When the exception becomes the rule: The Spanish citizenship regime


  • Claudia Finotelli is Research Fellow at the Universidad Computense de Madrid, Madrid cfinotel@cps.ucm.es.
  • MariaCaterina La Barbera Research Fellow at the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies and Affiliated Researcher at the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council of Madrid, Madrid




Citizenship regimes, naturalization, Spain, Central and South America


The Spanish citizenship regime is considered to be one of the most restrictive in Europe. In this paper, we argue that our understanding of Spanish legislation with respect to citizenship and its functioning requires a more nuanced approach. To this end, we focus on the exceptional rules that elude the usual naturalization requirements and allow fast-track naturalization for privileged nationals. Our primary goal is not simply to reconceptualise the Spanish citizenship regime but also to show how heritage-based rules, combined with intense migration flows, have prompted selection mechanisms that contradict the de-ethnicisation process allegedly underway in liberal states.




How to Cite

Finotelli, C., & La Barbera, M. (2013). When the exception becomes the rule: The Spanish citizenship regime. Migration Letters, 10(2), 245–253. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v10i2.146