One of the news of the year 2022 in Spain and in almost all Latin American countries, at least in terms of migration, has been the implementation by the Spanish government of the so-called Law of Grandchildren or Law of Democratic Memory. With this law, thousands of children or grandchildren of Spaniards, even great-grandchildren (under certain circumstances), will be able to apply for Spanish nationality.

This legislation is a way of settling Spain's debt with its most recent past. It is a safeguard of the memory of a country that, hit by a Civil War and 40 years of dictatorship, wants to offer the descendants of those exiled by the barbarity a way to recover the nationality of their relatives. It is, in short, a way to do justice to the past.

In this article we will try to summarize, in ten key points, the concepts that everyone should know about the so-called Grandchildren's Law.

1) Half a million people in 1939...

Just one fact shows the barbarity of the military coup d'état of 1936, the ensuing Civil War and the immediate Francoist repression of the people: in the first three months of 1939 alone, half a million Spaniards were forced to leave their country, most of them heading for France.

Many stayed in France, where they were caught up in World War II. Others went to Latin America. Still others returned to Spain to, for the most part, experience the effects of repression. But few, if any, returned to the country they had left behind.

2) ... and the millions who went into exile afterwards.

In any case, the exiles due to the Civil War and the 40 years of Franco's dictatorship did not occur only in 1939, far from it. The Grandchildren's Law considers all Spaniards who left the country between July 18, 1936 and December 31, 1955 to be exiles.

If the departure occurred between January 1, 1956 and December 28, 1978, the current applicant must prove with documentary material that his or her ancestor was, in fact, an exile.

3) Two years from October 21, 2022.

Applicants will have until October 21, 2024 to apply for Spanish nationality through this Grandchildren Law. Exactly two years from the date of its approval. It is also foreseen that the law will be extended for 1 more year, starting on October 22, 2024.

4) Three new cases to apply for nationality.

This Law of Democratic Memory, through its eighth additional provision, has added, to the existing ones, five cases in which Spanish nationality can be granted:

  • Born outside Spain and with a father, mother, grandfather or grandmother originally from Spain.
  • Those born outside Spain of a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who were originally Spanish, and who, as a consequence of having suffered exile for political, ideological or religious reasons or for reasons of sexual orientation and identity, have lost or renounced their Spanish nationality.
  • Children of Spanish women who had lost their nationality because they married foreigners before the entry into force of the 1978 Constitution.
  • Children over the age of majority of Spanish nationals whose nationality of origin was recognized through the right of option with the Law of Historical Memory of 2007.
  • Children of Spanish nationals whose nationality of origin was recognized through the Law of Democratic Memory.

5) 150,000 Cubans who availed themselves of the Historical Memory Law.

According to Cuban media estimates, more than 150,000 inhabitants of the island took advantage of the approval, at the time, of the 2007 Law of Historical Memory to apply for Spanish nationality. Now that the range has been widened with the Law of Grandchildren, will this figure increase?

6) The Spanish population abroad: will it increase by more than 3%?

The Law of Democratic Memory could drastically increase the percentage of the Spanish population living abroad. Currently, according to the National Institute of Statistics, this figure is around 3%.

7) The consulate in Caracas increased, in a few days, its appointments by 10%.

Another good example of the impact of this legislation is that, as early as November 8, a few days after its approval, the Spanish Consulate in Caracas had increased its appointments by 10%.

8) 173 votes in favor, 159 against, and 14 abstentions.

That said: the Law of Grandchildren is by no means a consolidated reality. The leader of the opposition to the Spanish government and secretary general of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez-Feijóo, has already declared that he intends to repeal the Law of Democratic Memory if he becomes president of Spain.

Thus, in a political landscape as changeable as the Spanish one and with general elections just around the corner -at the latest, they would have to be held in December 2023-, nothing can be taken for granted, not even that the Law of Grandchildren will have a very long life, although it is also possible that they may want to repeal provisions of this law, but not affecting the Eighth Provision, which is the one that affects us.

One statistic reflects, very clearly, the controversy of its approval: it had 128 votes in favor, 113 against and 14 abstentions.

9) 86 years whose memory has not disappeared.

In any case, whether or not the two years that the Law of Grandchildren gives to apply for Spanish nationality under the new and expanded range of assumptions have been fulfilled, the enactment of this law is, in itself, a victory of memory.

Also known as the Law of Democratic Memory, it is, at last, the victory of 86 years of struggle not to lose the memory of what was once a country. And what better way to do so than to restore, in some way, the descendants of those who lost a country that was also theirs.

10) Three decades of experience.

If you think that you can also benefit from this Grandchildren Law, do not hesitate and contact us through the method that is most convenient for you: through a consultation, through the chat on our website, through social networks, or by phone.

We will be happy to advise you and put at your service our more than 30 years of experience in immigration and nationality issues.

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