New GrandChildren Law: Spanish Citizenship by Descent

spanish citizenship by descent grandchildren

As you may know, there are several ways to get Spanish Citizenship. By origin, by naturalization, by residency, by option…

Of course having the Spanish passport is an ideal option for you: start living in Spain may be one of the best decisions you can take. Besides, it allows you to freely travel throughout Europe. 

But chances are that, up till now, you were not eligible. The law was too strict for your case. 

Nevertheless, a new law is about to come into force that can include an additional new path. A new path that can really help you out. 

And that is what we will cover today: Citizenship by descent for grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Are you ready?

When talking about obtaining Spanish Citizenship by descent, individuals were kind of limited. 

Because yes, those who were born to a Spanish mother or father could get it straight away. No doubt about it. 

Even more, there were additional situations, like adopted children under 18; or those born in Spain to foreigner parents if one of them was also born in the Spanish territory. 

And that is what constitutes Citizenship by origin

But what happens to their descendants? They were left out. 

But we will soon be able to expand the relatives eligible to Citizenship by descent. And that will be thanks to the application of a new law. 


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

the new citizenship law for GRANDchildren and GREAT-grandchildren

Those who weren’t able to obtain Spanish Citizenship due to what is called historic memory will now qualify for the new regulation. 

What does this new regulation consist on?

It’s simple: now grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be also able to get Citizenship, under some conditions.

But hold on for a second. 

Not all descendants will be eligible. The new regulation just foresees the possibility to concede Citizenship in 4 different situations. Let’s explore them into greater detail 

the 4 eligible cases

  • First of all, grandchildren from Spanish women who was born in Spain and married to non-Spanish individuals before the 1978 Constitution came into force.
  • Children of those who got the Spanish Nationality by origin (by historical memory, regulated by the law 52/2017), who could not become Spanish nationals when the law came into force because they were not over 18 years old at that time. 

*Bear in mind that this is the most typical case. Those individuals couldn’t undertake Citizenship by option when their parents got the nationality due to historical memory because they were overage. 

Up till now, they could apply for the arraigo familiar procedure (as they were children of Spanish citizens); but they can now request the Citizenship under the new descendant law

  • Grandchildren of Spanish nationals who left the country and obtained Citizenship of the country they moved to; hence losing the Spanish Citizenship before their children were born. 
  • And, finally, grandchildren of Spanish nationals that even being eligible to obtain it, they lost it because they did not express the desire to keep it after becoming overage (18 years old). 

how to get spanish citizenship by descent

Let’s now move to the most crucial part: the actual legal process. 

First of all you must bear in mind that the first 3 situations we presented would conform to Citizenship by origin, whereas the last one would be by option. 

Having that in mind we can move trough. 

You can submit your application to:

  • The Spanish consulate located at your country of origin if you are not in Spain.
  • The Central Civil Registry in case you are already in the Spanish territory.

In both cases you will have to book an appointment (several weeks ahead). 

During the day of your appointment, you will have to mainly submit the documentation that accredits you actually are inside any of the 4 before mentioned categories

This basically refers to your birth registration and that of your ascendants

The administration will have 12 months in order to emit a favorable response. 

*Bear in mind that you must have lived in Spain for a minimum of one year in order to request the Citizenship under the new law by descent. 

do you need legal assistance?

If you would like to read more on the most recent updates regarding Spanish Citizenship, you can do it here. 

Furthermore, if you feel you need specialized legal assistance to obtain your nationality in Spain, you are in the right place. 

Our immigration lawyer team in Spain is ready to help you out! Just send us an email and we will help you:

  • Define if you are eligible or not to get Spanish Citizenship
  • Help you manage the whole legal application procedure. So will just need to sign! We will be in charge of the rest. 

Becoming a Spanish Citizen may be easier than you think. You are now one click away!

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spanish citizenship by descent grandchildren

4 Replies to “New GrandChildren Law: Spanish Citizenship by Descent”

    1. Hi
      My grand mother was Spanish born in Spain and married to non Spanish man. Both are dead now.
      My mum managed to get her citizenship by option roughly 2 years ago and she was born in Lebanon.
      I heard I can apply for a spanish citizen due a new law coming into force by descent, and I have to be lived in Spain for a year? Can I apply without lived or being in Spain for a year ?

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