Luis Prados Ramos


From June 17, 2013 to December 31, 2013, the possibility of carrying out the process of swearing in Spanish nationality before a Notary will be in force, to which we have already referred in other entries.

With the experience that we have acquired as a result of the files that have been processed in my Notary's Office, I would like to explain in these lines which are three issues that generate certain doubts to the people who have come to us and that it may be interesting to have them meditated In advance:

The notarial deed of oath of Spanish nationality requires three statements from the interested parties:

1.- In the first place, the oath or promise of fidelity to the King and obedience to the Constitution and the laws (article 23 Civil Code). It has been reported in the press that most people promise and do not swear. What is the difference between swear and promise? We are not dealing with a legal concept, so going to the dictionary of the Royal Academy of Spanish Language, the oath is given when it is declared by putting God as witness and the promise is simply the expression of the will to do something.

The difference between oath and promise is determined, therefore, by religious beliefs, but both manifestations are equally valid, as it could not be otherwise in a state where religious freedom is respected.

2.- Secondly, that the previous nationality be renounced, except for those people who were natives of Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal (article 23 Civil Code). For these purposes, Ibero-American countries are considered to be those in which Spanish or Portuguese are one of the official languages. For the purpose of acquiring dual nationality, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are not considered Ibero-American while Puerto Rico is considered Ibero-American.

 Dual nationality does not mean that you are not constantly subject to both laws, but only to that of the country in which you have your domicile. This will apply to issues such as the granting of a passport, diplomatic protection, the exercise of civil and political rights, labor and social security rights, and military obligations.

Having said this, citizens of countries other than those referred to above must renounce their nationality of origin, to acquire Spanish nationality, and this regardless of the treatment to which they may be subjected, according to the laws of their country of origin. For example, for Spaniards, the loss of nationality due to the acquisition of another does not operate automatically, but rather a period of three years is required from the acquisition of the foreign nationality.

3.- Thirdly, that a civil neighborhood be chosen. This is a matter that is widely dealt with in notarial offices, but very unknown to the general public, and which has or may have enormous significance. The civil neighborhood determines which legislation of those existing in Spain a person will be subject to, in those aspects that are governed by personal law. Being a little clearer, the civil neighborhood will depend, among other things, on the law applicable to capacity and marital status, family rights and duties, and succession by cause of death.

In accordance with article 15 of the Civil Code, when Spanish nationality is acquired, one must opt for any of the following neighborhoods: a) The one corresponding to the place of residence. b) The place of birth. c) The last neighborhood of any of their parents or adopters. d) That of the spouse.

The option will not always be possible and the most normal thing is that the neighborhood corresponding to the place of residence has to be accepted. But the civil neighborhood has enormous significance, especially in the area of succession, due to the different treatment given to the freedom to testate, to mention the area in which we find ourselves, between Catalonia and Aragon with respect to common law territories.

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