If any of your grandparents came from Spain between 1930 and 1956, chances are you could apply to become a citizen of Spain and have dual nationality. On December of last year, a new law called “Ley de la Memoria Histórica” or “Historic Memory Law” became effective in Spain, giving the possibility to grandchildren of Spaniards who migrated to the US and other countries during Franco’s dictatorship to apply and obtain Spanish citizenship.
Why would you want to do that? For many reasons. If you become a Spanish citizen you will automatically become a member of the European Union, which in turns gives you all the benefits that comes with it, such the rights to live, work and study in any EU country (in many EU countries the education is free or heavily subsidized by the government) .
But also having a dual citizenship is good for travelers. For example, the EU has very specific laws protecting travelers. If you are denied boarding, your flight was cancelled, you experienced long delays or your baggage was lost, you may be entitled to compensation under EU law and you can complain to the relevant enforcement body. Also when traveling within the EU, if you suddenly fall ill or have an accident in another EU country, you (and your family) are entitled to immediate healthcare there.
What is the process to become Spanish citizen?
First, one of your parents or grandparents must have been born in Spain, then they must have migrated to the US or any other country during Franco’s time in power.
Second you will need the following documents:
Birth certificate of your parents or grandparents to prove that they were born in Spain
Birth certificate of your parents (if your grandparents were born in Spain, but your parents were born in another country)
Your own birth certificate.
Proof that your grandparents migrated to the US or another country during Franco’s government (it can be a certificate of Citizenship from the US or another country, it could be some kind of entry permit when they arrived to the US, etc)
You will also need to schedule an appointment at the nearest Spain consular office.
There are two important things regarding the dual nationality.
First, you will NOT lose your US citizenship. Second any of your children under the age of 18 will also have the opportunity to become Spanish citizens.
For a list of FAQ, you can visit this website, which includes information on how to obtain your ancestor birth certificate from Spain (the site is in Spanish)