If you would like to get Spanish nationality without extra requests by the government and without having to resubmit your application from 0 since it has been rejected… this post is for you. Next, we will analyze the 7 most frequent errors or reasons that could reject your Spanish citizenship application, and we offer key recommendations in each case so that you can avoid them.

Then, let’s see the complete list of the mistakes many foreigners make and that you should avoid, whether you have already submitted your application and are waiting for a resolution, or if you are about to do so:


Having a criminal or police record (and not canceling them)


We have included this error in the first place as it is undoubtedly one of the most important and frequent ones.

If you have a police record and/or a criminal record, your application for Spanish nationality will be automatically rejected.

Not having this background is one of the most important requirements for the procedure, and therefore its non-fulfillment means a direct denial.

Therefore, you must be very conscious during your time of residence in Spain (prior to the application) to avoid committing any type of crime or legal offense (of any kind).

We are talking about situations as apparently irrelevant as fines for testing positive in a breathalyzer test or for having exceeded the maximum speed limit on the road, which would mean a fault in your file in many cases irremediable.

However, there is a solution.

If you have a criminal record, you must follow 2 fundamental steps to ensure that your nationality application gets approved:

  1. Firstly, cancel them as soon as possible (and do not submit your file until this procedure is completed)
  2. Secondly, and in parallel, carry out any type of activity that demonstrates your good conduct and integration with society, in order to be able to build a much more favorable file in the eyes of the Ministry of Justice.


Failure to apostille, legalize or translate your documents (or doing so incorrectly)


Any foreign document you include in your citizenship application must be properly apostilled/legalized and translated.

This means that if you submit documentation that is not, the Ministry will not allow your application to move forward and will initiate a request process.

This will create a period of time for you to submit the documentation properly, so this error per se would not result in a rejected application.

However, it could generate irreversible problems if you do not respond to the requirement in an adequate manner (more on this in the last section).

Also, keep in mind that the documentation you submit cannot be expired or out of date.

Hence, even if you comply with all the requirements, make sure that your application does not get rejected since all the documentation you present is in force, correctly translated, apostilled, and legalized.


Not residing the necessary time in Spain, in full


As its name indicates, citizenship by residency requires you to have lived in Spain for a certain time as a fundamental requirement.

This time varies according to the applicant’s original nationality or status, and ranges from one year to 10 years.

The important thing to keep in mind, once you are clear about how long you must reside in the country legally, is to make sure that you comply with it 100%, without missing any single day.

Many foreigners (for example, Latin Americans who only require 2 years) submit their application one day before the total period is completed, and this invalidates 100% of their application.

Therefore, you must correctly count the number of days you have been in the country, compare them with how many days are required in your particular case, and until you have completed the full period, you should not submit your application.

And in order to correctly count that period you must make sure you do not make the mistake that we explore throughout the next section.


Counting periods of stay as periods of residency


It is possible that you entered Spain with your tourist visa, got a student visa, and then moved on to a work permit.

After a total of 2 years in Spain, you submit your application for nationality by residence.

And this is where you should be very careful since of that total time you should only count the months with a work permit.

The time with your student visa or tourist visa (periods of stay), are not considered periods of residence, so they do not count for Spanish nationality.

Assuming otherwise would lead you to compute extra time that you have not actually resided, thus submitting your application prematurely and generating a big rejection.

Therefore, start doing the calculation from the moment you get a temporary residence card, and not before.


Being outside Spain more than you should


Not only it is important to count residency periods, but also to make sure that those periods are continuous.

That means that you cannot be outside Spain for more time than allowed.

How much time are we talking about?

  • In case you can apply for citizenship just after 2 years in the country, make sure not to leave Spain for more than 3 consecutive months
  • On the other hand, if you fall under the general rule and can get citizenship after 10 years, don’t be outside the country for more than 6 consecutive months


Lack of joint census registration with your spouse


The “empadronamiento” or city hall registration is the document that confirms in which municipality and address you currently live, and with whom.

In the case of applying for nationality after only one year since you are married to a Spanish citizen, this document becomes a key piece in your application.

Failure to provide it in such cases would reject your application, in addition to being necessary to prove that both you and your Spanish spouse have been on that padrón for at least 1 year.


Responding to a request out of time (or not doing it)


We have seen in rejection reason number 2 that on many occasions the administration will initiate a requirement in case of having provided documentation with some error.

In these cases, you should be very attentive to any kind of notification, otherwise, you could lose your entire application.

This is because failure to comply with a request within the stipulated period will result in the rejection of the application.

It is true that if the documentation to be corrected comes from abroad, you can request an extension of 50% of the time you have been granted.

However, make sure that you submit everything within this period.

In addition, it will be key that you respond to the request in a legally correct manner.

For this (and to avoid any of the previous mistakes), we recommend you to count on the help of an expert team of lawyers in nationality.


At Balcells Group we will help you to prepare your nationality application, and we will do it in such a way that you avoid any and all mistakes that could lead to a rejection.

Contact us and receive personalized legal advice. 


Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts:


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