How to obtain Spanish Citizenship by residence

How to obtain Spanish Citizenship by residence

How to obtain Spanish nationality/ Nacionalidad española por residencia

Spanish Citizenship by residence

The most common way for a foreigner living in Spain to be eligible for Spanish nationality is por residencia (by residency), or by living legally in Spain for 10 consecutive years. That being said, there are a handful of situations that reduce the minimum number of years and are as follows. A quick note on computing residency:

5 years residency with refugee status.

2 years residency for citizens of Latin American countries, Guinea Ecuatorial, Portugal, Filipinas and sephardic origin.

1 year residency for those who are:

  • If you were born in Spanish territory.

  • If you have not exercised your right to acquire Spanish nationality by option.

  • If at the time of the application you have been married for one year to a Spanish citizen and you are not legally or de facto separated.

  • If you are a widow of a Spanish citizen, and at the time of the death of the spouse were not separated, in fact or judicially.

It should be noted that residency must be legal and continuous immediately prior to application. Also, any time spent in Spain de estancia por estudios, as a student, is not considered legal residency and therefore does NOT count towards applications por residencia.


It is recommended to take the required exams to obtain Spanish Citizenship by residence before doing any procedure, since these usually take more time than the management of the documentation.

Make an appointment for the exams “CCSE” and in your case the “DELE“:  Exams

You can download our CCSE and DELE guide to make registration easier.

Once you have done and approved the exam (s), download the application and fee payment model.

What documents will I need to present?

> Signed standard application form.

Original and photocopy of the NIE (Foreigner Identity Card, Family Card of citizen of the European Union or Certificate of the Central Registry of foreigners).

Original and full photocopy of the valid passport of the country of origin.

Marriage certificate if the applicant is married (recommended is recent, <1 year).

Proof of payment of the fee (€ 102).

Criminal record certificate of Spain (Central Register of convicts). DO NOT HAVE TO PROVIDE IT if in the application check the corresponding box to authorize your query to the DGRN.

Certificate of registration (recent, <6 months or can be authorized to the DGRN by checking the corresponding box in the application).

Certification of birth of the interested party, duly translated and legalized (it is recommended that it be recent, <1 year).

Certificate of criminal records of your country of origin, translated and legalized, in accordance with existing international conventions. To avoid expiration, request this document at the end.

Diplomas of the Cervantes Institute of the test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge (CCSE) and for non-Spanish speaking countries the Spanish language knowledge test (DELE). It can be substituted by the authorization of consultation to the Ministry of Justice consigned in the application model. In the case of nationals of a country in which Spanish is an official language, exempt from the DELE exam according to the Nationality by Residence Regulation, valid passport or nationality certificate that proves the exemption.

Get your Spanish citizenship with us!

We offer you legal advice and we process the documentation to obtain the Spanish nationality and we offer courses for DELE A2 and CCSE.


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