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2022 Updated Democratic Memory Law: Spanish citizenship granted

Aug 19, 2022 | Immigration Spain, Spanish Nationality

The descendants of exiled Spanish achieved victory on October 21, 2022, since the Grandchildren Law, formally named the Democratic Memory Law, was approved in Congress and later published in the BOE (Official State Gazette). This new law entered into force on that same date of October 21, 2022, and will remain in effect until October 21, 2024, with a possible extension of one additional year.

The law is significant because it seeks to vindicate those who suffered persecution or violence for political, ideological, thought, conscience or religious beliefs, and for sexual orientation or identity preferences, during the period between the coup d’état of July 18, 1936, the Spanish War and Franco’s dictatorship until the entry into force of the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

Today’s entry will cover the new scenarios added to the bill, its benefits, and how to obtain nationality. But first, let’s understand where this initiative comes from. 

Background to the new update

When the previous Democratic Memory Law 52/2007 was introduced, it raised the interest of hundreds of thousands of Spanish descendants. Nevertheless, only a handful of them was able to obtain citizenship.

This obstacle was primarily due to the difficulty in obtaining documentation but also because, at the time, many applicants were grown-up grandchildren of Spanish immigrants, a scenario not contemplated in the previous bill.

Novelties: Who can obtain Spanish nationality through the new Democratic Memory Law?

The affected people and their descendants are given the opportunity to apply for Spanish nationality as long as they can demonstrate any of the following 5 assumptions:

  • Volunteers members of the International Brigades and their descendants.
  • Children and/or grandchildren of Spanish citizens who are victims of exile.
  • Children of Spanish women that married a foreigner before the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution.
  • Children of legal age of Spanish citizens who acquired nationality by the Historical Memory Law.
  • Spanish citizens who are not of Spanish origin through the acquisition of nationality by the Historical Memory Law.

When can you apply to this law?

The law was published in the BOE on October 21, 2022, and became active since then. Its effects will remain until October 21, 2024, with a possible extension of one additional year.

Will you be able to keep your previous nationality if you apply to the Democratic Memory Law?

It depends on the case for which you apply:

  • International Brigades: applicants will not have to renounce their previous nationality.
  • Children and/or grandchildren of exiled Spaniards: applicants will not have to renounce their previous nationality
  • Children of Spanish women married to foreigners: applicants will not have to renounce their previous nationality.
  • Children of people who acquired Spanish nationality through the Historical Memory Law: Applicants DO have to renounce their previous nationality.
  • Spanish citizens who are not Spanish of origin because of the Historical Memory Law: does not apply to them.

How to obtain Spanish nationality through the Grandchildren Law

In all previous cases, you must formalise the process within two years following the entry into force, with the possibility of an extension for one more year, which means that the Law would only last three years.

We made another blog detailing the required documentation for each case and the steps to take to begin your process, click here to read more about it.

The application process must be presented at the Spanish consulate located in your place of legal residence. A form must be completed and the required documentation submitted.

Once everything has been delivered, a sealed receipt will be returned to you.

If any document is missing, you will be notified and will have a period of 30 days to deliver the requirement.

We cannot determine how long it will take for you to get a response to your request since this depends on the number of resources and personnel that the Consulate has.

To request help with your Spanish nationality application through the Democratic Memory Law, get in touch with our lawyers here.