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Spanish Language Necessity for Citizenship

Hi

Is it true that to apply for Citizenship One must speak and write Spanish Fluently.

What kinds of Questions do they ask ? What if someone cant learn Spanish , do they simply reject the application?

Has anyone applied for Citizenship?

I am thinking of moving to Ecuador on Investment Visa.

Thanks

Hi, I am an expat who understands spanish, but I prefer to speak my native English language...I do not believe that I will ever speak fluent spanish, as I do not think in spanish.  Learning spanish does not come easy to many, and it is very frustrating when trying to speak another language when trying to get any assistance that you need...just as those that speak only spanish, are uncomfortable trying to speak English.  Those that do not know a word of spanish must have a bi-lingual attorney.  I have a referral if you need one.  :cool: Gypsy

I do realy like yr message are you living in ecuador
I speak spanish very well thank

Hola amigo; Thank you, Yes...I currently reside in the Historic Center of Quito. My mother is bi-lingual as well. Saludos, Gypsy :happy:

For citizenship in most countries it is necessary to demonstrate fluency in the official language(s) of the country, there is nothing whatever unusual about that. South American countries are no different. They will almost certainly all require fluency in Spanish as a condition of citizenship. In the case of Brazil it will be fluency in Portuguese.

If the other South American countries operate in anywhere near the same fashion as Brazil, then it is not a test per se. You must produce a certificate from an institution recognized by that nation's Ministry of Education. So here in Brazil you must enroll in classes and obtain a CELPE-Bras certificate. In Ecuador you will probably find that a similar course in Spanish is also available.

http://www.puce.edu.ec/portal/wr-resour … INGLES.pdf

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Hola amigos; Thanks for your info, William...but following my mothers lead worked for me. She did her research before Gringo Tree was around...I just find it very inspiring and impressive that if an elderly woman in her 70's succeeded to make the move all on her own, any one can.  I will always prefer to be who I am, as I will always prefer to speak my native English language.  Seeking out bi-lingual assistance works for me...Take care, ;) Gypsy

Hi gypsyone61,

I think that it goes without saying that all of us expats, no matter where we may be on this big blue marble, would rather speak our mother tongue.

That however, is not always possible for a number of reasons not the least of which in some countries is PURE NECESSITY. Unless we wish to isolate ourselves completely from everyone around us by being wholly unable to communicate with them.

It is also not the issue raised by the OP, who is asking about the necessity of Spanish for the purpose of naturalization. It is absolutely necessary for applicants to demonstrate a level of fluency in the official language(s) of the country in order to be granted citizenship.

Do you really think that one would get US citizenship without English? Or Canadian citizenship without English or French? Not a chance. That said, I'm quite happy to speak English when I can, but I have absolutely no expectations whatsoever that those around me will or should. I'm quite happy to speak to them in THEIR language, which I learned before coming to Brazil, with the specific desire to fit into the society which I was adopting as my own.

It has served me well, I don't know where I would be today (or even if I'd still be alive today) if I weren't able to communicate with doctors and nurses during a medical emergency, couldn't communicate with merchants and shopkeepers when I needed to buy something, authorities when problems arose, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention being completely unable to make friends outside of the expat community that speaks MY mother tongue. Gosh, that would be a dreary existence indeed.

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Obrigada

Hi all,

We have removed the off topic posts here.

Thanks
Armand
Expat.com Team

Merci.

I am really surprised that nobody bothered to answer the OP.  All that blather about wanting Spanish has nothing to do with the question.

Until a couple months ago, there was no such requirement, any more than such fluency is required for a resident visa.  However, around the start of June, they began requiring it.  There is no test, per se. However, an immigration official will talk to you in Spanish, and you need to be able to carry on the conversation to his/her satisfaction. 

This is information passed on by the local Chamber of Commerce in a meeting in June.  Prior to that, you could get Ecuadorian citizenship with no knowledge of Spanish at all.

And for those claiming that the US requires English, that is Bull.  My mother-in-law lived in the US for 66 years before her recent death, and never spoke a word of English in all that time.  She only had to memorize a few written questions and respond rote to them, without understanding any of them.

mindstorm :

I am really surprised that nobody bothered to answer the OP.  All that blather about wanting Spanish has nothing to do with the question.

Until a couple months ago, there was no such requirement, any more than such fluency is required for a resident visa.  However, around the start of June, they began requiring it.  There is no test, per se. However, an immigration official will talk to you in Spanish, and you need to be able to carry on the conversation to his/her satisfaction. 

This is information passed on by the local Chamber of Commerce in a meeting in June.  Prior to that, you could get Ecuadorian citizenship with no knowledge of Spanish at all.

And for those claiming that the US requires English, that is Bull.  My mother-in-law lived in the US for 66 years before her recent death, and never spoke a word of English in all that time.  She only had to memorize a few written questions and respond rote to them, without understanding any of them.

Thanks mindstorm. I had heard something similar, but wasn´t going to mention it since it was unconfirmed.

For the US:

English Language Exemptions
You Are Exempt From The English Language Requirement, But Are Still Required To Take The Civics Test If You Are:

Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years   (commonly referred to as the 50/20 exception).
OR
Age 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the 55/15 exception).

So it's quite possible for older permanent residents in the US to have citizenship without speaking or understanding English, but I think the Civics test is only in English.  I understand this, as I can read Spanish pretty well, but can only understand small children ...

And note this is for Citizenship (which the OP asked about), not permanent residence, in either country.

Just to add, in case no one had yet, as of last week there is no test required for Ecuadorian citizenship (according to my neighbour, who is currently under going the process). However, you do require a lot of paperwork, lawyers/notaries and money.

Over on Facebook expat forum, someone recorded his citizenship conversation recently, then transcribed and posted it.  You can read the nature of the conversation.

Note that this conversation was oriented towards verifying the person's marriage status (to an Ecuadorian), but you can get a good feel for the type of conversation that is given.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/238 … Guide.docx

THe simple answer to your question is NO.  No such requirement exists.

sueb4bs :

THe simple answer to your question is NO.  No such requirement exists.

What is the source of your authority Sue, because you are directly contradicting what has been said on this thread by others which I find credible.

It is not true and there is not examination or test you must take. if you send me your email address I will send the list of documents required. Keep in miind that you cannot even apply for citizenship until 3 years after you become a resident
Malcolm Reding
mreding[at]mac.com

Luckydawg :

It is not true and there is not examination or test you must take. if you send me your email address I will send the list of documents required. Keep in miind that you cannot even apply for citizenship until 3 years after you become a resident
Malcolm Reding
mreding[at]mac.com

Personally, I don´t care if it is true or not because I have no doubt I can pass the exam when the time comes for me to apply.

Nonetheless, I sat with two people for lunch who attended a meeting recently in Cuenca where a employee from the U.S. consulate came to town and have a talk where this was discussed, in what context, I don´t know.

Now, it wouldn´t surprise if some rogue agent is questioning some applicants in Spanish and this is falsely being interpreted as a "requirement" to know Spanish.

Your info is out of date. This requirement was just added last month (June).  It is not a 'test' per se, but rather an interview in Spanish.  If you cannot hold the conversation in Spanish, your application is now being rejected.

I know of two people who were rejected last month because of this final requirement. I also know one person who passed, after the interview.  One person went so far as to post a transcript of his interview on the FaceBook Ecuador-expat forum. Check over there if you want the file.

In his case, many of the questions revolved around his marriage (when were you married, where did you meet your wife, where did you go for a honeymoon, etc, etc), but there were also many questions about Ecuador and why he wanted to become a citizen.

It was a question I could have probably handled if written, but I wouldn't have stood a chance if done verbally by an agent speaking rapidly and not specifically trying to communicate with a gringo... :(

I was at that meeting too. It was specifically to discuss what is required to become an Ecuadorian naturalized citizen.  The speaker said this new rule had just gone into effect, and may be spotty in enforcement for a short while until things get more pinned down.  He did not know just what was asked and said he would get back to us, but I have heard nothing from him since then.

Unfortunately a small group of expats then hijacked the meeting with petty complaints and what-ifs.  I left early, embarrassed to be part of such a petty and immature group... :(

I just checked out the questions and found them to be similar to questions that American Immigration asks of American citizens who marry foreigners. The questions seem to dig into whether or not the married couple know much about each other.

So, does anyone know if the fellow who posted the conversation was married to an Ecuadorian local?

Thanks!

Susan F. :

I just checked out the questions and found them to be similar to questions that American Immigration asks of American citizens who marry foreigners. The questions seem to dig into whether or not the married couple know much about each other.

So, does anyone know if the fellow who posted the conversation was married to an Ecuadorian local?

Thanks!

According to his profile and posting history, the OP is Pakistani currently working in Dubai, and has had his passport confiscated by his employer. There is no evidence in his posts that he is married.

From Susan: According to his profile and posting history, the OP is Pakistani currently working in Dubai, and has had his passport confiscated by his employer. There is no evidence in his posts that he is married.

-----
But the doc is not FROM the OP.  He is not the one that went through the process.  Wayne (the OP) said in his first posting:

>>>>>
I have mentioned a friend of mine a few times before who was having issues getting his citizenship. It looked like he was getting the run around and I bounced a few things off the group and shared the feedback. He is thankful. He asked me to share the recent developments. He recently successfully changed his retirement visa to citizenship and he did have to take a Spanish test but was allowed to read the questions as well as listen. He says he wrote the questions down should anybody be interested in them as a "study guide."
<<<<<

Therefore it has no bearing whether the OP is married or in Ecuador...

FYI-I see Wayne has communicate my situation to become citizen.  I am married to an Ecuadorian and we have a child.  Becoming citizen is for convenience than anything else.  I will not consider retirement visa.

Several things have changed in past year if you want to become Ecuadorian citizen.
1. beside the usual documents you now need an FBI Criminal Background report
2. have to take pretest before they process you for final phase in citizenship process
3. several days before becoming a citizen and prior to singing Ecuador's national anthem there is final test which is multiple choose 50 questions which mostly consist of Ecuador's major cities and government structure and who holds seats in office; president, mayors, department of what-ever 

I do not read, write or speak Spanish but I can order a beer and ask where is the bathroom and take a taxi to a destination but I have leaned the questions and answers and have 200 question/answer test bank in case someone decide to go for citizenship.

that was for the first interview and yes it was mostly comprehension and speaking skills about family and friends but the final is multiple choice test

biotee :

I am married to an Ecuadorian and we have a child.  Becoming citizen is for convenience than anything else.  I will not consider retirement visa.

Obtaining and maintaining a residency visa for three years are requirements for EC citizenship.

cccmedia in Quito

biotee :

I have learned the questions and answers and have 200 question/answer test bank in case someone decide to go for citizenship.

How would you send/post/make available the test bank to an interested party?

If the basis for naturalization is marriage to a Ecuadorian national, you do not need 3 years residency…….you need to be married 3 years and as I recall you also needed a resident visa to apply.
Regulations change quickly here and the example of added requirements of written test this past June is a good example.

Would like to get in touch with Exists living Loja

Sally Ewing

incorrect..i never had residency visa just tourist but I was in and out of the country allot but it was not an issue when I applied for citizenship and I take the final test end of September then  sworn in couple days later

And you probably applied more than a month ago -- when the rules changed... again.  They removed the fast track for spouses of EC citizens, and now those must also go through the same process as anyone else.

We have a friend that applied last month, married for a decade to a EC citizen who became a naturalized US citizen (after they were married).  He was told that had he waited ONE DAY, his application would not have been accepted, because the rules changed the day after he submitted his application.

He was told the reason is reciprocity.  Since the US does not grant expedited citizenship to spouses of US citizens, Ecuador decided not to allow it here.  (Note that I am not sure if this applies only to US citizens married to EC citizens, or to those from any country)

question removed by author

Small update, there was an interview, conducted in Spanish, but my neighbour achieved citizenship with minimal Spanish.

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