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SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

How to apply for Spanish citizenship for a baby born in Spain to foreign parents

Here’s everything foreign parents need to know about the process to apply for Spanish citizenship for their child born in Spain, from the requirements to the documents they'll need.

how to apply for spanish nationality for foreign baby
Foreign parents can apply for a Spanish passport for their baby born in Spain after the child has spent a year continuously living in Spain. Here's how to do it. (Photo by Alexander KHUDOTEPLY / AFP)

One of the first questions foreign parents ask themselves when they’re about to have a baby in Spain is what nationality the child will have. 

Foreign parents from most countries who have legal Spanish residency and have a baby in Spain will not be able to get Spanish citizenship for their new-born right away.

By law, they will first inherit the citizenship of their parents unless they are from Argentina, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guinea Bissau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, San Tome and Principe, Uruguay or are stateless, in which case their child can get Spanish citizenship straight after birth. You can read about it in more detail here

Parents from all other countries may only apply for Spanish citizenship for their child after he or she has continuously lived in Spain for a period of one year, usually from the date that their birth in Spain was registered.

This is covered in Spain’s Organic Law 4/2000, of January 11th, on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain and their Social Integration (articles 16 to 19 and 31) and the Regulation of Organic Law 4/2000, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011, of April 20th (article 186).

Keep in mind that this right to Spanish nationality after one year of residency continues throughout their life if they were born in Spain, so if you would rather wait for your son or daughter to decide later on in life if they want to be Spanish, they hold on to that right.

If your intention is for your child born in Spain to acquire Spanish citizenship as soon as possible, here’s what you have to do.

The first step is to register your baby’s birth at the Civil Registry, which can be done at the hospital or a few days later at the Registry Office.

READ ALSO: How to register your new baby in Spain and apply for a passport

Next, you will register your baby’s birth with the embassy or government of your home country and apply for a passport for them.

Most countries will grant this automatically for babies born abroad, although you will need to find out the specific process for your country. 

READ ALSO: Does having a baby in Spain mean I can become Spanish?

Apply for residency first

Once you have all the paperwork pertaining to your baby’s nationality, you will need to apply for a residency card for them, in a similar process to the one that you applied for when you moved to Spain.

This is referred to as the Autorización de Residencia para menor nacido en España (Residency Authorisation for a minor who was born in Spain).

You will need to book a prior appointment at the police station to apply for a foreign identity card such as a TIE.

According to the Spanish government website, the prerequisites for this are that:

  • The baby must not be an EU citizen or family member of an EU citizen
  • They must have been born in Spain
  • At least one of the parents must also have residency

For this, you will need:

  • their birth certificate
  • documents showing that the birth is registered in your home country such as a passport
  • your residency documents
  • padrón certificate from your town hall
  • possibly extras such as your marriage certificate and your passports
  • Anything not in Spanish or a co-official language in Spain such as Catalan must be fully translated by a sworn translator.

You will also need to fill out the form EX–01 for temporary residence or EX-11 for long-term residency.  

If you are a European citizen, you can apply for a special permit for children born in Spain to Spanish residents, which can also be applied for at the police station by taking your child’s birth certificate, their nationality documents, and your green residency card. 

The processing time should take around one month, after which you must take your child along with you when you go to collect their residency card.  

How to apply for Spanish citizenship for your baby born in Spain after one year 

After one year of legal residence in Spain, you can start the application of applying for Spanish citizenship by getting a Judicial Order from the Judge of the Civil Registry so that you can make this decision for a minor.  

In order to complete the process you will need: 

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Their residency card
  • Their passport from your home country
  • Residency certificates of the parents
  • Passports and birth certificates of the parents
  • Padrón certificate from your town hall
  • Pay a fee of €102

Extras that may be requested are your marriage certificate if you have one. 

Your child will not have to take the language or citizenship exam that adult applicants are required to as they are under 18 years old.  

Keep in mind, foreigners who are in Spain on a student visa will not be able to apply for Spanish citizenship for their baby born here.

One of the parents must first modify their residence permit before they can move forward.

Be aware that not all countries recognise dual citizenship, including Spain (except with only a handful of countries), so your child may be forced to give up the nationality they acquired from you when they were born.

This is not always the case, but you may want to contact a lawyer about the legal ramifications of this if you decide to move forward with Spanish citizenship for your child. 

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

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For members

FAMILY

‘I got looks of kindness’: Is breastfeeding in public considered ok in Spain?

The World Health Organisation and the UN recognise breastfeeding as a human right and, therefore, consider it appropriate anywhere and at any time, but what are people's attitudes to doing it in public in Spain?

'I got looks of kindness': Is breastfeeding in public considered ok in Spain?

Spain’s, Equality Law protects mothers who want to breastfeed their children in public, which means that any mother in Spain has the legal right to breastfeed her children in public without feeling threatened, criticised or insulted.

This is also covered in article 24.2 of Law 7/1997 of July 4th, which authorises business owners not to admit certain clients to their businesses if they behave violently, cause inconvenience to the public or other users or alter the normal development of the activity. But, the law also considers it to be an abuse of this right if you use it to restrict access in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner.

This means that if you’re in any type of establishment, store, swimming pool, cafe or restaurant, they cannot refuse you the right of admission if you are breastfeeding or throw you out if you decide to it there. 

Some regions have gone even further to protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. In 2015 the Basque Government formally recognised the practice as a right and included it in its health system regulations. Then in 2016, Valencia approved a proposal to recogise the right of mothers to breastfeed their children in any public space. A year later in 2017, the Pamplona City Council followed in its footsteps, declaring all municipal offices, from streets and parks to schools and cultural centres, as open spaces for breastfeeding.

The laws may be in place to protect those who want to breastfeed, but how do mothers in Spain actually feel about carrying out this practice in public, do they feel comfortable enough and have they experienced any problems? 

READ ALSO: Five things you should know about Spain’s new Family Law

How do foreign mothers in Spain feel about breastfeeding in public?

The Local spoke to several foreign residents in Spain to find out what their experiences have been and how they compare to breastfeeding in public back in their home countries. 

Generally, most women we interviewed felt very comfortable with breastfeeding in public in Spain and the majority said it was much more widely accepted here than back in their home countries. 

Kate Weatherby from the UK who lives in Barcelona said: “I definitely feel more comfortable here than in the UK. I’ve had strangers talk to me, come closer to look at the baby feeding and say how cute he is, even touch him while he was feeding. Whereas in the UK when you get out a boob, everyone either leaves to ‘let the baby feed in peace’, or they stop making eye contact! That’s friends and family as well, not just strangers”. 

Marti Buckley who is from the US and lives San Sebastián had a similar opinion saying that with her daughter who was born in 2019, she felt very comfortable breastfeeding anywhere. “The Basque Country is such a matriarchy with a strong presence of women, people don’t give it a second thought,” she explained. 

She added that it was so much easier to breastfeed in public in Spain than back in the States where her first daughter was born. “I definitely remember feeling like I had to get up from a table and completely and totally hide any skin if I was going to breastfeed in public. I remember also feeling like it was almost a requirement to act apologetic about it,” she said. 

Lucy Grainger, also from the UK, agreed that with her first in the UK she was expected to cover up, but with her second in Spain, she felt completely different. “I would breastfeed whenever she wanted, often on the go in the carrier – which is a common practice here. I would sit in plazas and feed her on trains and the Metro too”.

What are people’s attitudes to breastfeeding in public in Spain? Photo: Wren Meinberg / Unsplash

But it wasn’t just those from other English-speaking countries who feel that Spain has a much more relaxed attitude to breastfeeding in public.

Steffi De Nancy from France said: “In Spain, sometimes I receive looks of kindness, affection or admiration (and also indifference). I have never been looked at badly. I have felt this all over Spain, even in smaller towns,” she stated. 

This was in contrast to how she feels in France, where she “notices more stares as if it were something weird or not so frequent. I think there is a problem there with how breastfeeding is perceived in public places there,” she explained.

Another reader who preferred not to be named said that in Barcelona she’s had no problems and feels very relaxed breastfeeding, but “in my husband’s village near Zaragoza it’s more conservative and I’ve had a couple of comments,” she added. 

“In Catalonia, I’ve never had a problem even in small villages. I now live in a town outside the capital and everyone’s been very supportive”. 

Not everyone feels the same

One reader, Eva Šalplachtová from the Czech Republic, however, did not agree with the sentiment of the majority. She explained that in her country breastfeeding is both common and encouraged. “In my social group breastfeeding became almost a religion,” she said.

When she came to Spain she said that most of the other mothers breastfeeding in playgrounds and open spaces were from Central Europe or Germany. “To be honest, I have never had a feeling of being observed while breastfeeding until I came to Spain,” she added.

What about when it comes to breastfeeding toddlers?

Not only are attitudes to breastfeeding in public different in Spain to other countries, but the ages at which it’s socially acceptable to breastfeed changes too. 

“In the UK anything beyond age one and you’re getting questions about when you’re planning on stopping… I did feel a bit self-conscious when my second son was born and I was feeding both of them in public because my 2-year-old suddenly looked ridiculously huge next to his brother!” Kate Weatherby said.

Eva Šalplachtová, on the other hand, said that in the Czech Republic, it’s common to breastfeed until the child is around 3-4 years, but in Spain, her friends were surprised that she was breastfeeding a one-year-old. “Once I was told by our neighbour that she has never seen a toddler nursing” she added, saying that sometimes she had received negative comments too. 

Lucy Grainger had found the opposite in Spain, saying that she found it far more normal to breastfeed older children here. “In the UK you don’t really see babies older than 6 months being breastfed… In Spain, I breastfed my youngest until three and never felt I had to hide that”. 

Another reader who preferred not to be named echoed this feeling saying: “I’ve had a very positive experience breastfeeding in Spain, even with a toddler – I’m too embarrassed to breastfeed my toddler in England in public”. 

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