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Dual Nationality - British/Spanish Questions

(37 Posts)
elisuca Fri 03-Jan-14 15:08:01

Hi All,

My daughter was born in Spain last August with a Spanish Mum and an English father. We live in England, at the moment, but will probably move to Spain at some stage in the future. We would like our child to have dual nationality and I was wondering if anyone could point us in the right direction about how to go about this?

Ideally we would like her to have both passports and be able to choose which country to live in later in life. I know that under current EU rules this would not be a problem at the moment, but if one country 'opted out' it could be later in her life.

Thank you!

GoodtoBetter Fri 03-Jan-14 15:14:09

As I understand it, dual nationality does not exist between Britain and Spain because Spain does not recognise it. You are Spanish or you are ot, you cannot be Spanish and simulatneously something else.

To explain...

I live in Spain but am British. My husband is Spanish. We have two children (2yo and 5yo), both born here and their births registered here. They both have British passports too.

They are Spanish because they live here, were born here and their father is Spanish. As far as Spain is concerned, that's the end of it. As I am British, they also have the right to a British passport. But they do NOT have dual nationality. It's more a case of what Spain doesn't know can't hurt it, iyswim.

There are some countries that do recognise dual nationality, like Britain, Turkey, the USA...if both countries recognise it, you can have dual nationality (and it says so in your passport) but Spain does not.

GoodtoBetter Fri 03-Jan-14 15:16:26

Did you register her and get a libro de familia when she was born? If so, she is Spanish and I would just move back and use the libro de familia and later get her a DNI without renouncing her GB passport if she has one. She can be both because nobody ever links the two things and then she can decide later what to do.

hereagain99 Wed 08-Jan-14 09:50:10


DD was born in Britain and has a British passport. I have recently contacted the Spanish consulate wishing to register her in the Registro Civil Espanol.

What Spanish Consulate told me:

She can hold both passports as she has an English father and a Spanish mother. When DD is registered they will give us "el libro de familia" and then we can apply for a Spanish passport. DD won't have to choose between being British or Spanish.

I know that if you live in Spain things are different as I have an English friend living in Spain and married to a Spanish man. When she tried to do a British passport in Spain she was told that it was not possible for the same reason that Good to Better has said.

However if you live in England things are different and you can get a Spanish passport for your children. This will help as if you decide to return to Spain and your children have only British passport you will struggle to register them at the doctors. I also have a friend married to an English man but she is Spanish. Her first daughter was born in Spain and her son was born in England. When they went back to Spain after her son was born (having only British passport), she found it very difficult to get him registered with the doctors as he is a foreigner. They are now considering registering in England as a Spanish citizen as it is easier than doing it in Spain.

My advice to you would be to call the Spanish Consulate and talk to them. I found them very helpful and explained to me every thing.

Hope this helps.

GoodtoBetter Wed 08-Jan-14 09:59:16

I know that if you live in Spain things are different as I have an English friend living in Spain and married to a Spanish man. When she tried to do a British passport in Spain she was told that it was not possible for the same reason that Good to Better has said

I think you have misunderstood me. I am English and live in Spain, married to a Spaniard. The children have British passports which I applied for from Spain and there was no problem at all.

People confuse dual nationality with having two passports. Dual nationality is a specific legal thing which some countries recognise and others don't. If you are dual nationality it says that in your passport. Another thing all together is being entitled to both Spanish and British passports by right of birth and holding them simultaneously.

"However, once you have acquired Spanish citizenship you must declare that you renounce your prior citizenship, unless your case is one where you are entitled to dual citizenship. This includes Latin American countries and others such as Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Portugal. It is possible to have two nationalities, if your existing country does not allow citizens to renounce their citizenship (e.g. the UK)."


marcopront Sun 12-Jan-14 13:05:20

My daughter has dual nationality, not with Spainish as one of them though, she has two passports and in neither of them does it say she is a dual national. When we applied for her British passport, in her father's country we discussed dual nationality and they never mentioned putting it in her passport.

GoodtoBetter Sun 12-Jan-14 19:27:29

Fair enough, I'm not a lawyer, I had a friend at uni who was a dual national (UK and Turkey) and I saw his passport (the UK one I think) and it DID say dual British and Turkish nationality in it.
But my point is that dual nationality afaik is a legal concept and is different from simply being entitled to 2 passports by birth or parentage and holding them simulataneously iyswim.

AuntieStella Sun 12-Jan-14 19:33:18

A British passport would never mention whether the holder also had citizenship of another county as well.

OP: what passport does DC have now?

A passport is simply a document which is used as proof of identity and nationality. Your DD is entitled to be both or either nationality, and it should be easily possible to 'activate' whichever she needs when she needs it.

lljkk Sun 12-Jan-14 19:44:43

Gosh that is complicated.
Deffo call Spanish consulate if you think it matters (not sure it does as long as EU, anyway).
Normally you "acquire" citizenship, that means you are naturalised. Which is different from when citizenship is a birthright.
Typically if you acquire citizenship you are told to renounce other nationalities. Whereas if citizenship is a birthright, then it's a birthright that can't be taken away without gross acts of treason.
So I can only suggest, check carefully what "acquired" means in the relevant country's legislation.
Also, whether being born in Spain to a Spanish mother confers citizenship as a birthright (it probably does).
Born abroad to an English father (gained thru his own birthright) married to the mother would usually confer citizenship to the baby, too, as a birthright.

lljkk Sun 12-Jan-14 19:45:35

ps: may be talking rubbish on last line, I just realised, one to double check!

GoodtoBetter Sun 12-Jan-14 19:58:34

Well, it must have been the Turkish one then as it DEFINITELY said dual nationality in it, I can even picture the green pages.

TJE88 Fri 19-Dec-14 21:24:38

Sorry to come in late and off-topic to this post, but I was wondering if anyone might have the time to chat: I'm an English guy with a Spanish (Galician) partner and we have been talking about having children - we live in London and we aren't quite sure about whether we would prefer torhave pur family in the UK or Spain.

Lots of things to consider as the pace and possibly general quality of life is almost certainly more attractive in Spain, but my partner and I probably have better career prospects here and I do put a lot of value in certain British traits. The kids would havw grandparents in both England and Spain.

It would be really nice to hear from anyone with similar experiences, where you ended up and why, etc.

Many thanks,

FiveLittlePeas Mon 22-Dec-14 06:10:22


As to dual nationality UK/Spain, I am not sure how it works. As far as I know, you cannot have two EU nationalities,.. I have dual nationaliy (neither is UK) and I have two passports from two different countries (one EU), neither of which says anything about dual nationalities.
My kids were born in Spain to a British father and me, and they do not have neither dual nationality (we have not registered their births in the UK consulate) nor Spanish nationality, although we DO have a Libro de Familia, a NIE and the lot. Since they were born here, they can choose to be Spanish at some point, but I think they would have to renounce their current nationality, because their other nac is also EUropean. SPAIN DOES RECOGNISE DUAL NATIONALITY with Latin American countries, We are considering making our kids British, but that would rule out the other EU nationality they hold at the moment, for the reason stated above: you cannot have two EU nationalities at once.

FiveLittlePeas Mon 22-Dec-14 06:18:11

TJE88, why not open your own new thread to discuss this? I would take part in it, but I think it has little to do with this one...

London15 Tue 18-Oct-16 19:45:08

Hi, I'm Albanian nationality, I been marry here in uk, and I have the marriage certificate , if I go to the Spanish consulate can I apply for Spanish citizenship, or what kind of application can I make in this case, as I been married to the uk marriages not to the Spanish consulate, waitin to hear from you , thank you

alex2124 Mon 24-Oct-16 14:26:29

I have two questions:

1.I have Spanish Citizenship via Marriage. I have had it for 19 years. My child before my marriage wants Spanish Nationality/Citzenship. Can I pas it to my child?

2. My Spanish wife died. She was not working when she died. However, she had worked in Spain for many years. Can I receive money from social security?

Frankman Mon 14-Aug-17 11:03:07

I am british and 49 years old. My father is spanish. I have his Birth / Marriage cert plus family card. My mother's birth cert. I am in Spain now on holiday. Can I apply for DNI card. Do I need to do this at the police station. Then with the DNI card can I apply for a passport when back in the UK. Please help as very confused on what is possible tank youconfused

corythatwas Tue 15-Aug-17 00:36:25

"As far as I know, you cannot have two EU nationalities"

Yes, you can, if both countries allow it and you fulfil the criteria in both countries. My dc have Swedish and British nationality. Absolutely allowed.

mpab111 Sun 24-Sep-17 09:10:24

Hi all from a disenfranchised EU-UK citizen resident in Spain since 20-odd years ago,
re. British citizens applying Spanish nationality, I was wondering :
1) whether the Spanish authorities actually tell their UK counterparts that one has "given up" their British nationality (and whether they request confirmation from the UK that this has indeed been carried our) or not
2) since when one applies to the Ministerio de Justicia you have to submit your passport: whether they give it back again, retain it or even send it to the UK authorities
3) whether there are any other ways in which the Spanish authorities might detect that someone who holds Spanish nationality also holds another "incompatible" nationality and/or passport
3) since -apparently - and I'm not sure on this - according to UK laws it is not possible for a UK citizen to renounce their citizenship, whether there is the possibility of a successful legal challenge to the Spanish law, since it is technically impossible for us Brits to comply with the requirements.

Any help would be appreciated!

mpab111 Sun 24-Sep-17 09:11:23

sorry that should read "carried out" not "carried our"

DC1966 Tue 09-Jan-18 17:29:16

Info that i have recieved is the following; Spain only has agreements for dual citizenship with countries with which it shares a colonial history or by proximity..... For the passport holders of any other country, obtaining Spanish nationaliturequires renouncin their nationality of origin.
On the contrary, citizens that are Spanis by birth and are in the process of obtainingg another citizenship do not face this nationality status (if the acuired nationality permits the dual nationality status. Spanish law grants them the right to maintain their nationality.
Can someone more learned confirm this?

GraceSlick Sat 10-Feb-18 22:20:33

Hi all (first post!)
DC1966, that is correct. I live in Spain but my hb and I are both British, so our children have British passports. Being born in Spain means they have the right to Spanish citizenship after one year's residence, but must renounce their British citizenship to do so.
Britain currently doesn't recognise this 'renouncing' - apparently to renounce your Brit citizenship in a way that the UK govt recognises is a massive hassle - but I am still wary of doing this for my kids and just assuming that it won't affect their right to live in Britain should they ever want to, especially in the current political climate.
I have heard that in practice Spain won't make them choose until they are 18, but haven't had this confirmed.
mpab11 - the Spanish govt don't notify the Brit one and don't require you to hand over your British passport.
There is loads of information available on both British and Spanish government websites on the rules governing nationality and passports.

dreamer1992 Tue 05-Jun-18 17:22:19

Hey guys

So I see a lot of confusion in this thread, but it's quite simple really.

There are two kinds of Spanish passports.

The blood passport, this you get if you can prove you have Spanish blood, be it one parent, one great great grandmother etc. With this passport you are allowed dual nationality, heck you could get 10 other passports if you like, there isn't a limit.

Then you have basically a 2nd class Spanish passport, this you get if you marry a Spaniard, are born in Spain (to immigrant parents), have lived in Spain for years i.e. you do not have any Spanish blood but have the right to get Spanish nationality. With this passport you cannot have any other passport. If you apply for this passport you have to renounce your other passport(s).

If you are thinking you can cheat the system and just say oh I gave up my other passport, it doesn't work like that, you'll need official proof.

I'm not saying there aren't certain places where you can't just bribe an official to give you a fake letter, but obviously, this would be highly illegal.

SophieStripe Sun 05-Aug-18 16:25:22

Hi, I understand that dual nationality is a legal thing not recognised by spain/UK. We are English mum and Spanish dad due to have first baby in UK in January. We would like baby to have both an English and a Spanish passport. We will live in UK for at least next 10 years but may move to Spain in the future. Husband hasn't given up any of his Spanish docs, passport, citizenship etc and doesn't plan to. He is just a resident of the UK. So what do we need to do for baby? Just register birth in UK as normal and then do the same when we go to visit Spain when baby is a few months old? Will this passport allow baby to study in either country in the future, work etc? We have libro de familia already as we were married in Spain. Thanks

dreamer1992 Sun 05-Aug-18 23:22:07

Hey Sophie,

As I said above, you can have both passports (I do) because I have Spanish blood. Both countries recognise both passports. It's only an issue if you don't have Spanish blood (i.e. if you personally wanted both) but for your kid they can have both.

I was born in the UK to Spanish parents, you can get the Spanish passport in the UK.

Register as you normally would. You get the British one the usual way (doesn't matter if you get it first or second)

For Spanish one, my dad (just asked him) had to take my birth certificate to the Spanish consulate (only one in England and it's in London), along with his own identifications. He said they register you as Spanish there and then and they put you on your parents (in your case your husbands) passport until you are of age. I can't remember the age but I was still a kid when I got upgraded to my own passport.

Nowadays you can't just turn up you have to book an appointment. Here's the consulates booking site (note the booking part is in Spanish)

Passport will allow your kid to work in the EU, same as any other Spaniards.

Oh and congratulations on the pregnancy smile

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