Expats in Spain are expats for a reason. They understand well the charms this country has to offer; they get to indulge in an enviable lifestyle that is generally relaxed and sociable. The climate is temperate and there is an endless list of fun things to do. It makes sense that so many expats decide on making a longer-term commitment to Spain. Taking Spanish nationality is the natural next step.
Since Brexit, more and more British expats are considering taking Spanish nationality in the hope of establishing more stability. However, changing nationality isn’t an easy process. It is certainly a commitment and comes with certain sacrifices that should be seriously considered. In this article we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of taking Spanish nationality.
Pros of taking Spanish nationality
Permanency equals security
Even though expats may feel like part of the furniture in Spain, the fact still remains that ‘expat’ is a temporary status. There may be no reason to leave Spain any time in the next decade, but with changing political climates, it’s hard to predict new regulations in any part of the world. Those who are truly dedicated to living in Spain can take Spanish nationality for the ultimate level of security.
Bureaucracy lessens its grip
Spain is a very bureaucratic country and when you’re moving over here for any length of time, there will be paperwork; licenses, permits and other documents to acquire… and of course renew periodically. All of this is time consuming and foreign nationals tend to find Spain’s bureaucracy a bit of a challenge. It generally means trawling through Spanish websites and making appointments to attend at any given point in the future.
With Spanish nationality, everything suddenly gets easier. Taxes can be filed online, details can be checked easily, many appointments will be redundant or covered through online facilities. Upon becoming a Spanish national, you’ll get an ID card the size of a credit card, complete with a microchip containing all of your information. It is far more convenient, serving as a kind of pass to previously inaccessible services and an answer to most bureaucratic questions that might arise.
Renewal is cheap and simple
Another bonus is that it’s cheap and simple to renew your Spanish nationality. You’ll get an ID card and passport, and they’ll just need to be renewed once every ten years. To do so you’ll make an appointment with your nearest national police station, and the appointment itself is generally over within a few minutes. The initial process will cost you €100, but renewed ID cards and passports will only cost you a total of around €36.
You’ll be eligible to vote in elections
If you want to have your say when it comes to Spanish politics, you’ll need to be a Spanish national. There’s no way to vote without this. Once you acquire Spanish nationality, you can vote on any of Spain’s elections. On the other hand, this does mean that you could be required by law to carry out electoral duty (working for a day at the voting station) if your name is randomly selected.
Cons of taking Spanish nationality
You need to fully understand the language and culture
Taking Spanish nationality isn’t going to work well for you if you’re not particularly familiar with the culture or the language. If you don’t have this, you’re likely to fail the exam you’ll be asked to pass in order to obtain Spanish nationality anyway. In this exam you could be asked about anything from Spanish history and geography, to laws, rights and institutions. If you’re not prepared to study and immerse yourself in Spanish culture, you can’t really be a Spanish national.
You may have to renounce your previous nationality
One major drawback (for some people) of taking Spanish nationality is that they have to renounce their own nationality. Although it doesn’t apply to every country, most will require that you renounce your previous nationality if you’re taking a new one. It is a good idea to check the rules from your home country and decide carefully as to whether there is any chance you’ll change your mind in the future.
Your fingerprints will be kept on file
Not everybody is happy with the idea of having their fingerprints taken and kept on file, but that’s standard procedure for Spanish nationals. The information will be on police record, and you can expect to have your fingerprints checked when passing through border controls. Having said that, this happens in plenty of other EU countries too, so it’s probably only a matter of time before that becomes a global requirement.
Whether you’re in the process of moving to Spain or you’re already settled here, Spanish nationality is something that may become a possibility for you in future. For those at stage one, Paradise Marbella are happy to help you find that perfect property on the Costa del Sol. We apply our expertise to your property search so that before you know it, that magical property for sale in Marbella is yours.