Spanish citizenship for Filipino nationals in 2023

In this article we will only discuss acquiring Spanish citizenship for Filipino nationals via legal residency in Spain.

Citizenship in a particular country may be obtained by a variety of immigration routes, such as time, marriage, family ties, financial investment, and (in particular cases) presidential nomination. The most popular is through time, which requires that you enter the nation legally and may be eligible to apply for citizenship after having lived in the country for a specified number of years. This conventional route typically entails a number of requirements, including residency requirements, language requirements, tests, enough ties to the country, etc.

Advantages of becoming a Spanish citizen

Having Spanish citizenship has many advantages. Filipinos will be able to travel freely within the Schengen region, their visas won’t be dependent on a job, and they can apply on behalf of members of their families in the Philippines for residency in Spain and eventually, citizenship.

How a Filipino can obtain the Spanish citizenship

Spain offers a number of methods to get Spanish citizenship for Filipino nationals but does not have an investment-based citizenship program.

You must first spend some time physically in Spain before you even consider seeking Spanish citizenship. Since Filipinos cannot go to Spain without a visa, obtaining a Golden Visa by making a specific real estate investment is a plausible alternative.

Non-Filipino nationals must maintain a valid resident permit (such as a Golden Visa) for at least five years. After those initial five years, they will be able to submit an application for permanent residency. They might be able to seek Spanish citizenship after having the mentioned Permanent Residency for an additional 5 years. However, if you’re Filipino, you can apply for citizenship more quickly under Article 22 of the Spanish Civil Code.

The actual Article 22.1 of the Spanish Civil Code, in Spanish:

Para la concesión de la nacionalidad (Española) por residencia se requiere que ésta haya durado diez años. Serán suficientes cinco años para los que hayan obtenido la condición de refugiado y dos años cuando se trate de nacionales de origen de países iberoamericanos, Andorra, Filipinas, Guinea Ecuatorial o Portugal o de sefardíes.

The actual Article 22.1 of the Spanish Civil Code, in English:

For the granting of (Spanish) nationality by residence, it is required that it have lasted ten years. Five years will be sufficient for those who have obtained refugee status and two years in the case of nationals of origin from Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal or Sephardim.

Filipinos should be aware of these four things of before applying for Spanish citizenship.

1. There are few exceptions, but after ten years of legal residency in Spain, you can qualify for Spanish citizenship.

As stated in the Article 22.1 of the Civil Code, Filipinos can seek Spanish citizenship after just two years of authorized residence in Spain. Keep in mind that the two years of residency must have been valid, uninterrupted, and immediately preceding the application. The potential tax consequences of living in Spain for two years are something else to consider.

Nationals of other former Spanish or latin territories, including 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, are also free from this rule. It also applies to Portugal, Andorra, and those of Sephardic ancestry, who are descendants of Sephardic Jews who were banished from Spain in 1492.

2. You must succeed on a Spanish language exam.

Filipino applicants must pass standardized Spanish language tests including speaking, reading, and writing at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level A2 in addition to the two-year residency requirement. The written General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam on Spanish history, society, and laws will also be required of Filipino applicants.

3. Filipino applicants may hold two nationalities.

Except for those who are native-born citizens of one of the previously mentioned former Spanish territories, Brazil, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal, foreign nationals who acquire Spanish citizenship must relinquish their prior nationality. Here’s an interesting read about Gaining Spanish citizenship with a dual nationality in 2023.

This implies that Filipino nationals are permitted to hold dual citizenship with Spain. To get Spanish citizenship, a Filipino person must renounce all previous citizenships they may have (other than Filipino and Spanish).

4. Take into account the Golden Visa Spain

There are other ways to get a residency visa, such as getting married to a Spanish person, having a job offer in Spain that qualifies the candidate for both a work permit and a residence visa, etc. The most straightforward option for individuals with enough money is to apply for a Golden Visa Spain based on an investment in real estate of at least EUR500,000. Of course, you need to have enough money to buy your way into this route, which will grant you the legal residency permit to qualify to potentially obtain the Spanish citizenship afterwards.

How long will the process be for the Spanish citizenship for Filipino?

Normally, it can take two to three years from the time your citizenship application is submitted for consideration. Contrary to other proceedings, your application may be deemed refused due to administrative inaction (“Silencio administrativo”) if no action has been taken on it within 12 months after filing. In such cases it would make sense to have your appeal ready to submit.

Required documents for the Citizenship application

  • Valid passport and NIE
  • Current proof of residency (you must have been staying legally in Spain for the past two years – this excludes the time you were here on tourist or student visa). As we’ve mentioned before, the stay must have been continuous and unbroken for the two years just before your application.
  • Birth registration certificate
  • Background check (It is crucial that you have no criminal history).
  • The local certificate you receive after registering at your town hall of residence is called a padrón (certificado de empadronamiento), and it comes in both current and prior forms.
  • DELE Spanish Diploma Level A2 Certificate language exam that you must pass.
  • CCSE Exam (Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España) certificate, stating that you have passed this test. 
  • Your children’s birth certificates, if you want to seek their citizenship by option.
  • Proof of payment of the $100 application cost

Also it is important to have in mind the potential Reasons for denial of Spanish nationality.

Please notice that this article is no legal advice and is based on internet research only. For expert immigration advice, Spainguru stronly suggests that you arrange a consultation with our recommended Lawyers, here.