Dual Citizenship Spain

Spanish citizenship is primarily based upon the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood). Spain is a member of the European Union. Accordingly, Spanish citizens can travel and reside freely in any of the countries that are a part of the EU.

Spain permits dual citizenship under limited circumstances. Spain permits dual citizenship for all Spanish citizens by origin, so long as their declare their will to retain the Spanish nationality within 3 years of acquiring another nationality. This requirement is waived for natural citizens of an Iberoamerican country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal, and any other country that Spain has a bilateral agreement with.

For those seeking to acquire Spanish citizenship as their second citizenship, whether or not the person can retain dual citizenship depends on the county in which they hold their original citizenship. For example, if a U.S. citizen acquires Spanish citizenship, Spain requires the person to renounce U.S. citizenship, but this is usually insufficient for the American to lose U.S. citizenship. In this scenario, Spain will view the person as solely a Spanish citizen, whereas the U.S. will still treat the individual as an American citizen. Practically, the individual will hold U.S. and Spanish dual citizenship.

Spain Dual Citizenship

How can you acquire Spanish citizenship?

Citizenship By City-of-birth


The following categories of individuals acquire Spanish citizenship by birth:

  • Those born to at least one Spanish parent;
  • Those born in Spain of foreign parents if at least one parent was born in Spain, except for children of foreign diplomatic or consular officers accredited in Spain;
  • Those born in Spain that are stateless, or born to parents who are stateless;
  • Those born in Spain to unknown parents.
Citizenship By Descent


Those born to at least one Spanish parent, regardless of place of birth, are entitled to Spanish citizenship.

Citizenship By Option


The following categories of individuals may apply or "opt" for Spanish citizenship:

  • Those under the tutelage of a Spanish citizen;
  • Those whose parent had been originally Spanish and born in Spain (and subsequently lost Spanish nationality);
  • Those born in Spain to foreign parents if at least one parent was born in Spain;
  • Those adopted as adults to a Spanish parent after 2 years of adoption.

Spanish citizenship by option must be claimed within 2 years after the person's 18th birthday or after "emancipation," regardless of age.

Citizenship By Naturalization


Those meeting the following requirements may apply for naturalization:

  • Lived in Spain for 10 years (5 years for refugees, 2 years for natural born citizens of Iberoamerica, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or a Sephardi Jew, or 1 year for those born in Spain, those who failed to opt for citizenship within the allowed time, those married for 1 year to a Spanish spouse and certain other groups of individuals).
Citizenship By Marriage


Those who have been married to a Spanish spouse for at least one year and who has lived in Spain for 1 year may apply for naturalization. Applicants must not be separated legally or de facto.

Citizenship By Adoption


Minors who are adopted by Spanish citizens acquire Spanish citizenship from the moment of adoption.

Adults who are adopted by Spanish citizens may apply for Spanish citizenship after 2 years of adoption.