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Non-nationals can obtain Spanish nationality according to the Civil Act, modified by Law 36/20028 on 8 October 2002. Spanish nationality may be acquired by foreigners in different ways. Nationality should not be confused with Residency.

  • By birth: every child born in Spain, whose parents are foreigners and the father or mother is born in Spain, any child born in Spain whose parents are stateless persons.

  • By residence: the basic requirement for applying for Spanish nationality is a continuous residence period in Spain of 10 years. This varies for those persons to whom asylum has been granted, in which case 5 years of residence will be required. 2 years of residence will be required for persons of Sephardic Jewish origin. The period of residence is reduced to 1 year for those persons born in Spain, whose parents are foreigners legally residents in Spain.


  • For the spouse of a Spaniard;

  • For those persons who did not apply for their Spanish nationality within the legal period established to acquire the Spanish nationality by option;

  • For the widowed of a Spanish national, provided that the spouses were not separated at the time of the spouse's death;

  • For the foreigner, whose father, mother, grandfather or grandmother were Spanish nationals by birth or residence. Dual nationality is not recognized to migrants from Western Balkan countries.


The official application form to apply for Spanish nationality must be filed with the 'Civil Registry' corresponding to the town where the applicant lives.
Be prepared for a lot of form filling.