GrandChildren Law: Spanish Citizenship by Descent

11 Jan 2022
5 min read
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Discovery how to access the freedom and security mobility asset

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?

Citizenship by descent: how it was before

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.

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 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 3 different situations. Let’s explore them into 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 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.

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.

You are now one click away!

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“I feel like I literally owe my Spanish passport to Global RCG. If I had relied solely on the text in the newly-passed legislation passed last year called "La Ley de Nietos", I would have never have applied. Thanks to Global RCG, I learned that in fact, I'm perfectly eligible!”

Alex Arriaga

Washington, DC | Spanish Citizenship y Descent program