Spanish Citizenship by Marriage

10 de January, 2024

Spanish Citizenship by Marriage

Spanish citizenship by marriage is a form of residency-based citizenship. In other words, the process is only possible for spouses who, in addition to maintaining a formal relationship with a Spanish citizen, also reside in Spain. Learn more!
Hand in hand couple: They can apply for Spanish citizenship through marriage.
Reading: 4 min

Are you married to a Spanish citizen and wish to apply for citizenship? Spanish citizenship by marriage is actually a form of residency-based citizenship. In other words, the process is only possible for spouses who, in addition to maintaining formal relationships with a Spanish citizen, also reside in Spain for at least one year before starting the process.

We will explain below all the details, requirements, and how to formalize your application for Spanish citizenship through this route.

Can a spouse of a Spanish citizen apply for Spanish citizenship?

Yes, it is possible to apply for Spanish citizenship by marriage when one of the spouses is Spanish. However, unlike the process for Portuguese citizenship through marriage, Spain requires the applicant to reside in the country for at least one year before applying for citizenship. Residency is facilitated by marriage through family grouping. The spouse is also allowed to work while waiting for the process to begin.

Conditions to apply for Spanish citizenship by marriage

  • Be over 18 years old.
  • Be formally married to a Spanish citizen for at least one year.
  • Legally reside in Spain for at least one year, continuously and uninterrupted. This period must immediately precede the citizenship application.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Pass the Spanish citizenship exams. There are two exams: one to assess proficiency in the local language (DELE, with a required A2 level) and another focusing on issues related to the Spanish constitution and society.
  • Take an oath of allegiance to the nation in a solemn act.

Can a person in a civil union apply for spanish citizenship?

No. Spanish law does not include couples living in civil unions.

Documents for applying for Spanish citizenship through marriage

The main documents required for the application are:

  • Marriage certificate (transcribed in Spain if the marriage took place abroad).
  • Birth certificate of the applicant, apostilled and with a sworn translation.
  • Empadronamiento certificate in Spain (a proof of address issued in Spain).
  • Spouse’s Empadronamiento certificate (it can be collective, validating joint residence).
  • Valid passport.
  • Criminal record from the country of origin and places of residence for the last 5 years, translated and apostilled.
  • Criminal record in Spain (it is possible to authorize only the consultation).
  • Resolution granting residence authorization in Spain.
  • Spanish Foreigner Identification Card (TIE).
  • Certificates of passing the language (DELE) and Constitutional and Sociocultural Knowledge of Spain (CCSE) exams. Details of these exams can be found here.
  • Proof of payment of fees.

Where to apply for Spanish citizenship through marriage

The application must be made by the Spanish spouse at the Spanish Ministry of Justice.

  1. First, it is necessary to register the marriage in Spain and obtain empadronamiento in the chosen city in Spain.
  2. Next, the DELE and CCSE exams must be taken and the certificates of approval obtained.
  3. Then, the document proving the period of residence must be requested on the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda Y Timbre website.
  4. Finally, armed with all the documents, it is time to submit the application and wait for the Ministry of Justice to contact you.

How much does the application for Spanish citizenship by marriage cost?

Transcription of the marriage certificate is free.
The fee for applying for citizenship is 100 euros.
Consider also the costs of sworn translations, apostilles, and fees for the DELE and CCSE exams.
You may also invest in hiring specialized consultancy services like Atlantic Bridge to assist you in the process.

Spanish citizenship by marriage: Processing time

Currently, the average processing time is one year, which is the legal response time. Depending on each case, this period may be extended. However, after 12 months, it is possible to file an appeal that, in practice, speeds up the process.

Can a widower of a Spaniard apply for Spanish citizenship?

Yes, as long as they were married at the time of the spouse’s death.

Can a divorcee of a Spaniard apply for citizenship?

After the marriage ends (even informally), it will no longer be possible to apply for citizenship.

Loss of Spanish citizenship

According to the law, non-native Spaniards who acquired Spanish nationality through residency may lose it if:

  • After acquiring Spanish nationality, they actively use the nationality they renounced when acquiring Spanish nationality for a period of three years.
  • They voluntarily join the armed forces or hold political office in a foreign state against the express prohibition of the Government.
  • A court judgment declares that the individual engaged in falsehood, concealment, or fraud in obtaining Spanish nationality.

Regarding the last item, it is worth mentioning that the Spanish government is quite strict on this matter, conducting surprise visits and thorough interviews to ensure that the marriage is not fraudulent! If irregularities are detected, citizenship is revoked, even after it has been granted, which can result in fines and imprisonment for those involved.

Benefits of being a Spanish citizen

Spanish citizenship offers several advantages, including the ability to reside and work in all countries that are part of the European Union. Additionally, it allows entry as a tourist in over 160 countries without the need for a prior visa application. Click here to learn more.

Loss of Original Citizenship

Obtaining Spanish citizenship does not necessarily imply the loss of the original citizenship. It will depend on your country of origin. In the case of Brazil, we can affirm that the loss of original citizenship does not occur.

However, Spaniards residing abroad who solely use the foreign nationality obtained before emancipation may lose Spanish nationality.

Spanish citizenship and passport application

Finally, after the solemn oath, the citizen will finally be considered a Spaniard! At this moment, they will receive their new birth certificate and will then be able to apply for the Spanish passport.

If you are considering living in Spain or applying for Spanish citizenship, Atlantic Bridge is ready to help you on this journey. Count on us to turn your plans into reality.

Silvia Resende


Silvia Resende

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