Can You Gain Citizenship Through Marriage or Partnership?

If you fall in love with a Spanish citizen or resident then one of the first questions it is likely you will how is how can you spend your lives together. If your partner lives in Spain and you don’t have Spanish residency, where will you live as a couple? Could you apply for Spanish residency if you got married, or entered into a civil union? The short answer to this question is yes, but there are caveats to this, depending on your individual situations. Read on to discover everything you need to know about securing citizenship through marriage in Spain, and how this might affect you:

Marriage or Civil Union?

It doesn’t matter whether you enter a marriage or civil union in Spain, as the two unions share many of the same benefits in terms of access to residency. There are, however, a few main differences between marriage and civil union in Spain, so it is worth researching which is the right choice for you as a couple.

The main factor that will determine how you can gain residency to live in Spain with your spouse is whether or not they are an EU citizen:

If You Marry or Enter a Partnership with an EU Citizen

If the person you choose to marry or enter into a civil partnership with is an EU citizen then securing a residency permit so that you can live together in Spain is incredibly straightforward. Once you are married you can apply for a residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen (in Spanish this is known as  tarjeta de residencia de familiar comunitario) and this will afford you the same rights of residency in Spain as a resident from anywhere else in the EU. It means that you can both live and work in the country.

If you are planning to apply for a residency permit in this way then you must do so within 90 days of entering Spain. To apply for a residency permit you must make an appointment at your local immigration office and attend with the correct documents. You will need to complete a  Modelo EX-18 form (which you can find here) and you will also need a copy of your passport and your marriage certificate.

Your partner must also fulfill the following requirements to make securing this kind of residency permit as easy as possible:

  • They must be from Spain or from another EU country
  • If they are from another EU country, they must have their own residency permit
  • They must be able to demonstrate that they have the financial means to support you, or be working or a full-time student.
  • Your marriage must have been officially registered in a EU country. If you got married outside of the EU you might have to have your marriage re-registered in Spain

If you and your partner both meet the requirements to secure this type of residency permit, then you will be given permission to remain in the country for five years. After this period, you can apply again to renew your residency application.

If You Marry or Enter a Partnership with a Non- EU Citizen

If you marry someone with Spanish residency who is not a Spanish or EU citizen then the good news is you can still join them in Spain, but the route to this will be slightly different. In these circumstances you will need to use the family reunification visa. This is a visa that can only be used if the initial applicant (your new spouse or partner) has been living in Spain for at least a year already and has already been granted a visa renewal to stay in the country for a further period.

If your partner has not been living in Spain for at least a year already then you can still marry, but you cannot join them to live in Spain until that year-long period has passed. The only exception to this rule that could see you join your partner in the country immediately is if your partner possesses an EU long-term residency permit from another EU country, has an EU Blue Card or has a student visa.

In order to be eligible for a family reunification visa, your partner will have to prove that they have the financial means to support you when you move to Spain. In real terms, this means that they must be earning at least €868.53 per month. This is 150 percent of the IPREM (Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator) and is the figure used to calculate affordability. If your partner is not working then they could demonstrate this by showing sufficient savings instead. They would also need to secure private health insurance for you as an additional term of the visa application.

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