Citizenship by Descent

Spanish citizenship by Descent or Ancestry is open to a wide range of nationals, even those who do not have actual Spanish blood. This extends to nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or persons of Sephardic origin. Spain does not accept dual citizenship, but nationals of those countries won’t have to forfeit their citizenship. Americans cannot lose their citizenship via this process, either.

Spanish citizenship is one of the most valuable in the world. It allows visa-free travel to the US and Australia and enables one to live anywhere in the European Union. If you have ancestors from Spain, you could qualify for Spanish citizenship by descent and avoid the high cost of citizenship-by-investment. Global RCG services provide you with the opportunity to obtain your Spanish Citizenship through Ancestry.


You can apply under 3 categories for Spanish Citizenship by Descent:

  1. Spanish by birth: if one of your parents is a Spanish citizen born in Spain.
  2. Fast-track naturalization after 1 year: if you have a grandparent who was a Spanish citizen or a Spanish parent born outside of Spain.
  3. Fast-track to naturalization after 2 years: if you are a national of Ibero-American countries and of Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or persons of Sephardic origin.

If you are in category 1, simply visit the nearest Spanish consulate and get your identification made.

Fast-Track Naturalization To Spanish Citizenship

Naturalization to Spanish citizenship normally requires 10 years of continuous residence and the renunciation of your other citizenships. With the Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry stream, you can apply for naturalization after only 1 or 2 years of residence in Spain. Recently, the Spanish authorities relaxed their physical presence requirements for those applying through the ancestry stream. You are only required to spend no more than 3 months continuously outside of Spain (meaning you can travel back and forth every 3 months and only spend a handful of days in Spain a year, if that’s your desire).

Naturalization after 1 year:

  • For persons born in Spanish territory.
  • The widower or widow of a Spanish national, if, at the time of the death of the spouse, they were not separated in fact or legally.
  • Those born outside Spain to a Spanish father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all were originally Spanish.

Naturalization after 2 years:

For nationals of the countries below or persons of Sephardic origin:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico (U.S. Commonwealth)
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Residence Options / Resident Permit in Spain

If you qualify for fast-track naturalization, you’ll need to obtain a resident permit to be allowed to legally reside in Spain. To qualify for naturalization, you’ll need to have 1 or 2 years of residence. Residence means you spend less than 3 continuous months outside of Spain.  

You have a few options to gain a resident permit in Spain, but the recommended one is the Spanish Investor Residency program, also known as the Spanish Golden Visa. This is the favored option for HNWI since it offers more flexibility and security. Be aware that once your citizenship application is submitted, it takes 1 year for the Spanish authorities to process your request, meaning it will take 2 to 3 years from the moment you gain residence in Spain to the moment you become a citizen. This is why the Golden Visa is the recommended route, as others require annual renewals or have requirements to fulfill each year. Also, it’s the only way for you to dodge the Spanish Wealth Tax on your worldwide assets.

Capital City


Visa free countries

Schengen Area

Total area

505,990 km2


Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician





Time Zone

UTC⁠±0 to +1


Freedom of movement within the Schengen zone

Ranked #1 globally for ease of doing business

Ibero-American nationals gain citizenship after two years

Considered one of the best places for retirees given its affordable cost of living


Application Processing Time: 1-4 Years


Stage 1 - month 1

Before being able to apply for fast-track naturalization, you’ll need to gain legal residence in Spain. Choose your favored path and start gathering the relevant documents you need to apply. Application for the Investor visa is pretty fast and can be completed in 1 or 2 months.

2 1

Stage 2 - month 2

After you have landed in Spain, register with the municipality in which you will reside. You’ll have to be physically present for half of the year in Spain for it to count towards naturalization.


Stage 3 - Year 2-4

Once you are eligible to apply for naturalization (1 or 2 years of residence), gather your documents and submit your application (preferably online for faster processing). After 1 year, you’ll be notified of the decision. If the decision is positive, you’ll be asked to appear to pledge allegiance. You’ll receive your citizenship certificate shortly after that process is completed.

Spain Citizenship by Descent
Application Requirements

To be eligible for fast-track naturalization, you need to have spent eight months a year in Spain. To be able to legally reside in Spain, you need to first apply for residency. You can obtain a Wealth Visa or a Golden Visa for that purpose. Sephardic Jews are not required to be physically present in Spain during those two years.


Other requirements:



Week 1
Week 1
Verify eligibility
Week 1
Week 2
Week 2
Start client onboarding process with Global RCG
Week 2
Week 3
Week 3
Global RCG helps you gather the required documents with the help of our genealogist.
Week 3
Week 4
Week 4
Application for residency or citizenship is filed. Depending on your case, you might need to apply for residency first. The process to gain residency can take 1 or 2 months. After the one or two years of residency are met, you can apply for naturalization. The naturalization process can take 2 years.
Week 4

Do you qualify for Spanish citizenship?

Take a free eligibility test today! Your eligibility for ancestry-based citizenship will be determined within 48 hours by the internal genealogy team at Global RCG.

Download Our Factsheet

Do you need more information about the Spain Wealth Visa program? Download the complete factsheet below:

Required & Non-Required Visa Countries



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