Sunday, March 18, 2018

Do You Have Sephardi Heritage? Spain Has Extended Their Citizenship Law!

Just in case you hadn't heard about this before, Spain recently passed a law that grants (ok, expedites, it's not automatic) citizenship to descendants of Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492. How on earth could you do that, you ask? A list of common surnames! I mean, duh, right? Sure.

That law only opened citizenship for a short period of time, October 2015-October 2018. But now they've passed an extension of the law that will allow you to claim citizenship until October 2019. There are various requirements, and they're nothing to sneeze at. But if you're interested in an EU passport, it's worth looking into. (Let's be honest, Jews have long appreciated the security benefits of multiple citizenships, and it's come in handy far too many times.)

Can you apply even if you're not halachically Jewish or have converted but weren't born Jewish? What about non-orthodox conversions? It appears everyone can apply; those don't appear to be necessary criteria. It seems that even people who are not practicing Jews can apply. Does being able to apply mean that these people will be just as likely to actually get citizenship as born-halachically-Jewish people? I don't know.

You can claim the citizenship without repudiating your current citizenship, though your current citizenship(s) may have different rules. Check with your friendly neighborhood immigration lawyer if you have concerns.

For more info, check out this handy FAQ compiled by the Jewish Museum of Rhodes (the Greek island), but double check before relying exclusively on one source of info.

If you have any personal insight into this process and/or how it applies for Sephardi patrilineal/non-maternal line Jewish converts and conversion candidates, please let us know below in the comments!

Arutz Sheva | Spain Extends Citizenship Law for Sephardic Jews

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