In any bureaucratic process it is easy to make mistakes that can ruin the work of months, even years. And be careful, this is not at all trivial: these processes not only mark our present because of the hours that must be dedicated to carry them out, but some of them have the capacity to mark our future. This is the case of the application for Spanish nationality.

In this article we will discuss the ten most common mistakes when applying for Spanish nationality. Ten aspects to which you should pay special attention. The fact is that the possibility of being able to live in this country depends to a large extent on them.

1— No valid passport

A crucial aspect, without which it is not possible to get to the next steps. If one does not have a valid passport at the time of submitting the application for Spanish nationality, nothing will go ahead.

In case the passport is expired and is in the process of renewal, there is a solution: to provide the receipt of its renewal. In this way, the Ministry of Justice will know that the passport is already in the process of being replaced by a valid one. Once the applicant has the new documentation, he/she will be able to add it to the rest of his/her file to make it complete.

2— Failure to provide a copy of all passport pages

Very important: when a copy of the passport is requested, we are not talking about the first two pages, even those with stamps. No, a copy of the passport means a copy of all the pages of the passport, even if they are blank and without stamps.

It goes without saying that such a copy must be perfectly legible on all pages, and show the numbers of each page.

3— CCSE and DELE exams

When submitting the application electronically, the Ministry of Justice offers the option of consulting data and grades of the CCSE and DELE exams, basic to obtain the nationality, directly with the Instituto Cervantes. To do so, the only requirement is to provide the Ministry with express authorization or consent.

This option undoubtedly offers a certain convenience. But from here we always recommend to provide the certificates of apto of the CCSE and DELE exams along with the rest of the documents. It is a way to avoid any kind of error, either by the Instituto Cervantes or by the Ministry itself when requesting the qualifications, causing a delay or stalling of our application.

4— Typographical or typing errors

As in any other bureaucratic process, checking that the necessary documents are free of errors is a crucial step. In the nationality application it is necessary to avoid, above all, any mistakes in the fields of the NIE, name, surname, residence, or parents' names.

Although the Ministry of Justice officials will always have to check the application data against those they already have in their possession — birth certificate, family book, passport, etc. — completing an error-free form is a guarantee to speed up the process. And that, obviously, is always the main objective.

5— Expired criminal record certificate

The case of the criminal record certificate is similar to that of the passport: it must be very clear that it is in force at the time of application. In this case, in addition, there is the added complexity that not all criminal certificates have an expiration date.

Thus, here it is necessary to pull the Order JUS/1625/2016 of September 30 on the processing of the procedures for granting Spanish nationality by residence. It states the following:

"[...] In order to determine the validity in the case of certificates, the term of validity stated in the document itself will be taken into account. In the case of criminal record certificates that do not state a period of validity, it will be understood that they are valid for six months from the date of issue".

In other words, if the criminal record certificate does not have an expiration date, this will be six months after the date of its issuance. Easy.

6— Applying for nationality with a criminal or police record

With respect to the previous point, it should be noted that any process whose applicant has a criminal or police record will be denied, almost directly. In order for the application to go forward, the applicant must have a clean criminal record, both in Spain and in the country of origin in question.

In addition, and just as a record free of any socially reprehensible act must be shown, the opposite is also true: signs of contributing actions of value to society can help significantly in the positive processing of the application.

7— Initiating the application before the required period of legal residence has elapsed

Big mistake. A common mistake, understandable, but no less crucial. The rule is simple: if the required time of legal residence has not been fulfilled, one is excused from carrying out a procedure for the application for Spanish nationality.

In other words, the logic of "I am a year away from the deadline required by law, but I am starting the application and I will fulfill the residence time while everything is being processed" does not apply here. In order to initiate the process of Spanish nationality, the requirements of legal and continuous residence must be met BEFORE the application is processed.

8— Submit the nationality dossier on paper

There are no doubts on this point either. The filing of the application for nationality cannot be submitted in physical format, on printed paper: it must be done telematically. This is explained in Article 2 of Order JUS/1625/2016 of September 30:

"The procedure is initiated by request of the interested party or its legal or voluntary representative, in electronic format, submitted at the electronic headquarters of the Ministry of Justice (sede.mjusticia.gob.es), accompanied by the documentation indicated in the annex of this ministerial order, including, where appropriate, accreditation of representation. The presentation of the application in electronic headquarters will require the identification and electronic signature of the interested party or of its legal or voluntary representative."

Simple and straightforward: the filing of the nationality must be done telematically.

9— Not living or being registered with the Spanish spouse for the last year

A relevant and often ignored nuance is that what grants the Spanish nationality is not to marry a Spanish citizen, but to fulfill the time of residence and the additional requirements that are added to it. That is to say, what is obtained after the marriage is a community card. And, with it in hand, one must reside for one year together with the person in question (sharing the same address in the census) to be able to apply for Spanish nationality.

During that year it must be demonstrated that one lives forming a matrimonial unit, in the same place, and that this bond has not been dissolved. In case the Ministry of Justice considers that the spouses do not live together, the legal residence will be considered not effective.

10— Do not check the option of authorization to check the DELE and CCSE exam results.

If you do not provide proof of having passed the DELE and CCSE exams, you must give authorization to the Ministry so that they can check the result. But in many cases, clients have not checked this option, and this means that the Ministry has to request these documents, with the loss of time that this entails.

In addition, we recommend that if authorization is given to the Ministry to review the result of these exams, the registration of the exams should be done with the NIE, which is the document with which the application for nationality is submitted, and is in turn the document with which the Ministry normally controls the exams.

In any case, as we said above, it is recommended to always present the results of the exams, adding them to the file as soon as you have them, in the cases in which they are not presented, from the beginning, with the application.

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