More obstacles for expats who want Spanish citizenship?

Spain’s far-right party, Vox, has sent a bill to the country’s Congress to extend the time it takes for expats to be eligible to apply for citizenship. Under current laws, it takes 10 years of living in Spain to be able to have a Spanish passport, through the means of residency. Vox would like to extend this to 15 and make the process of acquiring Spanish nationality more complicated. The party’s leader Santiago Abascal has stated that the proposals are intended to guard Spanish nationality like a “treasure.” The party says it is responding to a significant jump in nationalised citizens in recent years. The far-right party have made proposals that include banning nationality applications from those with criminal records either in Spain or their country of origin. Another demand being made by Vox is that of higher language standards must be proven to attain citizenship, with those applying having to show official certificates to show their level of Spanish. An additional one could be to ensure that individuals rescind their other nationalities to take up a Spanish passport. Local Spanish newspapers report that Vox want to make it obligatory for citizenship applicants to “present a public document issued by the authorities of their country of origin that certifies the loss of the previous nationality.”

Expats in Spain

Around 8% of the total population of Spain are foreign nationals, consisting mainly of North Africans, South Americans and Northern Europeans, especially Brits. There are an around 400,000 Britons who are officially registered as living in Spain, although this figure is said to be considerably higher as many do not go through the proper process. That said, as the deadline for the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union approached, more British citizens opted to make their residency status official, with a 10% jump in applications 2019 to 2020. If you were legally resident in Spain before 1 January 2021, you will be able to stay. You must ensure you are correctly registered as a resident. Children must also be registered with their own residency document. If you are registering for the first time, you will be issued with a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This card will prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. If you registered as a resident before 6 July 2020, you will have a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police. This is still a valid document and proves your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

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