Guidelines for Sephardic Jews to apply for Spanish Nationality under 2015 Legislation

  • Viviana
    Viviana is a highly experienced lawyer who leads a law firm that has provided expert legal advice to English-speakers for over 30 years. Specialties include property conveyances, inheritances, family law, contract breach, criminal law, negligence claims and immigration law.

Recently enacted legislation permitting the conferral of Spanish nationality on  Sephardic Jews came into force on October 15th, 2015. Law 12/2015 establishes a new process by which all  those who can prove that they are descendants of Sephardic Jews and who have a special connection with Spain may obtain Spanish nationality.  

The application can be made online via the website of the Ministry of Justice and, as well as the conditions just mentioned, must demonstrate an understanding of the Spanish language. to level A2 or higher, (being exempt those applicants who are nationals of Spanish-speaking countries) as well as Knowledge of the Spanish Constitution and Sociocultural Practices.

 

Background

The legislation is considered to be an act of atonement for the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. These Jews were known as Sefardí in the Hebrew tongue, meaning ‘Spanish’. They were given the option of conversion to Christianity or expulsion from their country. The descendants of the Sephardic Jews that were originally expelled are now believed to be numbered in the millions.

 

Naturalisation Process

Under this new procedure, it is understood that the circumstances  required for Sephardic foreign nationals to obtain Spanish nationality by naturalization include proof:

  1. That they are descendants of Sephardic Jews, and
  2. That they have a special bond with Spain, even though they do not have legal residence here.

This new procedure avoids that by acquiring the Spanish nationality, the applicant must renounce their previous nationality ie they may have dual nationality.

 

Proof of Sephardic Origin

The legislation lists a number of documents to prove the status of Sephardic origin, not all of them are mandatory but the more that are presented the better. Also other documents proving Sephardic origin may be presented even though they are not on the list.

A certificate issued by the President of the Permanent Commission of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, which can be ordered on the website of the federation: https://certificadosefardies.fcje.org The cost of this certificate is 50 € (+VAT).

A certificate issued by the President or someone in a similar capacity of the Jewish community in the area of ​​residence or hometown of the interested and certificate of the competent rabbinic authority legally recognized in the country of habitual residence of the applicant.

In the case that the certificates issued by the President or similar charge of the Jewish community or by the competent rabbinic authority in the area of ​​residence or hometown are not accompanied by the certificate issued by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the Law provides alternative methods to prove the applicant’s suitability by providing duly authorized, apostilled or legalized and, if necessary, translated into Spanish by an official translator, all of the following documents:

  • A copy of the original statutes of the foreign religious entity. A partial copy which contains the data that identifies the document itself, data of establishment, functioning, form of representation and purposes of the entity, will be considered sufficient
  • Foreign entity certificate that contains the names of those who have been appointed as legal representatives.
  • A certificate or document which proves that the foreign entity is legally recognized in its country of origin.
  • A certificate issued by the legal representative of the company attesting that the signatory Rabbi holds, effectively and currently, such status under the requirements set out in its statutes.
  • Other documents that help to prove the status of Sephardim of Spanish origin: the use of the Ladino language, certified by a competent entity or where the surnames of the applicant are Sephardic of Spanish lineage.
  • Unequivocally Sephardic surnames of Spanish origin:  proving the family genealogy or that their Sephardic surnames come from the Sephardim expelled from the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Navarra or forced to convert to Christianity, since 1492.

 

Accreditation of Special Links with Spain

The evidence of the applicant’s special relationship requires passing an assessment test knowledge of language, culture and Spanish customs, managed worldwide by the Cervantes Institute. The applicant must show that they have passed the tests of both language and socio-cultural knowledge, DELE A2 and CCSE  Applicants from Spanish-speaking countries are exempted from the language test and the steps can be carried-out electronically.

The applicant may demonstrate that they have a special bond with Spain by any or all of the following:

  • Transcripts of Spanish history and culture issued by official or officially recognized private institutions.
  • Proof of knowledge of the Ladino language or “haketía”.
  • Inclusion of the petitioner or his direct descent in the lists of Sephardic families protected by Spain, that, with regard to Egypt and Greece, referred to in Decree-Law of 29 December 1948, or from those who obtained their special naturalization via the Royal Decree of 20 December 1924.
  • Blood relationship of the applicant with a person referred to in letter c).
  • Realization of charitable, cultural or economic activities  involving Spanish persons or carried-out in Spanish territory as well as those developed in support of institutions oriented to the study, preservation and dissemination of Sephardic culture.
  • Any other circumstances that clearly establish special links with Spain.

 

Procedure

The required documentation must be submitted electronically with the application. Thus the notary makes ​​a preliminary assessment and avoids unnecessary displacement by the applicant where they have not fulfilled the requirements for granting of Spanish nationality.

The accreditation of the notorious fact concerning the status of Sephardic origin is conducted before a Spanish Notary, appointed by the General Council of Notaries taking into account the preferences expressed by the applicant.

The applicant must personally attend the appointed notary, in Spain. Only in case of minors or applicants with legal capacity modified are can be replaced the personal appearance by its legal representative.

Deadlines

Those interested should formalise their request no later than three years after the entry into force of the law (October 2015), although this deadline may be extended an additional year if so decided by the Government, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Requests for acquisition of Spanish nationality covered by this Act shall be resolved within a maximum period of twelve months from the date when it had been entered into the Directorate General of Registries and Notaries. After the expiry of the above period, where there is no express decision, requests will be understood to have been rejected by administrative silence.

After being notified of a favorable decision , the applicant has one year to complete the acquisition of nationality before the civil registrar. If not, the decision to grant of citizenship ceases to be effective and would, if necessary, lead to re- examining the case in its entirety

Client Testimonials

Below is a list of recent reviews received from our clients, obtained via the Wufoo client survey platform:

  • Default Avatar75
    Pernilla, London
    Friday, April 13, 2018
    We had excellent service from Esther at Advocate Abroad when buying a property in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

    Esther speaks both Spanish and English, and is very friendly, professional and genuine. ...She took care of the whole purchasing process and explained all the steps for us, including giving advice on Spanish bank account, NIE numbers etc.

    We are very pleased with all the help we have received and can highly recommend Esther. Thank you so much!
  • Default Avatar75
    David Pratt, Alhaurin del Grande
    Friday, April 13, 2018
    Alvaro gives me confidence that he understands the issue and gives me practical solutions. He works rapidly and efficiently. I would strongly recommend his services.
  • Default Avatar75
    ESP, London
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018
    Cristina was extremely helpful, she couldn't have done more. Her English is sufficient and I would definitely recommend her to friend.
  • Default Avatar75
    L Marshall, London
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018
    Rosa was excellent. Very efficient and professional.

    Responsive and always available. Extremely helpful - we did not understand the process and she guided us through.

    We would not hesitate to ...recommend her.
  • Default Avatar75
    Phil Loughton, Las Lagunas de Mijas
    Tuesday, March 20, 2018
    Alvaro was extremely helpful and the simple process I needed managed was dealt with quickly and efficiently. I would certainly recommend him to friends.
  • Default Avatar75
    John Burchell, Arroyo De la Miel
    Tuesday, March 20, 2018
    Alvaro was very professional, helpful and friendly. Understood things quickly. Explained things well in English. Very easy to contact at any time.
  • Default Avatar75
    A. Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Thursday, March 15, 2018
    Miguel provided a great service and fully explained to me about the procedures with tax & business registration. My emails and questions where always answered straight away with an immediate response ...or solution.

    Very helpful and very friendly I would definitely recommend to anyone considering using Advocate Abroad
  • Default Avatar75
    Robert Davies, Mallorca
    Monday, March 12, 2018
    Very supportive and clear on producing a suitable divorce settlement. Efficient, understanding and professional.
  • Default Avatar75
    A.Kavanagh, Glasgow
    Friday, March 09, 2018
    Rosa was exceptional at helping me setting up my business abroad.

    This was a big move for me and Rosa fully explained everything to me in detail so I had a full and clear understanding of the lega...l side of things as well as always promptly responding to any emails or questions I had.

    I couldn’t of asked for a better lawyer and I would 100% recommend Rosa to anyone who is deciding to move abroad.

    Great service could not be happier.
  • Default Avatar75
    Adam Clark, Tenerife
    Friday, March 09, 2018
    Oliver was very professional. He explained things very clearly and honestly at all times and in the end we got the best result possible in my particular case.

    Many thanks to him for his high level ...of service.
  • Default Avatar75
    Patrick Martel, Canada
    Wednesday, March 07, 2018
    For being in another country and all our back and forth communicating over emails .. I thought Rosa did a brilliant job. Thankfully she was able to help where no one else was willing ..
  • Default Avatar75
    Robert Scott, UK
    Wednesday, March 07, 2018
    First class service. Rosa's professionalism, advice and patience were all exemplary! Keep up the good work. Will certainly recommend the service to friends!
  • Default Avatar75
    Martina, Plymouth
    Monday, March 05, 2018
    Erardo was fantastic and helped immensely during a very difficult situation.

    He consulted with my lawyer in the UK and explained to her what needed done. Without him the situation would not have be...en resolved. He was very understanding and I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him. Outstanding.
  • Default Avatar75
    M Pearce, Marbella
    Monday, March 05, 2018
    Miguel was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more:

    Always kept us updated on the progress of our purchase
    Always responded to emails in a professional and timely manner
    Always explained to... our understanding all aspects of the legalities about the purchase
    Very approachable,courteous and professional

    So much better to deal with than UK property lawyers!

  • Default Avatar75
    Tony, London
    Wednesday, February 28, 2018
    The service I received from nada was very helpful.

    The tasks were completed to the highest standard and would definitely use her services again in the future. All correspondence was received in a ...very timely manner. Highly recommended.
  • Default Avatar75
    Holly, Lanzarote
    Friday, February 23, 2018
    The divorce process could have been explained more clearly and accurately so that a more realistic time for completion can be attained.
  • Default Avatar75
    Julia Alcock, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria
    Thursday, February 22, 2018
    Esther was very friendly and approachable. She was professional and answered any questions I asked. We would definitely use her again in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Tamara Malcolm, Mallorca
    Tuesday, February 20, 2018
    Rosa was and is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Her advice was excellent and i will definitely be using her expertise again in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Nick Nicolaou, Oviedo
    Tuesday, February 20, 2018
    Very Satisfied with Miguel's work. He was very helpful and we would definitely use his services again in the future.
  • Default Avatar75
    Gavin Jones, UK
    Monday, February 19, 2018
    It was a real pleasure to have Miguel working on my behalf to file my non-resident taxes. He was extremely helpful, gave reassuring advice and I had a high level of confidence in the transactions.

    ...Miguel is now acting as my fiscal representative in Spain and I plan to continue to use his firm's services for all my tax requirements.
  • Default Avatar75
    Martin Hickey, Benidorm
    Sunday, February 18, 2018
    Very friendly and knowledgeable and professional.

    Juan explained the plus and the negatives on various subjects and allowed us to make up our own mind.

    I have already recommended him to our fri...ends.
  • Default Avatar75
    Andrew Bullen, UK
    Friday, February 16, 2018
    Rosa was very professional at all times when dealing with me. Her English was second to none and she always kept me informed of progress via email promptly.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use Rosa in the ...future for any legal issues I have.
  • Default Avatar75
    Tamara Reeves, Australia
    Thursday, February 15, 2018
    Anna was very knowledgeable and had prior experience dealing with English clients. She spent a lot of time explaining information and I was never rushed.

    I have continued to use Anna since my firs...t meeting as I trust her judgement and know that she will look after my best interests.
  • Default Avatar75
    Ali Hashemi, Alicante
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018
    Rafael was extremely helpful, accommodating and understanding. He couldn't have done more.
  • Default Avatar75
    Alan W T Duguid, Montserrat, Valencia
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018
    Ramon was very helpful and answered my questions and explained the legal process that I was enquiring about.

    I would liked to have seen a follow up email detailing what was discussed to ensure that... my understanding and recollection of the meeting was completely correct.
  • Default Avatar75
    Keith Round, La Herradura, Spain
    Monday, February 12, 2018
    The advice provided was clear, easy to follow and allowed me to secure the required documentation from the Spanish Authorities quickly.

    Rosa was very proactive in following up when I was delayed in... providing inputs and always delay with any questions promptly.

    I would not hesitate to recommend Rosa to friends and colleagues and I would use her again in the future
  • Default Avatar75
    GWE, Ireland
    Thursday, February 08, 2018
    My lawyer Nada was extremely effective to make the case and get a result!
  • Default Avatar75
    Chris Jones, Cambrils
    Tuesday, February 06, 2018
    Regardless of the situation Emma, looked for the best possible way to assist under the circumstances. Emma was very approachable and professional.
  • Default Avatar75
    Richard Quick, Estepona
    Sunday, February 04, 2018
    I was particularly impressed by Miguel's approachability & professionalism, excellent service!
  • Default Avatar75
    Stephen Grundy, Alicante
    Thursday, February 01, 2018
    Jose-Antonio's services are exemplary. Very satisfied and would definitely use this lawyer again.

Request a Service

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office

Select Office