Sephardic Jews to attain Spanish Citizenship Automatically

November 24th, 2012

Yet another important political reform, this time affecting the Spanish Civil Code.

Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón and José Manuel García – Margallo, announced yesterday that descendants of the Sephardic community, who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula back in 1492, will now be able to acquire Spanish citizenship automatically, without having to reside in Spain. This is an important modification of the Spanish Civil code, which since its last modification in 1982, stated a requirement of a minimum of 2 years of residence in Spain for acquiring Spanish citizenship.

This reform will affect those who are able to prove their Sephardic condition, whether it is via surnames, language, descendants or links to Spanish culture and Spanish customs regardless of their place of residence. For this purpose a certificate of the Jewish Community Federations will be required.

According to Gallardón, a few years ago it was understood that around 250,000 people spoke Judeo-Spanish but this estimation could be too conservative. It is thought that this reform could benefit up to 3 million people.

Marta Flores Vila.


111 thoughts on “Sephardic Jews to attain Spanish Citizenship Automatically

  1. Ellen T.

    “The dual-citizenship measure will require that applicants establish their heritage through surnames or other proof of ancestry, or a certificate from a recognized Sephardic Jewish federation or rabbinical authority, but the criteria will not be overly strict, and applicants need not be religiously observant. “We will look at any evidence,” the minister said. “We want to ease the process.””
    Excerpt from NY Times article Many Seek Spanish Citizenship Offered to Sephardic Jews. by RICK GLADSTONE MARCH 19, 2014

  2. Earl Cassorla

    @Ellen T.
    Thank you Ellen. The article you reference is here:

    A related article is here:

    “Spain’s Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, speaks at the American Jewish Committee’s offices in New York [City] on March 19, 2014”
    The article’s writer states:
    “The proposal is, apparently, big news in Spain: reporters from at least eight Spanish media outlets attended the AJC lunch, including representatives from four television stations and two radio stations.”

  3. Arthur James Frayalde Tagaban


    I’m Arthur James Frayalde Tagaban, residence of Brgy. 3, San Ildefonso, San Nicolas Ilocos Norte, Philippines. I have watched in the National Television here in the Philippines that they are granting Spanish Citizenship if the Surnames are in their lists. Well actually I havent found that page their mention in facebook. So I did tried any site just to see what surnames are in their list. I’m very curios to know about this cause my grandfather was a part Castilla or Spanish. My Middle name, Frayalde, if I’m not mistaken is a place in Spain. Is it possible for me, my family, and my relatives to acquire Spanish Citizenship. Pls, send me message as soon as possible you recieve this message. Thank you so much and more power. Godbless.

  4. Earl C

    Anti-semitism in Spain is significant, and on the rise.

    Title: “No More Spanish Historic Mistakes about Jews”

    “A dishonorable example of that behavior was the anger and hatred registered after the Maccabi Tel Aviv team beat Real Madrid in the final of the Euroleague basketball tournament. As a result, there were 17,500 antisemitic messages recorded by Twitter users, including bulletins of “Jews to the ovens,” and “Jews to the showers.” Noticeably, there has been a striking increase in the number of hostile references to Jews in print and online publications and other web sites.”

    Article is here:

  5. Jessica Ursell

    Please let me know the process to obtain citizenship. I can trace my family back to Spain and the year 1115 as well as the town in Spain where we came from. Thank you!

  6. Earl C

    Spanish Congress ready to pass bill. Changes made to requirements. Bill must then go to Spanish Senate.

    Article:Congress ready to pass bill giving nationality to Sephardic Jews

    Link to full article in El Pais:

    Ana Carbajosa Madrid 25 MAR 2015 – 19:12 CET


    Under the changes, a €75 fee to file nationality papers will be eliminated but applicants will have to take a mandatory integration test at the Cervantes Institute.


    “The bill has been improved technically to ease the process of those who apply for citizenship,” said Javier Gómez Gálligo, the Justice Ministry’s director for notary services. “The application fees have been eliminated, but they will be substituted by other fees such as notary and registry duties and costs for the Cervantes Institute.”

    The bill, which will next go to the Senate, also outlines the requirements a person must fill before applying for Spanish nationality under the new ancestry law.

    Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are Sephardic either through a Jewish community certificate, by speaking Ladino, having a Sephardic-origin last name, or by possessing an ancestor’s birth or marriage certificate according to Castile tradition. But they also must demonstrate that they have some links to Spain through family, knowledge of Spanish, or contributions made to Spanish organizations.

    Knowing basic Spanish is essential. “Those who speak Ladino will pass the test with no problem,” said Popular Party (PP) Deputy Gabriel Elorriaga, who is one of the sponsors of the bill. “There has been much debate over who or who isn’t a descendant of the expelled Jews. The new text now clears up the speculation.”

    The Socialists have said they will vote against the bill because of the new additions.

    “It is very serious that they introduced an integration test at the last minute and through the back door,” said Deputy Carmela Silva, whose party also tried to include in the law the children of women who lived in exile during the Civil War and lost their nationalities when they married.

  7. Earl C

    NY Times:

    Spain Approves Citizenship Path for Sephardic Jews


    MADRID — Seeking to redress one of the darkest chapters of Spain’s history, the Spanish Parliament on Thursday approved a long-awaited law devised to open the way for citizenship for thousands of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled in 1492.


    Even as Sephardic Jews welcomed the end of a long legislative process in Spain, some warned that obtaining citizenship might still prove arduous and costly. For instance, Spain must still define the content of a Spanish culture exam that applicants will have to take, as part of the new law, before getting a passport. As part of the amendments made during the Senate’s review of the law, the governing Popular Party also introduced a fee of 100 euros, about $112, for each citizenship application.

    snip . . .

  8. Christine McGlade

    From: Chicago, IL, USA
    Date: 01/06/2016


    Wondering if this (Bill) ever became an official Law? If so, what was the date, and is there an Article number? Also, what is the name of the official document?

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