You can apply for Spanish citizenship by naturalization once you have resided legally and continuously in Spain for a period of at least ten years. You will need to pass an exam to demonstrate integration into Spanish society and a Spanish language test. You’ll also need to show proof of good moral character.
You will need to be at least 18 years old to apply, or be legally emancipated. If you are between 14 and 18 years old when you apply or are disabled, then you will also need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
In some cases, it’s possible to apply for citizenship before having lived in Spain for a full 10 years.
In the following cases, you can apply for citizenship after only 1 year of legal residence:
- If you were born in Spain to foreign parents.
- If you are a minor who has been under the tutelage of a Spanish citizen for at least 2 consecutive years.
- If you are legally married to a Spanish citizen.
- If you are the widow/widower of a Spanish citizen who was still legally married at the time of your spouse’s death.
- If you are the child or grand-child of Spanish citizens born abroad, as long as both your parents and grand-parents were born in Spain.
In the following cases, you can apply for citizenship after only 2 years of legal residence:
If you are from any of the following countries or are of Sephardic (Spanish Jewish) origin:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Puerto Rico
In the following case, you can apply for citizenship after only 5 years of legal residence:
- If you received refugee status upon entering Spain.
What Are the Required Documents to Apply for Spanish Citizenship by Naturalization?
If you qualify for Spanish citizenship by naturalization and want to apply, you will need:
- A completed ‘Solicitud de Nacionalidad Española por Residencia’ form.
- Proof of your legal residence status, including:
- Your Foreign Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero, TIE), or
- The residence card of a family member who is an EU citizen, or
- Your registration certificate, if you are an EU citizen.
- A valid passport from your country of origin.
- An official translation of your birth certificate (apostilled).
- Your criminal background check from your country of origin, and an official translation.
- Your Spanish criminal background check.
- Proof of registration at your local council or province.
If you are married, you will also need to present your marriage certificate.
If you are under refugee status you will also need to present your Certificate of Asylum, issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. It should be less than 6 months old and state that you maintain your refugee status, in addition to:
- Your complete name
- Date and place of birth
- Both of your parents’ names
If you are the descendent of a Spanish citizen, you will also need to present your Spanish parent or parents’ birth certificate. If your grandparents are Spanish, you will need to present their birth certificates as well.
Once you have gathered all of the required documents, you will need to take the Spanish civics test. If you come from a non-Spanish speaking country you will also need to take a Spanish language test.