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The Spanish Lawyer Online

What type of residence is required for the purpose of applying for Spanish citizenship?

Immigration Law

Antonio Flores Vila

26th of December 2000

Q. I have heard that nationals of former Spanish colonies and sephardic jews need only 2 years "residence" in Spain to be eligible for citizenship. When they say "residence", does this mean 2 years of permanent residence or does it include any type of residence, be it temporary or student residence?

Tess Ballesteros Harris
New York

    A. Certainly nationals of former Spanish colonies, sephardic jews, citizens from the Philippines, Portugal and Guinea need only 2 years of residence in Spain to be eligible for citizenship. This residence, according to the law, has to be uninterrupted, which means you cannot become a resident of another country meanwhile and then reapply to achieve the period of 2 years.

    The Civil Code establishes that the residence situation has to be legal, uninterrupted and prior to the application for nationality. However, a student “residence” is not valid for the purposes of obtaining citizenship. According the Article 33 in the Ley Organica 4/2000 foreign students in Spain hold a regime of “estancia”, which is equivalent in time to the duration of the course in which the student is enrolled. Estancia could be translated into English as a short stay period. This is not the same as a Residence status, which is the main requirement of citizenship.

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