SPANIARDS firmly believe ‘fake news’ influences public opinion and harms democracy, leading people to take decisions, adopt opinions and cast votes in a certain way based upon what they have read and shared – 83%...
Spanish citizenship testing for applicants who cannot read or write
TAKING Spanish nationality normally involves a language exam and a multiple-choice test on Constitution, culture and society to show ‘integration’, and both are relatively simple: only 15 correct answers out of a total of 25 are needed to pass the latter, and the former is set at level A2 – a good elementary or lower pre-intermediate standard, about the equivalent of GCSE-level Spanish.
But what about foreign nationals in Spain who cannot read or write?
The ministry of justice has announced a rethink of requirements for applicants who, through no fault of their own, would be incapable of taking the exams.
These may include residents who have only had minimal, or no schooling, and are illiterate, but who otherwise speak and understand Spanish; it also covers those who are very severely dyslexic and would not be able to cope with the written or reading comprehension elements.
Additionally, people with learning disabilities or other cognitive limitations, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, would be fazed by written exams – as would the blind, whilst the deaf would struggle with the oral and listening elements of the language test.
Mindful of its legal and moral obligations to avoid discrimination against applicants on the grounds of disabilities, Spain has launched a public consultation to debate how those who are unable to take written tests would be able to show their level of the language and of their integration in Spanish society.
One proposal already made is that any foreign national seeking to ‘become Spanish’ and who has been through Spain’s school system would automatically be exempt from the language and culture tests as long as they had passed their compulsory secondary school education in the country – the ESO, which is the equivalent of GCSEs.
Anyone born in Spain, married to a Spaniard or with a Spanish parent or grandparent only has to show a year’s residence in the country to be able to apply for nationality, and anyone from a former Spanish colony – the Hispanic countries in the Americas, the Philippines or Equatorial Guinea in west Africa – or from the neighbouring nations of Portugal or Andorra have to be resident for two years.
Those who can prove they are directly descended from one of the Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in the 14th century automatically qualifies, resident or not.
Asylum-seekers granted refugee status will be eligible to apply for nationality after five years’ residence, and everyone else must have lived in Spain continuously for a minimum of 10 years.
The most recent period for which statistics are available is the year 2017, when around 26,000 Spanish nationality certificates were issued based upon residence – much lower than in previous years, such as the 94,000 in 2016 and 78,000 in 2015, most of which were granted to expats of Latin American origin.
But Brexit could see an upsurge in the number of British expats in Spain applying for citizenship.
The process is not cheap, and is paper-intensive – the applicant needs to present his or her passport, birth certificate and copy of police records from his or her country of origin showing a clean record, complete with sworn translations into Spanish, and paperwork proving that he or she meets one or more of the requirements for citizenship, such as residence or marriage.
Also, the applicant must present a receipt showing the fee for starting the process – currently €102 – has been duly paid at a bank branch or cashpoint.
The language test, which takes the best part of a day or sometimes two days, costs €124 and, if the applicant fails, this has to be paid again, although the culture, Constitution and society test, which costs €85, can be retaken without charge.
Forms have to be filled in, but can be filed online to save time.
Guidelines dictate that applications should be handled and a response given within 12 months, but much longer waits are not unheard-of.
After a year, if no reply has been given, the applicant can apply to the National Court, but this involves a lawyer and case fees.
In total, taking Spanish citizenship could cost around €300 to €400, or up to around €1,000 if a late response leads to a court case.
More Community/Public Services content
HUNDREDS of thousands of ladies and a fair few men hit the streets across Spain today (Friday) as part of the International Women’s Day demonstration – and a high number went on strike. Now a global phenomenon, the...
PRESCRIPTIONS can be purchased from any pharmacy in Spain from this week and are no longer just limited to the region in which the patient lives, explains health minister María Luisa Carcedo. This system had already...
PATERNITY leave will rise to three months from next year and to four months by January 1, 2021 if the existing socialist government wins the elections this coming April, meaning men and women will be able to take the...