Spanish Nationality by Residence

nacionalidad espanola por residencia

One of the ways of acquiring Spanish nationality is by means of residence, that is to say, by the mere fact of having resided in the country, this option sounds quite attractive because of its ease, but it also has its difficulties and conditions, today we will talk about the Spanish nationality by residence, its requirements and how it works.

Requirements to Obtain Spanish Nationality by Residence


Legal and Continuing Residency

This, as we mentioned before, is the essential requirement for the acquisition of the nationality by residence in Spain, for this, you must comply with the totality of the required years, in a legal way, that is to say, it is not enough with the mere physical stay, but it will be necessary a valid residence permit, the time will begin to count from the first residence.

In Spain there are many types of residence permits. Some of them are found in Article 45.2 of Royal Decree 557/2011, of April 20, which approves the Regulation of the Organic Law 4/2000, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, which contains a non-exhaustive list where it states that the following authorizations are understood as temporary residence and will count for the calculation of the time of legal and non-continuous residence.

a) Non-profit temporary residence authorization.

b) Temporary residence authorization for family reunification.

c) Authorization for temporary residence and employment.

d) Authorization for temporary residence and work for research.

e) Authorization for temporary residence and work of highly qualified professionals holding an EU Blue Card.

f) Authorization for temporary residence and fixed-term employment.

g) Authorization for temporary residence and self-employment.

h) Authorization for temporary residence and work in the framework of transnational services.

i) Authorization for temporary residence with the exception of work authorization.

It is important to note that you must have resided uninterruptedly. Basically, this means that you cannot leave the country for long periods of time.

Regarding uninterrupted residence, the SC Chamber (for example, STS Sala de lo Contencioso-Administrativo, Section 6ª, of July 15, 2002, Appeal No. 4290/1998), has stated that it is possible to leave Spain without interrupting residence, only that these departures must be sporadic and justified, i.e., leaving Spain to visit relatives on vacation, for health reasons, or in order to study in another country that is not possible to do so in Spain.

Spanish nationality by residence

Time to be legally and continuously resident

Now, the time for which one must reside legally and continuously is originally 10 years, but there are numerous exceptions:

Five years of legal residence: for the granting of Spanish nationality to those persons who have obtained refugee status.

Two years: for nationals of Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or persons of Sephardic origin.

One year for:

  • The one who has been legally subject to the guardianship (under the supervision of a guardian), guardianship or foster care of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if he/she will continue in this situation at the time of application.
  • Who, at the time of application, has been married to a Spaniard for one year and is not legally or de facto separated.
  • The widow or widower of a Spaniard, if at the time of the death of the spouse they were not separated, de facto or judicially.
  • Born outside Spain of a father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all of them were originally Spanish.

You may also be interested in: How to acquire Spanish nationality

Demonstrate integration with Spain

You must pass the A2 Spanish exam, in case you are not from a Spanish-speaking country. You will also have to approve the test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain or CCSE. This test is waived if you have completed high school or ESO in Spain.

Nationality application fee

Applications for the acquisition of Spanish nationality by residence are subject to a fee. The current amount is 104.05 euros. This amount may be subject to revision in accordance with the General State Budget Laws in force at the time of payment.

Resolution of the Ministry of Justice

Once you meet the requirements, you must submit the application for Spanish nationality by residence to the Ministry of Justice, the file will be analyzed, and you will be able to obtain a resolution to your application, this resolution must be motivated and will provide granting or denial of Spanish nationality. The term to resolve and notify the resolution will be of one year from the date of receipt of the request, in case of not obtaining a response within this time, it will be understood as denied.

Sworn oath or promise of Spanish nationality by residence

If the resolution was positive, the next step will be necessary. This is the last step in the process of obtaining citizenship in Spain in which the foreigner swears or promises to respect the Spanish constitution, the king and the legal system. This can be done by oath or by promise, which for practical purposes has no relevance, what is relevant here is the connotation, the oath is religious, while the promise is not.

The citizen may choose either of the two ways to take the oath/promise of nationality:

Civil Registry. The necessary formalities for the execution of the oath/promise, the act of the oath/promise. And the subsequent registration of the nationality Notary. The necessary formalities for the execution of the oath/promise, the act of the oath/promise. The deed documenting the act is sent by the notaries to the Civil Registry for the registration of the nationality Instruction of the General Directorate of Legal Security and Public Faith on declarations deriving from the granting of nationality by residence.

The application procedure for Spanish nationality by residence as well as the act of swearing an oath ends with the registration of the acquisition of Spanish nationality in the Civil Registry of the interested party’s domicile in Spain, and with this you will officially become a Spanish citizen.


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The options for Colombians to acquire Spanish nationality (