Spanish citizenship by naturalization

Spanish citizenship by naturalization is the process through which a foreign national can acquire Spanish citizenship. It allows individuals who were not originally born in Spain to become Spanish citizens, granting them the same rights and privileges as those who were born in the country.

Obtaining Spanish citizenship through naturalization is possible for foreign nationals who meet certain requirements.

How to get citizenship by naturalization in Spain

Here are the general eligibility criteria involved in the process:

  1. Legal residency. You must have legally resided in Spain for a certain period of time, which varies depending on the circumstances. The standard requirement is 10 years of continuous legal residence, although some exceptions exist, such as for refugees or citizens of Latin American countries.
  2. Criminal record. You must have a clean criminal record, both in Spain and in any previous country of residence.
  3. Language and cultural knowledge.: Applicants must demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Spanish language and an understanding of Spanish culture and society. This is usually done through a language and culture test, such as the DELE exam (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language).

Documentation and application

The process of acquiring Spanish citizenship by naturalization involves submitting an application, providing necessary documents and evidence, undergoing a background check and investigation, and attending a ceremony where the applicant takes an oath of allegiance to Spain. Here are the main steps to acquire Spanish citizenship by naturalization:

  1. Residency requirement. Ensure that you have met the necessary period of legal residency in Spain.
  2. Gather documentation. Collect all the required documents, which may include your valid passport, residency permit, birth certificate, criminal record certificates, proof of residence, and proof of economic and social integration in Spain.
  3. Language and culture test. Prepare for and take the language and culture test, such as the DELE exam. This step may vary depending on the specific requirements at the time of your application.
  4. Submit application. Submit your application for Spanish citizenship at the Civil Registry Office (Registro Civil) or at the nearest office of the Ministry of Justice. Include all the necessary documents, forms, and fees.
  5. Background check and investigation. Authorities will conduct a thorough background check and investigation to verify the information provided in your application.
  6. Approval and oath. If your application is approved, you will be notified to attend a ceremony where you will take an oath of allegiance to Spain and become a Spanish citizen.

Dual Citizenship

Spain generally permits dual citizenship, meaning it recognizes and allows individuals to hold Spanish citizenship while retaining their original citizenship from another country. Spanish law does not require individuals to renounce their previous citizenship when acquiring Spanish citizenship through naturalization, marriage, or other means.

FAQ

How long do I need to reside in Spain to be eligible for citizenship by naturalization?

The standard requirement is 10 years of continuous legal residence in Spain. However, there are some exceptions where the residency period may be shorter, such as for refugees or citizens of Latin American countries.

Do I need to renounce my current citizenship to become a Spanish citizen?

Spain generally allows dual citizenship, which means you can retain your current citizenship while acquiring Spanish citizenship.

Is knowledge of the Spanish language and culture required for naturalization?

Yes, applicants for Spanish citizenship by naturalization are typically required to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Spanish language and an understanding of Spanish culture and society. This is usually assessed through a language and culture test, such as the DELE exam (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language).

Can I apply for Spanish citizenship if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record can affect your eligibility for Spanish citizenship. It is generally required to have a clean criminal record both in Spain and in your country of origin or any other country where you have resided. However, each case is assessed individually, and certain minor offenses may not necessarily disqualify you from applying.

Can my children become Spanish citizens if I acquire citizenship by naturalization?

In most cases, minor children of individuals who acquire Spanish citizenship by naturalization will also become Spanish citizens.

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