Reasons that Can Get Your Spanish Citizenship Application Rejected

reasons that can reject you citizenship application

You must avoid these 7 mistakes! There are many foreigners who apply for citizenship with all their illusion and determination to see that their application is finally rejected. And even though that happens quite often, it should not be that way.

In this article, we have gathered the most frequent mistakes and errors that may reject your application. So keep reading to discover the main reasons that can deny your Spanish nationality file, and what to do in each case.

After 2, 5, or 10 years in the Spanish territory waiting for the moment, you finally prepare all the documentation (something that takes a lot of time) and submit your application for nationality.

The worst thing that could happen, especially considering the current waiting times (which can be up to 3 years), is that your application gets rejected and you have to start the process all over again from scratch.

However, avoiding this is relatively simple.

The first thing you need to do is to perfectly understand all the requirements you must meet, in detail.

But that is often not enough, because many applicants overlook crucial (but small) details that end up rejecting your application.

Hence, here is a list of the 7 most common reasons that can lead to the rejection of your nationality application.

Within these points, we find two different groups: document-related reasons, and time-related reasons (related to the fulfillment of the time required in Spain to apply for nationality).

Let’s take a look at them in depth.

Not living in Spain for the (total) required time

The most basic requirement to obtain nationality by residency is to have resided a minimum of 1, 2, 5, or 10 years (depending on the group in which you find yourself) in Spanish territory:

  • 1 year for foreigners married to a Spanish citizen or children of Spanish nationals of origin
  • 2 years for citizens of Latin American countries, Equatorial Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, or Andorra
  • 5 years for refugees
  • 10 years in all other cases

But, although this is the most basic requirement, many foreigners tend to fail here.

And they do it by a minimal and quite simple mistake, but that can cost them the whole file: they fail just by a few days.

If you miscalculate the deadlines and submit your application when you have not yet reached the total time required (for example, by just one day), your file will be denied.

So, the recommendation here is key. 

Make sure you have completed 100% of the stipulated time, and avoid submitting on the same day that you meet the deadline (do it the next day).

If for example you are from a Latin American country and you only require 2 years to obtain the nationality, make sure you have renewed your first residency card and there is still less than a year left for the second renewal.

And if you are in the general case of 10 years, make sure you have renewed your second long-term card before you start the application.

Counting stay periods as residency periods

Periods of stay do NOT count or compute as effective time to obtain nationality in Spain.

This means that time spent on a tourist visa, or even time spent in Spain on a student visa cannot be counted towards the total calculation.

This may come as a surprise to many foreigners.

For while for long-term residency the time on a student visa counts for half, in the case of citizenship it does not count at all.

So for the calculation of the 1, 2, 5, or 10 years, you will only be able to use the time you have been in Spanish territory with a residence card.

Leaving spain for more than is permited

The third reason for denial is undoubtedly very common.

For the law establishes that the residence in Spanish territory necessary to obtain citizenship must be legal and especially continuous.

What does it mean that the residence must be continuous?

That you cannot leave Spain longer than the allowed time if you want to avoid breaking this rule.

The question then is how long you can stay out of Spain to avoid being denied the application.

The answer depends:

  • We are talking about not more than 3 continuous months if you are required 5, 2, or 1 year of residence.
  • And not more than 6 months if you are required 10 years of residence (general case).

So another key recommendation: do not leave Spain for more than this time.

Having criminal and/or police records

Having a criminal or police record will be a reason for direct rejection (or at least a request) in the vast majority of cases.

Therefore, this point is crucial, because you can get your application rejected for something as simple as receiving a fine for speeding (reckless driving) or having tested positive in a breathalyzer test.

Our recommendation here is twofold.

On the one hand, try to be as cautious as possible during your time of residence in Spain in order to avoid any type of legal non-compliance, no matter how small.

And, on the other hand (and in case you have a criminal record in Spain), you should cancel it before starting your nationality application

In this article, you can find out how to cancel a criminal record, and learn more about the difference between having a criminal record and a police record.

However, and it is important to emphasize this, many times canceling your record will not be enough and as far as obtaining the nationality is concerned your record would not be completely clean.

In other words, your application could still be denied.

It will then be fundamental that you can demonstrate your good conduct and integration with Spanish society in order to guarantee a successful application.

Lacking a joint cityhall registration

If you are in the first case (nationality by marriage, in which you can obtain citizenship after only 1 year in Spain as a resident), the padrón becomes a key document in your application.

It will be essential that both you and your spouse are registered at the same address, and that this has been the case for at least 1 year.

Otherwise, your application for nationality could be denied.

What can you do if you do not meet this requirement?

To solve this problem, you could add other evidence to prove that you are living together, such as bills showing the same address.

Submitting incorrect documents

No document that you include within your application can contain any error or mistake.

What do we understand as failures?

Basically, submitting documents that are incorrectly legalized or apostilled (or documents where this has not been done when necessary), submitting outdated documentation, submitting documents from abroad that have not been translated, etc.

The key here is to carefully study the list of requirements in detail and to understand which documents are necessary to demonstrate compliance, and how to process them.

And for this, it is always best to have an expert immigration lawyer who can guide you step by step and prepare the file for you to ensure that there are no mistakes.

While this will often not result in a definitive rejection of the application, it will usually end in a request; something that will delay your wait much longer.

And this brings us to the next point.

Ignoring a request from the Ministry

Let’s suppose that you have made the mistake of the previous point, and for example, your file is missing some specific document.

In this case, the Ministry of Justice will initiate a request that will allow you to correct the error and provide such documentation.

In those cases, and if you do not respond to this request, or if you respond incorrectly or after the deadline, your application will also be denied.

Therefore, our recommendation is to be very attentive to all communications and notifications from the Ministry, and in case of a request, be quick to process it correctly.

Keep in mind that it is possible to ask for an extension of the deadline or an extension to complete the request if the document is outside Spain (you would have 50% extra of the time granted).

What can you do if your citizenship application got rejected?

Let’s suppose that you have complied with one of the 7 reasons we have seen above, and your application for Spanish nationality has been denied.

What can you do? Do you have any options?

In general, you have two different options:

  • You can file an appeal for reconsideration in case you do not agree with the decision, or a contentious-administrative appeal (through the courts).
  • Or you can resubmit your application from 0, which is often ideal since appeals can take much longer

In any case, in the event of a rejected application, it is best to have a law firm to ensure the final success.

This will be essential to analyze your file in detail, understand what has gone wrong, and plan properly in order to finally obtain the nationality.

Whether your file has been rejected or you would like to avoid being denied nationality, our team is at your complete disposal to guide you step by step.

Contact us below and get started today.

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

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reasons that can reject you citizenship application

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