the Art of being legal


After a few years of residence in Spain, a foreign citizen living in our country may apply for Spanish nationality.



Spanish nationality can be obtained if one has resided in Spain for ten years legally, continuously and immediately before the application. However, there are cases in which the period of residence in our country may be reduced to acquire Spanish nationality by residence. We refer to periods of:

  • Five years, for foreigners who have obtained refugee status.
  • Two years, for those citizens of Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or persons of Sephardic origin.
  • One year, if the foreign citizen is among one of the following cases:
    -Born in Spanish territory,

    -That he/she has not duly exercised his/her right to acquire the Spanish nationality by option,

    -Who accredits having been legally subject to the guardianship, guardianship or foster care of a Spanish citizen or institution for two consecutive years, even if he/she continues in this situation at the time of the application,

    -The one who at the time of the application has been married to a Spanish citizen for one year, as long as he/she is not legally or de facto separated,

    -The widow or widower of a Spaniard, and as long as at the moment of the death of the spouse he/she was not separated, in fact or judicially, and

    -The one born outside Spain, of father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, as long as all of them have been originally Spanish.


Nationality is the legal bond that unites any person with the State. It also has a double aspect: on the one hand, it is a fundamental right and, on the other hand, it constitutes the legal status of a person.

Thus, when you have Spanish nationality, you not only have certain rights that are enforceable by the Spanish State, but in return, you must also comply with a series of obligations, just like any other Spanish citizen.


engin-yapici-aF7_ZKJChK4-unsplashIn some cases it is possible to have two nationalities. In fact, some countries allow that when obtaining the Spanish nationality one is not necessarily obliged to renounce the pre-existing nationality, which undoubtedly entails many advantages.

The concurrence of two nationalities in the same person has as a consequence the possession of a double legal bond. Therefore, being a citizen of two countries, any person with dual nationality enjoys the full legal status of "belonging" to both States. However, it is important to know that having dual nationality does not mean that one is simultaneously subject to the legislations of both countries but, on the contrary, a series of means are articulated to give preference to one or the other nationality so that, in this way, one has a point of reference as far as citizen-state relations are concerned. For this reason, it is important to have a professional expert in nationality matters to analyze well what is regulated in the dual nationality agreements that are in force, and in this way to have all the necessary information, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the new condition of dual nationality. In this regard, it should be noted that the habitual residence is usually taken as the point of reference so that the persons concerned are not constantly subject to both legislations, but rather only to that of the country in which they actually have their habitual residence. This applies, for example, to the granting of a passport, diplomatic protection, the exercise of civil and political rights, labor and social security rights, etc...


The most common cases in which we can find ourselves facing a loss of Spanish nationality are usually when you are emancipated, reside abroad and voluntarily acquire another nationality, without knowing the consequences of this. Also, when you use exclusively the nationality that was attributed before the emancipation or the majority of age.

Nevertheless, counting on the legal advice of a professional in migratory matters it is possible to have the precise information to know the way to avoid the loss of the Spanish nationality. By way of example, this circumstance would occur when, within three years, the will to continue conserving the nationality is declared. This is important, if you do not want to have unpleasant surprises and therefore, I insist, it is crucial to have preventive advice and legal guidance from a lawyer expert in procedures and management in immigration, as this will inform you first hand on how to exercise this right to retain nationality before the Spanish Consulates in the foreign territory in which the dual national is located. Let us not forget that nowadays, our consular offices and embassies are the ones that perform the functions of the Civil Registry in this regard.

How to OBTAIN the Golden Visa

Special interest for foreign citizens who obtain the residence in Spain after an important real estate investment (500.000 euros), or what is the same, the so-called GOLDEN VISA residents:

At Conesa Legal we have strong know-how in real estate investment. We are observing that Spain is becoming more and more attractive for many citizens of other states, who decide to invest in  real estate, not only to reside with their families, but also to rent or even to undertake a professional activity on their own or behalf of others.

Moreover, we note that the investor's residence is the only one that does not have an obligation of permanence in Spain for its renewal. Indeed as an investor one is not obliged to acquire the fiscal residence. The residence authorizations known as Golden Visa are valid for two years and to maintain and renew the visa, the investor will only have to enter Spanish territory at least once a year. Also, he/she will be able to renew his/her residence indefinitely, logically, as long as he/she maintains his/her investment. If he does not maintain it, there are ways to change the residency card, once the specific cause has been logically studied and the alternatives to be implemented have been analyzed.

After 10 years, the investor may also obtain Spanish nationality. This term will also be reduced if the investor is a national of a Latin American country or if we can apply to his situation one of the possible cases of reduction of residence terms referred to at the beginning of this article.

For more information you can contact us here: on the contact page, we will be pleased to help you.

Fecha de publicación: 19 July 2021

Última actualización: 17 April 2023