Obtain Spanish nationality with the Democratic Memory Law

On October 21, 2022, the so-called Law 20/2022, of October 19, has entered into force. According to the preamble of the aforementioned Law, the objective is to “close a debt of Spanish democracy with its past and promote a common discourse based on the defense of peace, pluralism and the condemnation of all forms of political totalitarianism that at risk the effective enjoyment of the rights and freedoms inherent to human dignity”.  It is, therefore, a legislative measure that seeks to repair the damage caused by the Civil War Spanish and the Franco dictatorship.

Among all the measures that have been planned to achieve the objective of the Law, a measure stands out as restorative for people who suffered exile and that has to do with obtaining the Spanish nationality by option, which has been called the “Grandchildren’s Law”. This measure is provided for in the Eighth Additional Provision of the Law and provides that the persons who are in certain cases may opt for Spanish nationality.

Specifically, the assumptions are as follows:

  • Those born outside of Spain to a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who originally had been Spanish, and that, as a consequence of having suffered exile for reasons political, ideological or belief or sexual orientation and identity, would have lost or renounced Spanish nationality.
  • The sons and daughters born abroad of Spanish women who lost their nationality for marrying foreigners before the entry into force of the Constitution from 1978.
  • The sons and daughters of legal age of those Spaniards whose legal status was recognized nationality of origin by virtue of the right of option in accordance with the provisions of this Law or in the Seventh Additional Provision of Law 52/2007, of 26 December.

In all cases, this declaration must be formalized within a period of two years from the entry into force of the new Law. At the end of this period, the Council of Ministers may agree to its extension for one year.

Likewise, the new Democratic Memory Law includes that there are circumstances exceptional in the volunteer members of the International Brigades who participated in the War from 1936 to 1939 for the acquisition of Spanish nationality by naturalization certificate requirement to renounce their previous nationality is not applicable to them. Likewise, it will understand that the same circumstances concur in the descendants of the brigadistas who accredit a continuous work of diffusion of the memory of their ancestors and the defense of democracy in Spain.

The documentation to be submitted is yet to be determined by the Ministry, although it is expected that the reasons why the relative of the now applicant emigrated, the nationality he acquired in the host country, or show that he renounced the nationality Spanish in an official document. In addition, as usual, it will be necessary to prove that there is a family relationship through the respective birth or death certificates. Baptism (if born before 1870).

The request to obtain Spanish nationality must be formalized at the Consulate of Spain located in the consular demarcation in which the applicant is located, in the Civil Registry, or on the online platform that will be enabled for this purpose.

We expect more details in the near future.  Orience will keep you informed about the details as they emerge and we will be happy to resolve any doubts you may have.