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SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

Spanish citizenship test: how to make sure you pass

In order to get Spanish nationality, you'll 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 get 15 questions right, you will pass your Spanish CCSE exam. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

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.

TEST YOURSELF: Can you pass the Spanish citizenship test?

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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For members

SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

Why Spain’s nationality deal with Romania is good for other foreigners

Spain has committed to allow Romanians to acquire dual citizenship a year after it reached the same deal with France, a sign that authorities are making it easier for more foreigners to hold onto their original nationality when becoming Spanish.

Why Spain's nationality deal with Romania is good for other foreigners

Obtaining Spanish citizenship is no easy task for foreigners living in Spain. 

It takes most extranjeros on average twice as long to be eligible for Spanish nationality through residency than in other EU countries (ten years as opposed to five), the application process is long and arduous (it can take two years) and for the majority of foreign nationals it means having to give up their own nationality for them to become only Spanish. 

READ ALSO: Do you really have to give up your original nationality if you become Spanish?

And still, citizenship remains an interesting option for many foreign residents who have made a life for themselves in Spain and wish to obtain greater rights in the country they call home. 

READ ALSO: Seven reasons to get Spanish nationality (and four not to)

Back in 2021, France became the first country with which Spain has signed a dual nationality deal outside the Ibero-American space, understood as being applicable to nations that have Spanish or Portuguese as one of their official languages. 

So far this has included agreements with Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and twelve Latin American nations: Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Colombia.

The new Romanian deal and why it matters to the foreigners

On November 23rd, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca for bilateral discussions, during which they made a series of agreements ranging from employment law and nationality applications to creating partnerships on culture and language.

In terms of nationality, Spain and Romania have agreed to establish a working group “in order to analyse solutions for the dual-nationality of members of the Romanian community in Spain”.

Pedro Sánchez paid homage to the contribution of Spain’s Romanian community, adding that as many of them are now second and third generation the “possibility of acquiring Spanish nationality without having to renounce Romanian nationality” is of “great relevance” to many people.

READ ALSO: Quiz: Can you pass the Spanish citizenship test?

However, he did temper expectations somewhat, declining to commit to deadlines and emphasising that the decision is already in itself “an extraordinary political message” owing to the fact that Spain’s nationality rules are so strict and that Spain only has dual nationality agreements with France besides the several Ibero-American countries (including Portugal).

Though Sánchez was somewhat vague, stating “if it occurs and when it occurs… it will be the third country in Europe with which we have this type of alliances and recognition,” he added that the final agreement will be “something positive for both countries.”

A step in the right direction?

Although the Spanish rules on dual nationality are notoriously tough, and the process time consuming, the matter of dual nationality is also of interest to foreign parents whose child or children are born in Spain.

Spanish citizenship for the infant can be achieved after a year, but in many cases dual nationality won’t technically be possible, meaning that parents and children can end up with different nationalities. 

READ ALSO: How to apply for Spanish citizenship for a baby born in Spain

Yet despite the vague deadlines, the trend of Spain’s citizenship rules ‘opening up’ to other European countries is encouraging to other foreigners in Spain and could indicate a trend.

Margaret Hauschild Rey, an immigration lawyer whose English-speaking law firm Bennet & Rey in Madrid, told The Local in 2021 that she hoped the French dual-national agreement “will serve as a basis for effectively opening up the possibility of signing similar agreements with other countries of the European Union and the United Kingdom.”

With another deal made little over a year later, it seems she could be right, and the law that specifically deals with dual nationality, Article 11.3 of the Spanish Constitution, actually establishes that “the State may carry out dual nationality treaties with Ibero-American countries OR with those that have had or have a particular relationship with Spain”, which suggests that for some nationalities there’s room to be hopeful. 

UK nationals represent the largest European (non-Spanish) population group residing in Spain after Romanians, estimated at more than 407,000 in 2022, but the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union may well be a stumbling block in future negotiations on this front. 

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It is worth also noting that although the bilateral agreements with France and Romania are undoubtedly a positive step, French and Romanians still have to reside in Spain for ten years before being able to apply for citizenship through residency, contrary to what it is for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin, for whom it’s only two years.

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