Spanish Citizenship by Marriage

Spanish Citizenship by marriage

Is it really possible to apply for citizenship in Spain by marriage? That is a doubt many people who are married to a Spanish citizen have. And while it is true that the answer has nuances, in this article we will show you how you can get citizenship in Spain after marrying a national.

By having married a Spanish citizen, can I directly obtain nationality in Spain?

We are going to break a myth or idea that many people have in mind as truth.

While this was possible and true many years before and by then the answer would be yes… now, not anymore.

There is no such thing as attaining nationality by marriage.

How was the situation before?

From the 50s to the 80s, if you married a Spanish citizen, you could directly acquire the nationality from your partner.

However, in 1975 the Spanish civil code was modified. And it is from then on when the situation changed completely.

It then became impossible to get nationality directly after marriage. This is something we find indicated in article 22 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Anyway… don’t panic.

Marriage is one of the steps that will greatly accelerate the attainment of citizenship. It will help you immensely. That is something we already explored in our article including the main advantages of marriages between Spanish nationals and foreigners.

It won’t be as easy as in the past was. But it is still possible. And in this article, we will show you how.

Let’s study that in more detail.

How to obtain Spanish Citizenship by marriage step by step

The procedure is as follows. In the first place, the citizen who wants to obtain nationality must obtain a residence in Spain. This will be possible after having married a Spanish national. Then, you must demonstrate continued coexistence for a year in the Spanish territory with your spouse. Only afterwards will you be eligible to file your Spanish nationality.

Thus, we are talking about a nationality by residency procedure. No nationality by marriage. 

The only difference is the legal residence periods in Spain that are required for a successful application.


Do you have any doubt? Ask anything to our lawyers here and get an instant answer:

How many years do I have to reside in Spain to get this nationality?

Thanks to having registered your marriage, you will have the advantage of being able to reduce to a single year the time that you must live in Spain for the legal application (compared to the 2 or 10 years required on the rest of cases, depending on your country of origin).

Do we start counting the year to be lived in Spain once we get the residency or after the marriage is constituted?

The answer is simple: since the residence permit has been granted.

That is, you can have been married to a Spanish citizen for a longer period of time. The important thing (the requirement that will be examined) is that you have lived together for at least one year in the Spanish territory.

Requirements and Documents Needed for the Application

Each and every one of the requirements and documents are exactly the same as those required for the rest of the people who apply for nationality by residence. Without exception.

Thus, the Ministry of Justice will be the institution in charge of evaluating if you meet the necessary requirements to become Spanish and thus obtain your DNI.

What are the requirements and documents necessary to apply for citizenship by marriage?

-Pass the CCSE and DELE (if you are not Spanish speaking) exams.

-Have a residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen. This card must be valid during the legal application period, very important.

-Full passport.

Birth certificate of both your spouse and the principal applicant.

Criminal background check.

Census. Both members of the marriage must be jointly registered in the town hall. This will be the method of checking the continued coexistence for a year.

Marriage certificate. Keep in mind that if the marriage was registered outside the country, it must be registered in Spain before beginning the legal application procedure.

– It cannot be a civil union (“pareja de hecho”) or a divorced couple. The reduction to a single year would not be applicable in those cases. This is one of the main differences between marriage and civil union in which the first option is more recommended.

Integration with the Spanish culture.

– Demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means. In this case, it will be about 150% of the IPREM, about € 800 per month.

DNI of the Spanish citizen.

Remember that all foreign documents must have legal validity in Spain. If you want to know the procedure behind that, here you will find a guide on how to legalize or apostille foreign documents.

Which exams do I have to take to get nationality by marriage?

As for any citizenship application by residency, the necessary exams are exactly the same. You will have to take and pass the CCSE exam, and if you don’t speak Spanish, the DELE A2. Both exams are carried out by the Cervantes Institute.

How long does this nationality take to be processed?

Again,  the same as in other cases. Approximately 2 years.

However, as we have seen, the administrative litigation can expedite (and noticeably) the process; being able to get a positive response in a few months.

As for marriage, it will be important to also consider the timeframes as well.

That is because, in fact, depending on the region of Spain in which you live, it can take months after the registration is filed after its submission.

If you need help with the legal application process to get citizenship by marriage in the Spanish territory, let our immigration lawyers help you:

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Spanish Citizenship by marriage

10 Replies to “Spanish Citizenship by Marriage”

  1. sii quiro ayuda porfavor.. para tener nationalidad española ,,estoy casada con español y vivo en españa en 11 años. gracias..

  2. what do u mean by this sentence ?may u give examples?
    That is because, in fact, depending on the region of Spain in which you live, it can take months after the registration is filed after its submission.

    1. IT simply means that once you register marriage, it can take a while until it is fully legally registered, and you should also take that time into account.

  3. I am a British citizen by birth and have been married to a Spanish citizen by birth for 25 years. We live in England but want to buy a property in catalunya with the intention of spending most of the year there. How can l achieve this after Brexit?

    1. About the purchase, please note you need a NIE number in Spain in order to do the transaction.

      Related to your residence permit, it is not clear yet what will happen with Brexit. However, if you want to spend most of the year in Spain the best would be to get a residence permit as EU citizen before the Brexit.

      Please send us your consultation to so one of our lawyers can contact you.

    2. I’m a spanish citizen but I don’t have spanish nationality yet. Can i buy a property here without having a job contract so my pakistani spouse could obtain Spain residency? Also if I can buy a property, how much do i need to invest in order for my spouse to be able to obtain Spain’s residency?

      1. I do not understand what you mean with “I’m a spanish citizen but I don’t have spanish nationality yet”. You can only be Spanish citizen if you have the citizenship.
        If you want to invest in Spain in order to get a residence permit the investment must reach the 500.000€.

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