By Harvey Law Group
Now that we covered the fundamental of what is a Spanish Golden Visa, how does it work for citizenship?
As a preamble, citizenship in a designated country can be acquired through different immigration channels, including but not limited to, time, marriage, family heritage, investment, presidential nomination. The most common is through time, meaning you legally reside into the country and after spending a designated amount of years, you might be entitled to apply for citizenship. Usually, this traditional way involves various conditions, notably residency requirements, language requirements, exams, sufficient ties with the country, etc.
Spain does not have a citizenship-by-investment program but provides various ways to acquire its citizenship.
But even before you could think of applying for Spanish citizenship, you will need to spend some time physically in Spain. Since Filipinos do not have visa-free to Spain, a practical solution is to secure a Golden Visa through a designated investment into real estate.
For non-Filipino citizens, the process to acquire Spanish citizenship is lengthy: they must hold a valid residency permit (i.e. Golden Visa) for at least 5 years. Once they have reached 5 years, they will be entitled to apply for Permanent Residency. After holding said Permanent Residency for another 5 years, then they might be able to apply for the Spanish citizenship. But if you’re Filipino, Article 22 of the Spanish Civil code allows one to apply for citizenship sooner!
Here are 4 things Filipinos need to know when getting Spanish citizenship.
1. You can apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of legal residence in Spain, but there are exemptions.
Filipinos only need two years of legal residency in Spain to be able to apply for Spanish citizenship. Do note that the 2-year residency requirement must be legal and continuous and must also be immediately before the application. Also to note is the possible tax implication of spending 2 years in Spain.
The same exemption applies to nationals of other former Spanish colonies such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It is also applicable to Andorra, Portugal, and people of Sephardic origin, who were descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.
2. You need to pass a Spanish language test.
Apart from the 2-year residency requirement, Filipino applicants need to pass standardized Spanish language tests which cover speaking, reading, and writing at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level A2. Filipino applicants will also need to pass the written General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) test on Spanish history, society, and laws.
3. Filipino applicants can have dual citizenship.
Foreign nationals who acquire Spanish nationality must renounce their previous nationality, unless they are natural-born citizens of one of the previously listed former Spanish colonies, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal.
This means that Filipino citizens have the right to hold both Filipino and Spanish citizenship. However, any Filipino citizen obtaining Spanish citizenship would have to renounce any other citizenships that they may hold (other than those above).
4. Do consider the Golden Visa
There are other various methods for obtaining a residency visa, such as having an employment offer in Spain that will qualify the applicant to apply for a work permit and residence visa, or marriage to a Spanish person. The simplest method for those with sufficient available funds is to apply for a Spain Golden Visa based on an investment in property of at least EUR500,000 which will allow the applicant to move to Spain and become legally resident such that they can subsequently become eligible for Spanish citizenship.
If you’re considering the Spanish Golden Visa, contact your Harvey Law Group representative to get the process started.
Mr. Samuel Harvey
Harvey Law Group
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla
About Harvey Law Group
HLG is a leading multinational law firm specializing in corporate law and investment immigration with a worldwide reputation for representing high-profile clients and corporations, with over 19 offices worldwide. As the top immigration law firm, HLG offers the most comprehensive residency and citizenship programs available to date. HLG was awarded for Immigration Law Firm of the Year at the 13th and 16th annual Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014 and 2017.