Many foreigners find love in Spain and decide to get married. That, without a doubt, generates many benefits, such as the ability to easily obtain residency. But is it really possible to obtain Spanish citizenship by marriage? Discover how (including the complete list of requirements) in this article!
Is it really possible to obtain Spanish Citizenship by marriage?
Short answer: yes, it is possible to get Spanish citizenship through marriage; but not directly. Let’s explain how it works.
Before, things in Spain were different.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, you obtained Spanish nationality directly after marrying a Spanish citizen. That simple.
Nevertheless, in 1975 the Spanish civil code suffered important modifications, and one of them eliminated this possibility.
Hence, nowadays you don’t get Spanish citizenship just because you have married a Spaniard. This option does not exist anymore.
But not everything is bad news. And that is because marrying a Spanish national can yield great benefits when applying for citizenship, as it is the path that allows you to obtain it faster.
How does marrying a Spanish citizen benefit a foreigner when obtaining nationality in the country?
Among other benefits (which you can learn here), as a foreigner living in Spain, you will benefit from this legal union, especially because it greatly reduces the amount of residency years required to obtain it.
The general rule states that, as a foreigner, you can apply for Spanish nationality after 10 years in the country as a legal resident.
But if you have married a Spanish citizen, those 10 years are reduced to just 1.
Hence, you still need to apply for the Spanish nationality for residency as any other foreigner would, but enjoying that important time reduction thanks to your kinship bond.
How does this work exactly? We can then divide the process into the following steps.
Step by step process to obtain citizenship by marriage
The first step in the process will be to get married with the Spanish national.
That is something you can do directly in Spain entering as a tourist, or from your country of origin.
But be careful! Marriages registered outside Spain must be first validated in Spain.
Once the marriage is registered, you must apply for your Spanish residency. But as you will now be the family member of an EU citizen (your spouse), you can easily obtain a 5-year residence permit, which is called “tarjeta comunitaria” (family member of an EU citizen visa).
Once you are granted this visa, you must remain in Spain for one year, and once this time period comes to an end, you can then submit your citizenship application.
Here you will face one of the harsh truths of the Spanish immigration system: obtaining citizenship takes a lot of time.
Even though the general rule states that you must obtain your resolution in one year, it is not uncommon to experience 1 or 2 year delays.
Nevertheless, as you will be the holder of a 5 year residency card, you will get your resolution before the time to renew your card comes, so your condition as a legal citizen will not change.
Bear in mind that, even though registering your relationship through a civil partnership will also allow you to obtain the family member visa, it does not offer the same time-reduction benefit for citizenship.
What are the main requirements?
In order to submit your citizenship by marriage application, you must make sure to include and meet the following requirements:
- You must pass the DELE A2 (language test) and CCSE (Spanish cultural exam), taken at the Cervantes Institute
- Include your full passport (must be valid at the application time) and NIE
- Birth certificate, from yourself and your spouse
- Criminal background check
- City hall registration (called “padrón” in Spanish), in which both you and your spouse must appear as living under the same address for the past year. Not including this document will get your application rejected, so it is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the process.
- Marriage certificate, which must be formally registered in Spain
- Proof of having sufficient means to sustain yourself in the country, in this case, 150% of the IPREM
- Your current residence permit
- Finally, bear in mind that you will have to pay an application fee, which is about 100€
How long does it take to obtain Spanish nationality by marriage?
As we have seen so far, nationality by marriage is nothing more than an accelerated way of obtaining nationality by residence.
This means that in order to know how long it takes to obtain it, we must consider how long the Ministry is currently taking to grant nationality resolutions in general.
There is no difference or distinction.
Thus, as of today, we are seeing faster resolutions. While it is very complicated to give an exact time frame, you should keep in mind that you will most likely wait between 6 and 12 months in total.
This is an estimated waiting time, obviously, considering that the file is correctly prepared and there is no additional requirement from the administration.
Hence, if you would like to make sure that your citizenship by marriage application gets successfully accepted, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team of expert immigration lawyers will guide you step by step and prepare all the documents on your behalf, helping you enjoy an effortless application: