Spanish Citizenship for Descendants of Sephardic Jews

It's now official - the Spanish government has officially extended the deadline for filing for Spanish citizenship under a special program for descendants of Sephardic Jews. Persons eligible are currently practicing Sephardic Jews and anyone else, whether a Jew or not, who can trace their lineage back to a Jew who was expelled, or left of their own free will, from Spain as a result of the Spanish Inquisition. The law providing for this new citizenship program went into effect on October 1, 2015 and had an original expiration date of October 1, 2018. The application deadline has now been officially extended for another year until October 1,  2019.

The process itself has been described as a difficult one as well as both time consuming and expense. As of March of this year over 6,200 individuals have been granted citizenship under the program. Based on reports from the Spanish government Israel, Venezuela, and Colombia had the highest numbers of applicants while in 2017 Venezuela, Israel, and Mexico were in the lead.

If you are interested in applying you will need to keep a few key points in mind: 1) The lists containing over 5,000 "Jewish" names found on many Internet sites in not official and will be of no real help to you as they are not recognized by the Spanish government. Nor are any of the variants of such lists;  2) You do not need to give up your current citizenship as dual citizenship is okay, nor do you have to live in Spain; 3) You don't even have to be a practicing Jew but you must be able to prove though appropriate documentation (the proverbial and elusive "paper trail" of conventional genealogical research) that you are a "descendant" of a legitimate Sephardic Jew; and, 4) That you have a special bond or link with or to Spain. 4) The process requires a trip to Spain where a declration before a ntary has to be made. Of course, if you are a currently practicing Sephardic Jew then the process could be made somewhat easier as the Rabbi in  charge of your congregation should be able to assist you with the process. While there are several other details you need to be aware of the above represents the minimum threshold that must be met for eligibility. Good luck should you decide to proceed.

You may find the following links useful if you are interested in pursuing Spanish Citizenship as a descendant of a Sephardic Jews:

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (Federación de Comunidades Judías de España):


The Genealogical Research Unit at the Institute for Sefardi and Anouism Studies in Israel:






de Ribera Researchers