Spanish Nationality for Descendants of Sephardic Jews

Before the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, some 300,000 Jews lived in Spain. It was one of the largest communities of Jews in the world.

Last November, Spain’s justice minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon announced a plan to give descendants of Spanish Sephardic Jews – a fast-track to a Spanish passport and Spanish nationality. Anyone who could prove their Spanish Jewish origins, he said, would be given Spanish nationality.

Spain is now granting nationality automatically without any residency requirement to those who can prove descend from those Jews expelled from Spain more than five centuries ago. This could mean that as many as three million Sephardic Jews around the world will be eligible for Spanish citizenship (600,000 of them living in United States of America, most of them reside in Israel, France, the U.S. and Turkey, but there are also important communities in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Argentina and Chile).Therefore, a new window of possibilites is open for many of those edscendants as with minimal bureaucratic process one can obtain the Spanish citizenship and the most appealing European Union citizenship.

Jews have lived in Spain since the Roman Empire. The term Sephardic comes from the Hebrew Word Sepharad, which means «Spain». This word was originally used to refer to descendants of the Spanish jews. They are currently spread around the world (United States, Turkey, Greece, Bulgary, France, United Kigdom, Argentina, Chile, etc.)

The term Sephardic Jew has now become a wider expression and can ferer to Jews of Oriental, Asian and African origin.