Spanish Nationality by Sephardic origin

Law 12/2015, of June 24th, popularly known as the law of Spanish nationality for Sephardic people, is a law from the Spanish legal system, approved on June 11th, 2015 and was valid until September 30th, 2018. It gave the option to obtain the Spanish nationality by the verification of Sephardic origin in Spanish territory, to compensate the injustices committed against that community at the end of the 15th century. Therefore, the granting of citizenship requires the justification of the status of Sephardic origin from Spain and the special relationship with that country.

Although the popular “Sephardic Law” is no longer in force, this does not mean that people of Sephardic origin who have not had the opportunity to register before October 1, 2019 on the platform of the Ministry of Justice created for this purpose, will be prevented from legitimately acquiring their Spanish passport. There are other procedures, with quite a long legal tradition in Spain and prior to the passing of the popular “Sephardic Law”, which permit the application for Spanish nationality by accrediting, among other circumstances, Sephardic status.

A similar law to the Spanish one is currently in force, to apply for Portuguese Nationality, Law No 30-A/2015, as Portugal joined in granting its citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who lived in its territory at the end of the 15th century and were expelled and persecuted by the Inquisition.

If you have already applied for Spanish nationality by Sephardic origin, at Sefar Universal we offer you two types of services:

1) Processing of the document of Express Judgement, Law 39/2015: If a year has passed since you signed at the Notary’s office and the Spanish Ministry of Justice has still not given an answer to your request for Spanish nationality by Sephardic origin, at Sefar Universal we offer you the possibility of submitting a document that demands an administrative response. In this case, the Petition for Express Judgement is used, through which Spanish Law establishes that the Administration is obliged to issue a resolution of all procedures, whatever their method of initiation. 2. The Petition for Express Judgement allows us, as citizens, to exercise our right to receive express notification of the procedures initiated.

2) Rectification of files sent to the Spanish Ministry of Justice before 1-10/2019: By circular, dated 9 September 2019, a period was extended for fault rectification or shortcomings in applications submitted under Law 12/2015, concerning the granting of Spanish nationality to Sephardic nationals from Spain. This procedure is only possible for candidates who have submitted their application before the deadline. The rectification period has been extended till September 1st, 2021. This decision is taken in view of the impossibility for applicants to take the CCSE and DELE examinations, as some calls were cancelled due to the declaration of the state of alarm regarding Covid-19 containment, and in view of the restrictions on travelling to Spain to appear before a Notary Public.

Sefar Universal offers expert services of its genealogists, historians and lawyers to rectify problems in the documentation of the files. An example of this is the absence of the corresponding certificate from the “Federación de Comunidades Judías de España” (Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain), FCJE, which almost certainly implies the denial of Spanish nationality by Sephardic origin, as indicated in the various circulars issued by the Directorate General of Registers and Notaries months before the aforementioned law got suspended. At Sefar Universal we provide the following services:

a) Acquisition of the Certificate of Sephardic ancestry granted by the “Federación de Comunidades Judías de España” (Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain), FCJE, a document that has special probative value for the Spanish Ministry of Justice.

b) Presentation before the Spanish Ministry of Justice of the file to apply for the Spanish nationality by Sephardic origin with all the necessary annexes.