In this article you will learn everything you need to know about how to get Spanish citizenship as a Sephardic Jew, corresponding laws and application procedure. Not only we will talk about the exact deadline, documents, and requirements. We will also explain what you can do to get a European passport after that deadline is over.
Are you ready? Then keep on reading!
What is the nationality for Sephardic Jews?
Spanish citizenship for Sephardic jews is one of the main ways to obtain nationality in Spain. It enables you to get citizenship in the country without the need to live in Spain for the usual 10 years that are required for non-EU citizens. With this law, any Sephardic Jew who is a descendant of those who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century can immediately get citizenship.
Furthermore, another of its main advantages is the fact that it does not require you to renounce to your current citizenship.
The law that regulates the Sephardic Citizenship in Spain
As you already know, the Ministry of Justice created a few years ago the specific bill that granted Spanish nationality to the Sephardic community.
The initiative was created with the intention to amend the actions carried out by Spain in 1492 that expelled Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. That resulted in the approval of this act in June of 2015.
Initially, that law was set to last until October of 2018. Nevertheless, it was extended until October of 2019.
Last deadline and extension
If you are reading this article and discovering this path of obtaining nationality in Spain for the first time after 2019, you won’t make it on time anymore.
As we mentioned, the deadline was over in October 2019. So any application that starts afterwards won’t be accepted. If you want Spanish citizenship, you will need to go after any of the other possible paths.
Nevertheless, not everything is bad news.
Provided that the applicant, the Sephardic Jew, started the application procedure and had a case opened before the 1st of October (2019), good news!
He or she will be able to take both exams (DELE A2 and CCSSE) after that period, and the application would still be valid.
This means that, if you did not have a chance to take both exams at the Instituto Cervantes because there were no available spots, that won’t be a problem.
If that is the only reason, you will be able to take the exams afterwards. You should then include a proof of the registration for your exams, and that’s it.
Furthermore, if you are also missing the origin certificate from the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, you also have a green light. In this specific case, you should include a document that demonstrates how that document is being processed, which you can download here.
The 3 Requirements for obtaining the Spanish Sephardic Passport
There are two main steps that you must go through in order to obtain Spanish nationality as a Sephardic jew, plus some additional requirements:
Proof of Sephardic status
First of all, the applicant needs to demonstrate that she actually has a bond with the Spanish community. The proof of Sephardic status will be confirmed through the contribution of the following certifications (you just need to submit one of them):
- Certification from the President of the Jewish community from the birth or the residential area.
- Certification provided by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain.
- Certification from the Rabbinic authority, a document that must be legally recognized in the residence country.
Regarding the first and the third points, the applicant can include a certification from the President of the Permanent Commission of the Jewish Community Federation in Spain that demonstrates the authority of the Rabbinic authority or the President of the Jewish Community.
How do demonstrate the validity of the required documents
In order to demonstrate the suitability of those documents, the applicant must also contribute with:
- A copy of the original bylaws of the foreigner religious organization.
- Certification from the foreigner authority containing the names of those that have been designed as legal representatives.
- Certification that demonstrates that the foreign authority is legally recognized in the country of origin.
- Certification emitted by the legal representative of the corresponding entity demonstrating that the Rabbi is in an operative status and currently complying with the established requirements set on the statutes.
- Ladino o “haketia” proof of use.
- Birth or marriage certificate, called “ketubah”, demonstrating the celebration in the Spanish tradition.
- A report that credits the belonging of the applicant surnames into the Sephardic lineage of Spanish origins.
- Any other circumstance or condition that demonstrates clearly the Sephardic Jew condition of Spanish origin.
Proof of special connection to Spain
Here, you will need to prove sufficient links to Spain. And that basically means demonstrating your Sephardic ancestry.
You can do that by using different probatory means, and again, the regulation lets you choose between:
- A certification (that must be emitted by a private institution or by a competent agent) of the culture and history of Spain.
- Knowledge test of the ladino or “haketía” language
- Proof of the belonging from the applicant in the protected Sephardic families of Spain, or of the direct ancestry of any Spanish citizen.
- Fulfillment of charitable, cultural or economic activities that go in favor of Spanish institutions or citizens. All those contributions to activities that have the aim to spread and preserve the Sephardic culture will also be sufficient.
- Any other circumstance that can demonstrate a clear belonging to Spain.
Finally, there is a set of general requirements any applicant must also meet:
First of all, you need to identify yourself. Therefore a copy of your passport is the first thing you need to get. Also, the applicant must present a birth certificate, which must be legalized (apostilled) and translated into Spanish.
As with all the other evidentiary documentation, all the foreign documents to be presented must be translated by an official translator. This process is called translating for legal equivalence.
Any other document that attests to your identity will be valid.
Exams to get Sephardic Citizenship in Spain
- The first exam you will need to pass, in order to demonstrate your basic knowledge of Spanish, is the DELE. Getting an A2 or plus level is required in order to grant the passport. But, wait a moment! All the native Spanish speaking countries are exempt from taking this exam.
- CCSE exam. This is the exam that lets you prove your knowledge of the Spanish Constitution and the cultural and social reality in the country.
All of these exams will be evaluated by the Cervantes Institute.
Do you have doubts regarding any of the requirements needed to get the Sephardic Jew Spanish Citizenship? Let us know in the comment section down below!
How to apply for the Sephardic passport step by step
If you want to get the Spanish nationality as a Sephardic Jew, you will need to go through a process that can seem a bit tedious sometimes. There is some paperwork to do, but we are here to help you. This article works as a step by step guide for an easy application.
Which are the required steps you will need to take in order to get your Sephardic certificate? Basically fulfilling, one by one, all the requirements we went over in the past section:
- Prove your Sephardic condition
- Study and pass the two nationality exams
- Go over a criminal background check
- Prove your links with Spain
Once you have all the documentation prepared, you can send it to the immigration office in Spain. Our advice is to do it online for a faster response.
How to get Sephardic citizenship after the deadline
What happens if you completely missed the deadline? We have some good news.
There is still the option to get an EU passport, with all the advantages that offer (free movement within the EU area, the possibility to work anywhere,…).
Because you can still make it in Portugal, and with no deadline to worry! The requirements are the exact same and we can also help you out.
If you need more information, let our expert team assist you.
Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts: