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Contrary to the norm in other countries, when a child is born on Spanish territory, their nationality is determined by that of the parents (ius sanguinis) and not by the place of birth (ius solis).

But what happens when one of the parents is Spanish and the other is not?

The children of Spanish nationals will automatically have Spanish nationality from birth, and it is obligatory to inscribe the birth with the Civil Registry.

Is it possible to have dual nationality?

Yes, it is allowed and there are numerous treaties for dual nationality (especially with Latin American countries).

What are the regulations regarding the first name of our children?

According to the current Civil Registry Laws the regulations are as follows:

  1. In the inscription the name of the child will be given, and it must not be more that one compound name or two simple names.
  2. It is not permitted to give names which could  objectively prejudice the child, for example diminutives or those which could make identification difficult or those which could be confusing as far as the sex of the child is concerned.
  3. The child cannot be given the same name as one of their siblings unless the sibling has died.

Can the child be given a foreign name?

Yes, it is possible as long as the Civil Registry regulations are adhered to. Up until a few years ago it was common to go to the Civil Registry and inscribe the Spanish traditional translation of a foreign name, even when the name appeared on the British birth certificate in English.

Is it possible to change our child’s name once inscribed?

Yes it is.  You have to apply to the Civil Registry for the change justifying the reasons why (for example if the child is known by a different name). If you are not notified within three months then the application should be considered as denied.

Although in neighbouring countries the child will have just one surname, usually that of the father, according to these registry regulations, the inscription must have the surname of the mother and the father.  It doesn’t matter in which order you have the surnames, although if you choose to have the mother’s surname as the first one, then all the children from that relationship must also have this as their first surname.

What happens if the wife has changed her surname to that of her husband?  What will the children’s surnames be?

Although it might seem surprising, the children’s surnames will be that of the father and the mother’s maiden name.

It is possible to request the phonetical spelling of the surnames to correspond with the Spanish spelling or Spanish grammar by applying to the Civil Registry.

It is obligatory to declare the birth and this can be done by any of the immediate blood relatives or any of the following: the parents, the grandparents, the uncles or aunts, cousins or the brothers or sisters in law of the new born child.

The period for inscribing the birth is eight days counting from the day after the birth.  If 30 days pass and the inscription has not been done, then there is a special process which needs to be followed at the corresponding Civil Registry.