miércoles, 26 de junio de 2019


It appears that the average time it takes to get a reply on your Spanish nationality application (yea or nay), having put in all the relevant paperwork, is over two years. However, in some cases the whole process can take up to five years. Because of this some EuroCitizens have gone down the route of legal action, taking the Spanish government to court for 'silencio administrativo'. This might seem a somewhat extreme action to take, but it can work if you are prepared to spend the money.

See below a detailed description of the process of lodging a lawsuit in the form of an administrative appeal (demanda contencioso administrativo) which has been written by a EuroCitizen who was brave enough to go down this route. His appeal was successful and he gained Spanish nationality in a matter of months.

* EuroCitizens cannot give legal advice, but merely inform our members about issues. If you have lodged an appeal (successful or otherwise), write to us at eurocitizens2016@gmail.com and tell us about your experiences.

The use of a Demanda Contencioso Administrativo (DCA) in the process of applying for Spanish nationality.

The DCA is a relatively simple process with the following main features:
1.    When applied to the nationality procedure the DCA can only be presented one year after the application for nationality was presented.

2.    This is because the demand is based on Silencio Administrativo which applies when the Ministerio de Justicia has not given a resolution one year after the application. This theoretically means that the application has been refused although in practice it usually means that it has been delayed because of the backlog in the Ministerio.

3.    If it is decided to present a DCA the first action is to appoint a lawyer with DCA experience preferably related to nationality applications.

4.    The lawyer’s minimum costs are quoted in the colegio de abogados of the province where he/she practices but the costs are negotiable, and the lawyer will usually require fees higher than the minimum. A fee of 2000 euros per case seems to the around the average.

5.    As well as the lawyer a procurador is needed to liaise with the court. The lawyer provides all written material to the procurador. Usually the lawyer will appoint the procurador, but the client can also do it directly. The procurador’s fees are around 372 euros per case.

6.    DCAs are always hear in the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid because that is where the Ministerio de Justicia is based, so the procurador must practice in Madrid.

7.    The first thing the lawyer will do is check the documentation because one error can cause the DCA to fail and therefore the application would be refused definitively. If there are any doubts about the accuracy and completeness of the documentation presented it is probably not advisable to proceed with a DCA.

8.    If the documentation presented is accurate and complete the lawyer will instruct the procurador to present the DCA. The judge will then admit or reject the DCA. It is very rare that he/she would reject it.

9.    The judge will then send a requirement to the Ministerio de Justicia asking them to send him or her the documentation of the person making the demand.

10. The Ministry then has to reply within 20 days, but they usually take longer.

11.At this stage the funcionario at the Ministerio will review the documentation before sending it to the judge. If he or she sees that everything is in order the application may be just approved basically to avoid the costs of a court case. In my case this appears to be what happened and I received the approval of the application 3 months after presenting the DCA

12.It’s interesting to note that the approval or not of the application is not discretionary. If the documentation is accurate and complete, they are obliged to approve the application.

13.If the Ministerio decides to dispute the demand it has to go through the whole court process which can take up to 18 months. For this to happen the lawyer of the Ministerio will have written to the giving their reasons for refusing the application. The judge then must consider the arguments of the two parts before making the final decision. With the workload they have to clear the backlog they have at present it seems unlikely that most DCAs will get to that stage.

14.Note that even though a DCA is presented the normal approval process continues without interruption.


A Spanish citizenship ceremony.

See below an updated version of this document. Our thanks to our Spanish nationality team for all their painstaking hard work.

Please note that we do not give legal advice; we try to share accurate information about administrative procedures affecting Britons in Spain. If you have any experiences which contradict anything written here, please write to us at eurocitizens2016@gmail.com.


*Exemptions for over 70s 
·   No such exemption exists (except for Sephardic Jews), but older applicants who feel they are not in a condition to take an exam could apply to their doctor for a certificate to this effect, in e.g. cases of impaired memory.   

**Translation of documents
·   Police disclosure and birth certificates must be translated by a sworn translator (traductor jurado) and accompanied by the corresponding ‘apostilles’ (see ‘Legalisation of documents’ below). The apostilles do not need to be translated.
·    Marriage certificate (if not in Spanish) must also be translated by a sworn translator.
·   Cost €35-€60 approx. (IVA inc.) for each document. The translator may need a colour scan of any documents to be translated.

***Legalisation of documents
·    UK police disclosure and birth certificates must be legalised through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which attaches an ‘apostille’ certifying their authenticity. This means sending originals through the post or by courier.
·   Allow up to 14 days for them to be sent back (although the website says 2 days…).
·   Information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised
·   Cost £30 GBP per document plus £15 GBP if you want them sent back by courier = £75-£90 GBP.

****Requirements for Police Disclosure Certificate

National Criminal Records Office
Have everything ready before you start filling in the document as you cannot save it. 
·   Last address in the UK (with post code)
·   Address history for the past 10 years.
·   National Insurance number.
·   Name, phone number and email of a guarantor (someone who has known you for at least 2 years)
You need to scan and attach (NB: no doc can be more than 2 MB)
·   Proof of current address (e.g. utility bill)            
·  Recent passport style photo
·  Colour copy of passport (just the information pages, not the whole passport)

Cost: Standard - £45 GBP, Premium - £80 GBP+ postage / courier charge

Disclosure Scotland
·   Address details for the past 5 years
·   National Insurance number (if you have one)
·   Passport number (if you have a passport – it can be from any country)
·   Driving license number, for either a full or provisional license (if you have a license).
[If your license is Spanish, better not to mention it because the system doesn't understand Spanish numbers!]
·   Non-UK identity card number (if you have one)
Cost: £25 GBP + postage / courier charge

To retrieve a lost NI number:

Presenting documents
a) Online
·       Follow instructions given here according to whether you have an electronic signature or not:https://sede.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/Sede/es/tramites/nacionalidad-espanola

b) In person
·       This link will show the nearest Oficina de Registro Administrativo to present your application:https://administracion.gob.es/pag_Home/atencionCiudadana/encuentraTuOficina/OficinasRegistro.html#.Xacz-vZuLIU