One of the main doubts and misunderstandings regarding Spanish nationality (citizenship) concerns whether the children who are born in this country of foreign parents are Spanish or not; in principle, it is not Spaniard he who is born in Spain if none of their parents possesses this nationality.
Ius soli and ius sanguinis
In terms of nationality, in Comparative Law, two criteria are known: on the one hand the so-called ius soli, according to which it is sufficient to be born in one country to enjoy its nationality, regardless of the nationality of their parents and, on the other, Ius sanguinis, in which the son automatically acquires the nationality of his parents, regardless of his place of birth.
In Spain, following the European tradition, ius sanguinis applies, that is, only the children of Spaniards obtain Spanish nationality, regardless of where they were born. In this case, it is enough that one of the parents is Spaniard for the child to acquire such a citizenship.
Therefore, except for the exceptions listed below, is not Spanish he who is born in Spain if none of their parents is.
In the United States and in most Latin American countries, on the other hand, both ius sanguinis and ius soli are applied, that is to say, nationality is acquired either by the mere fact of being born in the territory of that country, or by being a child of a citizen (In some cases, when only one parent is a national of a State, and the child is born abroad, the child is required to establish his residence in the State to acquire the nationality).
Exceptions to the principle that is not Spanish he who is born in Spain if none of his parents own this nationality
However, there are some exceptions, although rare, provided for in Article 17 of the Civil Code and listed below:
1- The born in Spain, of foreign parents, if at least one of them was also born in Spain. Suppose that Pedro Perez was born in Spain in 1960, of Mexican parents. For any reason, he never obtained Spanish nationality. In 1980 his son, Juan, was born in Madrid. Juan is automatically Spanish, regardless of whether he or his father has a residence permit in Spain.
2- The born in Spain of stateless parents, that is, parents who lack nationality (the latter is possible, although very rare).
3- The born in Spain, of foreign parents whose countries do not automatically attribute the nationality to the child, that is, they only recognize the ius soli.
4-The born in Spain, whose parents are unknown identity. It is presumed born in Spain the minors whose first place of stay known is Spanish territory.
As we can see, the cases in which Spanish nationality is acquired by being born in Spanish territory are scarce.
Does it have any advantage to be born in Spain if you are not a child of Spanish or you are not in any of these exceptions?
Although is not Spaniard he who is born in Spain of foreign parents (except those cases listed above), being born in this country is favorable from the point of view of the acquisition of nationality by residence.
In fact, the foreigner born in Spain can apply for Spanish nationality after a year of legal residence in the country, unlike most of foreigners (2 years for Iberoamerican countries, Andorra, Portugal, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Sephardic, And 10 years for the rest).