Brexit: New data reveals surge in Brits applying for Spanish citizenship

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Brexit: New data reveals surge in Brits applying for Spanish citizenship
An anti-Brexit campaigner outside Parliament in London. Photo: AFP

The latest figures show the number of British residents in Spain applying for Spanish citizenship has tripled since the Brexit vote.


According to data from Spain’s General Department for Registries and Notaries, published in El Pais, 166 Britons requested Spanish citizenship in the first 10 months of 2018.

This figure is more than triple the 50 requests made by Brits during the whole of 2015, the year before the UK voted yes in a referendum on whether to leave the EU.

The number of Brits choosing to take Spanish citizenship is still very low compared to the requests by other nationalities.

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

Between January and October this year, 10,067 requests came from Moroccans and 2,001 were made by Venezuelans.

In fact, Brits were only the fourth on the list of EU members applying for Spanish citizenship behind Romanians, Italians and Bulgarians, although they have risen up the list from seventh in 2015.

However, the true numbers of applications may be higher as the data does not include applications filed in person but only those online.

The threat of a no-deal Brexit is prompting many Brits in Spain to consider applying for Spanish citizenship.

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.

So, although Spain will technically require you to renounce your British citizenship, the UK authorities allow dual nationality so will still consider you a British subject.

A recent poll on The Local Spain Facebook page showed that wouldn’t put the majority off with 63 percent of respondents saying they would renounce their British citizenship to become Spanish.

The process to become Spanish is long with a huge backlog of citizenship applications waiting to be processed, more than 400,000 according to El Pais.

It requires the Briton concerned to have been a legal resident of Spain for an uninterrupted period of ten years immediately prior to the application. 

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

Once approved applicants have to swear loyalty to the King and promise to obey the Spanish constitution and laws. 

READ ALSO: Brits demand dual citizenship for expats in Spain post Brexit



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