“Do you have a Chinese passport?”

One of the questions I’m often asked when I am back in Spain is if I already have Chinese nationality. If you are a foreigner living in China you must be thinking that the question is absolutely ludicrous, but people who have always lived in the same place don’t really know how these things work because they have never even had to think about it. They believe that, because I’m married to a Chinese national, I’m entitled to get a Chinese passport. Or, at the very least, a green card or similar.

I totally deserve a Chinese green card though, I’m helping with their gender imbalance.


The reality is that being married to a Chinese citizen doesn’t give me any advantage at all, except that I can apply for a family visa, which is basically like a one year tourist visa because I am not allowed to work on it. I haven’t needed it for now because I have my work visa, which is linked to the company I work for.

Another issue is that China does not allow its citizens to have dual nationality so, even if I could get a Chinese passport just for being married (is this even possible in any country?), I would need to give up my Spanish passport.

Baby A. has a slightly different problem. His father is Chinese so China automatically considers him a Chinese citizen. However, I wanted my child to be Spanish and I registered him in the Spanish consulate and obtained a passport. Let’s be honest here, I don’t think anyone would prefer a Chinese passport over a European one, at least for now. The problem is that China insists that he is Chinese, so they won’t give him a visa or residence permit in his Spanish passport and to leave the country he needs to apply for a special “exit & entry permit”. We are also supposed to start a burocratic process to officially reject his Chinese citizenship (yes, that same citizenship we never asked for and now need to reject) which can take up to two years. Right now, he’s in a grey area.

So, every time someone asks if I have a Chinese passport, or if my child has dual nationality, I always say: “It’s complicated”.

Baby A.’s Spanish passport and Chinese exit and entry permit.