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PM to Request Restoration of Georgian Citizenship for Sportsman Who Acquired Spanish Citizenship


The Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobajidze recently declared he will request President Salomé Zurabilishvili to reinstate Georgian citizenship for UFC featherweight world champion Ilia Topuria.

The latter automatically lost Georgian citizenship upon acquiring Spanish citizenship, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Kobajidze announced this statement during a meeting with Topuria at the Government headquarters, the government press office told News Agency EFE. Topuria was greeted as a hero when he arrived in the Georgian capital on Monday.

Along with granting the champion Spanish citizenship, it is important that he retains his Georgian citizenship.

Irakli Kobajidze, PM of Georgia

On February 18 of this year, Ilia Topuria became the first Georgian to win a UFC title after defeating Alexander Volkanovski at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

After this victory, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, welcomed Topuria on February 27, After this meeting, Sánchez wrote in his X account that Topuria’s love for Spain will be reflected in his Spanish ID.  This promise was fulfilled on March 5.

Meanwhile, Topuria expressed his gratitude to the Spanish Prime Minister.

Thank you, @sanchezcastejon, for helping me fulfil another of my dreams.

Ilia Topuria, Georgian-Spanish mixed martial artist

Born to Georgian parents in Halle, Germany, Topuria moved to Georgia when he was seven years old. There, he started learning Greco-Roman wrestling at school.

Meanwhile, when he was 15 years old, his family relocated to Alicante, Spain, where he started training in mixed martial arts.

Reportedly, Topuria says, “I feel Spanish,” even though during his matches, he brings both Spanish and Georgian flags.

Georgian law states that citizens who gain citizenship of another country lose their Georgian citizenship automatically. The only way for Georgian citizens to have dual citizenship is through a presidential decree.

Foreign Residents Acquiring Spanish Citizenship Increased by 26%

181,581 foreigners living in Spain acquired Spanish citizenship in 2022, according to the Spanish Statistical Office (INE). Such a figure marked a 21.6 percent growth compared to the previous year.

In addition, the number of foreign residents acquiring Spanish Citizenship has continuously increased since 2018.

The most common nationalities of origin among residents who obtained Spanish citizenship in 2022 were:

  • Morocco (55,463)
  • Colombia (11,125)
  • Ecuador (10,845)
  • Bolivia (9,016)
  • Dominican Republic (8,100)

Of those who acquired Spanish citizenship in 2022, 53 percent accounted for men and 47 percent for women.

Regarding age, those under ten years old made the largest group obtaining Spanish nationality, closely followed by the age group of 30 to 39.

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