No post-Brexit ‘rush’ for British expats to become Spanish citizens

BREXIT fears and consequences did not prompt a rush of British expats to become Spanish citizens in 2020.

The latest figures from the National Statistics Institute(INE) show just 394 Brits made the switch out of 126,266 new Spanish citizenships granted.

Suggestions were made in 2019 that Britain’s imminent departure from the EU would lead to expats ‘rushing to apply’ to become Spanish nationals, but it is not borne out by INE statistics.

It is possible that expat fears were eased as the rights of legitimate residents were guaranteed under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.

In general, Spanish citizenship applications are only accepted after ten years of residency in Spain and the process can then take some time.

A rudimental knowledge of the Spanish language is also required as part of a citizenship test.

The 2020 total of 126,266 new citizens was 27.6% more than the previous year and the number of people born in Spain being granted citizenship rose by almost 21% compared to 2019.

Two main areas make up the bulk of new citizens.

Firstly, 48,098 people with roots in Spanish-speaking South America, of which 9,021 were Columbians.

The next highest-group is from Africa with 37,205, dominated by 28,240 from Morocco.

People from other EU member states make up a small part of the total due to EU-wide rights.

The biggest total comes from Romania(2,771) followed by Italy(710).

In contrast, just 12 people from the four Scandinavian countries took up Spanish citizenship.

Among non-EU European countries, Ukrainians accounted for the largest number becoming citizens in 2020, with 2,254.

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