In this article we want to offer you useful information on how to acquire Spanish citizenship by residence. The information provided is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice with an expert or consult your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of origin.

What is Spanish citizenship by residence?

The concept of nationality is the legal link between the person and the State and has the double aspect of being a fundamental right and constituting the legal status of the people. Because of this relationship, the individual enjoys rights that can be demanded from the state organization to which he belongs and this, as a counterpart, can impose on him the fulfillment of a series of obligations and duties.

Spanish nationality is acquired, preserved and lost in accordance with the provisions of the law.

One of the ways of obtaining nationality is by residence, which requires the residence of the person in Spain for ten years legally, continuously and immediately prior to the request.

There are cases in which the required period of residence is reduced, such as:

  • 5 years: For the granting of Spanish nationality to those who have obtained refugee status.
  • 2 years: For nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin.
  • 1 year:
  1. The one who was born in Spanish territory.
  2. The one who did not duly exercise his right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.
  3. The one who has been legally subject to guardianship (under the supervision of a guardian), guardianship or foster care (the foster care that allows the reduction of legal residence to one year is one in which there is a resolution of the public entity that has in each entrusted territory the protection of minors and foster care that are legally recognized) by a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if you continue in this situation at the time of the request.
  4. The one who, at the time of the request, has been married to a Spanish or Spanish for a year and is not legally or in fact separated.
  5. The widower or widow of a Spanish person, if at the time of the death of the spouse they were not separated, in fact or judicially..
  6. The one born outside Spain of father or mother, (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all of them originally had been Spanish.

In addition to the above requirements, the interested person must prove good civic behavior and sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society.

Who can request / submit the requirement?

  • The interested person, by himself, provided he is over 18 years old or is emancipated.
  • The person over 14 years assisted by their legal representative.
  • The legal representative of the child under 14 years.
  • The person with the capacity modified judicially by himself or by the legal representative of said person, depending on what the sentence of incapacitation indicates.

Additional Information

The documents that must accompany the citizenship application of the persons of legal age, in all cases:

  1. Standard application form. In case of submission in electronic headquarters it will be replaced by the online form.
  2. Foreign identity card.
  3. Family card of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of the Central Registry of Foreigners or of the Registry of citizens of the European Union.
  4. Full and valid passport of the country of origin.
  5. Certification of birth of the interested party, duly translated and legalized.
  6. Criminal record certificate of your country of origin, translated and legalized, in accordance with existing international conventions or consular certificate of conduct issued on the basis of consultation with the competent authorities of the country of origin.
  7. Marriage certificate if the applicant is married.
  8. Proof of payment of the fee.
  9. Criminal record certificate of the Central Registry of convicts. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form.
  10. Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form.
  11. Cervantes Institute diplomas of the constitutional and sociocultural knowledge test (CCSE) and the Spanish language knowledge test (DELE). It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form. Nationals of a country in which Castilian is an official language will be exempt from conducting the DELE exam according to the Regulations of nationality by residence, for which they must present the current passport or certificate of nationality that accredits the exemption.

Documents that must accompany the application for citizenship for minors, in all cases:

A) Children under 14 years of age or persons with judicially modified capacity who must act through a legal representative:

  1. Standard application form signed by the legal representative. In case of submission in electronic headquarters it will be replaced by the online form.
  2. Birth certificate of the country of origin duly legalized and translated as appropriate, in accordance with the International Agreements.
  3. Full passport or identification document in the case of citizens of member countries of the Schengen area.
  4. Proof of payment of the fee.
  5. Authorization of the person in charge of the Civil Registry of the domicile of the minor or of the person with the judicially modified capacity, in the terms established in the current regulations.
  6. Identification document of the representative or legal representatives.
  7. Certificate of training center, residence, reception, care or special education attesting to the sufficient degree of integration, mandatory in the case of school-age children.
  8. Foreigner Identity Card, residence card of a relative of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of Registration of citizen of the Union. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form.
  9. Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form

B) Over 14 years old but under 18 years old, not emancipated or with a judicially modified capacity who can act for themselves assisted by their legal representative.

  1. Standard application form. The paper application must be signed by both the interested party and their legal representatives. In the electronic presentation, the digital signature of one of them will suffice, but attaching a scanned paper application form signed by all.
  2. Birth certificate of the country of origin duly legalized and translated as appropriate in accordance with International Agreements.
  3. Full passport or national identification document, in the case of citizens of member countries of the Schengen area
  4. Proof of payment of the fee.
  5. Certificate of training, residence or reception center that proves the sufficient degree of integration. This certificate will be mandatory for applicants under school age and provided that the minor or the person with the judicially modified capacity is enrolled in one of these centers.
  6. Document proving legal representation (Judicial order establishing the representation or identification document of the parents in the case of minors subject to parental rights).
  7. Foreigner Identity Card, residence card of a relative of a citizen of the European Union or Certificate of Registration of citizen of the Union. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form.
  8. Certificate of registration. It can be replaced by the authorization to consult the Ministry of Justice in the application form.

Additional documents that must be provided in certain specific cases:

Refugees

  • Identity card for foreigners stating their refugee status.
  • Blue passport of the Geneva Convention of 1951 (if available).
  • Certificate of the Office of Asylum and Refuge of the Ministry of Interior (this certificate will be valid for six months from the date of issue) where it is stated: i) Name and surname. ii) Date and place of birth. iii) Names of the parents. iv) That he maintains his refugee status.

Born in Spanish territory

Those who have not timely exercised the power to opt

  • Birth certificate of the Spanish father / mother.
  • Literal birth certificate of the interested party registered in a Spanish Civil Registry or judicial resolution stating the adoption by Spanish or the recognition of the affiliation.

Personas bajo tutela, custodia o cuidado de crianza

  • In cases of foster care: Order of the competent Court whereby the person to be the guardian, guardian or foster care is designated.
  • In cases of foster care by Spanish Institution: Resolution of said Institution assuming guardianship, guardianship or foster care

Married to Spanish

  • Literal birth certificate of the Spanish spouse, issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Literal marriage certificate issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Certificate of Coexistence or Joint Enrollment with the spouse.

Widower / widow of a Spanish

  • Literal birth certificate of the spouse issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Literal marriage certificate issued by the updated Spanish Civil Registry, that is, issued on dates close to the application for nationality.
  • Certification of death of the spouse.
  • Certificate of joint registration or coexistence at the date of death of the spouse.

Spanish descendant

  • Literal birth certificate of the Spanish father / mother.
  • Literal birth certificate grandfather / grandmother, only when one of them, or both, are Spanish ascendants. In this case, the birth certificate of the parent of Spanish descent must also be submitted, even if he / she has been Spanish or not.

Sephardic

  • Documentation accrediting the condition of Sephardic in accordance with the provisions of article 1.2 of Law 12/2015, of June 24, regarding the granting of Spanish nationality to Sephardic originating in Spain.

Payment of the fee

In any case, the fee must be paid prior to sending the application, and the same can be done through the following means:

Payment through the payment gateway of the Tax Agency:

    1. Through a specific form accessible at its Electronic Headquarters, as established in the Resolution of January 10, 2008, of the Undersecretariat of Justice.
    2. The payment will be credited by means of the proof provided by the AEAT website or through the payment receipt of the bank, provided that it provides the electronic banking service for the payment of the aforementioned fee, in which the Number of Complete Reference (NRC), together with the "Exemplary for Administration" sheet of model 790- code 026.

Other forms of payment:

  • Payment through electronic banking systems: If you have an open account and electronic signature to operate in any of the collaborating financial entities, you can make the payment through your electronic services. To do this, you must first download the model 790-code 026 from this portal, and include your proof number in the corresponding section of your electronic banking system.
  • Face-to-face in Spain: You can go with the completed form 790-code 026 to a financial entity collaborating with the Tax Agency to carry out the settlement. The payment will be credited with the mechanical validation or authorized signature of the financial entity in the copy "Exemplary for the Administration" of form 790-code 026 that must be provided to the competent administrative body for the processing of the procedure, together with the request.

Payment will only be accepted in Spain, through the means indicated, by those persons who have a NIE or DNI.

Correction of errors and faults

According to article 10 of the Regulation regulating the procedure for the acquisition of Spanish nationality by residence, approved by Royal Decree 1004/2015, of November 6, if the application or documents presented do not meet the necessary requirements for Obtaining Spanish nationality by residence, the interested party or his representative will be required to remedy the lack or accompaniment, telematically or physically, for the corresponding documents, within 3 months. If said error or failure is not corrected by the person concerned, consider that he has given up on his request.

Resolution

The Director General of the Registries and the Notary, will decide by delegation of the Ministry of Justice in accordance with Order JUS / 696/2015 of April 16.

The resolution declaring the granting or denial of Spanish nationality by residence will be notified to the applicant in the place and form stated in the application.

The effectiveness of the concession of the Spanish nationality by residence will be subject to the requirements of article 23 of the Civil Code being fulfilled before the person in charge of the Civil Registry of the domicile:

  • That the interested person over 14 years of age be able to give a statement for himself.
  • Swear or promise fidelity to the King and obedience to the Spanish Constitution and laws.
  • Renounce your previous nationality (natives of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal and Sephardim are safe from this requirement).
  • That the acquisition be registered with the nationality in the Spanish Civil Registry.

How to request / submit the application for Spanish citizenship?

Face to face

Applications for Spanish nationality by residence or writings related to it, may be submitted in any of the entities referred to in article 16 of Law 39/2015, of October 1. Check the addresses and schedules of the Civil Registry Offices in the following links:

Obtain the Spanish nationality application form by residence.

Download Spanish citizenship application model by residence from the website of the Ministry of Justice of Spain

The inconvenience of submitting the application via registration is that a file number is not assigned at the time of filing, but it is necessary to wait for the Ministry to assign it, and this can take considerable time.

By Internet

You can apply for nationality by residence electronically by completing the corresponding electronic form. You can use this model both if the request is for himself or if he acts on behalf of a person under 14 years of age or with a judicially modified capacity, of the one exercising parental authority, guardianship or conservatorship. You can also fill out the application from this form if you act as a representative of the interested party and you are endowed with a mandate or power to prove said representation.

In this case, if a file number is assigned, from the moment the application is submitted, and with it, it can be tracked through the web https://sede.mjusticia.gob.es/eConsultas/inicioNacionalidad

During the application you must provide various documentation that is necessary to digitize and attach. You have 4 months from the date of creation to complete the application, and if after that period you have not signed and sent the application, it will be deleted automatically.

Online application for nationality by residence from the electronic headquarters of the Ministry of Justice of Spain

NOTE: The information provided is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice with an expert or consult your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of origin.

Links of interest

The procedures to obtain Spanish citizenship are not something simple, so receiving advice can guide you throughout the process 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, we have enabled a telephone number (+34) 943-425-726 and an email address help@echeverriaabogados.es to answer questions. If you write an email, please include first name, last name and contact phone number.

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