Can you be British and Spanish at the same time?

Spanish and British flag - Costaluz Lawyers

At a time when the British are discovering that having double nationality is more than advantageous after Brexit, it’s worth considering whether dual nationality is possible. In this blog post we look at the case for having British and Spanish passports and ask can you be British and Spanish at the same time?

First considerations

In general terms, you can have as many nationalities as you like and as a country’s law allows. This explains why some people have a collection of passports!

However, just because you have a passport, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s effective or that it lasts for your whole life.

What’s the situation for a British national who has Spanish nationality and lives in Spain?

When a British national acquires Spanish nationality, they must expressly renounce their British nationality to the Spanish authorities. However, despite its formality, this step has no binding effects in the UK and in practice, a British national can be Spanish at the same time.

What does this mean in practice?

In Spain, the British national with dual nationality will be considered Spanish and, in the UK, British. A situation that is very similar to a Spaniard with dual nationality living in the UK but with fewer formalities, as we explain below.

What about Spaniards with dual nationality and living in the UK?

If the Spaniard only uses their British passport and have not made a sworn declaration to keep their Spanish nationality or have formally renounced it, they will lose their right to Spanish nationality from 21 onwards.

How can a Spaniard with dual nationality living in the UK keep their Spanish nationality?

To avoid the above situation, the Spaniards should inform the Spanish authorities that they intend to keep their Spanish nationality for three years after they acquire British nationality.

What does this mean in practice?

For practical purposes, a Spaniard with dual nationality and living in the UK will be considered Spanish in Spain and British in the UK.

Is it easy to obtain Spanish nationality?

If you’re British and also wish to have Spanish nationality, you must fulfil a number of requirements, not least a minimum period of residence in Spain.

Find out all about getting Spanish nationality

In general terms, you must live in Spain with a residence permit for at least ten years, although there are exceptions to this. The shortest required period is one year.

How can I get advice about being British and Spanish at the same time?

Get in touch with our immigration team who advise you on how to obtain dual nationality and its implications.  

42 thoughts on “Can you be British and Spanish at the same time?”

  1. Muhammad Javaid Akram Bibi

    Hi
    I am Spanish National, I am living in UK since last six years , Actually I am thinking to get British citizenship but I don’t want to leave my Spanish Nationality. Is it any recommendations you can provide.

      1. Hi Maria Luisa,
        Is this true? I’m Spanish but next year I could apply for British citizenship but somebody who studies International Law told me that I would have to resign my Spanish nationality.
        What can I find information on how to do the process to keep both?

        Thank you,

        Gemma

        1. Maria Luisa Castro

          Dear Gemma:

          The UK allows dual citizenship, meaning Spanish citizens can acquire British nationality without renouncing their Spanish one.

          Thank you.

          1. Hi Maria Luisa,

            1. I have a Spanish nationality. When I apply for the British Nationality in the UK, will they ask me to resign my Spanish one? Or how will it work? I always thought I would have to resign my Spanish and then tell the Spanish authorities within the 3 years that I want it back? Is this not true?

            2. Also, I am planning to give birth in Spain and my baby will be Spanish as I am Spanish, however my baby could apply for British Nationality by descent as the dad is British born and we live in the UK. Will the baby have to resign to his Spanish nationality to get the British by descent? How does it work for babies/ children under 18 years old?

            Many thanks,
            Natalia

          2. Maria Luisa Castro

            Dear Natalia:

            The UK allows dual nationality, enabling individuals, including minors, to hold British citizenship alongside another without renouncing either. Spain’s laws typically require renouncing Spanish nationality upon acquiring another, but this is not strictly enforced for minors in dual nationality contexts. The principle of the child’s best interest often guides administrative practices, allowing minors with parents from different nationalities to retain both without having to choose.

            We will be able to assist you further on this if needed

            Best,

            Maria

  2. How about triple citizenship is it possible? I got spanish passport, filipino and planning to apply for british passport since im working and living here for several years..? Thanks

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Janine,

      Thank you for reaching out to Costaluz Lawyers with your question about triple citizenship.

      It’s important to note that the policies regarding multiple citizenships largely depend on the specific laws of the countries involved. As such, it’s possible to hold citizenship from multiple countries if each of the countries permits it.

      Spain generally allows dual citizenship for citizens of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Portugal. So, being a holder of Spanish and Filipino passports, it seems you are within the regulations of the Spanish law.

      As for the UK, it generally allows dual or multiple citizenships for individuals who qualify. However, it’s crucial to understand that even if the UK permits multiple citizenships, it does not provide consular protection to UK citizens while they are in another country where they hold citizenship.

      Given these points, it appears that obtaining British citizenship, in addition to your existing Spanish and Filipino citizenships, could be possible.

      However, as laws and policies can change, and since your situation may involve specific conditions or factors that I am not currently aware of, I strongly recommend seeking a current and thorough legal consultation. A consultation would provide you with the most accurate advice based on the latest laws and your individual circumstances.

      If you wish to proceed with a written consultation, please respond to this email, and I’ll provide you with the necessary information to start this process. We are in coordination with UK immigration lawyers.

  3. I have Spanish nationality living in Spain and would like to have British citizenship (I have the right to this as I was born in the Uk) but I do not want to lose my Spanish nationality .

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Subject: Dual Nationality: Spanish and British Citizenship Queries

      Dear Jane,

      Thank you for reaching out regarding your interest in obtaining British citizenship while retaining your Spanish nationality.

      Given your birth in the UK, you inherently have a claim to British citizenship. Now, when it comes to dual nationality, both Spain and the UK generally allow it under certain circumstances:

      Spain: While Spain typically requires renunciation of a previous nationality when a person naturalizes as a Spanish citizen, there are exceptions, especially for nationals of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Portugal. For other nationalities (like British), Spain tends to have a stricter stance on dual nationality. However, in practice, Spain does not actively enforce this, and many people manage to effectively have both nationalities without any issue.

      UK: The United Kingdom permits dual citizenship without any restrictions. So, from the British side, there’s no issue in holding both British and Spanish citizenships.

      Steps to proceed:

      British Passport Application: If you were born in the UK, you should already be a British citizen (unless there are particular circumstances that might prevent that, like being born to certain diplomatic officials). In most cases, you can simply apply for a British passport.

      Informing Spanish Authorities: This is where you may need to be cautious. While Spain does not actively enforce the renunciation of the previous nationality for naturalized citizens, it might be wise to consult with a local expert before making any formal declarations about your dual intentions.

      Stay Updated: Immigration and nationality laws can change. It’s crucial to stay updated with any changes in regulations that might impact your status.

      If you need further information or require assistance with the application processes, please let us know. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

      Warm regards,

      Maria L. de Castro
      General Director, Costaluz Lawyers

  4. Dear Maria
    I hope you’re doing well.
    I was wondering if you could please help.
    I am a British citizen by birth as I was born and raised in the UK. I currently live in the UK.

    I wish to permanently move to Spain. However, I do not wish to renounce my British citizenship in order to become a Spanish national. I have read the Spain doesn’t allow dual nationality.

    If I were to renounce my British Citizenship in Spain, in order become a citizen of Spain, would I still be a British citizen in the eyes of the UK government? Or will I have lost my British citizenship altogether?

    I hope you can help.

    Many thanks.

    Best wishes

    Mr Kumar

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Mr. Kumar,

      Good morning and thank you for reaching out.

      To address your concerns:

      Dual Nationality: Spain typically does not officially recognize dual nationality for citizens from countries outside of Ibero-America, which includes countries in Latin America, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Portugal. However, the practical implications are a bit nuanced.

      Renouncing British Citizenship: While Spain might ask you to renounce your previous citizenship during the Spanish nationality application process, the UK doesn’t automatically recognize this renunciation unless done formally through UK procedures. So, even if you declare to Spanish authorities that you’re renouncing your British citizenship, you would still be considered a British citizen by the UK unless you take explicit actions through the UK government to renounce it.

      To put it simply: If you were to renounce your British citizenship solely for the Spanish naturalization process, you would still be considered a British citizen in the eyes of the UK government. However, do note that holding two passports requires careful consideration when traveling and dealing with governmental matters in either country.

      I hope this clears up your concerns. If you have any more questions or need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. Hi Maria!
    My father is spanish but I am British born. Would I be able to apply for dual nationality? My father lives permanently in Spain now.
    Would My daughter be eligible also?

    Many thanks,
    Carl

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Carl,

      Thank you for reaching out!

      Given that your father is Spanish, you are indeed eligible to apply for Spanish nationality by origin, even if you were born outside Spain. The fact that your father is a Spanish citizen allows you to have a rightful claim to Spanish nationality.

      Furthermore, concerning your daughter, if you obtain Spanish nationality before she turns 18, she would also have the right to claim Spanish nationality by option, due to her direct descent from a Spanish national.

      It’s important to note that the UK allows dual nationality, so you wouldn’t have to give up your British citizenship. Spain, however, generally requires new citizens from non-Iberoamerican countries to renounce their previous nationality. However, in practice, this often means making a declaration of renunciation without necessarily having to take steps to give up the original citizenship. Since the UK allows dual citizenship, you could potentially still use your British passport when needed.

      If you need assistance with the application process or have further questions, please let me know.

  6. Hi Maria, my situation is similar to Carl’s. However, my mother is Spanish, and wondered if that would make a difference? I was born in England. My mother still lives in Spain. I have a British passport and would like to apply for a Spanish one too. Is this possible without renouncing my British passport/nationality? Look forward to your reply, with thanks Mel

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Mel,

      Given that your mother is Spanish, and provided she was Spanish at the time of your birth, you have a strong claim to Spanish citizenship by descent. Spain recognizes the right to nationality for those with Spanish parentage, even if they were born abroad.

      In regards to your concerns about maintaining your British passport while acquiring a Spanish one: Spain, in principle, does not recognize dual nationality with countries outside of Ibero-America. This means that during the process of acquiring Spanish nationality, you would be asked to renounce your British nationality formally. However, in practice, this renunciation is more of a symbolic gesture. The UK does recognize dual nationality, so acquiring Spanish citizenship won’t lead to the automatic loss of your British passport.

      After declaring your renunciation of British citizenship to the Spanish authorities and obtaining your Spanish citizenship, you can continue to use your British passport for all purposes related to the UK and other countries that recognize it. The renunciation has no practical effect in the UK. This is a common practice for many dual nationals.

      Yours sincerely,

      María L. de Castro
      General Director
      Costaluz Lawyers

  7. Freddie Braddock

    Hi Maria,
    I am British Citizen and hold a British passport, I was born and raised in Spain until the age of 18 when I have moved to the UK to study. I am now 24 and finishing off my studies but still hold my Spanish residency. I am planning to continue to live in UK and work here. I am wondering if it is worth me applying for a Spanish citizenship and passport beforehand, as I guess I will no longer be a resident of Spain. If I do would living and working in the UK result in any issues with my Spanish citizenship in the long run, I assume I would use my Spanish passport for travel, but would need to use a British passport for employment etc in the Uk.
    Many thanks,
    Freddie

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Freddie,

      Thank you for reaching out. Given your unique circumstances, there are a few things to consider:

      Spanish Residency and Citizenship: Despite having been born and raised in Spain, residency in Spain is contingent upon continuous legal residence. If you moved away from Spain 6 years ago and did not maintain your official residency (e.g., by not registering in the municipal register or ‘padrón’, not paying taxes, etc.), it’s possible that you may have lost your legal Spanish residency status. It’s important to note that residency and citizenship are two different legal statuses.

      Applying for Spanish Citizenship: Spanish nationality can be acquired in several ways:

      By birth: Those who are Spanish by birth include:

      Those born to a Spanish father or mother.
      Those born in Spain to foreign parents if, at least, one of them was also born in Spain. Exceptions to this are children of diplomats and certain international officials.
      Those born in Spain to foreign parents if both are stateless or if the legislation of neither of them grants nationality to the child.
      Those born in Spain of unknown parents or whose lineage is not determined.
      By residence: This involves living in Spain for a specific number of years legally and continuously. The generally required duration is ten years, but there are exceptions. For example, five years are required for those who have obtained refugee status, and two years for nationals from Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or Sephardic Jews.

      By option: A benefit that the law grants to foreigners subject to the parental authority of a Spanish citizen. If the foreigner is or has been under the parental authority of a Spaniard, they can choose Spanish nationality.

      By letter of naturalization: This is a discretionary grant from the Government when exceptional circumstances are present in the individual.

      By possession of status: Those individuals who have possessed and used Spanish nationality in good faith, based on a title registered in the Civil Registry, for ten years without interruption. It is necessary that during this time they have had public activity as Spaniards and have not used the nationality attributed to them before the possession of the Spanish one during the same period.

      Dual Citizenship and Living in the UK: Spain generally allows dual citizenship with certain countries, though not explicitly with the UK. However, in practice, Spain rarely enforces renunciation, especially for EU citizens. Holding a Spanish passport can make traveling within the EU easier. Conversely, using your British passport for activities in the UK, including employment, would be straightforward and would not interfere with your Spanish citizenship.

      Long-term implications: Once you’ve obtained Spanish citizenship, living and working in the UK should not pose any issues to your Spanish citizenship. However, you might need to consider factors like tax implications if you earn income in both countries.

      To clarify your residency status and explore the possibility of obtaining Spanish citizenship, it would be best to consult with one of our immigration lawyers. They can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation and inform you of any recent legislative changes that may be relevant.

      Kind regards,

      Maria L. de Castro
      General Director
      Costaluz Lawyers

  8. My partner & I are currently live in the Uk
    My partner she is Spanish & I’m a British citizen

    Our daughter new born has a British passport isit possible for her to also obtain a Spanish passport (dual) with all of us living in the Uk also

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Adrian:

      Yes, your newborn daughter can obtain a Spanish passport since her mother is Spanish. To do this from the UK:

      You’ll need to register your daughter’s birth at the “Consular Civil Registry” of the Spanish Consulate in the UK.
      For the registration, you’ll generally need the child’s British birth certificate and the parents’ passports or IDs.
      Once registered, you can apply for her Spanish passport at the Consulate.
      The UK allows dual citizenship, so she can hold both passports without issue.

      1. Hi Maria
        I have a spanish passport but have lived in Ireland for the last 6 years so I now qualify for an irish passport.
        If I get an irish passport, will I have to give up my spanish one?
        Thanks

        1. Maria Luisa Castro

          Dear Lucia:

          Ireland allows dual citizenship, which means you can become an Irish citizen without having to give up your Spanish citizenship. Under Irish law, there is no requirement to renounce your Irish citizenship to become a citizen of another country, and similarly, you do not have to give up another citizenship to become an Irish citizen. This implies that you can hold both an Irish and a Spanish passport without any legal issues from the Irish side.

          Hope the above helps

          Maria Luisa Castro

  9. Dear Maria,
    Can you advise me if I would be eligible to obtain Spanish citizenship by descent?
    I am British ( born in the UK ) and hold a British passport. .My paternal grandmother and great grandmother were both Spanish. Both my grandfather and my father were born and grew up in Spain but were registered British as my great grandfather was British ( GGF moved from the UK to Spain).
    (My father has passed away , he was born in Huelva in 1917 and grew up in Cadiz and left Spain to come to the UK approx 1948) .

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Therese:

      In regards to your question about obtaining Spanish citizenship by descent, let’s dive into the “Ley de Memoria Democrática” and how it could apply to you.

      Spain’s “Ley de Memoria Democrática” (Democratic Memory Law) allows descendants of Spanish nationals who had gone into exile during the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco to claim Spanish citizenship. This provision has been designed to address the historical injustices suffered by those who had been forced to leave Spain during that tumultuous period.

      You should consider a few critical points:

      Exact conditions: Law establishes specific conditions and timelines that need to be met. The key is demonstrating that the ancestor in question (in your case, your father) was forced into exile due to the conditions in Spain at that time.

      Documentation: You would need to provide documents showing your direct lineage and the circumstances surrounding your family’s departure from Spain. This would likely include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and possibly other historical documents.

      Timeframes: The current “Ley de Memoria Histórica” has a limit on 21 st of October, 2024.

      We will be very pleased to assist you with the process. If you need, we can send to you our Terms and Conditions.

      ¡Buena suerte!

  10. Patricio Alvarez

    Hi Maria
    I am an Ecuadorean national and also have a British passport since I’ve lived in the UK for several years.

    I am planning to move to Spain to live and my employer is seeking to obtain a residence permit via the non-eu family member of an eu citizen since my wife is Spanish. The first step will be to get a temporary NEI number.

    I wanted to know which passport I should use (Ecuadorean or UK) for the entire process since I want to minimise the risk of having to renounce my UK citizenship if I later on decide to apply for the Spanish nationality.

    Thank you very much
    Patricio

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hello Patricio,

      Your situation is particularly interesting given your dual citizenship and your connection to an EU citizen (your Spanish wife). Here’s some guidance based on the details you’ve provided:

      Which Passport to Use: Both UK and citizens and Ecuadorians are third-country nationals in the EU context. Given that you’re married to a Spanish citizen, the process might be simpler using your Ecuadorian passport as you could benefit from shorter periods for acquiring Spanish nationality.

      Temporary NIE Number: The NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is an identification number for foreigners in Spain. You’ll need this for nearly all formalities in the country. It’s not a residence permit but rather an identifier. You’ll need this number even for short-term activities, so getting this is indeed a good first step.

      Residence Permit as Non-EU Family Member of an EU Citizen: Being married to a Spanish national certainly facilitates the process. You should be able to apply for a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen. This will allow you to live, work, and study in Spain.

      Acquiring Spanish Nationality & Renouncing UK Citizenship: If you eventually decide to apply for Spanish nationality, Spain generally requires non-EU nationals to renounce their previous citizenship. However, there are exceptions, particularly for nationals of Ibero-American countries, which includes Ecuador. This means you would not have to renounce your Ecuadorian citizenship if you decide to obtain Spanish nationality. Regarding your British citizenship, the situation is more complicated as Spain would require you to renounce your UK citizenship when acquiring your nationality.

      In conclusion, using your Ecuadorian passport in conjunction with your marital status might be a more straightforward route, and it has the added advantage of not complicating any future decision about Spanish nationality in relation to your British citizenship. However, given the nuances of your situation and the importance of making the right choice, I would highly recommend seeking advice from an immigration lawyer in Spain who is up to date with the latest regulations. We have an inmigration lawyer among members of our team and will be pleased to offer our services to you.

      Best wishes with your move to Spain!

      Maria

  11. Dear Maria,
    I was married to a Spanish citizen until October this year when unfortunately we got divorced. I applied for Spanish citizenship in 2021 as I was living in Spain since October 2019 until April this year and I have just been notified that my nationality has been granted subject to me going to Spain to submit my documents and swear the oath of allegiance etc. I am now living and working in the UK but plan to go back to Spain one day to live. Is there any possibility Spanish citizenship could be denied or taken away from me as a result of the divorce?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Dan,

      I understand your concerns regarding your recently granted Spanish citizenship in light of your divorce.

      The divorce itself should not result in the immediate denial or revocation of your Spanish citizenship, especially if you have met all the legal requirements and have been granted citizenship based on those criteria. Typically, once citizenship is granted, it is not affected by subsequent personal circumstances such as divorce.

      Best regards,

      Maria

  12. Mathew Valladares-Hodder

    Hello,

    I was born in Spain, to a Spanish father and British mother and have been living in UK since age 6 (am 27 now). I only hold a UK passport and have not held a Spanish passport since a child. I want to explore gaining citizenship in Spain, however it’s not clear whether I’d be able to retain both UK and Spanish citizenships. Would you be able to recommend whether I am eligible for Spanish citizenship and whether it would affect my UK citizenship? I would not be a resident of Spain as I live in the UK and would continue to do so.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Mat

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Mathew:

      You can acquire Spanish nationality by origin because you are the child of a Spanish parent. However, it’s worth mentioning that Spain doesn’t have a dual nationality agreement with the United Kingdom, but the UK does allow dual nationality. If you decide to acquire Spanish nationality, Spain may require a formal rejection of your British nationality.

      Hope the above helps.

  13. Hi Maria.
    I am a British citizen and live in the UK and would like to know, If you are able to obtain a Spanish passport, how are you able to travel to Spain from the UK and back? In Spain you will have to show your Spanish passport but won’t they ask where is the proof of settled status in the UK? Or will you always have to use the British passport traveling to and from Spain if you live in the UK?
    Thank you

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear John:

      If you obtain Spanish citizenship and possess a Spanish passport, you can use that passport to travel to Spain and other Schengen Area countries without any issue, as you would be considered a Spanish citizen. However, when traveling to and from the UK, you may still need to use your

      Hope it helps!

  14. Hello Maria

    My Spanish born Mum, gave up her Spanish nationality when she married my British Dad in in 1968. My siblings and I are therefore British. Is it possible for us to apply for Spanish citizenship and also remain British? Also, is possible to apply for my Mum’s grandchildren who are all currently under 18?

    Thank you

    Teresa

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Teresa:

      Law 20/2022 states that those born outside Spain of a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who were originally Spanish, may opt for Spanish nationality.

      In order to apply for this nationality there are several important aspects to take into account:
      You must be resident in Spain in order to apply.
      The descendant must be over 18 years of age.
      This instruction came into force on 25 October 2022 and they have given until 25 October 2024 to apply for nationality by descent in this specific case.
      Hope the above helps: we will be very pleased to assist you with this.

      Best regards,

      María

  15. I am a Spanish national born in Spain and lived there until I was an adult in my 30s. A few years ago I came to the UK, initially for a short time. Although I found work in London UK, I often went to Spain to see my family. That is why I did not modify the registry that I had in Spain.

    Time passed and I acquired British nationality. Shortly afterwards I had to renew my Spanish passport and I went to Spain to renew it within the period of three years from the acquisition of the other British nationality.

    According to the ‘registro civil’ website, I should make a declaration of conservation within three years in the ‘registro civil when I’m registered’ which is in Spain. However I was told that since I still have the pafron in Spain it appears that I’m still a Spanish resident so I do not need to make such declaration.

    Should I change my residence to UK just to be able to make such declaration in the spanish consulate in UK? Should I not take any action? What are the implications of not making such declararion in my situation?

    Thanks very much for your attention.

    Best regards

    Thank you very much in advance for your attention and your time.

    Receive a warm greeting.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Jonatan:

      Under the law, Spaniards will lose their nationality if they meet certain criteria, such as being emancipated, residing abroad, and voluntarily acquiring another nationality. However, this loss can be avoided if, within a period of three years, they declare their intention to retain Spanish nationality.

      To avoid losing Spanish nationality, it is necessary to declare this intention and renounce British nationality before the Spanish authorities. If a person is still registered in Spain as a resident, this indicates that they still have properties in their name and continue to declare taxes in the country. Therefore, to remain in Spain without difficulties in the future, they should renounce their British nationality.

      Hope the above helps!

      Best wishes

      María

  16. Soy espanola de nacimiento y he conseguido nacionalidad britanica, ahora resido en españa, pero van a pasar 3 años desde que saqué mi nacionalidad britanica. Debo pedir conservar mi nacionalidad española? en el consulado me dicen que tengo que volver a registrarme en el consulado como residente en el extranjero para pedir el tramite, pero viviendo ahora en españa… tengo que pedirlo siquiera?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      The law establishes that those who emancipate, reside abroad and voluntarily acquire another Nationality, can avoid this loss if within three years they express their will to keep their Nationality.
      If you do not want to lose your Spanish nationality, you should apply to the Civil Registry of the place where you live in Spain to express your wish to continue with your Spanish nationality and renounce your British nationality.

  17. I’m Spanish, my husband is from the UK, and we live in Spain. If we have a baby we will also have it and live in Spain. Can our baby get British nationality and therefore have both of them? Thanks!

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Laura:

      If born in Spain to a British parent, the child automatically has the right to British citizenship through descent. However, you must register the birth with the UK authorities to claim British citizenship for your child.

      Hope the above helps,

      Best wishes

      María

  18. Dear Maria
    I was born in Spain (La Linea) to Spanish parents. My British Citizenship was granted in 1998 via marriage and have been permanently living and working in the UK ever since. My Spanish passport ran out of date in late 1998 and never renewed this but instead I applied for a British passport and kept renewing this. We go to Spain quite regularly to stay with my family (for 1/2 weeks at a time) however, because of the new laws coming into force recently regarding the “Carta de invitacion” (which currently cost a fee of nearly 80 euros each and that we both would have to apply for) every time we want stay with family over in Spain. For this reason (for myself only) I would like to explore the possibility of applying for a Spanish passport to travel to Spain but retain my UK passport for Identification/Tax/work purposes in the UK, therefore have 2 passports. Would you be able to confirm if this is possible and the next steps I would need to take in order to progress this? I am aware that the UK have dual nationality agreement and Spain do not but don’t know what the implications would be in terms of the British Citizenship.
    Muchas gracias por su tiempo.
    Muy estimada Maria.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      If you were born in Spanish territory, you can apply for Spanish nationality with only one year of continuous residence immediately prior to applying for nationality.

      The first step is to obtain a visa that allows you to reside in Spain for one year, after which you can apply for Spanish nationality.

      Regarding your concern about dual Spanish and British nationality, it is true that Spain does not recognise dual nationality with the UK, so in order to apply for Spanish nationality you will have to renounce your British nationality before the Spanish authorities. This is an act that you must do in Spain but it is true that to date it has no repercussions in the UK, as you do not have to give up your passport. So you can continue to use your British passport in the UK and your Spanish passport in Spain indistinctly.

      As long as you renew both passports you will be able to continue using both nationalities.

      Kind regards.

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