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Living in Spain

Passports for UK nationals & citizenship

Biometric passports were launched in Madrid in May 2006. Passport fees are 185€ for an adult passport and 118€ for a child’s passport. Emergency passports cost 86€ and are valid for one journey.


The biometric passport design employs state of the art technology (iris, facial and fingerprint recognition) with security features, including a biometric chip containing the facial image and biographical data of the holder, making the document more difficult to forge and quick to introduce in computer systems.
The facial biometric is derived from the applicant’s passport photo. Logically, this requires good quality passport photos so they can capture a facial recognition biometric that meets international standards.

Machine-readable passports will still be valid until their date of expiry. There is no need to change a valid machine readable passport for a biometric passport. Passports that are currently issued by Madrid are valid for the next 10 years.

The British Consulate-General in Madrid also issues full 10 year passports. Appications should be made on the relevant C1 form for adults, or C2 form for under 16s. You should enclose two passport size photographs, taken with a white background, one of which must be countersigned, and the fee. If your application is for a passport renewal, you should also include your old passport.

You can call the Fresh enquiry line on 807 422 422 and they’ll arrange to get a passport information pack to you, included in the pack is a new photo standards leaflet (based on ICAO guidance). This leaflet outlines very clearly what is and what is not acceptable.

Processing time for passport application is usually ten days upon receipt of a fully completed application and the correct fee. Be careful to sign the application well in bold ink because this signature is scanned to be included in the passport.

Please note children are no longer included on their parent/guardian’s passport. Each child now requires a separate passport. Children who are already included on passports may continue to travel with the bearer until that passport expires or the child reaches 16 years of age.

They accept payment in cash and by Mastercard and Visa credit or debit cards.
If applying by post: You must pay using Mastercard or Visa credit or debit cards by printing a Card Payment Authorisation Form (included in the Fresh Directory passport pack), filling in your card details as instructed on the form, and enclosing this with your application by post. DO NOT send your actual credit card.
Please state exactly what you are applying for (A family of two adults and two children would therefore write 2 x C1 + 2 x C2 + post = 606€).
Payment in cash cannot be accepted unless your application is made in person. Any cash received through the post will be returned to the sender, delaying the application.


Once you’re a resident in Spain, depending upon your nationality and personal circumstances, you have the right to apply for the Spanish nationality. The general requirement is a legal and continuous residency for 10 years. Exceptions are 1 year for those married to, or children of Spaniards, 5 years for persons granted asylum and 2 years for citizens of Latin America, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and Sephardi.

Citizenship is granted by the Ministerio de Justicia and one applies at the Registro Civil. You must, in theory, renounce the nationality of your country of origin, however in practice few do this. Some countries in Latin America, Portugal, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Andorra recognise double nationality.

In order to apply for Spanish nationality, you need to bring the following documentation and photocopies:

  • Birth certificate (along with official certified translation into Spanish)
  • Criminal records from your country of origin with certified translation.
  • A certificate of Spanish criminal records.
  • A police certificate stating the time of your residency in Spain.
  • Your registry certificate.
  • Your registration at the Spanish town council and cohabitation document if applicable.
  • Your work history from the social security department.
  • If you are a dependent or married to a Spaniard, they must be present with full documentation in original and a copy (DNI, birth certificate, family book, validation of marriage certificate, as applicable in each case).

EU residents already have the right to live, work and vote in Spain or any other European Union country. Those of other nationalities reap more benefits by obtaining the Spanish nationality. The process is slow moving and takes 2-3 years


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