Spain Emigration and Immigration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous records created by embassies and consulates of Spain throughout the world and housed at the Archivo General de la Administración in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. These records include: passport registers, nationality cards, registers of citizens, military records, and civil registration births, marriages, and deaths.

Passports[edit | edit source]

PARES[edit | edit source]

  • Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES): Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES) is a documentary archive established and hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Education. It offers free access to digitized images of the Spanish Archives. On 10 May 2016, it was updated to PARES 2.0, with more than 33.9 million digital images and 8.6 million document archives. There are a variety of emigration/immigration records digitized. [1]

Offices and Archives to Contact[edit | edit source]

Arquivo da Emigración Galega (Archive of Galician Emigration)
Address: Cidade da Cultura de Galicia
Edificio da Biblioteca de Galicia, 1º andar
Monte Gaiás, s/n. CP 15707
Santiago de Compostela

Tel.: +34 881 995 143 | +34 881 995 148
Website One of the objectives of this archive is to recover and safeguard the documentation about Galician emigration. Some of the documentary collections which have been preserved are the emigrant books for certain municipalities, documentation from official bodies of the receiving countries, collections from Galician societies and personal archives of emigrants.

Centro de Documentación de las Migraciones (Migration Documentation Centre)
Address: Calle Arenal 11.
28013 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91 3640601
Fax: +34 91 3641350
This centre is dedicated to recovering, organising and safeguarding the life testimonies of Spanish emigrants and their communities. It safeguards archives from Spanish emigrant associations and centres, as well as personal archives of emigrants and those exiled in Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay.

Fundación Archivo de Indianos (Indianos Archive Foundation). Museo de la Emigración (Museum of Emigration)
Adress: Quinta Guadalupe. Columbres 33590 Colombres (Asturias), Spain

Tel.: +34 985 41 20 05

One of the activities of this Foundation is to compile documents from various Spanish associations in America, especially Asturian associations. It also collects personal and family archives of emigrants.

Museo del Pueblo de Asturias (Museum of the Asturian People)
Address: Paseo del Doctor Fleming 877. La Güelga. 33203 Gijón (Asturias), Spain

Tel.: +34 985182960

Several personal and family archives of Asturian emigrants who migrated to America during the 19th and 20th centuries can be found in this museum. It also has an important collection of photographs and postcards from Asturians living in America, sent between 1840 and 1940.

Finding the Town of Origin in Spain[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Italy, see Spain Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Spain Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country. Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Immigration[edit | edit source]

For statistics and analysis on 20th/21st immigration into Spain by nationality, see Immigration into Spain in Wikipedia.

  • Spain has a number of descendants of populations from former colonies, especially Latin America and North Africa.
  • Smaller numbers of immigrants from several Sub-Saharan countries have recently been settling in Spain.
  • There are also sizeable numbers of Asian immigrants, most of whom are of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Chinese origin.
  • The single largest group of immigrants are European; represented by large numbers of Romanians, Britons, Germans, French and others.
  • The arrival of the gitanos, a Romani people, began in the 16th century; estimates of the Spanish Roma population range from 750,000 to over one million.
  • Historically, Sephardi Jews and Moriscos are the main minority groups originated in Spain and with a contribution to Spanish culture. The Spanish government is offering Spanish nationality to Sephardi Jews.[2]

Emigration[edit | edit source]

For details about emigration patterns to countries are the world, read the Wikipedia article: Spanish diaspora. "Diaspora" means "the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland'.

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries in the left column of the chart below.

Links to Records of Spanish Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Countries by Population of Spanish Descent [3]

Link to Emigration and
Immigration Wiki Article
Hispanic population % of country
Argentina 25,000,000 57
Mexico 105,700,000 80 +
Chile 15,623,289 88.9
Brazil 8,000,000–20,000,000 4.2–8
Colombia 39,000,000 86
Cuba 10,050,849 88.9
Peru 18,600,000 60
Guatemala 8,739,917 51
Salvador 6,058,769 93
Nicaragua 5,056,114 - 5,350,074 86 or 91
Costa Rica 3,344,000 83.6
Puerto Rico 3,064,862 80.5
United States 2,389,841–3,500,000; 66,789,512 0.8–1.1; 18.8
Canada 368,305 1.4
Philippines 2,700,000 3.5
Bolivia 4,780,000 43
Uruguay ~1,000,000 80+
Dominican Republic 9,589,388 88
Venezuela 25,079,923 90.1
Spain 46,000,000 8
France 1,200,000

Information Found in Records[edit | edit source]

Passenger lists (Listas de pasajeros)[edit | edit source]

Research use: Trace emigrants back to their ancestral origins.

Record type: Records of emigrant embarkation to depart the country.

General: Emigration has been a way of life in Spain for centuries. Originally, Sevilla was the only port legally authorized for ships sailing to America. In the last half of the eighteenth century the number of ports was increased to six: Alicante, Málaga, Cartagena, Barcelona, and La Coruña. In the latter half of the 19th century the popular destinations were Cuba and the Philippines, and in the early 20th century, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela.

Time period: 1509-1900 (at least).

Contents: The early records in Sevilla contain the names of passengers and requests for permission to travel to America. Both identify the emigrant or the name of the head of household, birthplace and residence before embarkation.


  • 1509-1701 Third section, Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias) in Sevilla for early records 1509-1790. These records are online: Pasajeros a Indias : libros de asientos
  • Municipal archives of port cities for later records.

Population coverage: As much as 30% of the historical population of Spain in earlier periods may have emigrated. Many of them did not register. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population may be contained in the passenger lists.

Reliability: Good.


Consular Records[edit | edit source]

1808-1960 Spain, Consular Records of Emigrants, 1808-1960 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; images only

  • Spain has an extensive network of Consulates and Embassies abroad that provide a series of services for Spaniard citizens and for foreigners that want to travel to Spain. Some of these services include the registration of births, marriages, and deaths of Spaniards living abroad, residence certificates, citizenship, passports, notary public documents, visas for foreigners, and others. The civil registration created at a consular office has the same validity and follows the same legal codes as the one in the mother country.
  • Not all of the record types listed below will be available from each consulate solely because they were never recorded; they were never recorded because they weren't required. The information in each record varies by year.
  • The records are currently housed at the Archivo General de la Administración in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.
  • As of May 2018, this collection covers the 1808 to 1960. More images will be published as they become available and comply with the 50 year cut off restrictions.

The following information may be found in these records:

Vital records

  • Consular place and date
  • Names of travelers
  • Dates of birth, marriage, death
  • Place of birth, marriage, death
  • Names of parents
  • Names of related individuals
  • Names of witnesses

Passport records

  • Date and place of issue
  • Name of applicant
  • Birth date and place
  • Names of minor children traveling with applicant
  • General description of the applicant

Passport, arrival, immigration, and ship passenger registers

  • Date of register (arrival, departure)
  • Name of traveler
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Birthplace
  • Name of issuing authority
  • Where the traveler is going (destination)
  • Place of departure

Citizen schedules may contain the following information:

  • Place and date of issue
  • Name and age
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Birth date and place or age
  • Residence place
  • Proof citizenship

Enlistment records

  • Name of enlisted man
  • Draft/file number
  • Enlistment year and place
  • Residence of enlisted man
  • Age
  • Nationality/birthplace

Passports[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name of the traveler
  • Date and place issued
  • Destination
  • Family members also traveling
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Physical description of traveler

Passport registers

  • Name(s) of traveler(s)
  • Nationality/country of origin
  • Where passport was issued
  • When passport was issued
  • Date and place of arrival
  • Date and place of departure
  • The date of the register will be on the first page of the register

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Portal de Archivos Españoles", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 May 2021.
  2. "Spain", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 May 2021.
  3. "Spanish diaspora", in Wikipedia,, accessed 15 May 2021.
  4. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Spain,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1984-1999.