If you have obtained Spanish nationality, the information in this article will be of crucial importance to you. Because unless you follow the steps and requirements mentioned here (especially if you leave Spain and use or get another nationality), you could lose your citizenship and be deprived of all the rights it has granted you.
Thus, in this post we will analyze the main causes and reasons for loss of nationality established by the Spanish Civil Code, what you can do today to avoid it, how to preserve it, and the most frequently asked questions about this topic solved.
Is it possible to lose Spanish nationality?
Yes, it is entirely possible for a foreigner who has obtained Spanish nationality to end up losing it (as we will now see, in cases where it is not used).
But before going into this particular situation in more detail, we must distinguish between two general assumptions, since it is actually not possible to lose it in all cases:
- First of all, we find the Spanish national of origin, who can never be deprived of Spanish citizenship (although she can lose it if she renounces it and decides to lose it voluntarily)
- Then, there is the citizen who is now Spanish by any of the different acquisition methods (for example through the nationality by residence or by option), case in which it will be possible to lose nationality
Although this loss is something uncommon or usual, it is something defined in articles 24 and 25 of the Spanish Civil Code, and our recommendation is that you continue reading to understand what reasons can lead to this situation.
For most of them can be easily avoided.
Main reasons for loss of citizenship
There are two main situations in which the foreigner would lose the Spanish nationality: the acquisition of a third nationality or the non-use of the Spanish citizeship within 3 years after its acquisition.
*The first case corresponding to the citizenship loss by requesting a third nationality does not apply to the countries with a double nationality treaty, as it is the case of the Ibero-American countries, Andorra, Portugal, or the Philippines.
That is to say, in short, in any of the two previous cases, not using the Spanish nationality for a prolonged period of time (3 years) but exclusively a third one (the one of origin or the one of a third country) would suppose the withdrawal of the Spanish citizenship.
To give an example, it would be the case of a Venezuelan citizen who obtained citizenship in Spain but later moved to Australia where she obtained there Australian nationality, and started to use exclusively the Australian one (or the Venezuelan one), but never the Spanish one.
In these cases, unless the foreigner goes to the Spanish consulate and states in writing her desire to keep the Spanish citizenship, he could lose it.
Finally, we also find two extra cases that could cause you to lose your nationality, although these are much more isolated and infrequent cases:
- Entering a political office or arms service in a foreign country when the Spanish government has issued an express prohibition to do so
- When there is a final judgment for falsehood, concealment, or fraud in the process of acquiring nationality
How to avoid losing your nationality
If you have Spanish nationality, you can move to a third country without any problem. Whether it is your country of origin or any third one.
Living outside Spain, per se, does not imply the loss of the nationality directly.
However, to avoid the loss, then, you will have to consider the following: there are two different alternatives or methods you can use within 3 years after obtaining citizenship.
We are talking about, either formalizing an intention act including your desire to keep the Spanish nationality or to use it in one way or another.
What does it mean to use the nationality? For example:
- Attempting to renew your Spanish passport, since that mere attempt is already considered proof of your intention to keep it (even if you have not made an act of manifestation)
- Exercising your right to vote from abroad (voting in regional or autonomic elections in Spain)
- Exercise your right to free movement within the EU granted by your Spanish passport (i.e. travel within the EU)
- Getting married abroad using a Spanish passport
- Any other similar action that requires the use of your Spanish passport or involves using the rights that were granted to you upon receiving citizenship
How does the loss process work?
This process of withdrawal or loss will generally be initiated by the Spanish consulate when the interested party tries to renew the expired Spanish passport.
This institution will initiate a withdrawal file, which first offers an allegation period.
In the case of not receiving any sufficient or valid allegations, the process ends with an inscription in the marginal of the birth certificate, which requires a resolution from the Civil Registry.
Therefore, one crucial point here is to make good allegations in order not to lose the nationality.
These allegations involve the attempt to demonstrate that, in some way or another, you have used the Spanish nationality in the last 3 years (following the examples seen in the previous section).
How to recover the nationality
If for any reason you have lost your Spanish citizenship, not everything is bad news. There is the possibility of recovering it (on certain occasions), and in order to achieve that goal the following requirements must be met:
- First of all, the foreigner must reside legally in Spain (so if she was abroad, she must return)
- It will be necessary to declare before the Civil Registry the will to recover it
- Finally, the recovery must be registered in this Registry
However, having been deprived of citizenship, it will also be necessary to receive an authorization from the Spanish government, which is granted in a discretionary manner.
And up to here everything you need to know to avoid the loss of Spanish nationality. If you have any doubts or would like our immigration lawyers to help you with any legal situation, do not hesitate to contact us.
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