VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming Spain is offering citizenship for people with certain surnames NOT TRUE

A false, five-year-old report claiming Spain has passed a law offering citizenship for people bearing a specific surname has been revived on social media.

The spurious report, published in March 2014 by website sandiegored.com, bore the headline “New Spanish Law Offers Citizenship For Those With These Last Names” and listed more than 3,000 surnames.

Below the headline, in a smaller and gray-colored text, was a disclaimer saying one must also be a “Sephardic Jew,” or a Spanish Jew, to apply for citizenship.

The false report’s top traffic generators in the Philippine are the page Earthlingorgeous.com, Facebook group BBM UNITED SOUTH COTABATO, and Journey of a Pinoy Traveler. The incorrect report could have reached over 31,000 people.

While the Spanish Parliament indeed passed a law in October 2015 offering citizenship to Sephardic Jews, who were exiled from the country about six centuries ago, it did not release a list of surnames of those who may apply.

Spanish fact checking organization 20 Minutos debunked a similar report published around the same time, which claimed there was a document enumerating 5,000 surnames eligible for citizenship.

The Spanish Ministry of Justice told 20 Minutos the document was “apocryphal” and that it had not released a list of names. It also said it was “impossible” because the law was just a preliminary bill at the time.

A list of requirements for Sephardic Jews’ applications in the official website of the Consulate of Spain in Los Angeles in the United States also does not feature a list of surnames. The only requirements are that one must provide proof of Sephardic status and proof of connection to Spain.

The Spanish law is set to expire in October later this year, after the Spanish Parliament extended its validity for one more year. The law was only supposed to be valid for three years.

Sandiegored.com was created in June 2010.



(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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