Spain may be US expat answer to Trump haters

Published:  15 Nov at 4 PM
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As the reality of the Trump dump hits in amongst disgruntled Americans, expat media worldwide is rushing to provide info on the best ways to escape.

Canada and New Zealand were the first countries to see a massive increase in hits on their immigration sites, but Spain’s expat publications weren’t far behind in giving all-you-need-to-know articles on how to become Spanish. It’s not just the Brits who’ve already discovered the charms of Spanish life, as many Americans are already settled in the Costas and Spain’s larger cities.

Many US citizens already resident in Spain woke up to the bitter realty of a Trump victory, although no-one knows as yet the numbers who’ll finally decide to relinquish their US citizenship and become Spaniards. For those already considering the break, the prospect of at least four years of Trump may have been the straw which broke the camel’s back.

There are two options for non-EU citizens deciding to become permanently resident in Spain – nationality or residence. Nationality involves giving up US citizenship and your passport, and normally is only open to those who have lived legally in Spain for 10 full years prior to applying. I

t’s necessary to prove good citizenship over the ten year period as well as demonstrating a ‘sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society’. Speaking Spanish and having Spanish friends is also a requirement.

Gaining nationality takes a good while to filter through the Spanish bureaucracy net, with one convenient shortcut being marriage to a Spanish national. If the marriage has lasted for at least a year, an application to the Civil Registry is the way to go, and widows and widowers of Spanish citizens can also apply. Other fast-tracks to becoming Spanish are available to children or grandchildren of Spaniards, even if they weren’t born in the country, and anyone born in Spain to foreign parents is also covered.

Permanent residency for non-EU citizens is available to expats who’ve lived for five years in the country, and requires proof of adequate finances and private health insurance as well as all the usual proof of identity and marital status. If you’ve a job to come to, your employer will get the necessary work permit and residence visa, and you’ll soon be set up for your new, Trump-free life. However, the fastest way get residency is the ‘Golden Visa and Residency Programme’ – available to the few via a minimum half a million euro property purchase and including citizenship after five years’ residency.
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