Spain's Democratic Memory Law offers a limited window of opportunity for individuals to apply for Spanish citizenship. The law is designed to allow those who are children or grandchildren of Spanish-born nationals to apply for Citizenship. It is imperative to understand that you now only have one year to submit your application before time runs out and you will no longer have the opportunity to apply for your Spanish Citizenship.
The Spanish government enacted the Spanish Democratic Memory Law in October 2022 to rectify the detriment caused by Franco's regime when many Spanish citizens lost their citizenship through a wide range of objections that the dictatorship applied. The reparative measures aim to put the descendants of those who were exiled political, religious, marriage to a foreign national and put them in the position they would have been but to the actions of the dictatorship.
However, an Instruction issued by the Spanish Government in November 2022 recognised an extensive interpretation of the law so that children or grandchildren of a Spanish citizen of origin can apply for Spanish citizenship.
The four categories that can regain Spanish Citizenship
- Children or grandchildren of a Spanish citizen of origin. These applicants must have been born outside Spain.
- If your father, mother, grandmother or grandfather renounced or lost their Spanish nationality through exile and you were therefore not born in Spain.
- If your mother married a foreign national and she lost her Spanish nationality before the entry of the Spanish Constitution in 1978.
- If your father or mother acquired Spanish nationality based on the temporary rules of the Historical Memory Law of 2007 and 2022's Democratic Memory Law, when you were an adult and therefore no longer subject to parental authority and not permitted to acquire Spanish through your parents.
What are the requirements for each category?
Children or grandchildren of an original Spanish citizen
You must prove the link with a Spanish citizen of origin (father/mother or grandfather/grandmother). In this case, you will submit the Spanish birth certificate of your ancestor, your own birth certificate or your parents' ones, amongst others.
You must provide documentary proof that your father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother were exiled from Spain. A Spanish passport or registration records and any other official documentation. You can also prove the exile through an official document such as the certification of the right to receive compensation for exile, documentation from the Refugees' Office of the UN, or reports from private and public entities recognised by the Spanish authorities.
Mother's marriage to a foreigner
You must provide documentary evidence that demonstrates that your mother lost her nationality due to her marriage. If the marriage took place between 1954 and 1978, it will be necessary to prove her acquisition of her husband's nationality and outline the nationality law in force at the time, relating to her husband's country of origin.
Historical Memory Law
This category is parental acquisition of citizenship through temporary rules of the Historical Memory Law of 2007
All applications under this law must be presented to the relevant Spanish Civil Registry applicable to the applicant's domicile (Consulates or Embassies if you live abroad). Applications must be made in person and you should have all the relevant documents to support your right to apply under the Spanish Democratic Memory Law. Giambrone & Partners experienced lawyers can assist you to accrue the documents you require. As some applications will rely on the connection with the applicant's grandparents, the required documentation may be problematic to obtain. Giambrone & Partners' lawyers will guide you through the procedure.
Following the submission of your application you may be asked to provide further information.
Andreu Marin Muñoz, an associate in the Barcelona office, commented" The opportunity to obtain Spanish citizenship under the Spanish Democratic Memory Law is diminishing. There is only one year left to apply. Applications take several months to process." Andreu further commented "Individuals who obtain nationality through the new law will have their nationality categorised as Original which is crucial as nationality categorised as Original, as opposed to Derivative, cannot be lost involuntarily. In certain situations, nationality can be changed from Derivative to Original."
Andreu has extensive experience in immigration matters, from obtaining visas (non-lucrative, Golden Visa, student or Schengen visas) to applications for EU family members, deportations and Spanish citizenship.
He has also successfully acted in a wide range of criminal proceedings, assisting foreign nationals with extraditions, EAW (European arrest warrant) and at hearings with defendants, amongst other matters.
Andreu is well-regarded by his clients for his comprehensive understanding of their needs and objectives which enables him to advise them and provide the best legal solution to their problems. He is able to create a strategy for his clients to achieve their objectives that can be adapted when necessary to meet other issues that may arise.
Andre has successfully obtained non-lucrative visas for all the British clients he has assisted through the consulates in London, Manchester and Edinburgh since joining the firm in October 2022.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.