Which nationals are eligible for dual citizenship with Spain?
Here you can find the complete list of all the countries with special treaties with Spain that allow them not to renounce their former citizenship when obtaining the Spanish one:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- El Salvador
If your country is not on this list, you must first get rid of your original citizenship in order to obtain the Spanish one. The foundation for such a strategy is that future Spanish citizens should be culturally and historically similar to Spaniards and be native Spanish speakers. It is claimed that this method makes it easier to "naturalize," which is the primary reason for granting citizenship.
The Law makes the acquisition of Spanish citizenship possible for the Sephardic Jews that are descendents of those expelled from Spain in the 15th Century without renouncing their current citizenship and without requiring residency in Spain.
Pros and cons of dual citizenship in Spain
Dual citizenship allows a person to be a citizen of two countries at the same time, enjoying the rights and privileges of each. When it comes to holding dual citizenship in Spain, there are several advantages and disadvantages, particularly for citizens of the USA and Australia.
Access to European Union (EU). As a Spanish citizen, you have the freedom to live, work, or retire anywhere in the EU. This is a significant advantage for those seeking second citizenship or residency in a European country.
Travel. Dual citizens can travel more freely between the two countries. For example, if you hold dual citizenship in Spain and the USA, you won't need a visa to travel to either country.
Social Services and Benefits. Spain has an excellent healthcare system and social services that are accessible to its citizens.
Property Ownership. There are fewer restrictions on property ownership for citizens compared to non-citizens. Having dual citizenship could therefore make it easier to own and manage homes in both Spain and your other country of citizenship.
Children's Citizenship. If you're a dual citizen and have a child, your child may be eligible for dual citizenship from birth, which could provide them with additional opportunities in the future.
Professional Opportunities. As a dual citizen, you can work without needing a work permit and can access job opportunities both in Spain and your other country of citizenship.
Lengthy Process. Acquiring dual citizenship with Spain is a lengthy process. The standard requirement is to live in Spain for 10 years before you can apply for citizenship. However, for citizens of Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or Sephardic Jews, the period is shortened to 2 years. Unfortunately, USA and Australia don't fall under these categories.
Taxes. Dual citizens might be liable for taxes in both countries, depending on their specific circumstances and the tax treaties between the two countries. USA, for example, taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, so US-Spanish dual citizens may need to file taxes in both countries.
Multiple Allegiances. Holding multiple citizenships means having allegiances to more than one country, which can sometimes lead to complex situations, particularly in times of political tension or conflict.
Legal Obligations. Spain has mandatory national service. Dual citizens might be required to fulfill these obligations.
Renunciation. Some countries, like Australia, might require you to renounce your other citizenship under certain circumstances if you want to acquire their citizenship, making it difficult to hold triple citizenship.
Special Note for Digital Nomads
Spain is becoming an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads due to its excellent climate, culture, and relatively low cost of living. However, as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, digital nomads typically don't meet the residency requirements for citizenship because they don't physically stay in the country for long enough periods. Before planning to obtain Spanish citizenship as a digital nomad, it's important to consult with an immigration professional to understand the current regulations and requirements.
Spanish citizenship requirements
To be eligible for Spanish citizenship, you must have a permanent residency permit (due to work, education, marriage, real estate ownership, or other legal reasons), know Spanish, and demonstrate integration into Spanish society. Each case is evaluated on its own merits, and there is no absolute assurance that a foreigner will be granted citizenship.
Spanish citizenship for investment
Spain offers visitors a residence visa in exchange for making an economic contribution; this government initiative is also known as a "Golden Visa." If all program requirements are completed, the investor can acquire a permanent residency visa after five years and apply for Spanish citizenship through naturalization after ten years of staying in Spain.
Foreigners who have lived in Spain legally for ten years can apply for citizenship. You must have a permanent residency permit (due to work, education, marriage, real estate ownership, or other legal reasons) in order to get Spanish citizenship. You must also know Spanish and demonstrate integration into Spanish society. Each case is handled individually, and there is no assurance that a foreigner will be awarded citizenship.
The completed document package is submitted via an online form on the Ministry of Justice's website.
Spanish citizenship through family reunification
A Spanish citizen or a foreigner with a residency permit in Spain may convey family members to the country. To reunite with your family, you must apply to the migration department for a special permit. However, in this case, we are discussing obtaining a residence permit rather than obtaining citizenship. A resident moving relatives must have lived in Spain for at least a year, have housing (owned or rented), and a high permanent income.
Spanish citizenship through marriage
Foreigners who marry Spanish natives are initially granted a residence permit. It can be changed to citizenship after a year under the accelerated program. Before marriage, both spouses must be interviewed to ensure that the marriage is genuine. The interview is normally done by a notary, a court clerk, or a local government official.
Spanish citizenship for refugees
Migrants with refugee status in Spain can apply for citizenship after five years in the country. You must have a refugee certificate issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Department for Asylum and Protection to do so.
There is an option under the Spanish Civil Code—the choice to renounce previous citizenship and obtain Spanish citizenship. The citizens listed below have this right:
- Individuals who were or are under the supervision of Spanish citizens.
- Individuals with a Spanish father or mother who were born in Spain.
- Individuals who were adopted by Spanish nationals and have the option to choose citizenship within two years of the date of adoption
Is it possible for a US citizen to have dual citizenship?
Although there is no particular statute forbidding dual citizenship between the United States and Spain, the United States declares that dual national US citizens "owe allegiance to the United States and are expected to observe its laws and regulations."
Is it possible for a French citizen to have dual citizenship?
With the implementation of a new agreement that took effect on April 1, 2022, French citizens can now get Spanish citizenship without giving up their French citizenship and vice versa. France is the first country outside of Latin America to sign such an agreement with Spain.
Is it possible for a UK citizen to hold dual citizenship?
Many countries, including Spain, do not recognize dual citizenship. As a result, you must proceed cautiously and conduct thorough research about the rules and laws of the country in which you desire to apply for citizenship. Simply put, Spain does not now recognize Spanish and British dual citizenship, and it only recognizes dual citizenship from a few nations that meet the standards outlined in the Spanish constitution and Spanish nationality law.
If I have dual citizenship, do I have to serve in the army?
If countries have signed a treaty on dual citizenship, they recognise the rights and responsibilities of a dual citizen in relation to each other.
A man with dual Spanish and Colombian citizenship lived in Spain, so he served in the Spanish army and contributed to the Spanish budget.Having moved to Colombia, he begins to pay taxes there, but his military service no longer needs to be served.
Tax obligations for people with dual citizenship
In particular, it is possible to have tax residences in two or more countries in addition to Spain. This circumstance may result in further taxation because it is difficult to avoid paying double taxation unless you get competent tax counsel.
In general, Spain will use the following rules to determine which country you must pay taxes in:
- The first criterion is to designate your tax residency as the country in which you live permanently. If you are a dual resident, your tax residency is the country with the stronger personal and/or economic ties.
- If the first criteria is not met, your tax residency is determined by the country in which you normally reside.
- If you live in two countries, you are considered a tax resident in the country where you were born.
- If you have dual citizenship and none of the above three requirements apply, your tax residency will be determined by the appropriate tax authorities.
Can Spanish citizenship be revoked?
Spanish citizenship can be revoked in several cases. Adult Spanish citizens who live permanently in another country:
- Voluntarily surrendered citizenship in exchange for new citizenship in another country;
- They have reclaimed their previous citizenship, which they hold until the age of 18 (in the case of foster families). After three years, beginning with the acquisition of another citizenship or renunciation of Spanish citizenship, the loss of citizenship is deemed complete.
- According to the preceding, acquiring citizenship of a Latin American country does not imply the loss of Spanish by naturalization. In particular instances, it is possible to voluntarily renounce Spanish citizenship at the request of individuals.
- Voluntary renunciation of citizenship in exchange for acquiring a foreign one, if the individuals have a different nationality and live in that other country permanently.
- Citizens cannot renounce their Spanish citizenship while the country is at war.
- People who have obtained Spanish citizenship but did not receive it by right of origin lose it in the following circumstances:
- Due to a willful violation of Spanish law, the court stripped them of their status.
- When people willingly join the army or assume important political posts in another country, which the Spanish government forbids.
- In circumstances where people who have lost their original citizenship and obtained Spanish citizenship continue to enjoy the benefits of their prior civil status for three years.
How can British citizens and other foreign nationals acquire Spanish citizenship?
British citizens and other foreign nationals can acquire Spanish citizenship through various routes such as descent, continuous residence in Spain, marriage to a Spanish national, or a special connection like being a Sephardic Jew. Each route has specific requirements to be met, including providing evidence, completing forms, and sometimes passing a language test or meeting residency requirements.
What are the requirements for acquiring Spanish citizenship if a person is born outside of Spain to a Spanish parent or grandparent?
To acquire Spanish citizenship if born outside of Spain to a Spanish parent or grandparent, the applicant must provide evidence of their Spanish origin, such as a birth certificate or other relevant documents proving the parent's or grandparent's Spanish nationality. Additionally, they must meet any other requirements set forth by the Spanish authorities, which may include residing in Spain for a certain period or declaring their desire to acquire Spanish nationality.
Are there any exceptions for citizens of certain countries to acquire Spanish citizenship more easily?
Yes, citizens of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Portugal, as well as individuals of Sephardic Jewish origin, have a more accessible route to acquiring Spanish citizenship. They can apply for citizenship after residing in Spain for just two years, instead of the standard ten years required for other foreign nationals.
Can dual citizens hold passports from both their country of origin and Spain?
Yes, dual citizens can hold passports from both their country of origin and Spain, provided there is a bilateral agreement between the countries or if the country of origin allows dual citizenship.
What are the steps to apply for Spanish citizenship?
To apply for Spanish citizenship, applicants must first determine their eligibility and the most suitable route for their situation. Next, they must gather the required documents, such as birth certificates, proof of residency, and evidence of Spanish origin, if applicable. They may also need to pass a Spanish language test and provide proof of health insurance. Applicants must then submit their application to the Spanish consulate or embassy in their country of residence or the Civil Registry in Spain, along with any applicable fees. It is important to keep track of the application progress and follow up with the respective authorities when necessary. Finally, once the application is approved, the applicant will need to take an oath of allegiance to Spain and may receive their Spanish citizenship documents and passport.