All applicants aged 18-70 who are citizens of non-Spanish speaking countries must pass two Spanish exams given at an Instituto Cervantes in Albuquerque, Seattle, Chicago, New York or Boston called the DELE A2 and CCSE.
Individuals from Spanish-speaking nations or those born in Puerto Rico only need to pass the CCSE.
Important Information for Dual Nationals living in non-Spanish speaking nations
If an individual holds two passports, one from a Spanish-speaking country and one from a non-Spanish speaking country, and was born in a Spanish speaking country, s/he can elect to only take the CCSE, but then must undergo two background checks, one from each nation’s federal police, as well as a local background check from the state or region where they currently reside if they have lived there for less than five years.
If an individual has lived in a non-Spanish speaking nation for over five years, s/he can undergo the background check of that nation only. Individuals who only hold passports from a non-Spanish speaking nation, but were born in Latin America should consult with an attorney.
Applicants with significant disabilities may receive an exemption with a doctor’s note that has been translated into Spanish and has an apostille affixed.
Here are the dates of the Spanish language (DELE A2) and civics (CCES) exams that will be held at the Instituto Cervantes in 2019. We strongly recommend preparing for these exams and signing up as soon as possible, as space is limited for these exams. Furthermore, it takes four months to receive results for the DELE and one month for the CCSE.
Albuquerque’s Instituto Cervantes is particularly helpful. Here is its website: http://albuquerque.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm If you have questions or you need to pay the fee for the test in New Mexico, please contact Manuel Gonzales at 505-724-4777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCSE (Civics) EXAMS
Exam Date Last Day to Sign Up
February 22, 2019 February 1, 2019
March 22, 2019 March 1, 2019
April 26, 2019 April 5, 2019
DELE A2 SPANISH (language) EXAMS
Exam Date Last Day to Sign Up
April 5, 2019 February 5, 2019
Note: Results for the DELE A2 takes four months to attain. Results for the CCSE take one month. If you elect to take the April 2019 DELE, you may be too late to hire an attorney. In this case, we strongly recommend that you obtain an FCJE.org certificate, as that gives you far more flexibility.
How to prepare for the Spanish Exams
Many of you have asked for advice about preparing for the two exams required for Spanish citizenship. Here are some helpful hints, based on my own experience.
First Stop: Visit an Instituto Cervantes in Albuquerque, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Boston, or Miami
If you live near an Instituto Cervantes, please contact them first. The branch in Albuquerque is friendly and helpful. You can call them if you have trouble reaching another branch.
If you live far from an Instituto Cervantes, you may still want to contact your nearest Instituto Cervantes to ask for a placement test (to see how intensively you will need to prepare) and also for any recommendations they may have for instructors and classes in your city.
CCSE: Conocimientos constitucionales y socioculturales de Espana
This is the civics exam which expects a basic understanding of Spanish law, society, government, history, geography and culture. It is a brief multiple-choice exam with 25 questions. Applicants need to study a 100-page booklet with 300 potential questions.
The book is written in Spanish, and there is no English translation, though there is a lexicon of key words in a series of languages.
It is not a difficult exam, but one must read through all the material and questions carefully, and study the correct answers. It is a brief test, and almost everyone finishes within 30 minutes. Study the whole book carefully, and memorize the answers if you need to. The test is a very interesting window into Spain, and it will also help you with the reading comprehension section of the DELE.
Link on how to prepare for the CCSE:
Exam preparation booklet for the 2018 test:
DELE A2: Un Diploma de Espanol
This is a far more serious exam, in that it expects an intermediate level of written and spoken Spanish. Applicants take a four-hour exam (with breaks between each of the four sections, be prepared to stay from 8:30 am to perhaps 2:00 pm) which measures the ability to read, listen, write and speak Spanish. This test truly seeks to measure your ability to use straightforward, feet on the ground Spanish. There are no trick questions.
It is a European exam, akin to the International Baccalaureate, and so if you have only taken US examinations, you need to be familiar with the format of the test. This is crucial. Do not go into the exam without preparation, even if your Spanish is strong. You can buy preparation books for the DELE A2. Please take practice tests until you feel very comfortable with the format.
I took classes for six months at the Instituto Cervantes, and then hired one of their instructors to tutor me for the last two months. I took a lot of practice tests. That made a big difference for me.
Two sections are for understanding language: reading and listening, and two for transmitting information: writing and speaking. Figure out your individual strengths and weaknesses, and practice the weak areas as much as you can. Be prepared to listen to the Castilian Spanish accent, and prepare for the way that the oral exam is structured, so that you won’t be surprised. For reading, the CCSE booklet is actually a very good start, and for writing, practice writing short essays, emails to friends, basic verb tenses and vocabulary.
Link on how to prepare for the DELE:
More detail on each section of the test: https://examenes.cervantes.es/sites/default/files/guia_examen_dele_a2_0.pdf
I would buy the DELE A2 prep books (available on Amazon) published by either Edelsa and Difusion. Difusion has more general grammar and vocabulary help, but my teacher used Edelsa, and some of the oral questions were verbatim.
DELE Prep Classes via Skype
If you don’t live in easy access of an Instituto Cervantes and your Spanish is not strong, you will need to attend classes or hire a tutor. There is a way to hire a tutor via Skype. This is a good option for people who live in rural areas with few Spanish teachers available. It is also good for folks who travel a lot and may not be able to attend classes in person every week.
According to Luis Portero, the reviews they post give a feeling for the methods.