Increasing numbers of British citizens are considering applying for Spanish citizenship – thanks to Brexit. This has led to new demands for the Spanish government to reconsider its position on dual citizenship. There is no sign that the authorities have any such plans in mind, but are they really necessary?
On the British government website, it is clearly stated that, from the UK point of view, ‘you can apply for foreign citizenship and keep your British citizenship.’ Whilst you do have to sign a declaration in Spain denouncing your British citizenship, you would not be asked to hand over your British passport to the Spanish authorities.
In fact, in order to officially renounce your British citizenship, you would need to complete paperwork with the British authorities and pay for the privilege of doing so.
A British Embassy spokesperson said: “Dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) is allowed in the UK. This means you can be a British citizen and also a citizen of other countries. You can apply for foreign citizenship and keep your British citizenship.
However, many countries do not accept dual citizenship. Spain only recognises dual citizenship with a select number of countries who are judged to fulfil the requirement set out in the Spanish constitution of having ‘a close/special relationship with Spain’ e.g. Latin American countries that were previously under Spanish rule. It does not recognise dual citizenship with the UK.
Applying for Spanish nationality is a personal choice and not something the UK government can comment on. We do, however, urge people to consider any implications this may have for them, as they will only be considered Spanish in Spain; although they would be considered a dual national in the UK. We recommend seeking professional legal advice before making the decision.”
As far as the Spanish authorities are concerned, once a Spanish citizen in Spain, you are no longer a citizen of any other country. Were you to continue using your British passport in Spain, you would seriously risk losing your newly acquired Spanish citizenship.
So, as long as you are Spanish whilst in Spain, and do not have a problem with denouncing your British citizenship to the Spanish authorities, then you need not relinquish your British passport or citizenship – at least as far as the British authorities are concerned.
For further information on the subject:
British Government website on Dual Citizenship
The Local Spain article – Do I have to give up my British Passport?
The Local Spain article – Everything you need to know about applying for Spanish citizenship