Get your Spanish nationality back: here’s how to do it

If you have lost your Spanish nationality and want to recover it, this is the article for you: we explain, first of all, how you can lose your Spanish nationality and, secondly, how you can apply for a dispensation of residence, which is the essential procedure for you to regain your Spanish nationality.



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How to lose Spanish nationality

It is possible to lose Spanish nationality in different cases.

The Spaniards of origin can lose the nationality in these occasions:

  • When they reside abroad and want to voluntarily acquire another nationality. If in three years they do not declare their will to keep their nationality of origin, then they will lose it. The acquisition of the nationality in some countries (Latin-Americans, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal) is not enough to cause the loss of the Spanish nationality.
  • When they reside abroad and in three years they only use the nationality they had before their emancipation. Also in this case they can lose their nationality of origin if they do not declare their will to keep it.
  • Spaniards who voluntarily renounce their nationality of origin.
  • In the case that the Spanish citizen was born abroad or that is Spanish for having been born of father or mother with the same nationality abroad, it will lose the Spanish nationality if in the term of three years from the majority of age or of the emancipation it does not declare its will to conserve the Spanish nationality.

The Spaniards who are not Spaniards by origin, for example those who have acquired the nationality by residence, will lose it if:

  • After acquiring Spanish nationality they use, during the three successive years, the nationality they had renounced when acquiring Spanish nationality.
  • They enter voluntarily to the military service or exercise a political position in a foreign State against the express prohibition of the government.
  • When a sentence declares that the interested party incurred in falsehood, concealment or fraud to acquire the Spanish nationality.

How can I regain my Spanish nationality?

If you recognize yourself in one of these cases and you have just lost your Spanish residency: don’t worry! Here we tell you what you have to do to recover it.

You will not have to start from scratch and reside legally for a few years in Spain: you will only need to apply for legal residence and, if granted, immediately start the procedure to recover your Spanish nationality.

In other words, you will have to apply for the residency dispensation to regain Spanish nationality. Below we explain what it means and how to do it.


What is the dispensation of residence?

Quoting the Civil Code (Código Civil in Spanish): “Law 18/1990, of December 17, on the reform of the Civil Code in matters of nationality, attributes to the government the power to waive the requirement of legal residence in Spain, both for the recovery of Spanish nationality by those who have lost it (article 26.1), of the Spanish Civil Code, and for the option provided in the third transitory provision of the aforementioned law with respect to those who, having never been Spanish, are children of a father or mother originally Spanish and born in Spain”.

The residence dispensation referred to in Law 18/1990 of December 17 is the exemption from the requirement to reside legally in Spain that is granted to those who have lost Spanish nationality and who wish to finally recover it.

This procedure is started through an application at the Spanish Civil Registry of the domicile of the citizen in question and is resolved by the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries by delegation of the Minister of Justice.

What documents must be attached to the application for a residence exemption?

These are the documents that you will have to attach to the application for the residence exemption. They are the documents that prove that you were a Spaniard:

  • Certificate of birth in the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Birth certificate of the parent who held the Spanish nationality on the date of birth of the applicant, registered in the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Some document that accredits that the applicant has been Spanish: DNI, passport, consular inscription, certificate of being included in the Spanish electoral roll, etc.
  • Spanish documentation of the parent: DNI, passport, consular registration.
  • Documentation that accredits the exceptional circumstances alleged.
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of origin.

Cómo recuperar la nacionalidad española - Centre Gestor

Who can apply for a residency waiver and what are the requirements?

When applying for the residency waiver, you need to have the following requirements:

  • Be a legal resident in Spain. This requirement will not be of application to the emigrants nor to the children of emigrants. In the other cases it will be able to be dispensed by the Minister of Justice when exceptional circumstances concur.
  • To declare before the person in charge of the Civil Registry the will to recover the Spanish nationality.
  • To register the recovery in the Civil Registry.


In addition, there are some circumstances that are strongly valued in the concession of the dispensation and these are:

  • The adaptation to the Spanish culture and the knowledge of the language.
  • To have done or to do professional, social, cultural or charitable activities in favor of Spanish associations.
  • To have a family link with Spain.

How to recover your Spanish nationality file number

There are two effective ways to find out and recover your Spanish nationality file number.

You will be able to do it in these two ways:

  • You will be able to find out the file number by calling the contact telephone numbers of the Ministry of Justice (902 007 214 or 918372295). In this case it is important to mention that it is quite difficult to contact the Ministry by phone because very often these communication channels are collapsed.
  • You can fill in the form on the website of the Ministry of Justice and within 1 or 2 weeks you will receive a reply.

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