Acquiring Spanish Citizenship

Not to be confused by the popular book by the same name, “The New Spaniards” was the headline for an article in yesterday’s free daily newspaper ADN: Madrid edition. I was reading it on the bus while heading downtown. It’s also relative to a previous blog entry, “The “Spanish Image” for Travelers“.

The official title of the ADN article is/was:

Los Nuevos Españoles
22.309 Extranjeros [in Madrid] se Nacionalizaron en 2007
(“22,309 Foreigners [in Madrid] became Spanish Citizens in 2007”)

Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to this article on their website but here are some of the points which I found interesting:

  • In 2007 41% more foreigners in Madrid became Spanish citizens than in 2006
  • Carabanchel, a Madrid district, had the highest percentage of immigrants with 23%, 59,000 total
  • Barajas, also a Madrid district, had the lowest percentage of immigrants with 16%, 5,400 total
  • MY district of Latina had second highest percentage of immigrants with 18%, 49,000 total
  • According to a census, today there are 548, 456 foreigners in Madrid – 2,348 less than in 2007

The largest foreign populations in Madrid are nationals from Ecuador with 101,687 total and Romanians with 57,082 total. I’m rather surprised the highest foreign population isn’t from Morocco – or maybe they’re filed in a different category.

I have to wonder if the above numbers are ACTUAL totals or just REGISTERED totals. I would imagine many many foreigners are “off the books”, illegal, and uncounted. It seems to me the count is based on a census so these would be REGISTERED numbers of foreigners.

To acquire Spanish Citizenship, the general rule is that one must first have Spanish Residency for 10 years before applying. HOWEVER, different categories of people carry different lengths of time before one can apply.

  • citizens of Latin American countries, Andorra, Philippines must have Spanish residency for 2 years
  • refugees must wait 5 years before applying for Spanish citizenship
  • a one year wait is for those born in Spain, non-Spanish spouses of Spaniards, widows/widowers of Spaniards, and those born outside of Spain by a Spanish father, mother, or grandparent

Once applying for citizen, the average wait for approval/denial is between 18 and 24 months. Wow. One must pass an interview where you show that you have lived legally in Spain and that you have been paying Social Security taxes. Once approved for Spanish citizenship, one must then take part in a “Swearing In” in front of a judge where you promise your allegiance to the King and the Constitution of Spain.

Will I choose to take Spanish Citizenship some day? I don’t know. While the United States does allow duel citizenship for its citizens, Spain does not. “Spain says” that if one receives Spanish Citizenship the recipient must then denounce his other citizenship – but they don’t walk you to your embassy to follow through with the process. That’s your responsibility.

 
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