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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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Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

Spain's Justice Ministry has caused outrage after it sent out a tweet explaining how foreign nationals can cancel their criminal record online themselves in order to gain Spanish citizenship. 

Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

It may seem like a dark joke sent out by a disgruntled civil servant, but Spain’s Justice Ministry has indeed informed the country’s 6 million foreigners – including those who’ve committed crimes in the past – how to wipe their criminal history from the system.

“Criminal records can be a problem when it comes to obtaining Spanish nationality or applying for or renewing residence permits,” the ministry headed by Pilar Llop tweeted on Sunday. 

“Here we explain step by step how to request the cancellation of criminal records,” the Justice Ministry went on to say, followed by a link to a video describing the process. 

In the video posted on June 7th 2022, which has so far more than 24,000 views, a narrator goes on to explain that through the digital transformation process that the Justice Ministry is currently undergoing, it’s possible for anyone to personally and officially delete their own criminal record.

“That means that your sentence can be cancelled without you having to apply for it,” the video stressed.

This reportedly applies to both criminal records and sexual conviction records.

Logically, the tweet has caused a mix of incredulity and anger on the Spanish twittersphere, with comments such as “they’re mad”, “is it a joke?”, “God save us” or “instead of kicking foreign criminals out they’re helping them”.

The truth is that the possibility of expunging a criminal record in Spain has already existed for 27 years, as has the option of a foreigner with a criminal record being able to obtain Spanish nationality.

What has changed is the possibility of an automated system allowing citizens, Spanish nationals and foreigners alike, to carry out the expunging process online themselves, rather than having to apply for the Justice Ministry to do it for them. 

What’s also novel, many would say alarming, is that Spain’s Justice Ministry has made this public knowledge to many more people in Spain after their tweet went viral. 

Artículo 136 of Spain’s Penal Code allows people with a criminal record to cancel it once a certain period of time has elapsed and if they have not committed any other felony since the initial sentence. 

For those with minor sentences, the criminal record can be removed after six months whereas for serious crimes (5+ years in prison) the wait is ten years, higher if they’re charged with more than one crime. 

However, there doesn’t appear to be any lifetime prohibition from expunging criminal records for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, meaning that foreign rapists, murderers and paedophiles could technically cancel their criminal records if they met the aforementioned conditions and become Spanish nationals.