Overview

image_pdfimage_print
Street in Valldemossa village, Mallorca, Spain

Street in Valldemossa village, Mallorca, Spain

An Overview of the Process of Becoming a Citizen of Spain as an Adult US National

Obtaining a certificate of Sephardic origin is just one part of applying for citizenship in Spain. The following information is a summary of the process.

Documents Needed

Every document must be separately digitized in its own pdf file, with the original paper copies also presented in Spain in front of the Notario

Passport  – all pages digitized (It is best to scan four passport pages on each 8×11 sheet) Be sure that it does not expire before 2019 at the earliest.

Certificate of Sephardic Heritage issued by Jewish Federation of New Mexico with translation into Spanish and apostille and/or a certificate issued by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (Federacion Communidades Judias de Espana – see www.FCJE.org for more information).

Birth Certificate with an apostille from the Secretary of State’s office where issued, translated into Spanish by a translator certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Spanish Government

Marriage Certificate – with official translation and apostille, if applicable

Two Special Links to Spain  – applicants need to show a connection to Spain, be it evidence of a trip to Spain, a Spanish bank account, contribution to a Spanish non-profit organization with a letter signed by its president and secretary, a certificate of taking classes at the Instituto Cervantes, formally studying Spanish literature, culture, or history, living or studying in Spain, or being able to speak Judeo-Spanish (Ladino, Hatekia). Applicants who receive a Certificate of Sephardic Origin from the Jewish Federation of New Mexico only have to show one link to Spain, as part of the application fee covers donations to two organizations that further Sephardic traditions in New Mexico.

FBI Criminal Background Check with an apostille issued from the Secretary of State’s office in Washington, D.C. or Virginia, and translated into Spanish by a translator certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Spanish Government. Please note that this is time sensitive, and is only valid for six months.

State Criminal Background Check in the state where you currently reside. It must have an apostille issued from the Secretary of State’s office in your state, and be translated into Spanish by a translator certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Spanish Government. Please note that this is also time sensitive, and only valid for six months.

Certificate of passing the CCSE exam – Spanish civics and culture exam given at the Instituto Cervantes – for applicants between ages 18-70.

Certificate of passing the DELE A-2 exam – Spanish language exam given at the Instituto Cervantes – for applicants between ages 18-70.

Payment of 100 Euro filing fee along with Form 790-026 at any Spanish bank prior to signing your acta de notoriedad at the Notario’s office in Spain.

Steps for Child Applicants:
At this point, it is recommended that children under age 18 apply alongside their parents. (Children can apply independently if their parents are unable to pass the DELE A2 and CCSE exams.)
 
Children need: a certificate of Sephardic heritage, valid passport, birth certificate (with certified Spanish translation and apostille), two special links to Spain (only one if receiving JFNM’s certificate) and a letter of certifying good behavior from the child’s school principal (with certified Spanish translation and apostille). No background checks or Spanish examinations are necessary. However, both parents need to travel to the Notario’s office in Spain. Children aged 13 and under do not need to travel to Spain, while those aged 14-17 will need to accompany their parents.
 
Lawyer fees for children are $1,100 with attorney Luis Portero. Independent child applicants need to pay the full fee. (Sliding scale is available as needed.)

 

Process to Becoming a Spanish Citizen

Once applicants have gathered all documents, they should hire a Spanish immigration attorney to help prepare the case. There are thousands of attorneys capable of petitioning for citizenship in Spain. However, the Jewish Federation of New Mexico works closely with Senor Luis Portero de la Torre, who helped promulgate the Spanish law of return in 2015. He works in Malaga.  His email address is luis@luisportero.com and his assistant for US applicants is Isabel Rivas Torres, isabel@luisportero.com .  Their office number is: +34 952 919 275. It is best to use Spanish when speaking with the office staff, though for Luis, you can use English as he is perfectly bilingual. 

After all relevant documents are prepared electronically, the applicant’s lawyer will upload them to the Ministry of Justice’s website and wait for a date to sign the Acta de Notoriedad in front of the Notario in Spain. At that time, the Notario may ask for additional proof or more documents showing a special connection to Spain and Sephardic origin. Be sure to bring all original documents to this meeting, and it may be wise to prepare additional proof, just in case it is requested. An applicant’s lawyer should provide assistance at all times during the meeting in the Notario’s office.

At this point, the Spanish government will consider the application and if approved, applicants can travel to a Spanish consulate in the US to apply for their new passport. They must travel to a consulate within a year or else the application is forfeit, and must bring a new and updated FBI and state criminal background check with them that has an official translation and apostille attached. At that point, they will swear allegiance to the Spanish King and obedience to the Spanish Constitution and Laws. Lastly, new citizens will pay the processing fee for the issuance of a Spanish passport.

Applicants do not need to renounce other nationalities.