Here are three keys to success when applying for Spanish nationality through the new Grandchildren's Law.

This summer of 2022 has brought good news for the descendants of Spaniards residing in countries other than the one in which their roots sprouted. With the approval in Spain of the new Law of Democratic Memory, also known as the Law of Grandchildren, many descendants of Spanish parents or grandparents will be able to apply for Spanish nationality.

This new legislative work of the executive formed by the PSOE and Unidas Podemos has a clear objective: to restore the memory of those repressed by Francoism. And, for this reason, Spanish nationality may also be requested, even if the applicant's ancestors had lost it for political, ideological, belief or sexual orientation and identity reasons.

In spite of everything, the application for nationality through this new route will by no means be a bed of roses. But it won't be as difficult as you think. Obviously, It will have its obstacles, its shortcuts and its appropriate keys to press. And in this article we have proposed to give you some tips for you to be able to process it successfully.

But first of all, let's start at the beginning: what is the real impact of the Grandchildren's Law.

The impact of the grandchildren law

The importance of the Law of Grandchildren on the process of applying for Spanish nationality by option is that its beneficiaries have been extended. Until now, this could not be obtained if one was "20 years of age or older" (except for those persons whose father or mother had been originally Spanish and born in Spain) and neither if one was "a descendant of Spaniards to the degree of grandchild, great-grandchild, great-great-grandchild and/or successive", nor if the "father/mother had acquired it after his/her birth or could still acquire it".

With the new law, several cases have been added in which nationality can be applied for:

  • If you were born outside Spain and you have a father, mother, grandfather or grandmother originally from Spain. It must also be proven that they have suffered exile. Although when the law was passed it was understood that proof of exile was a necessary condition, when the Instruction that developed the text of the law was approved, it was understood that all those born outside Spain, of a father, mother, grandfather or grandmother originally Spanish, could apply for nationality, without the need to prove exile. And this is how the clients we advise are submitting their applications for Spanish nationality and they are being granted without any problem.
  • If you were born abroad to a Spanish woman who lost her nationality because she married a foreigner before the 1978 Constitution came into force. Normally we do not use this assumption, since if you have a Spanish mother, the aforementioned route is used directly, as the child of a woman originating in Spain.
  • If you are the adult son or daughter of Spaniards whose nationality of origin was recognized by virtue of the right of option under the Law of Historical Memory of 2007 or with the current Law of Democratic Memory. This is an avenue that we are using quite a lot, since many children of those who acquired Spanish nationality with the 2007 Law, at that time were already of legal age, and were excluded from the possibility of applying for Spanish nationality. Not so their minor siblings, who could apply for Spanish nationality through another route established in the Civil Code. This route is also used for the children of those who have just applied for nationality under the current Law of Democratic Memory. That is to say, if my father has just applied for nationality as the grandson of a Spanish citizen, with the Law of Democratic Memory, I, as the adult daughter of my father, can also apply for my Spanish nationality. In many cases the Consulates allow this application, without the need to wait for the resolution of my father's application. But not all of them allow it.
  • If one has opted for Spanish nationality by option following the provisions of the Civil Code for the acquisition of Spanish nationality for having been under the parental authority of a Spaniard.
  • If one has opted for Spanish nationality following the provisions of the Civil Code for persons who have been under the parental authority of a Spaniard. These last two cases, which granted Spanish nationality "by option", may now acquire it "by origin", which may benefit certain children of legal age when applying for a residence permit in Spain in a simple manner, by means of the so-called "family roots".

Tip-1: Put yourself in the hands of specialists

As we said before, this opening of the requirements does not mean that the path to obtain Spanish nationality will be shorter. Nor does it mean that the bureaucratic hassle will be less (although in any case, submitting the complete application without further documentation required by the Consulate avoids wasting time). And, therefore, our first advice is clear: the first thing to do is to put yourself in the hands of a specialist in applications for Spanish nationality.

Whether it's a law firm or a freelancer, any professional used to dealing with administrative, judicial and bureaucratic processes in the field of nationality will be able to help you through the application process much faster than an ordinary citizen. And time, especially in cases like this, is everything.

Tip-2: Collect the necessary documents

If you are still not sure whether you are going to end up applying for Spanish nationality through this new route or if, due to economic or labor issues, it is a medium-term project, we also have some advice for you: start now to collect all the necessary documentation.

Sometimes, the search for documentation is hard work, which takes longer than expected. And it never hurts to have everything ready for when you want to take the plunge.

This is the necessary documentation, according to each case:

  • Children of Spanish emigrants: 1) birth certificate of the person concerned and 2) birth certificate of the father or mother issued by a Spanish civil registry (or, if born before 1870, a Spanish baptismal certificate).
  • Grandchildren of Spanish emigrants: 1) the same documents as in the previous case, plus 2) the grandparent's birth certificate.
  • Children of Spanish nationals who are of legal age and whose nationality was recognized by option: 1) birth certificate of the interested party and 2) birth certificate of the parent in question stating that he/she has opted for the Spanish nationality by option, or birth certificate of the interested party stating that he/she is the child of a Spaniard.
  • Documentation to prove the reasons that led to emigrate (as we have already said, it is not necessary to prove "exile" if you are the son/daughter or grandson/grandson of a native Spaniard): Here it will be useful to prove that the nationality of the host country was acquired (to prove the loss of Spanish nationality) or the proof of having renounced it with the corresponding documents that serve for this purpose, in addition to other documents that can prove the exile. Documentation that has not been issued in Spain must be duly legalized and translated, if applicable. It must also be of recent issue and the civil registry documents must be the "literales", not the "extractos", except in some cases.

You can consult Ibero-American documentary sources to find information on arrivals to the Americas as well as on the census of foreigners, visa applications, naturalized foreigners, among others. For example, on: ArgentinaBoliviaBrasilChileCubaMexicoPeruPuerto RicoDominican Republic y Uruguay.

Tip-3: Submit the application as soon as possible, as the law has a temporary duration

And because Spanish politics is very prone to abrupt changes, one last piece of advice: anyone interested in taking advantage of the Grandchildren's Law should do so as soon as possible.

The Partido Popular (PP), one of the main parties with options to form a government in Spain, had already made public its intentions to repeal this and other laws if it comes to power, and fortunately that has not happened, so this risk has disappeared. However, we must bear in mind that the law will be in force, as we have said, for 2 years, until October 2024 and if the Government approves its renewal, it will only be for one more year, until October 2025. There is no time to lose. The general elections, which will decide the next government, are planned to take place in December 2023. And, therefore, it would be better not to waste any time.

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