As a foreigner in Spain, you may obtain Spanish nationality due to residency, personal ties with Spaniards or exceptional circumstances.

It should be noted that you will not be considered to be a native Spanish citizen (espanyol d'origen) if you obtain Spanish nationality. That status only corresponds to people with a Spanish mother or father, minors adopted by Spaniards, people born to foreign parents in Spain if they are not given their parents' nationality or if their parentage is uncertain, and people born in Spain to a parent who was also born in Spain.

It is possible to obtain Spanish NATIONALITY DUE TO RESIDENCY (NACIONALITAT PER RESIDÈNCIA) if you are able to prove to the registry of births, deaths and marriages (Registre Civil) that you have been legally resident in Spanish territory for a certain period of time, the length of which varies depending on your original nationality.

Generally speaking, you will be required to accredit a period of legal residency of 10 years, with the following exceptions:

  • 5 years if you have refugee status.

  • 2 years if you are a national of a Latin American country, Portugal, Andorra, Philippines or Equatorial Guinea, or a Sephardic Jew.

  • 1 year in the following cases:

    • People born in Spain.

    • People married to a Spanish citizen for at least a year, provided that they are not legally or de facto separated when applying for Spanish nationality.

    • People who have been placed in the care or custody of or fostered by a Spanish citizen or organisation for 2 consecutive years.

    • People who have not exercised their right of option in relation to citizenship.

    • Widows and widowers of Spanish citizens, provided that they were not legally or de facto separated at the time of the death of their spouse.

    • People born outside Spain and whose parents or grandparents were native Spanish citizens.

The Government of Catalonia will also issue the integration reports for foreign applicants to the nationality due to residency. Additional information can be obtained at:  

It is possible to obtain Spanish NATIONALITY DUE TO THE EXERCISE OF AN OPTION if you can accredit personal or family ties to Spanish citizens. This applies, for example, to people over whom a Spaniard has or has had parental rights, or whose mother or father is a native Spanish citizen born in Spain.

Lastly, it is possible to obtain Spanish nationality through discretionary naturalisation (la nacionalitat espanyola per carta de naturalesa), which is granted by a governmental royal decree under exceptional circumstances, such as serving Spain in the military, sporting, cultural, economic or political arenas.