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When the exception becomes the rule: The Spanish citizenship regime


  • Claudia Finotelli

    (Universidad Computense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

  • MariaCaterina La Barbera

    (Center for Political and Constitutional Studies and Affiliated Researcher, the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council of Madrid, Madrid, Spain)


The Spanish citizenship regime is considered to be one of the most restrictive in Europe. In this paper, we argue that our understanding of Spanish legislation with respect to citizenship and its functioning requires a more nuanced approach. To this end, we focus on the exceptional rules that elude the usual naturalization requirements and allow fast-track naturalization for privileged nationals. Our primary goal is not simply to re-conceptualise the Spanish citizenship regime but also to show how heritage-based rules, combined with intense migration flows, have prompted selection mechanisms that contradict the de-ethnicisation process allegedly underway in liberal states.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Finotelli & MariaCaterina La Barbera, 2013. "When the exception becomes the rule: The Spanish citizenship regime," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 10(2), pages 245-253, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:10:y:2013:i:2:p:245-253

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Martín-Pérez & Francisco Javier Moreno-Fuentes, 2012. "Migration and Citizenship Law in Spain: Path-dependency and Policy Change in a Recent Country of Immigration," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 625-655, September.
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