Sometimes I get the question if I have and how to get Spanish citizenship. I have been a resident in Spain for over 10 years now and although I could become a Spanish citizen, I have never applied for it, as in the Netherlands it is not possible to have both Spanish and Dutch citizenship. Most expats from outside of Europe prefer one, as it is much easier living, traveling, working within Europe, there is less paperwork and you have a right to vote with Spanish citizenship.
When you come from a non-European country, you can also choose permanent residency after 5 years. You have to renew your residency cards every 5 years, but it is the fastest option, it gives you ‘almost’ the same rights and you can keep your own nationality and passport. ‘Almost’ because the right to vote is not the same and the paperwork will be a hassle at times.
How to get Spanish citizenship as a foreigner
The basic rule is you have to live in Spain for a minimum of 10 years consecutive prior to the application date. There are some exceptions. For example:
- It is only 5 years if you have a refugee status.
- It is only 2 years for people from Latin-American countries, Portugal, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or people from Sephardic origin (in this category you can choose for dual-nationality).
- It is only 1 year for people that are born in Spain, have Spanish parents or grandparents, have married a Spaniard, or are the widow of a Spaniard.
What are the requirements?
It is very important that the 10 years of residency (or the number of years you need in your particular case) are uninterrupted. It can even be a problem when you leave the country for more than 3 months. The date starts with your first residency card and not earlier than that. Your criminal background will be checked by the authorities. Even speeding tickets and others small issues can work against your application.
What is the process of the application?
- You need to achieve the language exam DELE level A2 and the CCSE test, which is explained as Constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain.
- Make sure you have all the necessary documents for the application.
- Submit your application.
- Wait for approval and make an appointment for ‘pledge of allegiance’.
- With this document you can make an appointment at the local police office to collect your passport and DNI.
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