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SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

The little-known process you have to do when you become a Spanish citizen

Foreigners who've continuously resided in Spain for ten years have the option of applying for Spanish citizenship. But what happens when your get you new Spanish DNI number? How do you change all your documents over to your new nationality?

The little-known process you have to do when you become a Spanish citizen
In order for your Spanish DNI to really take effect, you’ll have to change your NIE for your new DNI number. Photo: Spanish government

Here’s how to request the change of your Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) for your new Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), if you have obtained Spanish nationality. 

The process of becoming a Spanish national is lengthy and you will have to pass two exams to get it – the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a foreign language) test and the CCSE citizenship test, testing your knowledge of Spain’s Constitution, its society and its cultural heritage.

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

But what about when you’ve passed both tests, you’ve gained your Spanish nationality and you’re finally holding that Spanish national identity card, the DNI in your hand?

In order for your DNI to really take effect, you’ll have to change your NIE for your new DNI number. To do this, you will have to carry out a series of procedures to update all the official paperwork and verify your identity. 

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

How to make the exchange 

To carry out this procedure, you must notify the Social Security office, so they can change your number and your nationality. This procedure can be carried out electronically using your Digital Certificate or [email protected] here

Via the above link to the Social Security office, you must fill out the Modelo TA.1 form to make the exchange. You will need to fill out all your personal details, as well as include copies of your old NIE and your new DNI.  

Certificate of proof

You will also need to apply for a Certificado de Concordancia at the foreign office of your nearest National Police station. When you are making a cita previa or prior appointment to do this, you should choose the option (Certificados de Residencia, de no Residencia y de Concordancia).

This certificate is used to prove that you are the same person who now has a Spanish DNI. You can use it at various official places such as the tax office, Town Hall, the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) office, banks and any other administrative offices.

You can now inform other authorities of your exchange, including the tax office or Agencia Tributaria as well as your local Town Hall or Ayuntamiento. You will also need to request a new padrón certificate, stating your new nationality.

Other official offices you should inform of the change include your bank, your notary if you bought a property using your NIE, and the DGT office, if you need to change your driving licence too.  

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

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CRIME

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.

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