Leading Immigration Lawyers With Over 9000 Applications Approved
Call +44 (0)333 414 9244 | Mon - Sun, 8.30am -6pm
Contact Us

Citizenship By Birth

Citizenship by birth refers to the status of a person born in a particular country, or to children whose parents were born in the country, and allows the individual to enjoy certain rights and privileges associated with this status.

Contact our Lagos office on +23413438882 to see how we can help with your citizenship journey or call us on +44 (0) 3316300929 if you’re in the UK. Alternatively, you can chat with us online.

Read our 899 reviews

Are you Looking to Apply for Citizenship by Birth?

Our team has a wealth of experience in advising and working with Nigerian clients, and we have a range of expertise in all areas of immigration and relocation – including exploring methods and options for citizenship. Contact us for immediate assistance.

Contact Us

Nigerian Emigration

For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882

Other Immigration and Emigration Matters

For immigration/emigration to/from other countries, please call:

US –  +1 844 290 6312

Ireland –  (+353) 061 518 025

UK –  (+44) 333 4149244

Definition of Birthright Citizenship

So, just what is citizenship by birth? The generally accepted definition of birthright citizenship is as follows:

Birthright citizenship is a term used to describe the practice of granting citizenship to individuals who are born within a country’s borders. There are two main types – jus soli, and jus sanguinis, and a number of eligibility criteria that will need to be met.

Jus Soli And Jus Sanguinis – What Is the Difference?

There are two types of citizenship by birth: jus soli, and jus sanguinis.

Jus Soli

Jus soli, or “the right of soil” refers to an automatic granting of citizenship to those born in the country regardless of their parent’s nationality at the time of the child’s birth. This is the most common form of citizenship by birth, and it is recognized in many countries around the world.

Jus Sanguinis

Jus sanguinis, or “the right of blood” refers to an automatic granting of citizenship based on one’s parentage. This type of citizenship can be granted even if a person is born outside of the country. This type of citizenship is less common than jus soli, and it is not recognised in all countries.

Determining Birthright Citizenship

There are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration when determining whether or not an individual is eligible for citizenship by birth. These may include:

The Nationality Of The Child’s Parents

The nationality of the child’s parents can be a key determining factor in whether or not they are eligible for citizenship by birth. If there are restrictions, citizenship may be obtained through having a relative who is a citizen or resident.

Location Of Birth

The location of the birth will also be taken into consideration when determining eligibility, as different countries have different laws regarding who is eligible for citizenship by birth. In some cases, such as in the United States, those born in the country will automatically have the right to citizenship.

Marital Status Of The Parents

The marital status of the parents may also be taken into account when determining eligibility, as this can sometimes affect the laws regarding who is eligible for citizenship by birth.

Other Factors

Other factors that may be considered include the length of time the parents have been living in the country and any other relevant information.

It is important to note that different countries will have different rules and criteria for determining birthright citizenship, and so it is advisable to seek professional legal advice if you have any questions regarding eligibility.

Here at IAS, our team have a wealth of experience in handling citizenship-by-birth cases and can work with you to ensure that you have the information and support you need. Whether you know you have a case for birthright citizenship or are wondering whether you would be eligible, get in touch with us on +44 (0) 3316300929 if you are in the UK, or contact our Lagos office on +23413438882 if you are applying from within Nigeria.

To explore how our expertise could benefit you in application of Citizenship by birth, speak to us today.

Pros And Cons Of Birthright Citizenship

As you may expect, there are both pros and cons of citizenship by birth, and these include:


Some of the main advantages of birthright citizenship include:

  • It allows individuals to become citizens without having to go through a lengthy, confusing or complicated process
  • It provides individuals with access to certain rights and benefits that may not be available to those who are not citizens of the country
  • It protects the rights of children who may not be able to obtain citizenship through any other means
  • It can offer economic benefits if the citizens then go on to pay tax and contribute to the economy of the country
  • It encourages assimilation into the culture and society of the country.


There are also some disadvantages associated with birthright citizenship, such as:

  • It may be seen as a form of encouragement for illegal immigration – this can occur when pregnant women travel to a country to give birth in order to take advantage of its birthright citizenship laws
  • It can lead to “anchor babies” – this is a term used to describe children who are born in a country and then used by their parents to gain citizenship.

Countries With Unrestricted Birthright Citizenship

There are a number of countries that recognize birthright citizenship – some recognise unrestricted jus soli, while others have certain restrictions.

Countries With Unrestricted Birthright By Soil

There are currently 33 countries which offer unrestricted birth citizenship for those born in the country, or for children of born in the country, and these are:

Antigua and BarbudaMexicoArgentina
United StatesBarbadosPanama
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesVenezuelaBrazil
CanadaTrinidad and TobagoChild
Costa RicaDominicaEcuador
GuatemalaEl SalvadorFiji
GuyanaPeruSaint Kitts and Nevis
Saint LuciaTanzaniaChad

Countries With Restricted Birthright Citizenship

In addition to the countries listed above, there are also a number of countries which offer birthright citizenship but with certain restrictions. These include Australia, Bahrain, Columbia, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia (as long as citizenship is claimed by the age of 20), and the United Kingdom.


There are also some countries which offer unrestricted birthright citizenship, but which allow children to opt-in or out at the age of 18. These include Chad, and Chile, while Japan does not allow for birthright citizenship at all.

As a Nigerian, applying for Citizenship can be a complex and long-winded one. Our team of experts are here to assist.

What Documents Do Countries Require To Prove Citizenship By Birth?

In addition to a person’s place of birth, countries may also require additional documents to prove citizenship by birth. Generally, these documents will include:

A Record Of Birth

You will need to provide a birth certificate, which is a legal document that is issued by the government of the country in which you were born. The birth certificate will state your name, place of birth, and date of birth.

A Record Of Nationality

You may also need to provide documents that prove the nationality of your parents when you are applying for citizenship by birth. Depending on the country, these documents may include a passport or national identity card.

Proof Of Residence

Some countries require proof of residence in the country for at least one parent in order to prove that you are a citizen by birth. This proof may also come in the form of documents such as rental agreements, utility bills, employment records, or other documentation that shows your parents’ place of residence at the time of your birth.

Marriage Certificates

You may also need to provide documentation that proves your parents were married at the time of your birth in order to prove your citizenship by birth. This could include a marriage certificate or other legal documents that show the union of your parents.

Additional Information

In some cases, a country may require additional information or documents in order to prove citizenship by birth. This could include proof of paternity or adoption records . It is important to check with the specific country in which you were born for any additional requirements or documents that may be needed to establish your citizenship by birth.

Difficulties In Determining Right To Citizenship By Birth

There may be situations in which proving the right to citizenship by birth is difficult or even impossible. This may include:

Birth In Disputed Territory

If the birth occurred in a territory that is disputed between two or more countries, it may be difficult to establish the right to citizenship by birth – examples include the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by both Israel and Palestine.

Statelessness Due To Conflict

In some cases, a person may be born in a country that is in a state of conflict or not recognized by the international community. This can create difficulties in determining the right to citizenship by birth.

Birth On The High Seas

It can also be difficult to prove the right to citizenship by birth if a person was born on a vessel travelling on the high seas. In this case, it may be difficult to determine the citizenship of the child.

Birth In A Plane

Similarly, it can be difficult to determine the right to citizenship by birth if a person was born in an aircraft that is flying over several countries. In this case, it may be difficult to determine which country’s laws should apply and which citizenship should be granted.

For immigration advice or clarity in acquiring citizenship, speak to one of our dedicated lawyers.

Alternative Means Of Acquiring Citizenship

In the event that citizenship by birth is not an option, there may be other methods for individuals to acquire citizenship of another country. These include:

Citizenship By Naturalisation

This is a process by which an individual can become a citizen of the country they are applying to. Generally, this process requires applicants to meet certain criteria such as living in the country for a certain amount of time and passing a test on the language and culture of the country.

Citizenship By Investment

This is another way to acquire citizenship by investing a large sum of money in the country. Depending on the country, this could involve investing in real estate or other assets. This option may be attractive for those looking for an expedited process to gain citizenship, as it can usually be completed within a few months.

How Can IAS Help?

Here at IAS, we understand that the process of applying for citizenship can be a complex and long-winded one. That’s why we are here to help. Our team of experienced lawyers are on hand to provide you with the advice and support you need to make sure your application is successful. Whether you were born in the country, qualify for jus soli citizenship, or are looking for another option, we can help you navigate the route.

We offer a wide range of services, from immigration advice through to legal representation, and have a wealth of experience in helping our clients obtain citizenship by birth or other routes. Get in touch with IAS today online, or in our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 for more information on how we can help you navigate the process with ease.

Alternatively, contact our office in Lagos on +23413438882, and access specialist lawyers with a demonstrated track record of success in managing citizenship issues. We can provide you with the best options based on your circumstances, and expert advice to help you achieve the best chance of success.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents will appear here.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents will appear here.

Services we Provide

Frequently Asked Questions

Citizenship by birth makes it much easier for a child to travel, and to obtain passports – this type of citizenship grants them the right to reside in their country of birth without any restrictions, as well as the right to apply for and obtain a passport from that country.

This makes it easier for individuals to travel internationally, both for leisure and business purposes, without any restrictions. Having a passport from their country of birth can also make it easier to obtain visas for other countries to aid international travel.

In situations where a person has been born in a country without proper documentation, obtaining citizenship by birth can be tricky – if not almost impossible. This could lead to difficulties in accessing basic rights such as education and health care, as well as more complex issues like the right to vote or travel abroad.

In some cases, these issues could even lead to deportation or detention, as the person may not be able to prove their citizenship by birth and therefore, do not have legal status in the country. It is therefore vital for undocumented immigrants to seek out available options for acquiring citizenship or legal status in the country they are residing in.

Generally, citizens of a country will be eligible for the educational and healthcare benefits that are available in that country, and this typically includes access to free or subsidised public education up to a certain age, as well as free or subsidised access to medical care.

Related Posts

Get in touch with our team

Learn about our professional services and find out how we can help.

Spanish Citizenship By Birth

The parents’ nationality of a child born in Spain determines if the child becomes a Spanish citizen by birth.

If you’d like to know more about Spain’s citizenship by birth and how to become a citizen or ask any other questions about Spain citizenship, please get in touch with IAS. You may chat with us online or call us on (+44) 333 4149244.

Read our 899 reviews

Request a call back from our immigration experts

    Benefits of Choosing IAS Spain Immigration Lawyers

    When it comes to obtaining a Spain visa or permit, IAS Spain immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Ireland successfully, we can help businesses and individuals achieve their goals.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

    Expert support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team.

    In-house document checks done by lawyers who are accredited by the IBA in Madrid and Seville.

    Regardless of what your Spain immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

    Services we Provide

    Overview of the Spanish Citizenship by Birth

    The most typical way to become a Spanish citizen is by birth to Spanish parents. A newborn in Spain to foreign parents becomes a citizen of the parents’ country.

    However, there are exceptions to this, where the nationality and constitution of a child’s parents determine the citizenship, especially if both parents are not Spanish.

    In this situation, the parents’ country of origin does not recognise the nationality of children born in other countries. This is the right time for the child to obtain Spanish citizenship.

    Therefore, the procedure that will help the child obtain Spanish nationality is called Nationality by Presumption. Nationality by Presumption helps a child born in Spain to become a citizen by option. It was created in 1997 and regulated by Article 17.6 of the Spanish Civil Code.

    Who Can Qualify for Spanish Citizenship by Birth?

    Apart from children born in Spain whose parentage could not be determined, there are other things that qualify your child to become a Spanish citizen. They include when the child is born:

    1. By parents who are not EU members.
    2. To an international couple where one of them is from Spain.
    3. By stateless parents.
    4. By non-residents of Spain.

    Child Born by Parents Who Are Not EU Members

    The Spanish law states that your child must live with you or your partner, who is legally residing in the country and then has the right to apply for citizenship.

    However, you should follow the steps below:

    • To get a birth certificate, register your child’s birth in the civil status office at the location from 24 hours to 8 days after childbirth.
    • Register your newborn at the Consulate of the newborn’s country of residence and a passport registration for your newborn.
    • Register a residence permit for one of the parents in Spain.

    Note that it is enough for just one of the parents of the newborn to have Spanish residence. After one year of the newborn’s legal residence in Spain, the resident parent will now apply for the child’s citizenship with their partner’s consent.

    But if the parents of a newborn have not yet applied for the child’s citizenship, the child can apply when he turns 18. However, this type of application is quite difficult because, as an adult, they will require them to pass a language proficiency exam, get a police certificate, etc.

    The exception to this rule is that it doesn’t apply to persons with a Student Visa. So, if both parents are students, they can’t apply for Spanish citizenship for their newborn.

    Born to an International Couple Where One of them is a Spanish Citizen

    In this situation, the parents won’t need to go through the processes mentioned above. Because one of the parents is a Spanish citizen, the child will receive Spanish citizenship upon birth. Besides that, as one of the parents is a Spanish citizen, even if you recorded the facts of your child’s birth outside of Spain, the child can rightfully apply for Spanish nationality.

    Born by Stateless Parents

    If parents of a child born in Spain have lost nationality to their countries, the law states that the child cannot remain stateless. Because of this, the child will be granted Spanish citizenship if the parents request it and prove their child could not get an alternative nationality.

    In this case, you must submit evidence of your place of residence at the local Civil Registry to declare Spanish nationality because you and your spouse are stateless.

    Born to Non-residents of Spain

    The child has the right to obtain citizenship if he stays legally in Spain for one year. Also, if the parents arrived on a tourist visa and decided to have a child in Spain, the child can obtain citizenship after one year of receiving a residence permit. This abides by an accelerated procedure for children born in Spain.

    However, it is essential to consider the nationality laws of the parents’ countries because some countries won’t grant citizenship to children born outside their borders.

    List of Countries that Can Opt for Spanish Citizenship by Birth

    The countries that do not grant nationality to children born outside of their borders include:

    • Argentina
    • Brazil
    • Cape Verde
    • Colombia
    • Costa Rica
    • Cuba
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Panama
    • Paraguay
    • Peru
    • Portugal
    • Sao Tome and Principe
    • Uruguay

    Both parents of the newborn in Spain could come from one of these countries. Either because they are citizens of the same country, from different countries, or both are on the list.

    In addition, there are some exceptions to understand. These exceptions are:

    • If a Moroccan mother has a child and the father is a citizen of one of these countries listed, and both are not married, the child can apply for Spanish nationality by Presumption.
    • Also the case of Palestinians, however, is a bit more complex depending on the parents’ condition, the Palestine region, etc.

    For more clarifications on this, you may contact our lawyers at IAS.

    Our expert immigration lawyers can assist you with your Spanish Citizenship application.

    Required Documents for Listed Countries

    If you originate from any of the countries listed and want to apply for your child’s Spanish citizenship legally. You will need to provide these documents:

    • Certificate showing that you and your spouse are from any of the listed countries.
    • Document that shows the child has no nationality of any of the parents (Consular certificate).
    • Parents’ city registry in which the child must appear. You can get this from the town hall.
    • Birth certificate of your child legalised in the Spanish embassy or Consulate and coming from the Civil Registry of the country where the child was born.
    • Marriage certificate.
    • Birth certificates of both parents obtained at the Consulate.
    • Passport and copy of the father and mother.
    • Family book, and copy, in which the child appears.

    Required Document for Unlisted Countries

    In situations where parents are not citizens of countries listed above and the law of their countries does not recognise a child born outside their borders. The process of getting nationality for the child is a bit more complex.

    But the way to proceed is to apply for citizenship by residency after one year of living in Spain legally. These are the required documents:

    • Parents should be legal residents of Spain. It is essential because it will help the child apply for residency later on.
    • Parents have to register the child in the Civil Registry. This will help the child get a passport (with the parents’ nationality).
    • Residence permit (as an underage child of legal residents) must be applied for by the parents.
    • Parents will now apply for the child’s Spanish nationality after one year of obtaining the residence permit. With this, the child has the advantage of not taking any exams as an underage.
    Spain flag overlooking buildings

    Eligibility Criteria for Spain Citizenship by Birth

    If you would like to apply for Spanish citizenship for your child, you must meet the following criteria:

    • The newborn has legally stayed in Spain for one year. Usually, from the date the newborn’s birth was registered.
    • The parents must get a passport from one of their countries of origin.
    • A residence permit of one year.
    • The newborn whose parentage could not be determined.

    Find out how we can assist with your Spanish Citizenship application.

    How to Apply for the Spanish Citizenship by Birth

    To apply for your child’s Spanish citizenship birth, do the following:

    • Register your child’s birth at the Civil Registry. You can do this at the hospital or a few days later at the Registry Office.
    • Register your child’s birth with the embassy or government of your country and apply for a passport.

    Applying for the Residency

    Once you have all your child’s nationality paperwork, you will need to apply for a residency card for your child with the same process you used to apply when you moved to Spain.

    Therefore, you’ll need to book a prior appointment at the police station to apply for TIE (a foreign identity card).

    The following are the requirements:

    • The child must not be a family member of an EU citizen or EU citizen.
    • Your child must have been born in Spain.
    • One parent must at least have a residence.

    To accomplish this, you will also need the following:

    • Your child’s birth certificate.
    • Your residency documents.
    • Documents (a passport) showing that the child’s birth is registered in your country of origin.
    • Padrón certificate from your town hall.
    • Your marriage certificates and passports.
    • A sworn translator will translate any documents not in Spain or a co-official language like Catalan in full.
    • You will fill out form EX-01 for temporary residence. Or Ex-11 for long-term residency.

    If you are a European citizen, you can apply for a special permit designed for children born in Spain to Spanish residents. Also, you can apply for this at the police station with your child’s birth certificate, nationality document and green residency card.

    It should take about one month for this application to be processed. Afterwards, take your newborn with you to collect their residency card.

    Applying for Your Child Born in Spain After One Year

    After a year of legal residence in Spain, you can apply for Spanish citizenship by obtaining a Judicial Order from the Civil Registry’s Judge to decide for a minor.

    To complete this process, you will provide the following:

    • Your child’s residency card.
    • Your child’s birth certificate.
    • Their passport from your country of origin.
    • Birth certificates and passports of parents.
    • Parents’ residency certificates.
    • Padrón certificate from your town hall.
    • Fee of €102.
    • Your marriage certificate might also be a possible extra requirement.
    Brown and grey building located in Spain.

    Looking to register yourself or your newborn as a Spanish citizen? Get in touch with us today.

    How Can IAS Help?

    Spanish citizenship is obtained in different ways. Different procedures are taken in situations where a child is born to foreign parents and to parents where one of them is Spanish.

    As a parent of a newborn in Spain, you might not really know how to obtain Spanish nationality for your newborn. Do not worry, our bespoke experts at IAS will help you.

    Our experts offer various services, including document review, legal research, drafting and legal advice. Our aim is to make the process of acquiring your child’s Spanish citizenship stress-free.

    If you have further questions about Spanish citizenship by birth, our lawyers are always available to answer them. All you need to do is to call us on (+44) 333 4149244 or chat with us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents will appear here.
    Contact Us