Spanish citizenship For Members

Does having a baby in Spain mean the parents can become Spanish?

The Local Spain
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Does having a baby in Spain mean the parents can become Spanish?
One would assume that foreign parents would have it easier when it came to acquiring the same nationality as their Spanish-born child. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Are the foreign parents of a child born in Spain automatically entitled to get Spanish citizenship? Or does the fact that your child is Spanish mean you can also become a Spanish national faster?


If you’re a foreigner living in Spain and see it as your home for the foreseeable future, you may have considered becoming a Spanish citizen as a way of guaranteeing your residency rights and gaining new ones in the process.

You may however be aware that for most foreigners who want to apply for Spanish citizenship it involves having to live pretty much continuously in Spain for ten years and then wait an additional two or three years for the citizenship process to be completed.

That’s a very long and arduous wait, twice as long as in other European countries, if not longer still.

So, you may have wondered if there’s a way of fast-tracking that citizenship process.


Checking if you have Spanish ancestry perhaps? Marrying a Spaniard? Or how about giving birth to a child in Spain?

In this article we will focus on this last question: Does having a baby in Spain entitle you to Spanish citizenship or make the road to citizenship easier? (*Not that we’re suggesting that this should be the primary reason to become a parent)

Firstly, if you and your partner are foreigners legally residing in Spain (meaning that neither parent is Spanish), your son or daughter will not automatically become Spanish through birth in Spain.

In the majority of cases, your child will acquire the nationality of one or both parents (you will have to speak to your embassy in Spain about registering the child).

They are not automatically entitled to Spanish nationality because as stated in Article 17 of Spain’s Civil Code, they are not Spanish by origin or blood.

However, after a year of legal residency in Spain, you can apply for Spanish nationality for your child.

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

But how about the foreign parents of a baby that has become Spanish after being born in Spain and living there for a year? One would assume that said progenitors would have it easier when it came to acquiring the same nationality as their child.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.


Although giving birth in Spain makes it easier for unregistered parents to obtain residency through the process of arraigo familiar, it does not entitle them to automatically get Spanish nationality.

It doesn’t entitle them either to shorten or fast-track their Spanish nationality process as there is no legal precedent to this included in Spain’s Civil Code.

Therefore, foreign parents of a minor with Spanish nationality will in most cases have to comply with the residency requirements stipulated according to their nationality: ten years as a general rule, five years for refugees and two years for nationals from Ibero-American countries (Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Colombia) as well as Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal.

When foreign parents can finally apply for Spanish citizenship, they should include documents relating to their Spanish child’s citizenship status. Even though this may not be an advantage or result in a favourable outcome to the process, it will be taken into consideration by Spanish authorities.


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