New Spanish Citizenship Law Offers EU Possibilities
Dual nationality, a topic I frequently write about, simply means that a
person legally is a citizen of two countries at the same time,
qualified as such under each nation’s law.
Under American law this dual status may result automatically, as when a
child born in a foreign country to a U.S. citizen becomes both a U.S.
citizen and a citizen of the country where he or she is born. Or it may
result from operation of law, as when a U.S. citizen acquires foreign
citizenship by marriage to a spouse from another nation, or a foreign
person naturalized as a U.S. citizen retains the citizenship of their
country of birth.
Contrary to popular belief, Americans don't have to give up their U.S.
citizenship or surrender their passport if they acquire a second
citizenship. U.S. law and Supreme Court decisions support the right of
an American to enjoy dual citizenship.
The new Spanish citizenship law covers the period from July 18, 1936,
to Dec. 31, 1955, which includes the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to
1939 and the first decades of Franco's rule which ended with his death
The act is part of the "law of historical memory," a controversial law
passed last year by the Socialist government of Prime Minister José
Luis Rodríguez Zapatero aimed at encouraging Spain to resolve issues
from its bloody 20th-century history. Many Spaniards oppose the law as
a needless stirring up of old animosities.
This new law could produce many applicants because Spain is a member of
the European Union. That means acquiring Spanish citizenship allows a
person to live, work and travel in any of the 27 EU nations, giving
them a free run of the continent.
Tough Older Laws
The new law is a departure from much stricter Spanish naturalization law.
Prior to this exception citizenship by naturalization could only be
acquired with difficulty. Persons with no ties to Spain had to reside
in the country for at least 10 years.
Persons who were nationals of Portugal, the Philippines, or certain
South American countries need only reside for two years, a back door
approach to quicker citizenship.
Persons who were born in Spain, who married a citizen of Spain, or who
were born outside of Spain of a mother or father who was originally
Spanish, needed only to reside in Spain one year before being eligible
fort citizenship. These laws remain in effect.
The new law also creates an exception to the existing Spanish prohibition against dual citizenship.
Spanish law requires most naturalization applicants to renounce their
existing citizenship and to swear an oath of allegiance to Spain. Dual
nationality is recognized only if the applicant’s home nation has a
dual nationality treaty with Spain. Currently, such treaties exist with
Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa
Rica, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia, and
Venezuela. Those of Spanish-Jewish descent were also allowed to hold
Other Nations Grant Exceptions
The changes in Spanish law adds a new political category to the
exceptional qualifications for obtaining citizenship imposed by some
For example, one also can secure dual citizenship and a second passport
based on ancestry if your parents or grandparents were born in nations
such as Ireland, Italy, Poland, Lithuania or even the United Kingdom.
Jews are allowed to obtain Israeli citizenship based on their religion.
If one can afford it, one can also secure an immediate second
citizenship (at a high price) from the only two nations that still
offer "economic citizenship" -- the Commonwealth of Dominica and St.
Kitts and Nevis, both in the Caribbean area.
|Category: Articles and News | Added by: janus (2009-05-21)
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