Pedro Sánchez’ government enacted the Democratic Memory Law in October 2022 which enabled the descendants of Spanish parents and grandparents who were exiled under Franco’s fascist dictatorship to apply for Spanish citizenship.  The Minister of Territorial Policy and Democratic Memory, Ángel Víctor Torres, announced a few days ago, that the opportunity to apply for Spanish citizenship under this law is to be extended to the end of the year. 


Overturning the extreme decision, driven by the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime, to exile those individuals whose religious beliefs, political views, sexual orientation, ideologies that they supported has taken 48 years to achieve and has been well received by the individuals whose forefathers suffered exile.  Since the enactment of the new law 69,000 applications have been approved for individuals across the world, mainly but not exclusively, from countries in Latin America.   


Andreu Marin, a senior associate, commented “the Government has acknowledged that the procedure for acquiring Spanish citizenship through the Democratic Memory Law is complex and time-consuming, which has provoked the lengthening of the time to apply for restoration.”  Andre further pointed out “there were a number of reasons for the exile of individuals, their religious beliefs, political views, sexual orientation, ideologies that they supported or a mother’s marriage to a foreign national.  However, the Democratic Memory Law can be invoked to restore Spanish citizenship to individuals as outlined below without the need for specific evidence to demonstrate the actual reasons for exile, simply the fact of their exile and the applicants’ relationship to the person.” 


Here are the reasons for the loss of Spanish citizenship that enable the application for restoration of Spanish citizenship 

  • Any one of your parents or grandparents that lost or renounced their Spanish nationality due to being forced into exile resulting in you being born outside Spain. 
  • Your mother married a foreign national before the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and consequently lost her Spanish citizenship and you were born outside Spain. 
  • Adults whose father or mother acquired Spanish citizenship through the temporary rules of the Historic Memory Law 2007 or Democratic Memory Law 2022 and you were therefore no longer under parental authority. 
  • Individuals who had previously obtained Spanish citizenship that was categorised as “derivative” can now apply to have their categorisation changed to “original”. 

Once you have established that you are eligible to make an application for Spanish citizenship it is strongly recommended that you instruct an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you through this new procedure.  


The Next Steps 

Applications must be made in person at the appropriate Spanish Civil Registry that oversees the applicant’s area of domicile, together with all the relevant documentation confirming your relationship with your exiled predecessor that will confirm your right to apply.   


Evidence of exile 

Proof is required that your father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother were exiled from Spain. This can be achieved by means of a passport, registration records and any other supporting documentation. If you have limited documentary proof, official documentation, such as evidence of the right to compensation, can be accessed and presented.  However, if your relative left Spain between 1936 and 1955, there is no requirement to provide specific proof of exile. 


Evidence of Mother’s marriage to a foreign national 

The marriage must have taken place between 1954 and 1978 and evidence to prove your mother acquired her husband’s nationality, together evidence of her husband’s nationality.    


Evidence of parental acquisition of citizenship through the Historical Memory Law 2007  

An applicant must provide their parents original birth certificates.  This also applies to parental acquisition of citizenship through the Democratic Memory Law 2022 

Giambrone & Partners highly qualified immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience in assisting clients through a wide range of citizenship procedures.  Our lawyers can ensure that the documentation to support your application is valid and complete. 

Our experienced immigration lawyers recognise the urgency of the situation and the finite amount of time available to make an application and will therefore make every effort to ensure that all applications are expedited as quickly as possible to ensure a successful outcome.   


About the author :

Andreu Marin has extensive experience in immigration matters, from obtaining visas (non-lucrative, Golden Visa, student or Schengen visas) to applications for EU family members, deportations and Spanish citizenship. 

He has also successfully acted in a wide range of criminal proceedings, assisting foreign nationals with extraditions, EAW (European arrest warrant) and at hearings with defendants, amongst other matters. 

Andreu is well-regarded by his clients for his comprehensive understanding of their needs and objectives which enables him to advise them and provide the best legal solution to their problems. He is able to create a strategy for his clients to achieve their objectives that can be adapted when necessary to meet other issues that may arise. 

Andreu has successfully obtained non-lucrative visas for all the British clients he has assisted through the consulates in London, Manchester and Edinburgh since joining the firm in October 2022.  

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