Covid-19: What Happens with Spanish Residence Permits and Visas that Expire During Lockdown?

June 11th, 2020

Coronavirus Covid-19 Spain Immigration Officer Stop Sign

As of time of writing, the state of alarm and subsequent lockdown due to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis has been extended on six occasions, until the 21st of June, and the borders have been closed to travelers. This has had an obvious impact on Spanish immigration procedures. In order to prevent harm to current resident permit and short stay visas holders, the Spanish government has made a number of provisions to cover all the possible situations.

What if my Spanish Resident Permit Expires During Covid-19 Lockdown?

The general rule of thumb is that temporary permits have their expiring date extended six months.

  • Temporary permits that expired three months before the lockdown was announced and those expiring during the lockdown are automatically extended for six months.
    This extension will apply starting on the expiry date of the document.

    • Example: Your residence card expired on March 30, 2020. Your new expiry date is September 30, 2020, and you can either apply for the appointment as soon as the lockdown is lifted or at any time before September 30.
  • Residence cards of relatives of EU citizens are also automatically extended for six months in the same way as temporary residence cards, with the same conditions as explained above.
  • Equally, the expired long-term residence cards (Larga Duracion) are extended for six months.
  • Spanish residents that are currently locked out of Spain, whose visas and residence cards have expired during lockdown, can enter Spain with their valid passports and expired visa or card after the lockdown ends.
    • Question: what about my expired return authorization if I already renewed my card and applied for a new TIE? According to the above, you can enter Spain with your expired card and approach the police station to collect your renewed card once you have been able to travel back.
  • If during lockdown the renewal applications have been filed and approved, the validity date on the renewal will be taken back to the following day after expiry date.

What if my Spanish Stay Visa Expires During Covid-19 Lockdown?

  • Short stay visas are extended for 3 months after lockdown ends.
    • Example: You came on holiday on the 10th of March and were unable to return to your home country. You have stayed since then. If lockdown ends on the 22nd of June, your visa will be valid until the 22nd of September.
  • This extension is limited to the Spanish territory.
  • The extended period will be considered to calculate the maximum time authorized for future stays in Spain.
    • Example: You came on holiday on March 10, 2020 and stayed in Spain until July 10 of the same year. You will have consumed 120 days (30 more than usually allowed) and this means you have used up to 30 days of your second allowed time; that is, you will be allowed to stay 60 instead of 90 days in your next trip.
  • Students on mobility programs with visas that have a validity of less than six months, will be extended for three months if the student is in Spain.
  • Long term visas leading to the TIE application once entering in Spain, are also extended for three months.
  • Entrepreneurs’ residence visas based on Law 14/2013 on supporting entrepreneurs and their internationalization are also extended for three months.
  • Those in the obligation to return to their countries to extend a visa based on a student’s program are allowed to stay with their expired visa during three months after the lockdown is lifted.

What Happens if I Have Been Out of Spain during Covid-19 Lockdown?

Absences from Spanish territory during lockdown won’t be taken into consideration when calculating the minimum stay in Spain (days of actual residence), required to renew subsequent authorizations.

  • Example: You left Spain on the 22nd of February for a long trip of one-month duration and were suddenly locked out in your home country. You have a temporary residence permit and had already been 4 months out of Spain when you left. Your renewal date was the 30th of March and you have returned to Spain on the 25th of June, as lockdown has been lifted on the 22nd of June:
    • Your card has been extended until the 30th.
    • Absences between March 15 and June 22 do not count.
    • You have been out of Spain for 4 months and 3 days, that means you can renew you card as soon as you like before the 30th of September.

The content of this post is based on Order SND/431/2020:

  • Orden SND/421/2020, de 18 de mayo, por la que se adoptan medidas relativas a la prórroga de las autorizaciones de estancia y residencia y/o trabajo y a otras situaciones de los extranjeros en España, en aplicación del Real Decreto 463/2020, de 14 de marzo, por el que se declara el estado de alarma para la gestión de la situación de crisis sanitaria ocasionada por el COVID-19.


111 thoughts on “Covid-19: What Happens with Spanish Residence Permits and Visas that Expire During Lockdown?

  1. Kaitee

    Hello, thanks for the detailed explanation. A quick question here; when the current TUE expiry is September 2021, we can apply for renewal 2 month before, which is July 2021. So, when I apply at July 2021, is the duration of presence in Spain checked from July 2020 to July 2021 (last 365 days) or is is checked by calendar year (the days of presence for each year) ? If it is the second one, howmany days is the minimum in 2021 to be able to renew it properly? July is half a year roughly, 183 / 2 > 62 days more or less, would 62 days of presence be enough to renew the TIE at July application? I hope I made myself clear, thanks in advance.

  2. Patricia Martin Post author


    The calculations they make are based on this: You cannot have been out of Spain for more than 180 days within a period of 365 days counting backwards from the date you apply.

    If you apply on the 21st July 2021, you cannot have been out of Spain for 180 days between 21st July 2020 and 21st July 2021.

  3. Sonalia

    I came to Spain in Sep 2020 on my student visa, which expires on 24 Dec 2020. I submitted all my documents and had my fingerprints taken today (11 Nov 2020). I was told by the official that I would get my NIE/TIE in the last week of December. What would happen if it arrives after the expiration date on my visa? What are my options?

  4. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sonalia,

    TIEs are only granted for residence permits and visas of a minimum of 6 months duration.

    if your real authorization has a one year duration and the stamped visa indicates 3 months- as that was the allowed time for your to enter Spain and apply for the card- the card will be valid for the duration that appears in it. You need to check the authorization resolution. Normally, cards are valid until the same date the course ends.

    I am sure you have been given a receipt when you did fingerprints today, that indicates the validity of the card. You can find that piece of information in the section named “VALIDEZ”.

  5. Beth

    hi ,,ill just want to spanish citizenship was granted last November 11,2019,,,i just checked today November 12, without knowing and 180 days was already expired do i still have a chance to continue my citizenship for any consideration during state of alarm or i have to reapply it again ..thank you

  6. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Beth,

    I understand the electronic notification should have been received by you last year, or a letter should have been received at the address indicated for notifications.

    I recommend you to contact the corresponding Civil registry and make an enquiry about the possibility to finalize the last steps. If the nationality application was approved in November 2019 (4 months before lockdown) you won’t be able to use the pandemic as justification.

    You need to find out why the notification didn’t reach you in time.

  7. Umid

    Hi. I am a Ph.D. student in Spain. I left on 6.03.2020. Currently, I am in my country in Uzbekistan. My student card TIE (with NIE) will expire on 05.01.2021. But I cannot come back because of the pandemic.
    Does my Student card extended automatically for 6 month? Can I extend my student card online that I can come back after 05.01.2021?
    Thanks in advance!

  8. Bethany Hannah


    Thanks for this information. I’m wondering if you know if the current state of alarm (initiated in October), has the same impact on minimum stay requirements as the last state of alarm. Specifically, will absences from the Spanish Territory between Oct and May, when the current state of alarm is set to expire, not count towards the normal 185 minimum?

  9. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Bethany,

    The authorities, to date, have not indicated such exemption on any of the announcements that have been made, as the country is not on State of Alarm for now.

  10. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Umid,

    If you still meet the requirements for the card renewal at the time of expiry, you will be able to file the extension application electronically.The card is not automatically extended for 6 months.

  11. nounoush

    hi. i have a question , would appreciate you to take time to read and answer.
    Me and my husband’s NIE had expired on feb 2020 and we could not travel to spain due to worldwide lockdown.
    we have also got our approval for extention of our NIE. ( favorable result)
    we have been outside of spain with regresso which is already expired on 12 may 2020.
    we have not been able to get appointment online for fingerprints due to restrictions during covid 19 . what is the maximum date we can enter spain? and what should we do now? so everything goes well?

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