What is spanish nationality?

Nationality is the legal tie that join the person to the state and has the dual side of being a fundamental right and constituting the legal status of individuals.

For this relationship, the individual enjoys rights that he or she may demand to the state organization to which he belongs and who, in return, may impose on him the fulfillment of a number of obligations and duties.

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the right of every person to a nationality, and not to be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality or the right to change it.

Nationality is a fundamental element in the life of the individual, insofar as it allows the person to belong to a group, identify with it and, at the same time, grants the protection of the State and the possibility of exercising the rights in accordance with the legal rules (e.g. access to public functions).
Nationality, in short, is the ultimate legal expression of the integration of a person into a state community, it is more than just the residence and work authorization.

Nationality also plays an important role in being the necessary condition for access to diplomatic protection of the rights of nationals of a country when they are abroad. That is, every national of a State has the right to be offered protection and advice by the diplomatic offices of his country during stays abroad.

The importance of this subject is clear in the fact that the Constitution dedicate the article 11 to this idea: states, among other things, that Spanish nationality is acquired, preserved and lost in accordance with the provisions of the law.



This form of acquisition of nationality requires the residence of the person in Spain for ten years in a legal, continuous and immediately prior to the request. There are cases in which the period of residence required is minor; these are:

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

– Two years: for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or people of Sephardic origin.

– One year to:

The one born in Spanish territory.

The one who did not properly exercise his right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.

The one who has been legally subject to the guardianship (under the supervision of a guardian), custody or foster care (the foster that allows the reduction of legal residence to one year is the one in which there is a resolution of the public entity in each territory who has entrusted the protection of minors and the fosters judicially recognized) of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if it continues in this situation at the time of the request.

  • The one who, at the time of the application, is married to an Spanish citizen for a year and is not legally or in fact separated.

The widower of Spanish, if at the time of the spouse’s death they were not separated, in fact or judicially.

The one born outside Spain of a father or mother, (also born them outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, if all of them originally had been Spanish. In addition, must be  proved good civic conduct, and sufficient level of integration into Spanish society.

This form of acquisition of nationality is graciable and is not subject to the general rules of administrative procedure. It shall or shall not be granted at its discretion by the Government by Royal Decree, after assessing the occurrence of exceptional circumstances.

Are originally Spanish:

⇒ Those born of a Spanish parent.

⇒ Those born in Spain when they are children of foreign parents if, at least one parent, has been born in Spain (the children of diplomats are exempted).

Will have the right to obtain the spanish nationality the person who has owned and used this nationality for ten years, continuously, in good faith (without knowledge of the real situation, meant, that he is not actually Spanish), on the basis of a degree registered in the Civil Registry.

The option is a benefit that our legislation offers to foreigners who are under certain conditions, to acquire Spanish nationality. You shall have the right to acquire Spanish nationality by this way:

⇒ Those who are or have been subject to the parental authority of a Spaniard.

⇒ Those people whose father or mother had been Spanish and were born in Spain.