Spain Explained

Could you be a Spanish national?

Last updated on October 28th, 2019 at 04:59 pm.

As concern about what  Brexit will mean for those living in another European country rises, some people have wondered just what it would take for them to go one step further and become a Spanish citizen. Until now, the benefits of this move for those living in the EU have seemed small.

Yes, a Spanish national has their own identity card or DNI which means that they don’t need to carry their passport with them. If you are a Spanish national you can also vote in the general and regional elections and there are some jobs that you can hold here that you couldn’t otherwise. However, overall, there are few more benefits than this and those coming from an EU country have generally not seen the benefits of changing their passport, until now.

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Living and working in Spain is perfectly possible for people originating from outside of the EU. There are already many people living here who do not come from an EU country and manage perfectly well within the Spanish system. However, life isn’t as easy for them and seeking out and gaining Spanish nationality is something of a business here. A business that is set to spread to those coming from Britain too. Some lawyers and other individuals have set up courses and preparation opportunities, for a fee of course.

You automatically have Spanish citizenship if one of your parents is Spanish, you were born in Spain and one of your parents was born here or you were born in Spain of foreign parents who have no nationality. Most foreigners must have lived in Spain for at least ten years to apply. However, if you have been given political asylum you can apply after five years and nationals of Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and Jews of Spanish origin can apply after two years.

The Spanish citizenship test

The requirement to pass a Spanish citizenship test was introduced in October 2015 and requires that you have to pass two exams that are based on Spanish language and culture. The test itself costs €85 but people are also investing in tuition to help them answer the questions.

So what is actually involved?

There is a total of 25 questions and the whole exam is written in Spanish. It is divided into two categories:

  • The Spanish constitution and territorial and administrative organization (60% of the questions)
  • Spanish culture, society and history (40%).

Applicants are given 45 minutes to answers the questions and the threshold for passing is 15 out of the 25 questions answered correctly. Once you have passed the exam then you can apply for nationality.

The questions that the Local has published include:

  • In what year did Madrid become the capital of Spain?
  • Who is the secretary general of Spain’s Podemos party?
  • Which river runs between Madrid and Barcelona?
  • Who is the Princess of Asturias?
  • Can you name five Spanish islands?
  • What does a tortilla de patatas, a cocido madrileño and a paella valenciana consist of?
  • Define section 149 of the Spanish constitution
  • Who won the Spanish Civil War?

How many of these can you answer? The point made in the article is that this test could equally challenge some Spanish nationals themselves. The state  school system here does mean that many pieces of factual information are taught to young people – of course whether they remember them or not is another matter. Whether such a recalling of facts is a real test of integration could also be questionned.

If you want the answers to these questions you should visit ‘Spain’s citizenship test: eight questions‘.

How do you apply?

If after seeing this sample of questions, you still want to apply for Spanish nationality then you must make a formal application to the Minister of Justice and you will be checked against police records to ensure that you do not have a criminal record. You cannot have dual nationality so must surrender your British nationality if you wish to become a Spanish citizen. You must swear allegiance to the King of Spain and swear to abide by the Spanish constitution and laws.

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You will also need:

  • your passport from your country of origin
  • your birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) which must be translated and officially verified
  • criminal record check from your country of origin
  • padron
  • diploma from the Cervantes institute (CCSE) and record of language proficiency (DELE)
  • proof of payment of the €100 fee

It is a big step for people to take but with fears surrounding Brexit mounting it could well be an option that those able will want to pursue.

For more information

If you would like to have a go at a test.

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30 June, 2016 4:41 pm

Does being married to a
Does being married to a Spanish lady entitle one to become a national?

Suzanne O'Connell

6 July, 2016 7:50 am

You can apply for Spanish

You can apply for Spanish nationality after having been married for a year to a Spanish person but you do still have to take the test. Of course, the marriage must be a genuine one. 

Peter Dare

1 July, 2016 8:03 am

What would the requirements
What would the requirements be if you married a Spanish national? Would citizenship be automatic if required or would you still have to comply with the examinations etc?

Suzanne O'Connell

6 July, 2016 7:51 am

You can apply after a year

You can apply after a year for Spanish nationality but, yes, you must still take the test. 

Maureen Moss

2 August, 2016 11:54 am

Thank you for this
Thank you for this information. Where and when do the tests take place? Does one apply directly to the Minister of Justice in the local area?
Also, how does one get the diploma from the Cervantes Institute and the DELE? (I have been teaching Spanish to ‘A’ level standard for many years, but have neither of these, only an ‘A’ level myself).

Suzanne O'Connell

4 August, 2016 11:40 am

Hi Maureen

Hi Maureen

I believe that the DELE tests take place in different local areas and you will find a timetable for your own local area. 

The timetable for 2016 is: You need to apply to an exam centre locally. You can search the exam centre here: I'm not sure about whether your existing A level would be sufficient or not and you may have to take the exam anyway. 

To answer your questions about the Spanish general knowledge test you should visit the Cervantes site at  


Carlos Lavictoire

9 May, 2017 5:41 am

Hello, my mother is Spanish
Hello, my mother is Spanish national currently living in the UK. I am a UK national. Am I entitled to Spanish citizenship and would I be required to sit the citizenship test?

Suzanne O'Connell

9 May, 2017 8:06 am

Hi Carlos

Hi Carlos

Having a Spanish mother you are considered to be a Spanish national by origin and therefore do not have to fulfill the residency requirements. You can find out more about the details of what you need to do for your situation by looking online at 

Imam Hossain

29 June, 2017 8:54 pm


My wife is Spanish and we live in UK , we got married in March 2015 in UK and now we want to move t Barcelona to live.

I would like to know what I need to do to get resident card and citizenship of Spain. When I apply for citizenship of Spain will I have to take a Citizenship test or not ?

Thank You

Suzanne O'Connell

13 July, 2017 7:38 am

Hi Imam

Hi Imam

It seems that you still have to complete the same process of applying for Spanish citizenship as other people but it is fast tracked from you having to have lived ten years in Spain to only one year. I believe that you will still have to take the citizenship test. 


15 March, 2019 10:21 am

I have a niece who has a
I have a niece who has a Singapore citizen but she is born in Spain.. She has a permanent resident card.. She wants to apply for Spanish citizenship n she will be 21 in April… My question is, does she need to sit for culture exam n how long will it take for her to get her Spanish passport after aplicación? What documents does she require besides her birth certificate.. Her parents have libro familiar as well..

Thanks n your early reply will be appreciated

Suzanne O'Connell

27 March, 2019 4:40 am

Hi Kavita

Hi Kavita

She doesn't need to apply for the language level exam. She can claim the citizenship at the embassy in Singapore.