GrandChildren Law: Spanish Citizenship by Descent

grandchildren law in Spain

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 came into force that includes 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. The so called “Ley de Nietos” or Grandchildren Law.

Are you ready?

When talking about obtaining Spanish Citizenship by descent before, those who were eligible were limited. 

 Those who were born to a Spanish mother or father could get it straight away. No doubt about that. 

Then, 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. 

This is what constitutes citizenship by origin

But how about the grandchildren of Spanish individuals? They were left out. 

Now, however, the relatives eligible to citizenship by descent have been expanded. This is thanks to the application of the Grandchildren’s Law. 


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

The new citizenship law for 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 of?

It’s simple: now 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 only foresees the possibility to concede citizenship in 3 different situations. Let’s explore them in greater detail.

Can you benefit from the Grandchildren Law in Spain?

As stated in the final instruction officially published in the BOE (Boletín Oficina del Estado), there are 3 groups of individuals who will be able to benefit from this law:

  • First of all, grandchildren from Spanish women who were born in Spain and married to non-Spanish individuals before the 1978 Constitution came into force; and lost their Spanish citizenship due to that marriage.
  • 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 until now, they could only apply for the arraigo familiar procedure (as they were children of Spanish citizens); but now they can request Spanish citizenship under the new descendant law.

  • Children or grandchildren born outside Spain of a Spanish father, mother, or grandfather/grandmother who was exiled and left Spain for political, ideological, or religious reasons or for reasons of sexual orientation and identity; and who, due to such exile, lost or renounced their Spanish nationality.

How to get Spanish citizenship by descent

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

The first thing you will need to do is to prepare all the documentation that proves your kinship with the former Spanish citizen (this refers to your birth certificate and that of your ascendants), as well as any evidence that proves the exile, persecution, and renunciation of citizenship.

All in all, you can then send your application to:

  • The Spanish consulate is located in your country of origin, if you are not in Spain
  • The Central Civil Registry in case you are in Spanish territory
  • The online platform that will be enabled to process all these applications.

For now we do not have all the information on how exactly the application procedure will work, but we will inform you as new instructions are published.

Get personalized legal assistance to apply for the Ley de Nietos

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 after the Grandchildren Law
  • 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!

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

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grandchildren law in Spain

4 Replies to “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 ?

  2. Hi!

    We would need to analyze your case in-depth to define if you are eligible or not. So we would really appreciate if you could send us an email at [email protected] for that.


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