As established in the Civil Code of Spain, A person can acquire Spanish nationality by origin. The other ways of acquiring Spanish nationality are: by option, by residence and by letter of naturalization

What is Spanish nationality by origin and who can apply for it?

This type of Spanish nationality is, as its name indicates, obtained by those people who are Spanish of origin. What qualifies a person to be of Spanish origin? According to Article 17 (and following) of the Spanish Civil Code, a person of Spanish origin includes:

  1. People born to a Spanish father or mother.
  2. People born in Spain to foreign parents when at least one of them has also been born in the country. For this case, the children of foreign diplomatic or consular officials accredited in Spain are excepted.
  3. People born in Spain to foreign parents when both lack nationality (stateless persons) or if the legislation of either of them attributes a nationality to the child.
  4. Children born in Spain whose parents identity is unknown. Children whose first known place of stay is Spanish territory will be considered Spanish of origin. In this case, for example, orphans or children who have been abandoned are included.
  5. People under 18 who are adopted by a Spanish citizen. However, in the event that those adopted are of legal age, they may also opt for Spanish nationality by origin within a period of no more than 2 years, from the formalization of the adoption.
  6. People born abroad who have obtained Spanish nationality by the Historical Memory Law. With this law (Law 52/2007) attempts were made to recognize and expand the rights of those who suffered persecution or violence during the Spanish Civil War and the Dictatorship.

For all the above, it can be assured that the place where you were born to be Spanish of origin does not matter, as long as there is a paternity or maternity bond with Spain. A well known example is the case of King Emeritus of Spain, Juan Carlos I, quien nació en Roma (Italia) en 1938.

This form of acquisition of Spanish nationality can be requested, therefore, by all those who are Spanish of origin, because this is the only requirement for this.

How do you obtain Spanish nationality by origin? The necessary documentation:

To acquire Spanish nationality by origin, one must fit into one of the cases described above. Of course, it must also be demonstrated. For this, it is necessary to carry out a series of procedures that may vary depending on the origin of the person interested in nationality. In all cases, this procedure must be done in the Civil Registry, Consulates or Embassies of Spain corresponding, Courts or Social Affairs offices in your region.

You have to keep in mind that:

For people born to Spanish parents.

The parents of the newborn baby will have to go to the nearest Civil Registry to register the child. For this, it will be necessary to present the following documentation: birth certificate of the baby, family book and ID card, NIE or passport of the parents.

For people born in Spain of foreign parents (at least one of them born in the country).

In this case, the parents of the minor must also go to the Civil Registry corresponding to the place of birth of the child and provide the same necessary documentation. However, after completing this procedure, they will also have to go to the consulate of the country of origin of the foreign father or mother to enroll the minor.

For persons born in Spain of stateless parents or if the legislation of any of them attributes a nationality to the child.

The underage person, in this case, acquires Spanish nationality by simply being born in Spain. In recent times, the Spanish authorities have been very alert because many fraudulent practices of foreign parents with children born in Spain and their consulates of origin have been detected.

For children born in Spain whose parents identity is unknown.

The law directly grants, in these cases, the Spanish nationality to the minor, and it will be the social services that will be responsible for the guardianship and care of the minor.

For people under 18 who are adopted by a Spaniard.

The adopted minor acquires Spanish nationality immediately once the adoption has been formalized. However, when the adopted person is over 18 years old, they must request the procedures for the acquisition of Spanish nationality because they do not acquire it immediately. To do this, you must apply for Spanish nationality by choice within 2 years of the formalization of its adoption.


The procedures to obtain Spanish citizenship are not something simple, so receiving advice can guide you throughout the process to make it easier and less tedious. You may also be interested in the following resources:

The process of legalization of documents can in some cases be complicated, lengthy and cumbersome for the people involved. Aware of this problem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain has enabled a telephone number 91 379 16 55 and an email address to answer questions. If you write an email, please include first name, last name and contact phone number.

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