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The long and uneven path to obtaining Spanish nationality

Kamal Laaouissi Ben Doudou came to Spain from Morocco in 2006, after getting a work contract in a restaurant chain. Once he had completed 10 years in the country, the general term required to request Spanish nationality, he decided to apply mainly to be able to work in the European Union.

“I started asking for it in 2017. It took me three years to get it. From 2017 to 2018 my application was stopped in the Civil Registry ”explains to EFE Kamal, for whom it would be important to have at least information about the time that the process will last“ since you never know anything ”.

“It can be three months or three years. You can’t make plans, you don’t know what will happen; It all depends on how the process goes and it is not the same for everyone ”, he adds about the deadlines, a complaint shared by many immigrants of different nationalities.

Different times according to the country of origin

The Spanish Civil Code establishes differences in the requirements to obtain Spanish nationality, demanding different times from foreigners who depend on their country of origin and their particular situation.

Currently, 10 years of residence are requested as a general term, five years for refugees, two years for foreigners from Latin America, Portugal, Equatorial Guinea, Andorra or Sephardim of Spanish origin; and one year for cases such as being married to a Spaniard.

Kamal’s complaint is shared by many “the biggest problem that people see right now is that: the deadlines,” Vicente Marín, a lawyer specializing in immigration law, tells EFE.

“Spanish law understands that we have a special bond with Latin American countries and hence these terms are reduced,” says the lawyer in reference to the difference in years that are required between some nationalities and others.

The bureaucratic process does not facilitate the resolution of requests at an adequate pace either: “Right now, electronically – the one recommended since 2015 because it is supposedly faster – the requests for the first semester of 2020 are being resolved. a year and a half of waiting in the telematic processes; there are some that have been presented by public record that take longer ”.

Marín clarified that these waits are taking place within the Shock Plan of 2021, established by the Spanish Ministry of Justice to streamline this process, so in a normal situation it would take more time to resolve the requests.

“The Ministry has worked hard, it is also true, to try to fix this,” says the lawyer, “but the truth is that practically since 2012 they have been carrying out plans that have not yet solved the problem.”

Nationality adopted to a globalized world

According to the lawyer from the portal, academics increasingly advocate adapting the concepts of nationality “with a more globalized world” and political studies suggest a future aimed “at a reduction in terms rather than to increase them.”

An idea that is quite different from the bill presented in November in the Spanish Congress by the far-right party Vox to modify the regime for obtaining Spanish nationality.

The training raises, among other considerations, increasing the residence time required to apply for it from 10 to 15 years, but maintaining the period of only two years for foreigners who come from Latin American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or for Sephardim. (Jews of Spanish origin).

“What Vox proposes goes a bit against the idea of ​​making access to Spanish citizens more flexible or easier,” says Marín. “Even with this, the differentiation in terms is not the main complaint of foreigners, but the time it takes to obtain a resolution,” he adds.

For the spokesperson of the NGO SOS Racismo, Sarahi Bolekoos, the Vox measure is “exclusive” and “leaves out a lot of people from the benefit that obtaining nationality can be.”

“It is something worrying because the differentiation itself has already been made, that is, people with historical ties to Spain (former colonies) are already guaranteed in the procedure for obtaining nationality,” said the activist.

In the same sense, the analyst of World Order, Alicia García, expressed herself, for whom the proposal seems “made for Maghreb migrants” and seeks to “reproduce a more exclusive nation identity.”


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