This form of acquisition of nationality is exceptional and not subject to the general rules of the administrative procedure. It will be granted, or not, discretionally by the Government by Royal Decree, after assessing the existence of exceptional circumstances. That is, not everyone can opt for it and your application does not need a specific administrative procedure.

The Spanish nationality by "letter of naturalization" is regulated in article 21 of the Civil Code of our country as follows: "Spanish nationality is acquired by letter of naturalization, granted discretionally by Royal Decree, when exceptional circumstances concur in the interested party " That is, the person interested in obtaining Spanish nationality must justify which or what are the exceptional circumstances that make him deserving of nationality, thus skipping the requirements that are required of other people interested in being Spanish.

A descriptive example of nationality by letter of naturalization is that granted to sports people who are going to participate or have participated in international competitions representing Spain.

Who can opt for Spanish nationality by letter of naturalization?

  • The interested person, by himself, provided he is over 18 years old or is emancipated.
  • Person over 14 years assisted by their legal representative.
  • The legal representative of the person under 14 years.
  • The person incapacitated by himself or his legal representative, depending on what the disqualification sentence indicates.
  • The Sephardim originating in Spain, as long as they can prove their origins. If they are not from Spain, they will have to apply for Spanish nationality by residence.

The way to apply for nationality by letter of naturalization will be the same in any of the above cases: through an application document. In addition, this application form must be accompanied by the corresponding documentation deemed necessary in each case.

Where can you apply for Spanish citizenship by letter of naturalization?

All interested persons should send their request to the General Sub-Directorate of Nationality and Civil Status, General Directorate of Registries and Notaries, Jacinto Benavente Square, number 3. Madrid 28071 and may be submitted at the following places:

In case of not residing in Spain, the interested party may submit the application at the Spanish consulate in their country. From there, the consulate will be in charge of sending the request to the General Subdirectorate of Nationality and Spanish Civil Status.

Applications for Spanish nationality by letter of naturalization or writings related thereto may be submitted to any of the entities referred to in article 16 of Law 39/2015, of October 1.

Here you can check addresses and registration times in the following links:

How to get the application form?

The application form can be obtained in the following ways:

Once the interested party has submitted their application, a file will be opened that will conclude with the granting or denial of Spanish nationality.

In the event that the interested party is denied nationality, then they may appeal to the National Court within a period of 2 months, counting from the moment they receive the resolution.

However, in case the interested person is granted Spanish nationality, then he must register with the Spanish Civil Registry. By law, you must register with a name and two surnames. Therefore, it is possible that some changes must be made to adapt the mother tongue of the interested party to the Spanish language.

Documentation to accompany the application

The necessary documentation to apply for Spanish nationality by letter of naturalization will be:

General Documentation:

  • Literal birth certificate, legalized or apostilled, and if applicable, translated.
  • Criminal record certificate of the country of origin legalized and, where appropriate, translated (only over 18 years old)
  • Certificate of criminal record of the Central Registry of Penitents in the case of residents in Spain over 18 years.

Specific documentation proving the exceptional circumstances invoked:

  • Documents evidencing the concurrence of exceptional circumstances.
  • Other documents that the interested party deems appropriate.

Links of interest

The procedures to obtain citizenship are not something simple, so receiving advice can guide you throughout the process of processing to make it easier and less tedious.

You may also be interested in the following resources:

The process of legalization of documents can in some cases be complicated, lengthy and cumbersome for the people involved. Aware of this problem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain has enabled a telephone number 91 379 16 55 and an email address to answer questions. If you write an email, please include first name, last name and contact phone number.