I have connections with Spain. Can I apply for a Spanish Passport so I can keep my European status in the event of a potential hard-brexit?
Now that Brexit has been implemented, some British citizens with connections with other European countries are considering applying for dual citizenship (nationality) in those countries to which they have a close connection (whether is by blood or marriage), so they can keep a European passport.
We will briefly explain in this article how British citizens with connections with Spain can apply for a Spanish passport. You will note that not everyone with links in Spain qualifies automatically for a Spanish passport. However, there are numerous cases where a Spanish passport can be obtained.
See below a summary of the most common questions that our clients have been asking to us after Brexit in this regard:
I have a property in Spain, and I spend my holidays there with my family. Can I apply for Spanish Passport?
NO. Owning property and spending holidays in Spain, even if you have been doing so for a long time, will not allow you to apply for Spanish citizenship.
My partner is Spanish. Can I apply for a Spanish Passport?
NO/YES. Being married to a Spanish citizen, even if you have children together, does not entitle you to become a Spanish national. However, if you are resident in Spain, have been living in Spain, legally and continually, for the last twelve months, and you are married to a Spanish citizen, then you are entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship.
I am currently living in Spain. I am retired and moved to Spain some years ago.
NO/YES. The residence is one way to be able to apply for Spanish passport. However, there is a limitation period of 10 years. If you have been living in Spain, legally and continually, for the last ten years, then you are entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship.
There are some exceptions that may allow you to apply before the end of the 10 years period. A Spanish lawyer, or ourselves if you do not have one, should be able to advise whether some of the exceptions to the rule will apply to your case.
My parents are/were Spanish but I am British and I donâ€™t have Spanish Passport. Can I apply for it?
YES. If your father or mother are/were Spanish but you do not have a Spanish passport because you were born in the UK and they did not register your birth in Spain, you can still apply for a Spanish passport.
You will be considered a Spanish national â€œby originâ€ as you are already considered Spanish by Spain. However, there are some formalities that you should follow to obtain a Spanish passport.
First of all, you will need to register your birth at the Spanish Civil Registry and once you have your Spanish Birth certificate, you will be able to apply for Spanish passport. Once again, a Spanish lawyer should be able to help with the paperwork if you prefer to get some assistance.
Can I be I sure that I will not lose my British nationality?
Although the United Kingdom and Spain have not signed any dual citizenship agreement, at present there is no reason to think that you cannot hold both passports.
At present, current laws in the UK allow British citizens to be British and to have a passport of certain countries. Dual citizenship is therefore allowed in the UK in certain cases, such as with Spain. You can therefore apply for a Spanish passport and keep your British citizenship. Â
Spanish law only accepts dual citizenship or nationality with some countries (the UK is not one of them). However, as the UK accepts dual citizenship, to avoid losing the Spanish citizenship, a formal statement needs to be made if you want to keep your Spanish citizenship, within three years from having obtained the Spanish citizenship. With that statement before the Spanish Authorities, you will not lose your Spanish citizenship.
How should I proceed if I am entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship?
You can see the legal requirements to apply for Spanish nationality on the Spanish Government website (www.mjusticia.gob.es) or contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulates in the UK (www.exteriores.gob.es). Doing the process yourself is free so you only will need to pay some taxes and stamp duty.
You can also contact a Spanish lawyer to assist you with the procedure. The Spanish desk of Gunnercooke www.gunnercooke.com provides a tailored service for this type of matters.
Claudia Font & Antonio Guillen