Spanish citizenship, Immigration, Sephardic

The law that grants Spanish citizenship to Sephardic Jews becomes effective on October 1, 2015. This is a compensating measure for the injustice produced as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Spain during the 15th century. The descendants of said Jews will be eligible to become Spanish citizens without needing renounce their own citizenship, or be required to reside in Spain. Applicants will need to show their Sephardic condition and the actual connection with Spain. There will be a three year time limit, with possibility for extension for an additional year, to apply for Spanish citizenship.


Section 23 of the Spanish Civil Code will be amended in order to prevent the loss of current citizenship, upon acquirement of Spanish citizenship.


To prove the Sephardic Spanish origins, applicants must use the following available means:


  1. Certificate issued by the President of the Permanent Commission of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain;
  2. Certificate issued by the president, or akin position of the Jewish community of the area of residence, or birth city of the applicant;
  3. Certificate issued by the rabbinical authority of the country of  applicant’s habitual residence;
  4. Evidence showing the use of Ladino, or “haketia,” as family language, or any other means that shows the tradition of belonging to that community;
  5. Birth certificate, or “ketubah,” or marriage certificate that recorded the ceremony in accordance with the Castilian traditions;
  6. Report issued by the a competent agency, which confirms that the last name of the applicant belongs to the Sephardic of Spanish origin lineage;
  7. Any other circumstances that irrefutably shows the original Spanish Sephardic condition.


The means by which to show the special connection with Spain are the following:


  1. Certificate of studies in Spanish history and culture, issued by an officially renown private or public institution;
  2. Credentials attesting to the knowledge of ladino language, or “haketia”;
  3. Inclusion of applicant, or his/her direct ancestry, in the lists of Sephardic families protected by the Spain government, mentioned in the Decree-law of December 29, 1948 (in relation to Egypt and Greece), or in the Royal Decree of December 20, 1924, by which they got their naturalization;
  4. Relationship of consanguinity between the applicant and one of the persons mentioned on item c);
  5. Fulfillment of philanthropic, cultural, or economic activities in support of Spanish citizens or institutions, or in Spanish territory, including activities fulfilled in support of the institutions dedicated to the study, preservation, and dissemination of the Sephardic culture;
  6. Any other circumstance that reliably shows the special connection to Spain.


Applicants must provide:


  • Birth certificate duly authenticated, or apostille, along with certified English translation;
  • Credentials of Level A2, or higher, of the Spanish Language, knowledge of the Spanish Constitution, and the Spanish social and cultural reality (both tests will be administered by the Cervantes Institute).


Carolina Leon