The Golden Opportunity: Legal Benefits of Being from a Former Spanish Colony


This article is written in conjunction with the IEU Law Society.

By Stephanie Villamor

Spain holds a special allure for many individuals worldwide. For those with ancestral ties to the former Spanish colonies, studying or living in Spain can be a golden opportunity, which offers a unique set of legal advantages. 

If you are a citizen of a former Spanish colony or have Sephardic origin – good news! You will be happy to know that your studies and legal residence here in IE University will grant you a valuable opportunity from the Spanish law. 

In this article, we will explore the numerous benefits that you can enjoy and consider as you spend the next four or five years of higher education in this land of vibrant cultures, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. 

So what is this ‘golden opportunity’? 

Because you are from a former Spanish colony, certain Spanish laws give you access to a faster path to Spanish citizenship and earning a dual passport. More specifically, you are entitled to acquire Spanish citizenship through naturalisation by legal residence

This is a unique advantage that sets you apart from the general population. This is because the minimum legal residence for those eligible for this ‘golden opportunity’ is only 2 years, compared to 10 years for immigrants who don’t qualify. 

What are the benefits of having dual Spanish citizenship? 

You may enjoy dual citizenship with your home country and the strength of the Spanish passport. It is the second strongest passport in the world, with visa-free access to 190 countries. Holding a Spanish passport allows you to move freely, live, and work within the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries with ease. 

Now, what will I need for this process? 

1. Residency Requirement 

2. Language and Culture Test 

You may need to pass a Spanish language and culture test (DELE A2 and CCSE) as part of your application. This requirement helps demonstrate your integration into Spanish society. 

3. Financial Stability 

You should be able to demonstrate financial stability and not have any outstanding debts or criminal convictions. You may also seek legal advice to fast-track this process for you. 

4. Documentation 

You will need to gather various documents and translate them, such as proof of residency, birth certificates, criminal record checks, and more, depending on your specific situation. You also need to be at least 18 years of age prior to starting this process. 

5. Application and Review 

Once the needed documents are gathered, you may now submit your application for naturalisation to the Spanish government. The relevant authorities will review your application and conduct background checks. 

6. Oath of Allegiance 

And finally, once your application is approved, you will be required to take an oath of allegiance to Spain! 

Are there other ways for my family or parents to obtain this opportunity? 

Yes! On a side note, there are also faster ways to earn Spanish citizenship available for those who have a lucrative income, by ways of investment. This is called the Spanish Golden Visa Program and you will need to invest at least €500.000,00 in real estate, or at least €1.000.000,00 in business or government bonds. Other requirements for this process also entail. 

In conclusion, this ‘golden opportunity’ for former Spanish colony international students in Spain not only offers a streamlined path to dual citizenship but also unlocks a world of benefits. This further underscores the significance of ancestral ties and the rich cultural heritage shared by these individuals, making Spain an appealing destination for both personal and professional growth for students such as you!

Featured image courtesy of

IEU Law Society
IEU Law Society
The IEU Law Society brings the legal world closer to our university's student body.

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  1. Interesting article, but just to be precise, Spanin never had colonies “strictu senso” but “virreinatos” (XVI-XIX centuries), provinces (Guinea, Sahara, in the XIX-XX centuries) or protectorates (Spanish Morrocc until 1956), means that in the first two categories, the Spanish subjects have exactly the same rights and obligations that in the metropoly.


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