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How children born in Spain to foreign parents can obtain Spanish nationality

If your child is born in Spain, does that mean they will be granted Spanish citizenship? Here's how children born to foreign parents can obtain Spanish nationality.

How children born in Spain to foreign parents can obtain Spanish nationality
Can children born in Spain to foreign parents obtain Spanish nationality. Photo: sarahbernier3140 / Pixabay

In Spain, acquiring nationality usually depends on the nationality of your parents, not where you were born. But is there a way for your child to get Spanish nationality if you want them to?

The main answer is yes, there are various ways that a baby born to foreign parents in Spain can gain Spanish nationality. Read on to find out the different ways. 

Countries that do not recognise nationality if a child is born abroad

There are certain countries that will not recognise the nationality of a child who is born abroad, therefore it cannot obtain the same nationality as its parents. In this case, if that child is born in Spain, they will be granted Spanish citizenship.  

It’s important to note that both parents of the child must have nationality from one of these countries don’t recognise the nationality of babies born abroad.

If this is your case, your child will effectively become stateless. In order for he/she to gain Spanish citizenship, you will need to apply at the Civil Registry. Here are the documents you will require, but they may ask for additional ones too. 

  • Literal birth certificate of the newborn in Spain
  • Certificate of registration at the Town Hall (empadronamiento) of parents and child
  • Birth certificate of each of the parents from their national country, legalised and apostilled.
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Original and photocopy of passports of parents
  • Consular certificate (issued by the Consulate of the country of origin in Spain) stating that the law of that country will not grant nationality to the child.
  • A certificate or ID documents proving both parents are from countries that will not recognise citizenship for the child.
  • The document specifying that the child is not a citizen of the country where its parents are from. This is done by applying for a consular certificate.

READ ALSO – Readers reveal: What it’s really like to give birth in Spain

READ ALSO: Empadronamiento in Spain: What is it and how do I apply?

What if my country does recognise the citizenship of my child – can they still get Spanish nationality too?

If you are not from a country that will not recognise citizenship for your child, the good news is that they can still get Spanish nationality. The way to do this is to get a residence permit for your child, then if they legally live in Spain for one year, they are allowed to apply for Spanish citizenship. You can prove this by showing both your child’s birth certificate and residence permit. 

You need to be aware however that Spain only recognises dual citizenship from a handful of select countries (mainly from Central and South America, as well as the Philippines) so if you choose to do it this way, then your child may have to give up the nationality it automatically acquired at birth – that of its parents.

If you get your child British citizenship at birth for example, and later apply for Spanish citizenship, but don’t renounce the British one, it could have serious consequences. The Spanish Foreign Office states: “Spaniards who are not of origin (for example, those who have acquired Spanish nationality by residence) will lose Spanish nationality if: After acquiring the Spanish nationality they use during a term of three years the nationality to which they had renounced when acquiring the Spanish one”.

READ ALSO: What are the reasons for losing Spanish residency or nationality and can I get it back?

Those who are stateless

Lastly, if the parents have lost their nationalities or are stateless themselves, the law states that the baby cannot remain stateless and will be granted Spanish nationality if the parents request it and can prove that their child would otherwise not have a nationality.

In this case, a form can be submitted at the local Civil Registry of your place of residence to declare Spanish nationality on the basis that the parents are stateless.

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

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SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

Spanish citizenship test: how to make sure you pass

In order to get Spanish nationality, you''l need to pass an exam set by the Cervantes Institute. Here are nine tips to ensure you ace this general knowledge test about Spain with flying colours, and other practical info to be aware of.

Spanish citizenship test: how to make sure you pass

If you meet the conditions to obtain Spanish nationality, you will need to pass two tests if you’re not originally from a Spanish-speaking country.

The first test is the Prueba de Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España (CCSE) or Test of Constitutional and Sociocultural Knowledge of Spain (all applicants sit this) and the second is the DELE language exam (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera) for those whose native language isn’t Spanish.

In this article, we’re specifically going to cover the CCSE exam, which covers topics such as government, Spanish geography, Spanish culture and history. It consists of 25 questions, which you will have to answer within a set time limit of 45 minutes to test your knowledge.

Fifteen of the questions are designed to test your knowledge of Spain’s government, legislation and rights of the citizen while the remaining ten are concerned with Spanish culture, history and society.

How do I register for the exam?

In order to take the exam, you’ll first need to register and log in online. You can do that here.

You will need to choose from a selection and places and dates where and when your exam will take place and then pay your fee of €85 in order to be registered correctly.

READ ALSO: Step by step – how to apply for Spanish nationality

Here are some tips to help you pass the exam and ensure you are successful.

1) Make sure to find out when the dates are

There are only certain dates per year when these exams take place and deadlines by when you must have registered for them. Make sure you know when these are so that you don’t miss the deadline and have to wait a long time to be able to register again.

There are many examination centres across the country click here to find out the nearest one to you. Each one of these will be able to tell you when they will be holding their exams and when you need to register by. 

2) Get to know the style of the exam and the types of questions

Each year there are 300 multiple choice questions and out of these 25 will be selected for the exam. If you answer 15 of these correctly, you will pass the exam. There are many places online where you can find out the style of the exam, including a practice one on our website here. This will get you familiar with the types of questions that might be asked and the topics covered.

3) Download the official updated manual

On the Insituto Cervantes website, you’ll find the updated manual para la preparación de la Prueba de Conocimientos for which there is a new one each year. These are the exact 300 questions and answers that will be used in that year’s exam. Click here to see the manual for 2022. This should be used as your study bible. 

Each year, 25 new questions are added and 25 old ones taken away, so you need to make sure you have the updated list for the year you will be taking the exam.

4) Find time to study

Trying to memorise the answers to potentially 300 different questions can be quite the challenge, so you need to make sure you take plenty of time to study well ahead of your exam.

As well as just studying the manual, you’ll find many online simulations where you can practise and get some idea of how you might do. There are also various apps that companies have created and YouTube videos so that you can study while on the move too.

5) Remember to bring the correct documentation with you

On the day of the exam, it’s very important that you bring the correct documents with you in order to be able to undertake the test. You will have already registered online, but on the day of the test you will need to bring verification of your registration, your original passport and your residency card.

If one of these is being renewed then you will need to make sure you bring photocopies instead.

6) Make sure you know how to fill out the exam sheet correctly

There is a particular way to fill out the multiple-choice exam sheet that you must be aware of. Putting a check or an ‘x’ in the circle will not be accepted. Instead, you’ll have to colour in the small circle, so that the exams will be able to be machine-read. They will not be marked individually by people.

7) Be patient when waiting for the results

Even though they are straightforward multiple-choice questions and there are only 25 of them, you will need to wait around 20 days to find out whether you’ve passed or not. This should be relatively easy after all, if you’re applying for citizenship, you should have lived in Spain a while (typically 10 years or more) and you’ll be used to being patient.

8) You have a second chance

If you don’t pass the test the first time around, you will be given a second chance to re-register and take the exam again. You won’t have to pay the fee again either as you already paid it the first time.

9) Focus on improving your Spanish

Even though this part isn’t a specific language test, all the questions will be in Spanish so you will need to have a pretty good grasp of the language in order to pass the test. You will definitely need to know more Spanish than the A2 level required from the Spanish language test to fully understand the questions, and if you’re aiming to become a Spanish national speaking the lingo should be a priority anyway.

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