Guide to Spanish Citizenship and Permanent Residence

If you want to live in Spain for a long time or stay to live, you will need to obtain permanent residence or become a Spanish citizen.

After you have been in Spain for five years, you are eligible for permanent residence, and after 10 years you are eligible for Spanish citizenship, although there are exceptions that allow some people to apply earlier, for example if you got married / got married for a Spanish citizen.

Both Spanish citizenship and permanent residency allow you to live in Spain, but there are some differences between the two.


Obtaining a long-term permanent residence permit in the EU allows you to remain a resident of Spain while maintaining your nationality and passport.

As a permanent resident of Spain, you will receive most of the same benefits that Spanish citizens enjoy if you fulfill certain conditions, such as providing financial support.

You can travel within the EU for a limited period of time and longer with permission.

However, if you become a Spanish citizen, you will have to give up your original citizenship and passport if you are not eligible for an exemption (see below).

You will enjoy all the same rights as other Spanish citizens, as well as become an EU citizen with freedom of movement throughout the EU. You also have the right to vote in European elections.


It is unclear how Britain’s vote to leave the EU will affect British expats living in Spain or looking to move to Spain.

British expats living in Spain are eligible to apply for citizenship if they meet the necessary criteria for EU access. However, this also does not oblige them to abandon the British.

British expats may also be asked in the future to apply for the Blue Card, an approved Spanish-wide work right that allows highly qualified non-EU citizens to work and live in Spain and the EU in particular.


Period of residence of five years for non-EU citizens allows you to obtain a “long-term residence permit in the EU”. This gives you the right to remain in Spain indefinitely or otherwise under the same conditions as residents of Spain.

You must prove that you have sufficient financial resources to provide you and your family (if applicable) – such as a pension, scholarship or salary – and proof of public or private health insurance with a company authorized to operate in Spain.

You may also be asked to submit:

Valid passport;
Proof of legal residence in Spain, for example. Long-term lease or lease agreement;
Criminal record certificate issued by the authorities in your country;
Medical certificate (certado medico), in cases where the applicant did not provide it when applying for temporary housing.
Proof that medical care is guaranteed during your stay in Spain;
Marriage or divorce certificate or other documents relating to your marital status (translated into Spanish if necessary).

Once you have this permit, you can work freely and enjoy social services and benefits in Spain. You can usually move between other EU member states for up to three months and longer for certain purposes if you have been granted permission to do so.

If you hold a Blue Card with another EU member state, have lived in another EU country for the same period, this also allows you to live in Spain for a long time, provided that you previously lived in Spain for 2 years.

If you have a long-term residence permit in the EU, provided by another EU country, in order to live in Isponia, you will have to cancel the long-term residence permit of another EU state and submit a corresponding application to the Office of a Foreigner (Oficina de Extranjeros) in Spain.


You are eligible to obtain Spanish citizenship after 10 years of residence in Spain. Also, there are options for obtaining citizenship through marriage or birth.

Among other things, you will need to prove your compliance – financial stability, no criminal record, the ability to speak Spanish.

You must apply for where you live in Spain. In addition, it is necessary to collect the relevant documents for your application for citizenship in Spain plus a completed application form for obtaining Spanish citizenship.

You are eligible to obtain Spanish citizenship if you are 18 or more, 14 years or more with legal assistance, or a guardian can do it for you.


Refugees wait only five years, while residents of Spanish-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and Sephardic residents only have to wait two years.

The Spanish government currently has a bill that is being passed through parliament, the goal of which is to amend legislation relating to Sephardic descent so that any applicant, Jewish or not, can fulfill certain criteria. For example links to Sephardic culture or even knowledge of Ladino, Judeo – Spanish, instant naturalization may be suggested – so stay tuned.

The required period in this case is only one year if you were born in Spain by a legal foreign resident, having married a Spaniard widowed by a Spaniard, or a child or grandchild (even if he was born outside the territory of Spain) from a Spanish citizen.


You are considered Spanish by birth if you:

Mother or father – Spanish citizens

Born in Spain to foreign parents, one parent must be born in Spain (except for the children of diplomats and consuls accredited in Spain).
Adopted by a Spaniard and under the age of eighteen, as well as over 18 years of age, and have been adopted in the past two years;
Were born in Spain to foreign parents whose identity is unknown or the country of origin is not determined.

There are also other situations in which you are eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship. Contact our specialist for advice.


You have the right to accelerate the acquisition of citizenship if you are married to a Spanish citizen for up to one year of residence in Spain.

The application and conditions follow the standard procedure for obtaining citizenship, unless you have to wait 10 years. You will need to surrender your existing citizenship to become Spanish.


Spain charges a non-refundable processing fee for your citizenship application, which varies and can range from € 60-100 even if your application is rejected. The fee can also be used to issue certificates and documents that are required for your application.


Please contact us to find out more about the possibilities of obtaining a residence permit in Spain, receiving an individual offer based on your requirements and a detailed calculation for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship in Spain.

To get a prompt consultation, call us by phone in contacts or write in the CRM form at the bottom of the page, and our specialist will answer you online on the question you are interested in.

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