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. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Juan,

    Your parents need to file the renewal application online. They´ve had the option to do this either 60 days before expiry or 90 days after. However, to travel with an expired card, they need a return authorization or a short stay visa. My recommendation is that they appoint a solicitor in Spain that can file their renewal application online and, once approved, approach the Spanish embassy so they are granted a visa to travel to Spain to formalize the renewed card application at the relevant police station.

  2. jonathan chris karam

    My student NIE expires in October 2020, i am already doing my internship in agreement with my masters that will end in December2020, do i have to renew my NIE for 2month more? or is it valid for 3 month after expiry ? PLEASE advice ! best regards

  3. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Jonathan,

    Your card is valid until October and you have up to 90 days after expiry to renew it. If your internship ends in December and you are going back to your home country after that, you can remain until December wit your expired card, though note this does not mean your cad is valid. It means you are still within the allowed renewal period.

    If you are going to continue your studies in Spain, you can apply for the card renewal.

  4. Brittany

    Good morning

    I hope that you are well.

    This article has helped me a lot but I just want to confirm my situation.

    I am currently living in Spain on a long term student visa (I arrived in August 2019 and my student card was valid until 22 May 2020) I was supposed to return home on 10 June 2020 after completing my studies.

    However, due to the virus, my school was closed in March and I could not study and further.

    My school is now reopening and I wish to continue studying but my TIE card has now expired. I’ve been having major difficulties trying to extend it.

    I see that they are automatically extended but I would like to know : is mine automatically extended for 6 months? Please let me know what I need to do.

    I appreciate it so much!

    Thank you and keep well.

    Kind regards

  5. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Brittany,

    Your residence card´s validity has been automatically extended for 6 months.

    However, you need to apply for your student visa extension two months before expiry, providing with the school registration for this new school year that has just started and proof of having completed the previous studies. You will need to file similar documentation to the one provided when you applied for the first time: school registration, proof of financial resources, medical insurance, etc.

    In the event you have digital signature, you can file the application electronically and if you don´t have it, you can either authorize someone that has this electronic ID to file the application on your behalf, or hire the services of an Immigration lawyer or gestor.

  6. Vera

    Hello! My card expired last May 20. With the automatic renewal, my new expiry date is Nov. 20. During the 6 months, can I apply for a new type of residency? From prácticas to cuenta ajena? Thank you!

  7. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Vera,

    I understand you have a student residence card and you want to remain in Spain modifying to a salaried work permit. In your case, one the requirements for the modification is to have completed three years in Spain with a student visa and that you have completed your studies successfully. Apart from that, other requirements are that your have a work contract in place and that you can prove your employer has the required financial resources to hire you an cover their living expenses.

    You can check the exact requirements of the modification application by clicking on this link:

    Please feel free to contact us if you need more information.

  8. Jaishree Vyas


    My permanent residency card nie is expired during june this year. I am Married to EU citizen and i have a job here in spain. I am trying for renewal now but it is taking time.

    However it is confirmed by govt And your article that It is auto extended for upto 6 months. My question is, can i travel Outside spain (within EU countries like italy , france etc) During this 6 months?

    Thanks alot.

  9. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Jay,

    As you just said, your card is valid and I believe you are having problems to renew it because there are no available appointments at the police station. Initially, you are able to travel with the expired card, but to be on the safe side I´d recommend you to apply for a return authorization.


  10. Sakshi


    I have a spanish work visa and have been working from home in India. I am an indian citizen and came here on March 12th. It’s already been more than 6 months and initially I was stuck here because of no flights and later because of the covid situation getting worse in India everyday making the travel very unsafe. My NIE expires in December. Though I have spend more than 6 months outside Spain , can I travel back to spain and will there be problems renewing my NIE.

  11. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sakshi,

    You can come back any time before December, and it is understood you cannot travel now as there are no flights. Anyway, you need to apply for the renewal online so at least you have the renewal receipt when you travel with an expired card. You can file the application as early as October and then, using your renewal application, apply for a visa to enter Spain with the expired card since you do not have a return authorization.


  12. Divya

    I have work permit for spain which is expiring this November 2020.I couldn’t travel because of covid situation and I’ve been working from home in India.
    Is it possible to renew work permit?
    And If I travel in October to Spain(if allowed) , can I renew the work permit?

  13. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Divya,

    I understand that those foreigners holding a Spanish residence permit can enter Spain, even if they come from India. The main problem may be the fact that there are no flights.

    You can file the renewal application online if you appoint a representative or if you have a Spanish digital signature. You may need to appoint a gestor or lawyer to file the renewal application in your behalf. You can travel to Spain, once flights are available, any time before the card expires, and process the renewal once in Spain, though I still recommend you to process the renewal application electronically from India before you travel.

    If you want to come back to Spain after your card has expired, you should have at least your renewal application approved or in process, and then get a visa from the corresponding Spanish consular office to be able to enter Spain with the expired card.

  14. Naeem

    I hope you are fine.

    I want to ask you that, I leaved Spain 15 December. Still I am out of Spain and living in Pakistan. I have Spanish resident card. I am living in Pakistan more than 6 month which is not permitted. What will I do?

  15. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Naeem,

    Absences between the 14th March and 21st June are not taken into consideration when counting the 6 months minimum stay per year required for renewals.

    I recommend you to return to Spain whenever there´s a chance and if your card is about to expire, process the renewal application online.

  16. Abdulkadir

    Hello thank you so much for this information.
    Please i have a question, i have a temporary family of an eu citizen card. I left Spain November last year and was unable to return back to spain till now due to the lock down and airport closures. My country is still not among the allowed country to enter spain and now I have stayed out of spain for over 180 days. Please what will happen to my situation? Thanks you

  17. Abdulkadir

    hello, please advise
    I have temporarily family of Europe resident card. I left Spain November of Last year and couldn’t return to Spain till now. I have currently spent more than 180 days outside spain. Please advice can I still retun to spain with my temporary card.

  18. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Abdulkadir,

    Note that absences between the 14th March and 21st June are not taken into consideration when counting the 6 months minimum stay required per year.

    I recommend you to return to Spain whenever there´s a chance (Spanish residents can return to Spain) and if your card is about to expire, process the renewal application online. If your card is still valid, you can just return once you find a flight.

  19. Diana

    Hello, I would like to get some advice. I am studying in Spain and my residence card was valid until August 25th, but I left Spain the 17th of July for medical reasons and I am coming back today, on September 22nd.
    However in July I sent all my documents to start the process of renewal of my card before it expired.
    As I understood I can still enter Spain without any problem, right?
    And can I enter without troubles if I have a layover in Germany, since my residence is in Spain?

  20. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Diana,

    You can enter Spain with an expired card if you have a return authorization. You must obtain that authorization before leaving Spain if you already know your card will be expired when you come back to Spain. Note you may find problems when trying to enter Spain, or Germany, based on this fact. Even if your renewal application is in process, you are in the obligation to get a return authorization in order to enter Spain/the EU with an expired card.

    I recommend you to approach the embassy explaining your case as they may have to grant you a visa to enter Spain.

  21. Dawn

    I’m Dawn, I living and Working in Spain for 3years and 1 month by holding a Norwegian Visa, But This last Feb. 2020, I flight to go in Philippines, and the locked down is started! I’m preparing to fix my Residence Permit in Spain, Planning to do that, But, I don’t know how to start because of Pandemic Covid19, I want to come back and to have a Residence permit in Spain, I have some documents holding here. Can you help me what should I need to do..

    Best regards,

  22. Dawn


    I want to come back In Spain to have a Residence permit, But, since it’s lockdown because of Pandemic Covid19, I can’t come back as I want. I’m working in Spain with Norwegian Visa but It already expired. What I’m must supposed to do? I already prepared the requirements needed to have a Residence card, How can I do this at this moment.

  23. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Dawn,

    Thanks for your enquiry.

    For us to be able to respond your question, we need more details:

    1. Type of visa you hold in Norway. We understand that you have been in Spain for 3 years, but always observing the 90 days out of 180 rule for EU residence permit holders in another EU country. Is your visa from Norway a short stay one?
    2. Type of residence permit you wish to apply for in Spain. Each type of permit follow a different procedure as some are applied for from abroad and others from Spain.

    I understand it may be sensitive information. Please feel free to email us and we will send you a detailed reply.

  24. Mel


    My Spain Work Visa is expiring on the 28th of Oct 2020 , and my project will complete by Nov 2020. I received my Spain Resident Permit until July 2022

    Can I travel back to India end of Nov even though my Visa expires in Oct? Or do I have to renew my Visa for 1 month?

    Please advice.

  25. Abdulkadir

    Hello, I just want to say thank you for the wonderful job you’re doing, for taking your time to answer all those questions clearly. Not sure i knew of any immigration firm to compete with the clarity you offers with each issues that worries. You guys are wonderful 👏.

  26. Anna

    Hello! I have a permanent resident status that expires in 2023. I left Spain in November 2019 and plan to go back in November (therefore complying with the rule of maximum of 12 consecutive months of absence from the EU). I would like to know if at the time of the renewal of my permanent residence in 2023, the 3-month period of Covid lockdown will be taken in consideration, hence giving me a right to an “additional” 3 months outside of the EU? Thanks alot!

  27. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Mel,

    I am afraid I don’t understand your question very well.

    You mention you have a visa expiring in October and a residence permit in 2022…are they linked? If you have a residence permit valid until 2022, you can travel in and out of Spain until it expires.

    If you need to discuss your case further, please send contact us by email.


  28. Daniel


    I am a Canadian who has a TIE that expired on Sept, 30th 2020. I am planning on going back to Spain to study in mid-November and renew my TIE then. However, would i be able to enter the EU with a tourist visa, and then renew my TIE?

    If i could enter with a tourist visa, am i subjected to leave the EU after 90days even though my TIE renewal is in progress or received?


  29. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Daniel,

    As a Canadian citizen, you do not need a visa to enter Spain if your intention is to renew your residence card or you just wish to stay for 90 days. You can travel with your expired card, as long as you can prove you have applied for the renewal (it can be done online).

    When you say TIE, it is based on a student visa or a residence visa? It makes a difference because students are not regarded as residents even if they have a TIE.


  30. Vica Rooro

    I’m in Spain as an auxiliar de conversacion. Position is from October 1 – June 2021. I’ve made many, many attempts to get my TIE appointment within my first 30 days in Spain but every attempt resulted in No Appointments Available. My Visa stamp expires during Dec., 2020. Does Order SND / 421/2020, of May 18 make any extensions for me and others in my situation? I want to stay in Spain for my complete contract year.

  31. Daniel

    Hello Patricia,
    Thank you for your reply.
    My TIE is based on a student visa. Would I still be qualified to enter if I have applied for the renewal?
    Also, would other EU members recognize the fact I have applied and thus allow my entry if I am transiting from another country to Spain.

  32. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Vica,

    Unfortunately there are thousands of people in your situation.

    Police officers and Immigration authorities know this so they will not fine you because you have been unable to obtain an appointment for fingerprints. It is a generalized problem in all Spanish police stations now.


  33. sheharyar

    hello my permanent residence card has been expired in march 2016, is there anyway to renew it or can i go back to spain?

  34. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sheharyar,

    You can recover your long term residence card.You can either apply via the Spanish consular office or in Spain if you are in a regular situation at the time (holding a valid visa). You will need to prepare criminal records and medical certificate from your home country or those countries where you have lived during the last 5 years. You can check the official information here.


  35. Mohammed Masarath hussain

    Hi Patricia my long term residence card has expired in 12 July and I left spain in January I am still in india I apply for my card recuperate in Spanish consulate in India more than one month but still no update from consulate what are the possibilities please guide me thanks

  36. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Mohammed,

    I am unaware of how long the consulate takes to process permit applications, though I believe you had not met the requirements to file for the long term residence card recovery permit, since you had not been out of Spain for more than 12 consecutive months. You are still within the allowed period to renew the card at any police station once you are in Spain.
    I recommend you to keep checking the status of your application with the embassy and consider the possibility to return to Spain, as Spanish residents do not have entry restrictions.


  37. Ian

    I am British and have one of those green cardboard residence cards.
    My wife who is non EU has a residence card for the partner of an EU citizen (ME).
    We both left Spain last November and intended to return in March this year, but have not done so because of Covid.

    Will my wife be able to use her residence card to enter the EU and then Spain as she has now been away more than 6 months?
    Here card shows as valid until 2022.

  38. Anthony


    I am a Nigerian Citizen on an Highly Qualified Professional work and residence visa for Spain.

    I left Spain for Nigeria on March 21st, few days after the state of alarm was enforced to benefit from my paternity leave considering the birth of my child and unfortunately my home country also went into lockdown (with land and air borders closed) on March 23rd to control the spread of covid-19. The Nigerian borders have since opened it’s borders in September, but I only just managed to return to Spain on the 17th of Oct as flights are currently operating at reduced capacity as a control measure.

    Although my residence permit is due to expire on 1st of December 2020, do you think i would have issues with my visa renewal considering i was out of Spain for over 6 months (almost 7 months) through no fault of mine? Also, will the number of days from the state of alarm be exempted from my period of absence outside of Spain?

    Many thanks in advance as i look forward to your response.

  39. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Anthony,

    This absences during lockdown and due to the impossibility to travel are not taken into consideration for renewing your permit. You will be able to apply for the renewal authorization as usual. You can file the application anytime between the 1st October and the 1st March. We highly recommend you to renew it before it´s expired.


  40. Jindpal singh

    I have a query, my wife and kids entered spain on 7 oct 2020 on family visa. Due to coronavirus their file got delayed for almost 6 months as they have applied in spain embassy on 25 feb and got visa on 9 sep.
    Now they have entered spain, but their application for pr card is not processing as my pr card is expiring on 11 nov 2020, which i have applied to renew on 21 oct.
    So what should we do now

  41. Claudia A Banks

    We were in Spain on a non-lucrative visa. We applied August 6th for the first renewal (due October 6, 2020) Because of a situation with my mother, my husband and I returned to the US without a visa resolution. The status is still “en trámite.” Technically our visa has expired. If we received positive resolution can we still go ahead with our trip back for finger prints? How long do we have to do that? Will the Spanish authorities let us in the country?

  42. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Singh,

    I understand that their visas were based on the Family Reunion permit that was approved based on your residence status and that their permits were valid also until the 11th November 2020.

    Your family needs to also file their permit renewal applications even if they never held a TIE (residence card).Once approved, you can all apply for the TIE at the same time.

    Their application wills have to include a letter explaining the specific situation and proving the reasons why they have been unable to travel earlier.

    Please feel free to contact us if your need further help.


  43. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Claudia,

    In these situations, there´s a document you need to get from the Police Station before you travel, called Return Authorization (Autorizacion de regreso) that allows you enter back in Spain with an expired card. I assume you did not get this document from the Police Station before travelling to the US. In principle, you´d not be allowed in Spain, but if you can prove your permit is renewed via the official resolution letter when travelling, you should be allowed in Spain, since you do not need visas to enter Spain and you can prove your are residents.


  44. Ryesher Dsouza

    Good afternoon,

    I hope you’re doing well.

    I am writing to you regarding my current immigration situation. My TIE expired in August and I applied immediately for a renewal. I waited almost 2.5 months and now my application is archived. No one sent me any email about missing documents and I have not received any resolution yet. It is now almost 3 months since my old TIE card expired. I do not know what to do and I am extremely worried as I have no information at all from the extranjeria office.

    Can you please help me or at least inform me about what is the immigration situation right now with covid and will i still be legal in Spain even though my TIE is expired but I have applied for a renewal 3 months ago but no response yet.

    Thank you for your help in advance,


  45. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ryesher,

    If your application appears in the system as Archivado, it means that they have requested some documentation from you but you have not provided with it within the set time frame (10 working days). If you never received anything, you must check which email address you indicated for notifications and also check your spam folder. If you contact the Immigration by telephone, they will let you know whether you are in a position to recover the application or you need to file a new one.

    If you are unable to speak Spanish, I recommend you to contact a gestor or local firm and appoint them as your representative in the transaction. They will then be able to make enquiries in your behalf an find out the reasons leading to the cancellation of your application.

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