An immigration procedure not only shapes our current circumstances due to the significant time commitment required to complete it, but it also has the potential to shape our future. This is especially important when we apply for Spanish nationality.

According to the Ministry of Justice, Spanish nationality is characterized as the legal bond that unites an individual with the Spanish State, possessing the dual nature of being a fundamental right and establishing the legal position of individuals. Furthermore, this right is recognized both in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 15) and in the Spanish Constitution (Article 11).

Nationality is the most significant legal manifestation of an individual's incorporation into a social group, and serves as a factor that confers on citizens the safeguard of the State and the ability to exercise their rights in accordance with the legal norms of the State.

There are five different modalities by which people can acquire Spanish nationality: by origin, by option, by residence, by letter of nature and by possession of state. Every year a considerable number of applications are submitted to acquire the Spanish passport.

In this article, we will address the most common problems, which our firm has observed during more than 35 years of experience.

Problem No. 1: Passport is not valid

The passport is an essential component to move on to the next stages of the Spanish nationality process. Without a valid passport, you will not be able to move forward with your application.

Therefore, if your passport has reached its expiration date and you are now in the process of renewing it, a possible remedy to this problem is to present the receipt confirming the renewal. By following this guideline, you will inform the Ministry of Justice that your passport is being replaced by a legitimate one.

Then, when you obtain the new passport, you will be able to add it to your existing file, making it 100% complete.

Problem No. 2: Failure to present a duplicate of each page of the passport

It is essential to note that when you are asked for a copy of your passport, they are not referring to the first two pages or those with stamps. Providing a copy of the passport means making a duplicate of all the pages of the passport, regardless of whether they are empty or have stamps.

Also, remember that it is essential that the text on the copy is very legible on all pages and clearly shows the page numbers.

Problem No. 3: CCSE and DELE Tests

The Ministry of Justice offers applicants for Spanish nationality the possibility of submitting their applications electronically by consulting the data and scores of the CCSE and DELE tests, which are essential for obtaining nationality, directly at the Instituto Cervantes. However, for this it is necessary to give the Ministry of Justice express authorization or consent.

Undoubtedly, this option provides a certain ease. However, we strongly recommend that you also attach the certificate of aptitude for the CCSE and DELE tests, along with the rest of the documentation, once you have it in your possession. Why? Because it will avoid possible errors, both from the Instituto Cervantes and the Ministry of Justice, when applying for your qualifications, thus avoiding delays or paralyzation of the process.

Problem No. 4: Existence of typographical or typing errors in documentation

Checking the accuracy of the documents required for the processing of the Spanish nationality is an essential step. Therefore, it is essential that you refrain from making typographical errors, mainly in the parts relating to the identity number (NIE), name, surname, residence or parents' names.

Although Ministry of Justice staff will always check your application against existing documents such as birth certificates, family books and passports, it is important to ensure that you complete the forms accurately. This is essential for you to maintain a good speed in the procedure. Which, of course, is always a goal.

Problem no. 5: Having an expired criminal record certificate

The situation of the criminal record certificate is very similar to that of the passport.

The certificate must be valid at the time of applying for Spanish nationality. Moreover, in this case, it must be taken into account that there is an added difficulty due to the absence of expiration date in some criminal record certificates.

If we refer to Order JUS/1625/2016, of September 30, regarding the procedural aspects involved in the issuance of Spanish nationality by residence, it states the following, I quote:

"In order to determine the legitimacy of the certificates, the duration of validity specified in the document will be taken into account. In the case of criminal record certificates with no specified period of validity, they will be presumed to be valid for six months from the date of issue."

Simply put, if the criminal record certificate lacks an expiration date, it will be valid for a period of 6 months from its date of issue.

Problem #6: Starting the application process before the stipulated period of legal residency

It is a very recurrent problem among applicants. It is an omnipresent error, understandable, but equally fatal for a nationality process.

The following reasoning "I still have 1 year left to complete my legal period of residence, but I am going to start the Spanish nationality process so that, while the required period of residence is completed, I also advance in the process". Not applicable!

Before processing your application for Spanish nationality you must fulfill the requirements of continuous legal residence.

Problem No. 7: Not residing or not being registered with the Spanish spouse during the last year

An important aspect, which is sometimes overlooked, is to forget that the granting of Spanish nationality is subject to the fulfillment of the criteria of duration of residence and the conditions that accompany it, and not to the mere fact of marrying a person who has Spanish nationality.

That is to say, after marriage you obtain a residence card, but to apply for Spanish nationality, you need to reside with the person in question for 1 year, making sure that you share the same address that appears in the census.

During that year, you will have to provide proof that you live together as a married couple, in the same locality, and that this union has not been extinguished. If the Ministry of Justice determines that you do not live together with your partner, the legal definition of residence will be considered invalid.


It is easy for mistakes to occur during any nationality procedure, which can result in the loss of months or even years of time, money and effort. That is why it is important to act with caution, given the great importance of this procedure.

It is essential to present a dossier as complete as possible. Therefore, if you have any doubts when preparing your application, do not hesitate to ask for expert advice. This will save you time, money and aggravation.

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