Many Filipinos join the diaspora every year, seeking for greener pastures. A lot of them set out for the Middle East, earning a living out of their blue-collar jobs. Though many stay there for several years, they never become citizens. Filipinos also flock to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for work. Albeit in well-off lands, they wait for many years to become citizens. In this overseas “exodus” to fulfill their dreams, there’s a country in Mediterranean Europe that Filipinos somewhat overlooked: Spain. Did you know that Filipinos who stay there — be it for study, work or business — for a minimum of two years are eligible for Spanish citizenship? Indeed, obtaining Spanish citizenship for Filipinos has never been easier.
Being a former colony of Spain, the Philippines is included among the list of countries whose citizens only need two years of stay to obtain a citizenship in Spain. Other countries that also get the VIP pass are Portugal, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea and the rest of Latin America. People from the rest of the world, except those from the member states of the European Union, need 10 years to become a Spanish citizen.
I won’t beat around the bush and forget to mention that Spain is facing a deep recession. In fact, its gross domestic product plunged 11% last year. There aren’t enough jobs for everyone, and it might be a fool’s errand to start packing your bags tomorrow. Though if you’re still set on living in Madrid to teach English (or probably work in a restaurant or a bar near Las Ramblas that serves tapas), you’ll gain more for what you lose.
Aside from being integrated into the Spanish community, you’ll also be an EU citizen since Spain is a member state. Being an EU citizen allows you to move around the Schengen area to live, work or study without applying for a visa beforehand; it won’t be tied to your employer anymore. In addition, you will be eligible for United States’ “Visa Waiver Program” in which you can visit the said country without securing a tourist visa.
As a citizen of Spain, you can also petition for your family members in the Philippines to live there. Then after that, they become citizens after two years as well.
As part of EU, you also get to enjoy its universal healthcare system, free education (for some EU countries), the right to vote, the right to privacy with its strict General Data Protection Regulation and more.
If you find yourself already playing with the idea of moving halfway across the world, know that you need to have a good grasp of Spanish first. In fact, your language skills will be tested.
There will be two tests that determine your fate: the A2 Spanish language test and a cultural exam. At the A2 level, which is in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, you are expected to know the “use of simple phrases and structures” and have a “better knowledge of Spanish grammar.”
Then, after that, you might have to wait for another year for the processing of your documents.
So, all things considered, it takes three years to become a Spanish citizen if you are a Filipino. Not so long, isn’t it?
If you are a former Overseas Filipino Worker who wants a change of scenery or maybe someone who wants to leave the country for good, Spain is waiting for you.
And if you’ve decided, don’t forget to start learning the difference between “ser” and “estar.” Here’s “Where To Learn Spanish in the Philippines.” And if you’re out of budget, here’s where to “Learn Spanish Online for as Low as ₱299.”
The future of Spanish in the Philippines looks grim. Although many of us expressed our intention to revive it, our collective effort is not enough.
There are currently 13 million Spanish-era documents sitting on the dusty shelves of the National Archives of the Philippines. The death of Spanish in the country robs us of the opportunity to piece together our history.
Hence, our mission has never been more important: to bring you news and features in both Spanish and English and to promote the use of Spanish in the Philippines.
Your support will make a difference in making sense of our Filipino identity, especially in the era of fake news and cyber propaganda. Please consider contributing today to help us continue our work.
Thank you so much.
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