Is a Child Born in Spain a Spanish Citizen if Parents are Foreigners?

child born in Spain Spanish citizen

Today we are solving one of the questions we get asked the most. If I am a foreigner and my child is born in Spain, is he or she Spanish? What nationality does he or she have?

So, in this article we show you how to apply for Spanish nationality for your child step by step. In addition, we will see how you can benefit from it and get the residency thanks to the citizenship of your baby.

Let’s get started!

It depends. It depends on the nationality of the parents and what the constitution of their country states.

This is the first question we need to face.

As a general rule, a child born in Spain to foreign parents adopts the nationality of his parents. This is the case in a large number of cases.

However, there are important exceptions.

It is very likely that the country from which the parents originate does not recognize the nationality of children who are born abroad.

It is in these cases that the child will be able to obtain Spanish citizenship.

And it will do so through a procedure called nationality by presumption, regulated by Article 17.6 of the Spanish Civil Code.

This type of procedure is the process by which a child born in Spain will eventually become a citizen by option.

It was created in 1997 to solve a common problem.

In some cases, the parents’ country of origin does not grant nationality to their children if they are born abroad.

Thus, Spain, in order to protect the rights of the child and prevent him from lacking a nationality, grants this nationality on the basis of presumption. It grants the child Spanish citizenship.

Then, If I am a foreigner and my child is born in Spain, is he a Spanish citizen?

As we said, it will depend on the nationality of the parents.

There is a group of 14 countries whose constitutions do not recognize the nationality of children if they are born abroad.

It is in these cases that the baby can be Spanish after birth.

In other words, let’s take the example of a married couple from Argentina.

They both travel to Spain, where they have their son. But they still maintain Argentine nationality.

The child, having been born in Spanish territory, can obtain Spanish nationality by presumption, being Spanish by origin.

And this will happen as long as his parents deny him the Argentinean nationality, and his country of origin (as is the case) does not require that this newborn adopt the nationality of his parents.

Do you have any doubts? Get in touch with our immigration lawyers and receive personalized legal advice and all your doubts solved:

List of countries that can opt for this nationality

As we have said, it is an essential requirement for giving the child Spanish nationality that the parents are from a country whose constitution does not attribute their nationality to the newborn after birth.

In other words, the constitution does not recognize children born outside the country.

More specifically, parents must be from one of the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Uruguay

It is important that both parents are from one of these countries. And either because they are both from the same country, or because they are of different nationalities but both are included in the list.

Extra cases

But, in addition, we find the following two exceptions.

If a child is born to a Moroccan mother and the father is a citizen of one of these listed countries, and the two are NOT married, the child can also apply for Spanish nationality by presumption.

Finally, we also find the case of Palestine, although much more complex. It depends on the condition of the parents, the region of Palestine, etc. In this case, we recommend that you contact one of our lawyers so that we can analyze the viability in detail.

And what happens if the child's parents aren't from any of these countries?

If the parents are not from any of the countries listed below, good news.

The child can still obtain Spanish nationality, and quite simply.

The only difference is that in these cases, if the child was born in Spain, the first thing to do is to get a residence permit for the child.

After one year living in Spain with such a residence, he can then apply for citizenship.

And he can get it at any age. The only condition, if he was born in Spain, is that he must have lived legally in the country for one year.

How to concede Spanish citizenship to your children: legal procedure

In order for the child to obtain nationality by option, the first thing to do is to deny the child the nationality of the parents.

In other words, the child becomes stateless.

As the Spanish state wants to protect the rights of the child, it will then grant him/her Spanish nationality by presumption;  giving him one.

Thus, a file must be initiated at the Civil Registry corresponding to the parents’ domicile.

The most important thing is not to register the child in the parents’ country of origin, under any circumstances. In order to give the child the nationality, the following steps must be followed.

It will be at the Civil Registry when the following documents are provided.

Required documents

  • Certificate proving that both parents are from one of the listed countries.
  • The document that specifies that the child is not a citizen of the country of which the parents are nationals. This is achieved through a consular certificate.
  • City registry of both parents, in which the child must appear. This is obtained from the town hall.
  • Literal birth certificate of the minor, legalized in the Spanish Consulate or Embassy, and coming from the Civil Registry of the country where the minor was born.
  • Literal birth certificate of each of the parents, obtained at the Consulate.
  • Complete passport and copy of father and mother.
  • Family book, and copy, in which the son or daughter appears.

Can I get residency or nationality in Spain if my child is Spanish?

Indirectly yes.

That is to say, once our child born in Spain has obtained the nationality by option, its parents will be able to request what’s called arraigo familiar.

Once they have this status, they will become legal residents in Spain for one year, with the possibility of renewal.

From then on, their residence will start to count for the nationality, which for Latin American countries there is a 2-year requirement.

You can find here a complete guide about arraigo familiar so you can understand how to carry out this process.

But there is an even easier alternative: applying for a residence permit for 5 years as a parent of a Spanish child. This is a fairly recent residence permit and is much more beneficial than the arraigo in terms of application and conditions.

Get the nationality in Spain for your children now

Now that you know the whole process, do you still have doubts?

Our team of immigration lawyers is here to help you.

Send us an email with your current situation and we will respond in just a few hours.

Also, if you meet the requirements, we will manage the legal application process for you to obtain the nationality for your child.

Save time with us starting today!

Get in touch with our lawyers and let us guide you step by step:

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6 Replies to “Is a Child Born in Spain a Spanish Citizen if Parents are Foreigners?”

  1. Sir you have any solution without d2 exam because

    2018 i apply nationity wihout exam accourding dospensa law but they refuse then i appeal but refused result cadocado
    Meaning expire my file if u have any solution i need u help

  2. In case your citizenship was refused there is a possibility to appeal. However, we do not know your case and we do not know when the rejection was notified in order to be sure if you have time to do this appeal.

    Another option is applying again.

  3. I have live in Spain for 10 yrs now without ducument. Am planning to put in nationality for my daughter is 5 year now.lhow long does it takes before is issue spain passport?

  4. In order to be able to assess what would be the best option for you, ideally we would like to have a consultation with you so that one of the lawyers can advise you on your case. You can send an email to [email protected].

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