Living in Spain is great for foreigners who want a low cost of living and high quality family life. There are great communities to be part of and access to intriguing scenery. But getting Spanish citizenship gives you more access to the good things of Spanish life.
Aside from the beaches and sunny climes, getting Spanish citizenship gives you better job opportunities, Visa-free travel to the EU countries, voting rights, and lots more.
There are different legit ways of becoming a Spanish national such as residency, by decent, and marriage. Let’s show you how to become a Spanish citizen as we answer many frequently asked questions on Spanish citizenship.
Is it Easy to Get Citizenship in Spain?
You can easily get Citizenship by residency after 10 years of living in Spain with your residency permit and no criminal record. You can also get citizenship for yourself if your parents were Spanish nationals and you meet the requirements. Lastly, you can become a Spanish citizen if your partner is Spanish.
Does Spain Allow Dual Citizenship?
Yes, the Spanish Civil Code does allow dual citizenship but only for all countries in Latin America, Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines, and Equatorial Guinea.
But as a general rule, when you apply for and are granted Spanish citizenship by residency, you must renounce your prior citizenship if you’re not from any of the listed countries.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Spain Citizen?
After 10 years of living in Spain, you can apply and obtain Spanish citizenship. But the most common way of becoming a citizen of Spain is by right of birth. You can also become a Spanish citizen by marriage and by decent.
Can I Get Spanish Citizenship if My Grandfather Was Spanish?
Yes, the Spanish Grandchildren Citizenship Law or Law of Democratic Memory allows children and grandchildren of Spaniards to obtain Spanish nationality directly, without the need to live in Spain for any minimum period of time.
Who Qualifies for Spanish Citizenship?
You qualify for Spanish citizenship if any of the following applies to you:
- You were born in Spain
- Your mother or father is Spanish
- You have lived in Spain for at least 10 years
- Your grandparents were Spanish
Can I Get Residency in Spain if I Buy a House?
Yes, after buying a house, you can get residency in Spain based on the golden visa scheme which allows non-EU citizens who buy a property in Spain to get a 2-year residence permit (that can be renewed) as long as the property investment is at least € 500.000 (about $499.53).
So after investing that minimum amount in Spain, you can then begin the application process for your legal residency. In fact, you can visit Spain as a tourist and use the opportunity to process your application.
Note that you’ll have a total of 3 months to buy the house and apply for this residency. Interestingly, this residency has a work permit. So you can legally live and work in Spain.
Another good side to this real estate investment residency is that you can include your family in your application and move to Spain with them. And you know what? Your family also gets their residency because you already met the requirement.
However, this residency only allows you to move freely within the Schengen Area which has about 26 countries.
How to Get Spanish Citizenship
You can get Spanish citizenship by marriage, by descent and, through naturalization. Each of these options has their requirements listed below:
What are the Requirements for Spanish Citizenship?
Requirements: Applying for Spanish Citizenship By Marriage
- You must have lived in Spain with your partner for a minimum of one year from the date your residence permit was granted.
- Provide identity documents, including a full passport and a birth certificate for both your spouse and you, as the principal applicant.
- Provide your marriage/civil registry certificate and proof of registration at the town hall showing your presence at the local census.
- Pass the CCSE (Constitutional and Sociocultural Aspects of Spain) and DELE (Diploma of Spanish) exams.
Requirements: Applying for Spanish Citizenship By Naturalization
- 10 years of Spanish residency with no criminal record.
- Pass the DELE and CCSE tests to show that you are proficient in the Spanish language and have an awareness of the general culture.
- Complete an application form either entirely online through the SEDE electronica, or this can be done in person at the Spanish Civil Registry.
- Nationals from Ibero-American countries or Spanish territories may apply for citizenship after only two years of residence.
- If you are a refugee, you may apply after five years of residence in Spain.
Requirements: Applying for Spanish Citizenship By Descent
- Your father or mother must be Spanish.
- You have foreign parents, and at least one of them is a Spanish national.
- Both your foreign parents were born in Spain.
- You were adopted by Spanish nationals prior to your 18th birthday.
- You have Spanish grandparents.
How Does the Spanish Citizenship Test Work?
The DELE A2 and CCSE are the two nationality tests that any foreigner must pass in order to be granted nationality in Spain. The DELE A2 is the Spanish language exam. The test is divided into the following four parts:
Part One: Reading
Duration: 60 minutes.
This is a reading comprehension test, with four tasks. You have 25 questions to answer. These questions are related to your daily life and the environment in which you live. And you have to score at least 60%.
Part Two: Listening
Duration: 40 minutes
This is a listening comprehension test with 25 questions divided into 4 different tasks. You should also get up to 60% of the test right to scale through.
Part Three: Writing
Duration: 45 minutes
This is a written test with 2 tasks. The first task to be written is a letter, between 60 and 70 words. For the second task, you can choose between two different options.
Option A is an everyday text, in which you have to write about yourself. Option B is a narrative text, in which you have to talk about events or an anecdote. However, the text should be 70 or 80 words long.
Part Four: Speaking
Duration: 12 minutes
Finally, part four is an oral expression and interaction test with 3 tasks. Task 1 consists of a 2 or 3-minute monologue on a topic. You have two options to choose from.
In task 2, you have two pictures to choose from. Your task is simply to describe the picture you choose from. Finally, task three puts you in face-to-face interaction with an examiner. You will discuss the picture you choose with the examiner.
See a DELE A2 practice test sample from Cervantes Institute.
The CCSE test on the other hand covers “constitutional and socio-cultural” knowledge. It is divided into two parts:
- Common Knowledge: culture, history, and Spanish society
- Politics and Geography: government, territorial, geographical and political organization of Spain.
The CCSE is administered by the Cervantes Institute, the official body that promotes Spanish culture and language overseas. The test offers 25 multiple choice questions, of which you must get at least 15 right.
The test lasts a total of 45 minutes. In 2022, the registration fee for the Spanish citizenship test is 104,05€. However, you have the following additional fees to take into consideration:
- Issuance of the DNI (Spanish ID card): 12€
- Spanish passport issuance: 30€
Remember, the CCSE fee offers you two attempts. So if you couldn’t meet the required score, you can seat for the exam a second time. Also, if you missed your initial test date, you have a second chance to take the test.
To register for the CCSE test, visit the Cervantes institute website.
You may apply for Spanish citizenship after living in Spain for at least 10 years. However, the most common way to become a Spanish citizen is by birth. Other ways to gain Spanish citizenship are by Marriage and by decent.