The new civil registry law has come into effect, with the province of Alicante now receiving 60 requests per day for nationality, in total over 100,000 applications are made every year.
The new rules mean that those who wish to apply for Spanish nationality must first adhere to certain conditions. The process will now cost €185, whereas prior it was free, and applicants are obliged to pass two exams, an incentive introduced in order to measure the degree of integration of immigrants in Spain.
The first is a language test, where a basic level of Castellano is required and the other is a general knowledge test on the country, including its culture. Up until recently the exams were not standardised and was decided by individual judges, something that has been criticised since the tests varied wildly in their degree of difficulty and sometimes even included trick questions.
To combat the issue of non-standardised exams, the Cervantes institute has now been made responsible for the exams, which constitute 30 questions, of which at least 15 must be answered correctly, in order to pass for a certificate to be approved.
In order to take the tests, applicants must first make an appointment at the Civil registry immigration centre and the process could take up to one and a half years. The department admit that the new system has many unknowns as to how exactly the law will be applied in all cases or what happens in the interim period between application and appointment dates for those currently residing in Spain.