Nationality by exile – Law on grandchildren of Spain


Spanish nationality has many benefits such as free travel between countries of the European Union, acquiring political rights and access to social assistance for emergencies, visa-free travel to 150 countries around the world, entering and leaving the country without problems and being able to work in Spain.

Spanish legislation has published a law that is quite relevant for issues related to obtaining nationality. In an attempt to make amends for the long historical debt it owes to its citizens or former inhabitants of the country, it decided to propose the law of democratic memory, also known as the law of great-grandchildren.


This project seeks to incorporate former nationals or citizens who were in the times of the Spanish dictatorship after the civil war.

To explain this it is necessary to go back to the times of dictatorship where there was a figure called “republican exile”. In the framework of the Spanish civil war (1936-39) until the end of the dictatorship (1975) hundreds of Spanish citizens were expelled for political or ideological reasons, being stripped of their property and their land, being dispersed all over the world. |

Previously, Spanish nationality could not be obtained if the descendant was over 20 years of age, nor could it be obtained if the descendant was a grandchild, great-grandchild, great-great-grandchild and successive descendants.

The new Law of Democratic Memory intends to correct this situation by means of the following: (eighth additional provision)

  • If you were born outside Spain and you have a parent or grandparent originally Spanish, even if they, as a result of having suffered exile for political, ideological, belief or sexual orientation and identity reasons, have lost or renounced their Spanish nationality.
  • If you are the child of a child born abroad of a Spanish woman who has lost her nationality (the possibility of transmitting it to her descendants) by marrying a foreign person before the entry into force of the new Spanish constitution in 1978.
  • Or if you are an adult child of Spaniards whose nationality of origin was recognized by virtue of the right of option with the Law of Historical Memory of 52/2007, but who could not obtain their nationality because they were of legal age when the law was in force.


How can offspring be proven?

  • For the children of Spanish emigrants:

    1. Literal certification of birth of the interested party.
    2. Birth certificate of either parent issued by a Spanish civil registry. If they were born before 1870, they may provide a Spanish baptismal certificate.
  • For grandchildren of Spanish grandparents:

    1. Certification of birth of the interested party.
    2. Parent’s birth certificate.
    3. Birth certificate of the applicant’s grandfather, if born before 1870, a baptismal certificate may be provided.
  • For adult children of Spaniards whose nationality of origin was recognized:

    1. Birth certificate
    2. Birth certificate of the applicant’s father or mother in which it can be proved that the father has opted for the Spanish nationality of origin or birth certificate of the interested party in which it is stated that he/she is the child of a Spaniard and that the registrant does not hold Spanish nationality.


Before the corresponding consular civil registry or at the Central Civil Registry in Spain.



This option will only be available for two years after the issuance of the law, i.e., until July 2024 to be able to apply for nationality through this method.




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