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.


71 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. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

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