The petition for dual nationality launched by British journalists in Spain.


Brexit continues to generate uncertainty among the British people who live in Spain. For this reason, the British journalists Giles Tremlett (The Guardian) and William Chislett (Associated Researcher of Real Instituto El Cano) have started a petition in order to ask the Spanish government to grant dual nationality for Brits who have resided in Spain for more than ten years. The petition has achieved more than 11,500 support signatures in one week.

Giles has been based in Madrid as a correspondent and an author for 25 years; his children were born in Spain. He told the Bulletin today that he and William want to see Britons who have legally lived in Spain for at least ten years and have paid taxes and social security be given the right to dual nationality, something which was scrapped last year.

"Spaniards resident in the UK already enjoy the right to joint nationality (unlike their counterparts in Spain), and Germany is considering making a similar offer to Britons who live there. The permission that allows long-length residents to get dual nationality requires a change of the Spanish law. It would not be the first time this has happened.

"In 2015, for example, the government of Mariano Rajoy offered double nationality to Sephardic Jews (the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492). We estimate there are around 25,000 Britons born in Spain or who have lived and worked here for more than ten years (generally the required number of years for those seeking Spanish citizenship).

"We want to be Spaniards, Europeans and British – a reflection of our true identity, one that Brexit will take away from us. For example, I was talking the other day to the Spanish foreign minister, José García-Margallo, and his son has been resident in the UK for over five years and is currently in the process of taking out dual nationality. So we want a fair deal."

For all these reasons, Giles and William want to collect support not only from the Spanish but also from the British residents in Spain, so that the Spanish government changes the law and they can request dual nationality.

"With this offer Spain would not only show warmth and generosity to a group of residents who have given a lot to the country - and its economy - over many years, but would also retain human capital. At a time when it is trying to draw business from the City of London to Madrid, it may also be able to attract more.

"This is not a question we want the British government to get involved in. We do not trust it, nor do we want to be used as a bargaining chip in a five-year Brexit negotiating period in which British negotiators are intent on expelling, reducing or limiting the numbers of foreigners.

"The aim of this petition is that the British who want to stay and contribute to Spain’s development can have dual nationality. I know Spain has yet to form a government and it will probably be a minority government and that could work in our favour. We are going to let the petition run over the summer and then approach all the different parties. If there was just a single party in power it could say no and end of story, but the political situation will help our crusade.

"So many people have made their life plans here in Spain, laid down their roots and made their career paths, it’s only logical that we have some reciprocity."

Link to the petition:


To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Sara / Hace over 5 years

Fran, well we know that but this article is about not having to give up our British nationality in order to obtain Spanish citizenship. Currently we don't have the 'same right' as Spaniards in the UK. And yes of course we have to pass the two exams/tests (DELE A2 and CCSE) before we can apply.


Fran / Hace over 5 years

You can apply for naturalisation as a Spanish citizen after 10 years residency, just fill in the forms and pay the fees. It helps if you bother to learn the language, of course. It is still cheaper than the £1050 that a Spaniard would have to pay in Britain for the same right.


Caron / Hace over 5 years

I dont really care about people living under the radar. This petition is about legal british immigrants who pay the their taxes in Spain. People who have invested in Spain.


Sara / Hace over 5 years

Well said Mike. Of course we are all immigrants. I personally find the word expat extremely offensive. But I think the only mention of it on this page is a comment by 'Alan' who, from what he writes, doesn't appear to live here.


Mike / Hace over 5 years

The hypocrisy of my fellow British immigrants is truly execrable.

If you live on this island you are not an ex-pat. You are an immigrant. Deal with it.


Steve / Hace over 5 years

So British immigrants now want the Spanish to change their laws for them. Is that the same British that say to immigrants in the UK "Love it or Leave it" I wonder. Curious that.


Simon Tow / Hace over 5 years

Under the radar means no NIE number and you can´t do a lot without one. Besides, the Guardia Civil know you are here, even if you think they don´t.


Sara / Hace over 5 years

If they are 'living under the radar' then they won't even qualify as they won't have the official residence qualifications. And that is how it should be if they are not paying their taxes! In fact it would serve them right if in the end they have to leave Spain. They are probably the ones who complain most about illegal immigrants in the UK too!


Alan / Hace over 5 years

Just proves a point the only reason the whole of the eu wants to come to Britain is for the benefits if staying in the eu is so great make all the other members abide by the same rules what's free here is free there it's about time our people said enough is enough we want out you so called expats oops I mean immigrants made your bed now lie in it


lilly / Hace over 5 years

The problem is most Brits live under the radar in Spain, and pay no contributions, They will not want to then start paying all the taxes, and problems that being a spaniard involves... They want their cake and eat it too I am afraid......