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Spain Approves Law Enabling Dual Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Descendants of Jews exiled during Spanish Inquisition can become naturalized in new plan

Jonathan Zalman
June 12, 2015
Congress of Deputies, Madrid, Spain. Wikipedia
Congress of Deputies, Madrid, Spain. Wikipedia

Pack your bags. On Thursday, Spain’s parliament approved a long-brewing law enabling millions of descendants of an estimated 300,000 Jews who were exiled from Spain in 1492 during the Spanish Inquisition to apply for dual citizenship. The law, the AP reports, “allows Sephardic Jews to start applying for Spanish citizenship in October, granting them a three-year window to seek a Spanish passport complete with the right to work and live anywhere in the 28-nation European Union.”

But securing dual Spanish citizenship will consist of more than simply filling out a form. The AP reports:

The hurdles are significant: Sephardic applicants must learn and be tested in basic Spanish and must also pass a current events and culture test about Spain.

And they must establish a modern-day link to Spain, which can be as simple as donating to a Spanish charity or as expensive as buying Spanish property.

In March, the Portuguese government passed a similar, naturalizing law of return.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.