How to Get Citizenship in Spain?

Looking to change your lifestyle and move to Spain? Here we explain the different ways you can get Spanish citizenship.

The attraction of foreign people to live in Spain is undebatable. Over 5 million foreigners live in this country accounting for over 10% of the total Spanish population. 

The diversity of beautiful beaches, great mountains, unique culture, world renowned gastronomy and just an overall excellent quality of life, makes this country a top destination for foreigners who desire to become Spanish citizens. 

There are many ways that it is possible to achieve this. Some of them entail having some sort of Spanish background but other methods allow anyone to become a Spanish national. 

Today we will explain each and every way you can become a Spain citizen:

Citizenship by Marriage in Spain

If you get married with a Spanish citizen you are entitled to have a Spanish nationality. The only condition is to be a Spanish resident for at least 12 months. 

The other point to consider is to register the marriage in Spain as soon as possible. In the case of getting married abroad you can register this through a Spanish consulate where the marriage certificate has to be translated into Spanish. 

Citizenship by Descent in Spain

In most cases, getting citizenship by descent will not require any period or residency in the country. It can be done immediately if:

  • If your parents were born in Spain (it can only be one of them)
  • If you were born in Spain by foreign parents, but at least one parent was born in Spain. Children of diplomats and consuls accredited in Spain are exempt.
  • If you were adopted by a Spaniard and are under 18. If you are over 18, this must be done within the first two years.
  • If you were born in Spain by parents with undetermined origins (stateless or refugee status).

Other situations exist where at least a one year residency is required. These are for people born outside of Spain with parents also born outside Spain and with grandparents who were originally born in Spain. It also applies to those with Spanish guardians or foster parents. 

Citizenship by Residency in Spain

Residing in Spain for a long period of time without any long interruptions will grant you Spanish citizenship. These are the following criteria:

  • You have lived in Spain for at least 10 consecutive years (the date starts from the issue date of your first temporary residency permit).
  • During your first 5 years of temporary residence you have not left Spain for more than one year and have not been outside Spain for more than 6 months within a year. 
  • After 5 years of temporary residence, your permit becomes permanent. Now you cannot be more than 30 months outside of Spain during those 5 following years and cannot remain more than 12 continuous months abroad. 
  • You must also have a clean police record.

Refugees only need 5 years of residency to apply for citizenship. Citizens from Latin America, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, or Portugal need to only wait 2 years to apply.

Citizenship by Investment in Spain (Golden Visa)

In 2013 Spain introduced a new law that allowed foreigners to be able to get permanent residency if a person invests a certain amount of money in Spanish soil. If you keep the investment for 5 years you will be entitled for citizenship. This is an alternative method used by people with spare money who want to live in Spain. 

The minimum investment amount required changes depending on the type of investment:

  • Stock or shares investment in Spanish companies: 1 million euros
  • Spanish public debt securities: 2 million euros
  • Buy a property: 500,000 euros
  • Start a new business project in Spain: No money required, just a project that gives a major contribution to the Spanish economy.

We have a dedicated blog about the Golden Visa here.

Time to buy a property in Spain!


If you’re looking to buy a property in Spain and obtain the golden visa, at Properplan we can help you every step of the way. Our comprehensive platform offers a personalized service that includes property search, negotiation, financing, and legal closing. With our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction, we aim to make the buying process as seamless and stress-free as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can assist you in achieving your dream of owning a property in Spain and obtaining the golden visa.


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