Spanish Citizenship by Option: Nationality for your Children

spanish citizenship by option

The process to get Spanish nationality as a foreigner presents different opportunities: there several ways to do so. There’s, for example, the nationality obtained after certain years lived in the country (being 2 for Iberoamerican citizens or more for the rest); or the nationality by descent. And there is also the path we will explore today: Spanish citizenship by option.

So if you would like to know how to get citizenship for your children, stay tuned. What’s next is a complete guide that tackles specifically that topic. 

Once you have obtained Spanish citizenship yourself, you can initiate the procedure to get the nationality for your children thanks to that. That procedure will be carried out in the country of origin (or in Spain, as we will see) and it is called citizenship by option.

It’s one of the ways you have to reunite with your children in the Spanish territory.

Once formalized, your son or daughter will receive, without the need to travel to Spain, a Spanish birth civil registry (“literal de nacimiento” in Spanish). With that, she can request Spanish passport for herself.

Then, she will be able to travel to Spain, being in 2 months, 2 years, 10 or never. That is entirely up to her.

This procedure is recognized in the Spanish Civil Code within articles 17, 19 and 29.

Which are the main benefits of this type of nationality?

This type of nationality creates two main advantages. 

First of all, what you will be doing as a parent is opening tons of opportunities for your children. You are enabling them to move and work to any European Union country; and to travel to countries such as the US, Canada or Japan without the need to request a visa

Also, your grand-children, as they will themselves be the children of Spanish citizens, will directly become Spanish by birth

Who can request it?

Basically, there are the following groups of individuals who can request citizenship by option for their children:

  • Those who are or have been subject to the parental rights of a Spanish citizen. This simply means that, if at the moment the father or mother obtained Spanish citizenship themselves the children were already 18 or over, this process won’t be possible. In those cases, citizenship by residency would be the go-to option (provided the requirements are met).
  • Children of parents who were Spanish or were born in the country. This option can be formalized any time, no need to worry about timings.
  • Those adopted by Spanish nationals after being 18 years old.
  • When the filiation took place after the descendants turned 18.
  • Children born in Spain through presumption, meaning that their parents were not Spanish and from a country that does not recognize nationality if the child is born abroad.

Do you have doubts? Get personalized advice from one of our immigration lawyers:

For who is this type of nationality?

As a parent, you can get citizenship by option for your children who are under 18 years old. 

Nevertheless, in some specific cases, it can work for those who are aged below 20. How is that possible?

Because children have the right to claim their citizenship during 2 complete years. Therefore, they have time until the day before in which they turn 20. 

How to get Spanish Citizenship by option step by step

In order to understand how the legal procedure works exactly, we need to know first who will carry the process and where. 

Who can formalize the application?

It depends:

  • If the son or daughter hasn’t turned 14 years old yet, it will be her legal representatives the one formalizing the application.  
  • If she is between 14 and 18, or if she is disabled but the disability sentence allows it, it will be herself the one requesting the nationality, assisted by her legal representative. 
  • And, finally, those who are over 18 years old or emancipated will present the application themselves. 

Where should you initiate the procedure?

But we now need to know where the application process starts. Again, it depends on the children situation:

  • If she is living in Spain, the application must be submitted at the civil registry of her municipality. 
  • If she, as usually happens, is living abroad, the Spanish consulate located in the country of residence will be the place. 

So, basically, and to sum up, if the children are in the country of origin, the procedure will be carried there. If they are in Spain, in Spain.

*Nevertheless, there is an exception. If your son or daughter is younger than 14 years old, it is possible that you, as a parent, are allowed to formalize the application there where you are currently living. 

Documents and Requirements

The process is really simple easy. You, as a parent, will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are Spanish.
  • Demonstrate your identity (trough passport/ID)
  • Provide declaration signed at the notary in which you declare that you want to get citizenship for your child.

You will send those documents to your child or lawyer that represents her on the country of origin.

And, then, she will need to get an appointment at the Spanish consulate, where she needs to submit:

  • Her passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Notarial authorization
  • Migration movements
  • If she is under 18 years old, power of attorney from her parents
  • The required forms, filled out

Bear in mind that documents like the birth certificate must be legalized or apostilled


How long does it take?

The process is kind of fast (especially if you compare with the rest of the nationality application procedures). It will take, in total, 1 year approximately from start to finish. 

Once you submit your application (being at the consulate in the country of origin or in Spain), you will get a response in 6 to 12 months

At that moment you will be called for the swearing part; the signature that formalizes the nationality).

Then, within 1-2 months, you will be able to get your Spanish passport.  

If you need legal assistance getting Spanish citizenship, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be in charge of the whole process from the beginning to the end:

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

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