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Spanish Citizenship and Two-Stage Schemes Fraud

Citizenship in Spanish
Though we do not provide legal services in countries of Latin America and in Spain, experts of “Elma Global” from time to time receive questions from prospective clients who are interested in acquiring Spanish citizenship using two-stage procedure. It is known that normal naturalization period in Spain (number of years required to apply for citizenship) is 10 years of legal residence. At the same time for citizens of Latin American countries (with Spanish as official language) a reduced naturalization period is applied. Latin Americans can launch an application for Spanish citizenship after 2 years of legal residence in Spain. This situation entailed many fraudulent offers and scam web-sites offering foreign nationals fast passport programs in Latin American countries with subsequent acquisition of Spanish citizenship.

It should be kept in mind that no fast passport programs exist in Latin America. The shortest naturalization period exists in Argentina and Ecuador; these countries offer citizenship after only 2 years of residency. Also the privilege to be naturalized in Spain in two years applies only to native-born Latin Americans. Therefore, if you acquired citizenship of the Dominican Republic or any other Ibero-American country by naturalization or marriage and then moved to Spain you would not be able to apply for citizenship of Spain after two years of legal residence. Like any other foreigner you will be expected to reside 10 years before it is possible to become a citizen of Spain.

If we take other Latin American countries the residence period required to be eligible for citizenship ranges from 2 to 5 years as follows:

Country Number of years you must reside in the country to be eligible for citizenship
Argentina 2 years
Brazil 4 years
Chile 5 years
Costa Rica 5 years as permanent resident
Guatemala 2 years
Dominican Republic 5 years
Ecuador 2 years
El Salvador 5 years
Mexico 5 years
Paraguay 3 years
Uruguay From 3 to 5 years (depending on the case)
Venezuela 5 years

More Explanations

We shall try to explain how second passport fraud works. Some providers second citizenship and second passport of Latin America use argument of “easy naturalization in Spain and consequently in European Union”.

It must be noted that citizens of Ibero-America (e.g. citizen of Argentina, Uruguay, or Paraguay) must be born in Latin America in order to have a privilege to acquire Spanish citizenship in two years instead of normal 10 years. In case you get citizenship of any Ibero-American State by naturalization, not by birth, then 2 years as a reduced naturalization period in Spain does not apply. In this case normal naturalization of 10 years of legal residence in Spain applies if you want to be naturalized in Spain. Therefore, if your final goal is Spain or EU, it is better for you to consider acquisition of temporary or even permanent residence in some EU country. Latin American passport will be of no good in Spain or Europe; it will be good only for travel purposes.

Questions Related to Acquisition of Spanish Citizenship:

Question: What are the rules if you are a Nicaraguan citizen and marry a Spanish citizen? How long does it take to get a Spanish passport while residing in Spain?
Answer: We do not currently provide legal services related to citizenship applications in Spain. However, the answer to your question is as follows. One can acquire Spanish citizenship upon fulfillment of conditions that vary according to the person involved. Persons with no ties to Spain must reside in the country for at least 10 years. Persons who are former nationals of Portugal, the Philippines, or certain South American countries need only reside for two years. Persons who were born in Spain, who have married a citizen of Spain, or who were born outside of Spain of a mother or father who was originally Spanish, need only reside one year.

Question: I am writing regarding acquiring Spanish Citizenship. I am a Filipino Citizen. I just want to clarify that as a Filipino Citizen, we are entitled of only 2 Year(s) of legal residency in Spain then we can apply for naturalization. Is this one true? They said that it’s because Philippines has a historical ties with the Spain and so they have these law for the nationals of Ibero-America, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal. What about acquiring citizenship by investing in the real estate? What about for marriage? I hope to receive the soonest reply from you.
Answer: Yes, this is correct. Filipino citizen can apply for Spanish citizenship after two years of legal residence in Spain. Please, note that investing in real estate leads to residency(Golden Visa) if the invested amount is equal to or higher than 500,000 EUR. You can also get residency permit through labor contract with a Spanish firm, through marriage, or through purchasing business.

Question: I had a question about naturalization as a Spanish citizen. I will be marrying a European citizen and we intend on settling in Barcelona (I am currently living and working in London). I currently have both Filipino and American passports. I had several questions I was hoping you could help me with? First, I was wondering if I should apply for the Family Reunification Visa on my Filipino or American passport. And also, I was wondering about whether or not I would be able to naturalize as a Spanish citizen with as a Filipino after two years? There is one thing I am worried about however; I am only a Filipino citizen since 2005. Prior to 2001, the Philippines revoked the citizenship of natural-born Filipinos who naturalized in other countries. My parents naturalized as United States citizens prior to my birth and thus, I was born with only American citizenship. However, in 2001 the Philippines allowed former natural-born Filipino citizens to reclaim their citizenship along with their children. So in 2005, I claimed my Filipino citizenship. Essentially, my mother was a natural born citizen of the Philippines (as is my Father), and she reclaimed her Filipino citizenship and put me (still a minor at that time) on her application. I did not make a separate application on my own for reclamation, or even naturalization. With these circumstances, would I still be eligible to naturalize in Spain after two years residence with my fiancée (soon to be wife)? Additionally, I have direct Spanish descent so I should be able to apply through the Law of Historical Memory I think, but during the Second World War, the Japanese Army destroyed all the baptismal and marriage certificates recording my family descent from a citizen of Spain. I don’t suppose there is much that can be done about that is there? I would appreciate any assistance you could offer on these matters. Thank you very much and have a good day.
Answer: You seem to be eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship after two years of legal residence in Spain because you are considered to be “natural born Filipino citizen”. Though I am not sure you can keep American citizenship when Spanish is approved. Spain does not have the appropriate treaty with the USA. Will you be ready to renounce American passport?
Question: Thanks so much for your reply. So can I just clarify that despite to my circumstances regarding my mother losing her citizenship before I was born and reclaiming it while I was a minor, that I can still be considered a “natural born Filipino” and Filipino by naturalization by Spain?
Answer: Yes, your understanding is correct.

Question: I am a Filipino Citizen. We are entitled of only 2 years of legal residency in Spain then we can apply for naturalization due to the historical ties of the 2 countries. Are there cases of faster naturalization/citizenship if a Filipino is a descendant of a Spanish national? My Great-great-grandfather was from Malaga before he went here.
Answer: We do not deal with Spanish citizenship cases at present.

Question: I am going to become a Mexican Citizen very soon and would like to acquire Spanish Citizenship In that case would I have to apply for a Spanish visa via my Mexican passport or my American side?
Answer: If you are going to become a Mexican citizen through naturalization then you have no privileges to get Spanish citizenship after two years of legal residence in Spain. Only Mexicans by birth have those privileges. Naturalized Mexicans will be expected to reside in Spain for 10 years before they can apply for Spanish citizenship.

Question: I am a citizen of the United States of America by birth. Both my parents are born citizens of El Salvador and are naturalized citizens of the United States of America. My father is deceased but my mother holds dual citizenship with El Salvador and the United States of America. I have rights to Salvadoran citizenship by descent (Jus Sanguinis). I understand this form of citizenship is different than means of naturalization if I am not mistaken. I understand that the stage two Spanish citizenship method is only allowed for Ibero-Americans born in their respective countries. Would I fall under the stage two requirements for Spanish citizenship because of my blood rights to Salvadoran citizenship or will that consider me a naturalized citizen of El Salvador because I was not born there? I speak, read, and write in Spanish and lived a few years in El Salvador. I do not consider my attempts for Spanish citizenship a fraudulent one because my bloodline is 100% Salvadoran which is historically mixed with Spanish bloodlines. Thank you for your time concerning this matter.
Answer: Yes, you will have privilege of getting Spanish citizenship faster (after two years of legal residence in Spain instead of ten) provided you get citizenship of El Salvador first. However, without residence permit you will not have a possibility to apply for Spanish citizenship. You should get Spanish residency permit on your Salvadorian passport, spend 2 years in Spain, and then you will be able to apply.

Question: I am from Spain and I will like to know if I will get married with someone who has an American citizenship and also Bosnian can he apply to obtain the Spanish citizenship. How long will it take the process to get the Spanish Citizenship for him? And is he going to be able to keep his American, Bosnian and Spanish (if he can get one) all together?
Answer: Foreigners (with the exceptions of citizens of Latin American countries) must reside in Spain for 10 years before they apply for Spanish citizenship. If the citizenship is granted then the person will be required to renounce both US and Bosnian citizenship. Spain recognizes dual citizenship only with its former colonies in Latin America. On the other hand, you future spouse does not need to apply for citizenship and passport (if he is not going to take part in the Spanish political life). He may reside in the country with temporary residence permit first and after some time get permanent residency.

Question: I have dual citizenship: American and Ukrainian, and I am interested in obtaining a Spanish citizenship through investment. What are my options and how much do I need to invest?
Answer: There is no citizenship by investment program in Spain. If you invest 500,000 EUR into property or 2,000,000 EUR into government bonds or 1,000,000 into Spanish business, you can get a temporary residence permit (Golden Visa). Citizenship will be available after 10 years of legal residence in Spain.

If you have any question regarding above-mentioned material or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining permanent residency or second citizenship, contact us today


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