Brexit For Members

Everything you need to know about getting Spanish citizenship

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Everything you need to know about getting Spanish citizenship
Photo: CoffeTableArtStuff/Flickr

As Brexit edges closer has more and more British nationals are considering the option of Spanish nationality. Here is how to do it.


Becoming a Spanish citizen currently requires giving up your nationality and passport unless you are from a nation recognized as a former colony of Spain. (Although if, for example, you are British, the UK authorities allow dual nationality so will still consider you a British subject).

If you are considering Spanish citizenship, here's how to do it.

Nationality via residence 

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.

An application for Spanish citizenship must be made to the Ministry of Justice, who can refuse it on grounds of public order or national interest.

To apply for Spanish nationality you require your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), a certificate of good conduct from the police in your country of origin, all of which must be officially translated into Spanish.


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

You will also have to present certificates from the Cervantes Institute proving you have passed a language test (DELE) and a cultural knowledge multiple choice exam (CCSE). Of which more later.


Photo: Alagich Katya/Flickr.

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 Ministry of Justice.

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 apply through the Justice ministry.

Sephardic Jewish?

If you happen to be able to prove that you have Sephardic Jewish ancestry, then you can apply for Spanish citizenship, even if you are not a resident in Spain. The law approved in 2015 is open to Jewish and non-Jewish people of Sephardic origin, provided that they can prove their Sephardic origin and a special connection with Spain. 

More details on how to apply can be found here.

Pass the citizenship test

Since October 2015, those applying for citizenship in Spain are required to pass a test to prove their Spanish language skills and how well they have integrated into Spain - an issue that has caused its fair share of controversy. 

More information on the test can be found here.

Take our test to see if you know enough to gain Spanish citizenship. 

var QuizWorks = window.QuizWorks || []; QuizWorks.push( [document.getElementById("embed-quiz-119465"), "quiz", "119465", { autostart: false, width: "100%", height: "auto" }] );

All official information on applying for Spanish citizenship can be found on Spain's Justice Ministry website.

Dual Nationality

Spain doesn't recognise dual nationality (unless you are from a Spanish-American country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal, or are of Sephardic Jewish origins).

All others will have to renounce your previous nationality. In practice this means signing a form rather than physically handing over your old passport. 

But you will lose your Spanish citizenship if you reside abroad and take up another nationality (or use your old nationality) for more than three years, unless within that three-year period you declare to the Civil Registry your will to keep Spanish nationality.

How much does it cost? 

Spain charges a non-refundable fee to process your citizenship application, which varies and can range from €60–€100 even if your application is rejected.

Fees may also apply to issue certificates and documents required for your application.

Add to that the cost of the Cervantes test (€125) the citizenship test (€85) and the cost of translating your documents and you are looking at well over €300.

How long will it take?

The process is handled by the Justice Ministry which is notoriously backed up. Recent data showed that there was huge backlog of citizenship applications waiting to be processed, more than 400,000 according to El Pais.

People who applied in 2017 are still waiting...

For more information: 

Are you thinking about becoming a Spanish citizen? We want to hear your views. Send us an email, comment below or join the discussion on our facebook page.

Quiz: Can you pass the Spanish citizenship test?




Comments (1)

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Anonymous 2019/12/20 17:46
For Spanish citizenship you also have to have 500.000 Euros

See Also