adopted homeland in order to ensure they will retain their rights as citizens of a European Union nation.

During the first three months of 2016, a mere 28 Britons applied for Spanish nationality, a figure that had more than quadrupled to 111 in the same period of 2017.

Since October 2015, those seeking Spanish citizenship must not only have lived in Spain for over ten years, but must pass a language test and a  “general knowledge quiz” of which they must answer 15 out of 25 multiple choice questions correctly.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about getting Spanish citizenship

According to official figures 308,821 Britons are registered as permanent residents in Spain with a further 110,373 owning property that they use as occasional residences, although the true number of those Brits living in Spain is thought to be much higher.

Although the threat of uncertainty once Brexit occurs is held responsible for the surge in those applying for Spanish nationality, many are put off by the fact that Spain will not allow dual nationality and asks its new citizens to renounce their British nationality.

But a petition by British journalists Giles Tremlett and William Chislett is calling for the Spanish government to legislate to change that. The petition has already garnered close to 20,000 signatures.

The official figures back up anecdotal evidence that more and more Brits are considering adopting Spanish nationality.

Language academies on the Costas have started up courses designed to coach British expats through the citizenship tests.