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How to get Spanish citizenship?

Spanish law provides for several official methods of obtaining citizenship (or citizenship, since Spain is a monarchy by form of government). A general requirement that applies to all applicants is mandatory residence in the country. Its term can be from one to 10 years, depending on the chosen basis for acquiring citizenship.

You can become a Spanish citizen either in general or in a simplified manner.
You can get Spanish citizenship both in general and in a simplified order stillfx / Depositphotos
The easiest is for those lucky enough to be born in Spain. At the same time, it is not at all necessary that the parents (or one of the parents) of the child be citizens of this country. Children born in Spain from foreigners will also be able to get a Spanish passport; those whose father and mother are unknown, as well as children adopted by Spaniards under the age of 18 years. Such applicants will only have to live in the country for a year, and their applications for citizenship will be processed in a simplified manner.

In addition, after a year of residence in the country, they can apply for citizenship:

foreigners who entered into legal marriage with Spanish citizens;
foreigners whose father or mother, as well as grandfather or grandmother were Spanish by origin;
widows and widowers who officially lived with their deceased spouse (Spanish citizen) for at least a year.
A slightly longer period — two years — would require legally living in the territory of the country for people from Latin America, Andorra, the Philippines, and Portugal who wish to change their citizenship to Spanish. The same requirement applies to the descendants of the Sephardic Jews, expelled in the XV century from the Iberian Peninsula. In addition, to apply for Spanish citizenship can be persons who have received refugee status. In this case, the minimum period of residence in the country is increased to five years.

Provided in the legislation of Spain and exceptional cases where the decision on the granting of citizenship is made at the discretion of the authorities. For example, in 2004, it was proposed to become Spanish subjects to victims of a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid, as well as to members of their families. The authorities can also grant citizenship to those who have lived in Spain for a long time, considered themselves its citizens (unaware of their real status), used all public services, performed their civic duties, and also demonstrated good behavior and respect for Spanish laws.

For all other applicants, a naturalization procedure is provided, which obliges them to reside in the country for 10 years at least 183 days a year. But even in it there are exceptions stipulated by the program of so-called “golden visas”. This option of obtaining citizenship is suitable for investors who want to make a contribution to the economy of the country.

“Golden visa” to Spain
The program for issuing “golden visas” involves the investor receiving a primary residence permit (permit) in return for a contribution to the country’s economy. Subsequently, on the basis of this document, the investor may apply for citizenship of the Crown, in fact, obtaining Spanish citizenship for investment.

According to Transparency International estimates, since the program was launched in 2013 by October 2018, more than 24,000 foreign citizens have become owners of “investment residence permits” – Spain turned out to be one of the most attractive for investors in European countries. The most active Spanish investment residence permit is acquired by citizens of China and Russia.

Spanish passport
Participation in the program for the issuance of “golden visas” will subsequently help to obtain a Spanish passport in a simplified manner. Alfonsodetomas / Depositphotos
Spanish law offers investors a choice: to invest in financial assets (government debt (€ 2,000,000), stocks and equity in companies with Spanish capital (€ 1,000,000), investment funds established in Spain (€ 1,000,000), banking deposits of Spanish financial institutions (€ 1,000,000)), in real estate (€ 500,000) or in Spanish business projects of particular socio-economic interest. In the latter case, the significance of the project and the investor’s contribution will be assessed by the Directorate General for Trade and Investment (DGCOMINER).

For those who plan to obtain a Spanish investor visa, real estate investments have traditionally been the most popular, and this is due not only to the relatively low “entry threshold”. The object of investment can be both commercial and residential real estate. At the same time for the Spanish authorities it does not matter how the owner will exploit the object – for personal residence or rental.

According to JLL, the return on investment in real estate in Spain is up to 4.2%. The average interest rate on mortgage loans is 2.38%, while the average cost per square meter is estimated at € 2,893 (Numbeo statistics).

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