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The Spanish Law of Historical Memory

October 12th, 2009

I could become a Spanish citizen.

Under a law passed in 2007 designed to make amends for so many of the wrongs committed in the Franco era, the Spanish government has opened the gates for as many as half a million people (as much as 1% of the total population of Spain) around the world to claim Spanish citizenship. Anyone who was forced out under the Franco regime for political or economic reasons between 1936 and 1955, or their descendants for two generations, are eligible. Because my grandfather was forced out, as was my father when he was 2 years old, that means I am eligible. The Spanish citizenship would not require me to forego being American, so I could have dual citizenship. Those who wish to apply have until December 2010 to do so. Reportedly, the Spanish embassies and consulates in many countries are swamped with applications.

It would be an interesting option–at the very least, it couldn’t hurt (though I do want to check out tax laws to see there are any obligations there, and what they might be). It would make travel to Spain to see family, and to Europe in general much easier, and could potentially open up a possible venue for retirement in the future.

At the very least, simply the idea of dual citizenship is in itself somewhat of a draw. Gives me another reason to start studying Spanish at some point.

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  1. Tim Kane
    October 13th, 2009 at 00:18 | #1

    I am immensely jealous.

    I would run, not walk, to the nearest Spanish embassy to get the ball rolling. 2010 will be here before you know it.

    I can’t think of a much better country to live in: economics, politics, climate, culture… I could go on.

    October 13th, 2009 at 13:16 | #2

    Well, Tim, if Spain is such a great place to live, … how come there are so many Spanish emigrants like me? Of course, it is another story if you are retired or of independent means and can handle Spanish even if it is only “after a fashion”: otherwise you are limited to English circles and for that matter you may as well stay home. Spanish, however, is an easy language to learn. I live in South Africa, I am retired, and I have a flat in Spain, … but I haven’t decided yet when to move there. Maybe some day.

    But I am strongly in favor of dual or multiple nationalities. My sons have three: Spanish, Swiss, and South African. They can never hurt you and sometimes they can be useful. Unless, of course, you aim at becoming president of the U.S.: just imagine that Obama had dual American / Kenyan nationality …

  3. Troy
    October 13th, 2009 at 15:07 | #3

    Wouldn’t Spanish citizenship give you the generic Euro-passport to live and work anywhere in the EU?

  4. Luis
    October 13th, 2009 at 15:12 | #4

    Good question. I would presume so, but have no ideas about work relationships between EU members. I don’t have any intent to do that, but that would be a nice option to have available.

    October 14th, 2009 at 12:14 | #5

    Troy, it would.

  6. October 15th, 2009 at 05:48 | #6

    I’d do it in a heartbeat. The options opened up by having an EU member state passport are tremendous, not to mention the convenience factor if/when you ever traveled into the EU. (Though, to be fair, nobody inconveniences foreign passport-holders as much as the United States does; nearly everyone else realizes that to do so is stupid, and makes it a much easier process.)

    Of course, if the application process takes too long or costs too much, that changes the equation. And you’re awfully Japanized now, Luis, or so it seems to an outside observer (me). I suspect you’re about as much a “local” as nearly any non-native-Japanese person can become.

    I wish I had an EU citizenship of some sort; my post-retirement work situation would have TONS more possibilities.

  7. Luis
    October 15th, 2009 at 08:57 | #7

    I spoke with a student at my school who is from Spain, and he gave me a few reassurances. For one, the Spanish government, unlike the U.S., never charges taxes to its citizens who live abroad, so there would be no hassle in that department. He also told me that the EU situation allows any citizen of a member nation to travel and work freely among the other member nations.

  8. Esther Poza
    October 16th, 2009 at 20:46 | #8

    I’ve been talking about doing this but been lazy about the details. You’ve renewed my interest! My daughters will be thrilled to know that they can do this as well. I’ll check with the Spanish embassy in D.C. and pass on any info I get. Hope all is well with you both!

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