When the exception becomes the rule: The Spanish citizenship regime

Claudia Finotelli, MariaCaterina La Barbera


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.


Citizenship regimes; naturalization; Spain; Central and South America

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