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.


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

  1. Praveena

    How about the approved Non lucrative visa to Spain ( unused due to Covid) that is about to expire? Will it be extended by 3 months as well?

  2. Praveen

    The renewal of the residency is due in the first week of August, 2020. The Flights from India have been cancelled till July, 31. Will there be problem for renewal of the residency or entering Spain if I come after the expiry of the residency permit

  3. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Praveen,

    I believe you are enquiring about the renewal of a residence permit.

    You have three months to renew the card once expired, so you have until the first week of November to renew it. Also you are being allowed to enter Spain with an expired card, as you have been unable to travel due to the COVID-19 crisis. I recommend you to apply for the renewal of your permit online as soon as you can (renewal applications are filed electronically), as you will have the approval letter in hand when travelling in August.

    If you do not have digital signature that enables you apply online, you can engage the services of a gestor or an immigration consultant that can file the application in your behalf.


  4. Swap


    Do I receive an extension if my student visa (more than 180 days) expired on 22nd June 2020? I am trying to apply for a new student visa from within Spain. Thank you.

  5. Thobile

    My visa is going to expire at the end of this month. While the lockdown is lifted here the borders in my country are still closed. I want to renew my Spanish visa but I need documents from my country, which I cannot get at the moment as they are on lockdown.
    Anyone knows what I can do please?

  6. Patricia Martin Post author

    Dear Thobile,

    I understand you mean residence permit and not visa?

    I recommend you to appoint someone in your home country that can process those documents in your behalf or explain the situation to the authorities involved and see if they can expedite the process remotely, without your presence.

    Depending on the documentation that is missing, you may be able to file the renewal application except those documents and ask the Immigration office for extensions of time to finally be able to provide with them. You must have solid evidences of the impossibility to obtain the documents.


  7. Cy amor

    Thanks for the update. I’m in currently in nigeria and my permanent residence permit is expiring July 31st. What should I do? .. And the international flight are not working not to talk of Spain allowing Nigerians to come in yet. My parents tried booking appointment for me over there. . but the website is still closed😣😣😣

  8. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Cy,

    If you are unable to travel due to the COVID-19 restrictions and this stops you from renewing your card, the authorities won´t pose a problem when you are finally able to travel to Spain. Since you hold a Permanent card, you just need to renew the document but not the right to reside. I recommend you to check with the Spanish embassy every now and then as they may issue a document that allows you to travel once Spain allows flights from Nigeria, as your card may be expired by then.


  9. dianac

    i am Non-Eu citizen (Moldavia) and i have permiso de residencia,which expired on 13.06.2020.I want to visit my son in Germany,from 25 of July until 30 August.Can i travel with my expired card? I became authorisacion de regreso,until 25 of September,but i don’t really now if i can travel with it?There is wrotten :Not valid to move around Schengen States.What schould i do in my situation?
    Thank you very much.

  10. Shalini Sharma

    My NIE of larga duracion expires in August, 2020. Air India flights have not yet started from India. Can I fly to Spain in September after the expiry of the residence permit. In this case will I require any visa from Embassy of Spain to enter Spain, since expiry of the NIE by that time . Please tell


  11. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Shalini,

    All long term cards´ validity have been extended for 6 months after state of Alarm has ended, so you can travel back with your expired card until December.


  12. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Diana,

    The return authorization is issued for travellers that will exit the Schengen area and need to return to Spain with an expired card. The authorization is shown at the Spanish border control only. If you do not exit the Schengen area, you don’t need a return authorization and that´s why they write that. However, we still recommend you to take it with you, together with proof of your renewal application.

  13. Paul


    I have a residencia de larga duración which expires end September. I have until when to return Spain with the expired card? Do I need any special authorization to travel or is my expired card sufficient?


  14. Angie


    I’m a Russian natinal living in London, a family member ofa Spanish national. My 5-year residence permit expired 5 July. CanI board a plane to Spain from the UK with it or do I need to apply for something at the council here?
    Kind regards,

  15. Sassy


    My Residence Permit will expire on August 30 which is tied to a Spanish Employer and they have already started renewal process. However, I may leave my employer soon as I will travel to UK for work and have UK visa as Non EU and no intend to enter Spain again. Due to flight schedules, I may travel post expiry of my residence somewhere within September 1st week. Will the immigration authorities ask or check at Airport more while exit Spain as I spent some days extra beyond my expiry date of Residence permit?

  16. Shikha


    This is Shikha & I am currently in Barcelona.
    I came here in January & my 90 days Schengen visa was expired during lockdown on 12th April.

    I went to immigration office here in Barcelona last week and they told me to take the first flight whenever available. Corona is on peak in India currently & international border is closed too, so there are no flights available at the moment.

    I read a comment on your blog regarding three months auto extension from 22nd June to 22nd September. Is this valid in my case too?
    Can I stay in spain until 22nd September?

  17. Sunday

    Good day please i am from Nigeria and i have family reunion visa but now is expired june 2nd due to they open airport in Spain am i need to go to embassy for another visa before i travel or i don’t need another visa.thanks

  18. Patricia Martin Post author


    Since your residence card expires in September, you must return before expiry. If you can prove you have been unable to return because there are no flights into Spain from the country where you are due to restrictions, you are allowed to enter at a later date, once you can fly.


  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Shikha,

    Your visa has been automatically extended for three months since the State of Emergency ended. You can certainly stay until end of September.


  20. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sunday,

    I understand you mean your family reunion residence card and not visa. If this is the case, its validity has been extended for 6 months as it expired during lockdown.


  21. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Angie,

    I believe you mean a residence card issued in Spain? The decree mentions cards expired during lockdown or 3 months before, but it does not mention anything regarding card expiring after lockdown. I recommend you to check with the Spanish embassy whether they can issue a document that allows you enter Spain with the expired card, or grant you a temporary visa to enter, as you wish to renew your residence card.


  22. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sassy,

    I recommend you to finalize the renewal process if your intention is to travel in and out of Spain after the card expires. If the renewal is in process and you want to travel with the expired card, you need to apply for a return authorization at the police station.


  23. Sassy

    Thanks Patricia for information. So, even though I will not return to Spain near time, shall I still apply regresso? Is it required for exit only also? I will have the renewal documents and possibly resolution when I leave.

  24. Sergio T

    I am currently in a Visa type D issued on 24/01 with expiry day 05/08. There will be no flights to my home country until at least September 1st. The two questions I have. Is my Visa also automatically extended or not?
    2nd is it ok to travel outside Spain to let’s say Turkey and come back at a later date of 05/08? Or I must stay in Spain territory or enter before this date.

  25. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sergio,

    Unfortunately your visa validity has not been extended, since it expires after the State of emergency ends. If you can prove that there are no flights to your home country, you can then apply for a visa extension based on force majeur reasons . However, if you get out of Spain, you can only come back before your visa expires.

  26. Abhinav Caleb

    I have a long-term(more than 180 day) student visa and my TIE expired during the state of emergency on June 5th. Is it automatically extended for 6 months? If I want to travel within the schengen states, is that possible with the expired card?
    Thank you!!

  27. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Abhinav,

    Yes, your TIE has automatically been extended for 6 more months, though only in Spain, so I do not recommend you to use it to travel within the Schengen area as the card is no longer valid formally speaking. If you meet the requirements for a visa extension, you can file the application online.


  28. sifaw

    I’m a Libyan holding a yearly student card NIE which expired in 12 July and the flights still suspended from my home country .
    Can I enter to Spain in August where the flight restrictions will be lifted
    Tnx in advance

  29. Patricia Martin Post author


    As your card expires after the State of Emergency ends, the 6 month´s validity extension is not applicable. However, you can apply for a visa extension online if you meet the requirements. If approved, you can apply for the visa at the consulate and fly whenever there are available flights.


  30. samantha

    hello, i left my physical student TIE in spain, would i be able to re enter with a photo copy version? thank you.

  31. Yinkus

    My Spanish comunitario permanente resident permit expired 28-of June 2020 due to the lockdown here in Nigeria and airport is close here in Nigeria, now I find flight from nearby country, can I enter Spain with my expired resident permit. Thanks.

  32. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Yinkus,

    You can certainly come back to Spain with your expired card, as their validity has also been extended. You have until 21st December to renew the card, based on the mentioned instruction.


  33. Abdulla


    I’m an international student holding a NIE card which expired on the 9th of May. I left spain on April. Am I permitted to come back to Spain using my expired NIE. Is it automatically extended for six months?

  34. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Abdulla,

    Yes, the card´s is automatically extended until the 21st December and you can travel with the expired card. Nevertheless, I recommend you to start the renewal process electronically.


  35. Jackson


    I tried to renew my NIE electronically but due to technical requirements I am not able to submit my application. However, my helpline person said I could send my application via Correos. Since I don’t know Spanish, the communication got difficult.
    Can I get some information on how to submit via correos and how long it make take to get the response?

    Thank you

  36. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Jackson,

    If you prefer to file the renewal application via Correos instead of electronically, you need to go to Correos office with all the documentation in an open envelope that includes all the documents. This type of shipping is called Correo Certificado.

    You need to show two samples of the application form so the post office agent stamps both samples for you before putting one of them back in the envelope and close it. You are keeping the other sample as receipt. You will have to fill in a form indicating your address and the address where you are sending the application ( Oficina de Extranjería in your province). The cost is around 5 Euros. The process will take only a bit more than if you file the application electronically, since the Immigration officer will have to upload all the documents on the system manually, once they receive the envelope with the application and the supporting documentation.


  37. Vipin

    My schengen tourist visa (90 days) expired on 30th of March. Can I stay until 21st September in Spain, is this three months extension after lockdown is applicable in my case.
    If I stay until 1st week of September how my future visa calculation will happen. Will they count my extra days from 1st April to 1st week of September, if yes then when I can apply for 90 days visa in year 2021?


  38. Prakash

    My TIE expired on 31st July 2020 and I am a student in Barcelona. I came to India on 16th March 2020. Can i travel back now with an expired TIE?

  39. Imran Hassan

    I have a residence permit valid till next year june . I moved out of spain to meet my family in March 2020 and due to covid situation i couldnt come back . I want to understand the tax system in this case where i am staying out of spain for more than 6 months due to covid (I am still paying taxes as my salary is credited). Does my stay outside spain for more than 6 months impact my renewal and permanent residence ?

  40. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Imran,

    Those absences due to the COVID-19 crisis (during Estate of Emergency and until you are able to get a flight back to Spain) are not considered when counting days out of Spain for your next renewal application. Initially, the fact that you have been out of Spain for more than 6 months in 2020 has no impact in your renewal application.

    Fiscally speaking, you are a fiscal resident in Spain and your income must be declared in Spain.


  41. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Praksah,

    Your TIE has expired, but have you got permission to extend the right, via a resolution? Have you got documentation that proves you have applied for the renewal? You are still within the time to renew it.

    Initially, you can travel with an expired card though I recommend you to prove you meet the conditions for the renewal.

  42. abdullah azmat

    hi, my residency card has been expired during the lockdown situation and after the reopening of flights I tried but could not got a ticket. I am studying medicine in Pakistan and my final exams are within three months and am very much worried because my family is living in Spain and I chose to pursue my studies in Pakistan and am curious to know that how much time it will take to renew my residency as am not living in Spain I visit Spain during my summer holidays and I think my case is weak as am neither studying there nor worked there am keen to know what should I do and am thinking there are less chances of me getting residency again. Kindly guide me.

  43. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Abdullah,

    You residence card has been extended for 6 more months after lockdown, so you can travel any time until 21st December with the expired card. Can you please specify the type of card you have?

  44. Milgre

    Hello, my residency card (cuenta ajena) is about to expire on Sept 8. I already applied for my first renewal. Is it still possible for me to travel to other EU countries days before my card expires? Thank you.

  45. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Milgre,

    For you to travel with an expired card (or about to expire), you need a return authorization, called AUTORIZACION DE REGRESO in Spanish, issued by the corresponding Police Station. I recommend you to book an appointment and apply for it so you can travel. Note they will only issue the authorization if your card is expired or is expiring one or two days before the appointment. They will only accept to issue the authorization a few days before expiry if the trip is of based on an emergency.


  46. Juan

    My 70 year old parents were just refused onto Qatar Airline flight because their TIE card had expired a few days after lockdown had ended. The saying the 6 month extension only applies to those that had their TIE card expire while lockdown was in place and they do not have the extension. They are now stuck in South Africa and unable to return to their home. Do you have any advice is this situation?

  47. Juan

    My poor 70 year old parents were just refused onto Qatar Airline flight because their TIE card had expired a few days after lockdown had ended. Qatar Airlines are saying that the 6 month extension only applies to those that had their TIE card expire while lockdown was in place and they do not have the extension. They are now stuck in South Africa and unable to return to their home. Do you have any advice in this situation?

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