Hundreds of Cubans lined up outside the Spanish embassy in Havana Monday, hoping to apply for citizenship based on their Spanish ancestry.

A law now in effect in Spain offers citizenship to the descendants of Spaniards who fled the country for political reasons. The measure targets families who emigrated during and after the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Those accepted do not have to renounce their current citizenship. But citizens of communist Cuba must get permission from the Havana government to travel to Spain if they are accepted for Spanish citizenship.

Officials estimate that some 500,000 people living in Latin American countries such as Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and Uruguay are eligible for citizenship. Argentina alone is expected to have some 300,000 eligible beneficiaries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.