Access to spanish nationality

Foreign nationals may apply for Spanish nationality if they have resided in Spain legally and on a continuous basis for 10 years.

For those foreign nationals who have asylum and refuge status it is possible to apply for a visa within five years.

In two years for those people originally from Latin American countries, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or of Sephardic origin.

It may be obtained in one year only by those who were born in Spanish territory or who have been in the care of Spanish citizens or institutions for two consecutive years. It is also available to those who have been married to a Spanish national for one year, or a widow or widower if the couple were not separated at the time of the death. It may also be obtained in one year by those born outside Spain with a Spanish father, mother, grandfather or grandmother

Not all children born in Spain of foreign parents are Spanish, only those who according to Civil Law acquired Spanish nationality through residence not birth (simple presumption of nationality).


The process for acquiring Spanish nationality on the basis of residence starts online through the website of the Ministry of Justice.

It is not necessary to request an appointment or go to the Civil Registry. The procedure is dealt with at the Directorate General of Registers and Notaries.

Procedures for obtaining Spanish nationality may be carried out at the Getxo Civil Register.

Before presenting online a series of previous steps must be taken:

  • Take the Spanish nationality test.
  • Prepare the required documents for acquiring nationality:
  • The administrative fee should be paid before the application is sent.
  • Even though it is recommended to make the application online it is also possible to do so in person :

Further information

Consult what stage the paperwork is at for issuing resident permits by nationality

Further information on other ways of acquiring Spanish nationality

Nationality examinations

Those foreign nationals who wish to begin their application for Spanish nationality on the basis of residence will have to pass the examination for the Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE, level A2 or higher), as well as the examination that accredits knowledge of the Spanish Constitution and the social and cultural reality of Spain (CCSE, constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain).

Minors and those deemed legally incapacitated are exempt from doing these tests.

They are exempt from taking the DELE test:

  • Those persons who have previously obtained the diploma with a minimum A2 level. In this case, basic knowledge of the Spanish language must be accredited by providing the corresponding official certificate from the Cervantes Institute (el Instituto Cervantes).
  • Those nationals of countries where Spanish is an official language: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The organisation in charge of running both examinations is the Cervantes Institute (el Instituto Cervantes).

Having previously applied to the Ministry of Justice, they may also be exempt from the CCSE and DELE tests:

  • Those who have passed the Obligatory Secondary Education (ESO) course in Spain.
  • Those who are unable to read and write.
  • Those who have learning difficulties.

Further information

Application procedure

To apply for the examination and access the material it is necessary to register as a user on the Cervantes Institute’s (Instituto Cervante) website. In order to do this an email address must be provided.

Once registration has taken place, the Cervantes Institute’s (el Instituto Cervantes) website can be accessed from the user’s private account where among other things, study material can be found, registration can be made, the examinations CCSE and DELE can be paid for, and the certificates of the examinations that have been passed can be downloaded.

Registration cost

  • CCSE: 85 euros.
  • DELE: 124 euros.

Registration can be paid for by credit card, debit card or PayPal.

Where and when?

The examinations can be sat anywhere on Spanish territory, in any of the exam centres recognised by the Cervantes Institute (el Instituto Cervantes).

In the case of the Basque Country, it is the University of Deusto that acts as the exam centre on their campuses in Bilbao and San Sebastián.

The examinations take place on the last Thursday of every month (with the exception of the months of August and December when no examination is held), according to the timetable set by the Cervantes Institute (el Instituto Cervantes).

Validity and duration of the certificates

For the CCSE Examination: the duration of the certificate for having passed the examination is 4 years from the convocation date of the examination that the candidate sat.

For the DELE : the validity is indefinite, once the certificate has been awarded its validity does not lapse.

Further information

Persons with special needs

The Cervantes Institute (el Instituto Cervantes) can facilitate access to the CCSE and DELE examinations under special conditions to those people who are in the following situation:

1) Those persons who have some type of disability (temporary or permanent), or learning difficulty:

  • Reduced, partial or total visual disability.
  • Reduced, partial or total auditory disability.
  • Reduced mobility.
  • Learning difficulties (dyslexia or dysgraphia).

2) Those persons who reside in enclosed religious orders or those who have been hospitalised for a period of more than 2 months.

Further information