Originally Posted by NickZ
But that assumes the OP has been resident for five years with no breaks.
The OP is asking how long the breaks can be.
So unless the OP is asking about the future the five year rule doesn't help.
What does the OP mean by studying abroad?
If they are applying for spanish nationality then they must be A ) married to a spaniard ; therefore the rules for them are completely different in that they can obtain automatic citizenship after 1 year.
B) if not married then most other scenarios,to be in a position to apply, would mean that they must have been here a minimum of 5 years .
How to apply for Spanish nationality. Legal information and advice by iAbogado, your English-speaking Spanish lawyers | iAbogado
With regards to the Spanish ministry info , I'd take that with a pinch of salt . Eu rules take precedence over national law unless national law offers greater benefits.