The Grandchildren Citizenship Law or Law of Democratic Memory has been extended and you can still apply for it. This allows children and grandchildren of Spaniards to obtain Spanish nationality directly, without the need to live in Spain for any minimum period of time!

In this article, you are about to learn everything you need to know about this new law and how to benefit from it, as well as the 3 scenarios that have been included.

How to obtain Spanish nationality as a child or grandchild of a Spaniard


In 2007, the Law of Historical Memory was published in Spain, which allowed many foreigners descending from Spaniards to obtain citizenship in the country.

But many political parties felt that this measure was not enough, and that greater efforts should be pursued to expand it.

After different actions, the Law of Democratic Memory was finally created to pursue this aim. 

This law was approved in the Congress of Deputies on July 14, 2022 and at the Senate on October 5, 2022.

This law of Democratic Memory (also known as the Law of Grandchildren) now allows a much larger number of foreigners descending from Spaniards to obtain nationality.

More precisely, it is a nationality by option, that will allow the children or grandchildren of Spaniards to obtain the nationality directly from the consulate (without the need to have resided in Spain for a year as they have had to do until now) thanks to their direct link with Spain (the family relationship).


The 3 assumptions for applying for nationality under the Democratic Memory Law


Can you really benefit from this law?

It depends. For the answer to be affirmative, you must make sure that you are in one of the following three cases.

That is, you can apply for nationality under the Law of Democratic Memory if you are:

  1. Children or grandchildren born outside Spain of a Spanish father, mother, or grandfather/grandmother who was exiled and left Spain for political, ideological, or belief reasons; or due to her sexual orientation; and who due to such exile ended losing or renouncing their Spanish nationality. Their children or grandchildren will be able to apply for nationality through Article 20 of the Spanish Civil Code.
  2. The sons and daughters born abroad of Spanish women who lost their nationality by marrying a foreigner before the entry into force of the Constitution of 1978.
  3. The sons and daughters over 18 years old of those Spaniards whose nationality of origin was recognized by virtue of the right of option in accordance with the Law of Historical Memory (Seventh Additional Provision of Law 52/2007 of December 26) or of the present Law of Democratic Memory.

The first two options correspond to nationality by option, while the last one to acquired nationality.

This last point is fundamental, because as you can see, the adult children of those who can avail themselves of the Law of Democratic Memory (which will enter into force soon), WON’T be able to obtain their nationality.


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Documents required to apply for the Grandchildren Law


The documentation you will need to provide must meet two main objectives:

  • First, to demonstrate the kinship bond between the applicant and her ascendant (the original Spanish citizen who lost his or her nationality)
  • On the other hand, to demonstrate that this ancestor who would have been Spanish was exiled or persecuted (the reason that made her lose nationality)

Let’s find out the complete list of documents that must be provided in each case, which, remember, must always be duly legalized and/or apostilled; and in the case of documents not written in Spanish, officially translated.


Documentation to prove the family relationship


To prove that the applicant is really a descendant of the original Spanish citizen, the following documents must be provided:

  • Identity document
  • Literal certificate of birth of the applicant
  • Literal certificate of birth of the ascendant (father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother) of the applicant that had been Spanish originally
  • In the case of requesting the law of grandchildren by a grandparent, it will also be necessary to provide the literal certificate of birth of the father or mother that corresponds to the family line of the original Spaniard


What happens if there is no birth registration of the Spanish parent or grandparent?


In such cases, the baptismal certificate from the parish or diocesan archives can be provided, along with the negative birth registration certificate issued by the corresponding registry.


Extra documentation if your mother lost her citizenship as she married a foreigner


In the case of loss of nationality, because the applicant’s mother married a foreigner before the entry into force of the Constitution of 1978, extra documentation must also be provided, as long as the marriage was contracted after the 5th of August 1954.

This documentation must prove the acquisition by the mother of her husband’s nationality and a document certifying the foreign legislation on the acquisition of nationality by marriage in force on the date on which the marriage took place.


Documentation to demonstrate the condition of exile


Before looking at how this is demonstrated, we must bear in mind that just those who left Spain AFTER 1936 and up to 1978 will be considered exiled. All those who did so before will not be considered as such.

Thus, we find two groups of exiles:

  • Those who went into exile between 1936 and 1955 are presumed to be exiles, but they will have to prove that they left Spain, entered the country of destination, and thus lost their nationality
  • Those who went into exile between 1955 and 1978 must prove their exile status


In order to demonstrate the condition of exile (second group), it will be able to be demonstrated through some of the following proofs:

  • Documentation that accredits having been a beneficiary of the pensions granted by the Spanish Administration to the exiles that prove directly and by itself the exile
  • Documentation from the United Nations International Refugee Office and the Refugee Offices of the host States that assisted the Spanish refugees and their families
  • Certifications or reports issued by political parties, trade unions, or any other entity or institution (whether public or private), recognized by the Spanish authorities or the State of reception of the exiles, which are related to the exile, either for having suffered exile its members, or for having excelled in the defense and protection of the Spanish exiles, or for currently working in the moral reparation and the recovery of the personal and family memory of the victims of the Civil War and the Dictatorship. In the latter case, this documentation must be accompanied by:
    • Passport or travel title with entry stamp in the host country
    • Certification of the Spanish Consulate’s registry of registration
    • Certifications from the Consular Civil Registry certifying residence in the host country, such as marriage registrations, birth registrations of children, and death registrations, among others.
    • Certification from the local Civil Registry of the host country certifying having acquired the nationality of that country
    • Documentation from the time of the host country showing the year of arrival in that country or the arrival there by any means of transport
  • For the purposes of exercising the right of option recognized in the first paragraph of section 1 of the eighth Additional Provision of Law 20/2022, the condition of exile will be presumed with respect to all Spaniards who left Spain between July 18, 1936, and December 31, 1955, and in these cases, the departure from Spanish territory must be accredited by means of any of the documents listed in this point.
  • Finally, it will be essential to prove the condition of exile when the exit from Spain took place between January 1, 1956, and December 28, 1978.


Where to apply?


Once you have all the documentation ready (something we can help you to do to ensure that you meet all the requirements correctly), you must submit it all together. 

But, where?

You can start the process either in Spain or in your country of origin, so it is not necessary to travel to Spain to apply for the Grandchildren’s Law.

Thus, in both cases, you will present all the documentation either at the Civil Registry located in Spain or at the consular Civil Registry in your country of origin.

In the case of presenting the documentation in a Civil Registry in Spain, it will always be sent to the Civil Registry of your country of birth for its qualification.


Until when is the Grandchildren Law valid?


The Grandchildren Law is valid until the end of 2025. Initially, this law was meant to last for two years: October 2022 to October 2024.

Luckily, it has just been extended one more year.

You still have time to apply for your nationality under the Law of Democratic Memory.

Hence, if you wish to benefit from this Spanish citizenship by origin law, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you out with the entire application. Start today!


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