Descendants of Spanish Jews forced out of the country in the 15th century will finally be allowed to return home.

The issue concerning right of return for relatives of Inquisition-era Jews has been debated for years, with Spanish officials long promising to take the matter to heart. Now, Sephardic Jews of Spanish descent are one step closer to becoming naturalized citizens, following the approval of a bill in Spain’s government last week.


The motion, which was introduced in December, must be voted on in Spain’s Congress of Deputies, where it is expected to also pass.

“Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has kept his word,” Spain’s Federation of Jewish Communities, or FCJE, said in a statement.

The bill would allow eligible individuals to maintain dual citizenship between Spain and their nation of birth, following a vetting process. Gallardon promised the measure back in 2012, and just this last July Portugal passed a similar resolution allowing for naturalization of Portuguese Jews.

“The law we’ve passed today has a deep historic meaning: not only because it concerns events in our past of which we should not be proud, like the decree to expel the Jews in 1492, but because it reflects the reality of Spain as an open and plural society,” Gallardon said, according to Reuters.

There is not yet word on when the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s parliament, will vote on the measure.