Unlocking Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry

Discover the Benefits, Eligibility Criteria, and Application Process

Spain, with its enchanting landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures, has long captivated the hearts of people around the world. Beyond being a popular tourist destination, Spain offers individuals the chance to establish roots and embrace their heritage through Spanish citizenship by ancestry (CBA). 

Spanish CBA, also known as Jus sanguinis, allows individuals to trace their lineage back to Spanish ancestors and leverage their familial ties to secure a Spanish passport. This citizenship pathway has gained popularity in the recent years due to its streamlined process, affordability, shorter residency requirements, and the cultural connection it fosters.

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of Spanish CBA, delving into the eligibility criteria, application process, and the benefits that await those who embrace their Spanish heritage.

Spanish Citizenship by Descent Spanish citizenship by ancestry jus sanguinis right of blood
Spanish Citizenship by Descent
Obtain Spanish Citizenship through Ancestral roots

Benefits of Applying for Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry

To date, citizenship by ancestry is considered one of the fastest and most economical ways for foreigners to secure citizenship in Spain. There are several reasons why this method is advantageous:

  1. Streamlined Process: Obtaining citizenship through ancestry follows a relatively straightforward and streamlined process. Applicants need to provide the necessary documentation to prove their Spanish lineage, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other relevant records. Once the documentation is verified, the process typically involves submitting an application at a nearby Spanish consulate.
  2. Cost-Effective: Compared to alternatives like investment-based citizenship or employment-based immigration, citizenship by ancestry is generally more cost-effective. While there may be some expenses associated with gathering the necessary documentation and completing administrative procedures, they are typically lower than the significant investments required for other methods.
  3. Shorter Residency Requirement: Unlike other methods of acquiring citizenship, such as naturalization, which often require several years of residency in Spain, citizenship by ancestry imposes either no residency requirement or a shorter one, depending on the type of ancestral connection the applicant has with Spain. This means that individuals with certain qualified ancestors can become Spanish citizens without living in the country for an extended period.
  4. Cultural and Emotional Connection: For individuals with Spanish ancestry, obtaining citizenship by ancestry allows them to reconnect with their cultural
    heritage and ancestral roots. It provides an opportunity to embrace the language, traditions, and values of their ancestors. This emotional connection to the country can be a significant motivating factor for individuals seeking Spanish citizenship.
  5. Access to Benefits and Rights: Spanish citizenship grants individuals a range of benefits and rights. These include the ability to live and work freely in Spain and other European Union (EU) member states, access to social services and healthcare, the right to vote in national and EU elections, the possibility of obtaining education benefits in Spain, and the opportunities of securing consular support from the Spanish government when facing an emergency outside of Spain.

Eligibility Requirements for Spanish CBA

Traditionally, one may potentially qualify to apply for Spanish citizenship by ancestry if one of the following applies:

  1. At least one of the applicant’s parent is a Spanish national by birth; or
  2. The applicant was adopted by a Spanish national prior to his/her 18th birthday.

In December 2007, the Official State Gazette published 52/2007 Historical Memory law to recognize and broaden rights to those who had suffered violence or persecution during Spanish the Civil War and Franco dictatorship. Then, with the introduction of the Democratic Memory Law on 19 October 2022, the opportunity for Spanish CBA is later extended to many more descendants of Spaniards. The Democratic Memory Law provides an opportunity for individuals with a parent or even grandparent who were exiled due to political, ideological, or belief-related reasons to reclaim their Spanish heritage and secure their rightful citizenship. Additionally, children born abroad to Spanish mothers who lost their nationality by marrying foreigners before the 1978 Constitution may also apply for Spanish CBA. 

Notably, successful applicants qualified for Spanish CBA under the Democratic Memory Law are not required to renounce their original nationality, making this an attractive option for many foreigners looking to secure a second passport.  While the above criteria are essential, it’s important to note that various requirements, exceptions, and additional factors may be taken into account in determining one’s eligibility for the program. Therefore, at Harvey Law Group, we adopt a case-by-case approach, carefully assessing each client’s eligibility for Spanish CBA and identifying potential challenges before assisting clients in the application process.


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    Spanish CBA Application Process

    Obtaining Spanish citizenship by ancestry involves navigating a meticulous application process that demands careful attention to detail. Prospective applicants must gather the requisite civil documentation, which include but are not limited to the applicant’s personal documentation and the birth certificates and marriage certificates concerning the Spanish ancestors and any intermediate generation linking the applicant to the Spanish ancestors. If any documentation is missing, a search may need to be conducted at the relevant government authority to retrieve the required documents before commencing the application process. Equally important is the accurate translation of non-Spanish documents by certified translators to meet the Spanish government’s standards. Furthermore, obtaining apostille certifications for all the relevant documents is essential to authenticate their validity for use in the application.

    Finally, the applicant must carefully complete the application form to ensure the provision of accurate and comprehensive information before the application is submitted to the Spanish consulate or embassy where the applicant is domiciled. After the application is submitted, applicants also need to monitor the application’s progress diligently to ensure timely response is provided to any requests for additional information issued by the Spanish authority. Given the complexity of the process, seeking professional guidance or legal advice can prove invaluable in navigating through the intricacies of Spanish citizenship by ancestry.

    Typically, the Spanish authority will take about 2 years to reach a decision on the application, but the actual processing time vary greatly from case to case depending on the completeness of the application, the complexity of the case and the processing capacity of the officer handling your file. Successful applicants would be given the opportunity to take the oath of allegiance to become a Spanish citizen and the Spanish citizenship would be subsequently granted. 

    Request more information about the Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry

    If you are interested in learning more, please contact your local HLG office for more details. Our legal experts will be pleased to extend their assistance, furnish you with comprehensive details about our services, and explain how we can aid you in your quest for Spanish citizenship based on your ancestral lineage.

    Founded in 1992, Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm with offices across Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to cater to your specific needs for immigration and beyond.


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