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. 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?

  12. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Nounoush,

    If you have the approval resolution letter with you, you will be allowed to enter Spain. There´s a collapse at police stations and it is extremely difficult to get an appointment for fingerprints. The authorities are aware of it.


  13. Atena

    Hi , thank you for your consideration in advance.
    I have residency card ( non lucrative ), which cause of Covid, i just could stay in Spain for 3months it started from December 27th 2019 ,last February I came back my home then I couldn’t come back till October16th2020, my card is going to get expired on 27th December 2020 . Can I renew my card ? Cause of absent in Spain more than 183 days ???
    Thank you !
    Regards .

  14. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hi Atena,

    Yes, in principle, you can renew your card. Note that those absences between the 14th March and 21st June do not count as time out of Spain. You are allowed up to 6 months out of Spain.


  15. Marie

    Hi, I’ve submitted my docs for TIE 2 weeks ago in Malaga. Not heard anything since. I am a frontier worker and need to cross the boarder weekly. I am getting interrogated each time I cross and have to explain that I still waiting. I and am worried and stressed about what might happen from 1st Jan. I already have padron, nie and rental contract to show I am resident. How can I chase this up?

  16. Paul


    My NIE expired on May11 2020 and also my passport expired during the Covid lockdown. I have however gotten a new passport which was delivered to me 1st week of November due to my embassy being closed down during the pandemic. My program ends in January and my school have recommended i do my thesis defense online. Do you advice I leave the country?

    And also if I want to do another program, do I still need to leave Spain and reapply for a visa since the term of extension has expired and my current economic activity has all but ended?

  17. Ishavdeep Singh

    Hello, my ishavdeep Singh I’m student here. My Tie card expired on 1 Oct 2020. Due to some personal issues. I am too late. Now almost done with my documentation. Does late submission create any problem or not. Please guide if it does what can I do for this. I am too much worried about this

  18. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Paul,

    I understand that by NIE your mean residence card.

    If you have not renewed your residence card before the end of the year, you have exceeded the allowed amount of time to renew it. I recommend you go back to your country and continue your course from there if the school, has allowed you that option. If you start a different course, a different authorization based on that new circumstance is required, and it certainly involves reapplying from your home country.

  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ishavdeep,

    You are correct, you are now late for the card renewal application and the system won´t allow you file the application online. You can try other means (registered post or personal appointment at the relevant Immigration office) adding a letter that justifies and explains the reasons that stopped you from filing the renewal application between the 1st October and 1st of January.

    In principle, you´d be out of time and in the obligation to apply for an initial application via the Spanish consulate in your home country.

  20. Khan

    Hi Respected,
    I have long residency of spain which one expired 04/07/20 now I am in UK I have valid Schengen visa for travel , i got finger appointment in spain 03/02/21 but now problem can’t enter spain without valid residency give any useful advice please thanks

  21. Stephen Moxon

    My ‘Brexit’ residency application was approved on 22/12/2020, but I’m still waiting for an appointment for my fingerprints to be taken in Alicante and my TIE card issued.
    Sección: BREXIT
    Expte.: 030020200027905
    N/Ref.: JF/jfazar
    NIE: Y8409175K
    Datos del Titular: STEPHEN JOHN MOXON Características del documento:
    – Acredita la condición de residente en España.
    – Eficacia desde 22/12/2020

    I had to return to the UK because of a family member contracting Covid and needing support, I now wish to return to my home in Spain, will the residency approval letter enable me to do this?

    Kindest regards

  22. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Stephen,

    Yes, the Spanish authorities are allowing UK nationals in Spain, as long as they have got the approved resolutions in their hands.

    There´s a huge collapse in the Valencia region, so it will take some time for you to be able to book an appointment.


  23. Paul Rogers

    Hello, we are UK citizens in Estepona staying in our motorhome. We are being told not to leave the municipality due to the high infection rate here. Can you confirm that we are able to stay passed the 31st March ( 90 day rule ) as per the announcement made last year about the extension due to travel restrictions. I understand the current state of alarm runs until the 9th May so I presume as per your article we will have 90 days from the 9th May to exit Spain. Thank you in advance.

  24. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Paul,

    You may have to have to leave Spain if you arrived after the 1st January 2021 and stayed for 90 days since you are no longer EU nationals and have not processed a residence permit that allows you to remain in Spain. If you arrived in Spain before the 1st January, you will have, in principle, 90 days to process the residence card application, based on the withdrawal agreement, though authorities are being quite flexible and admit applications filed later on.

    Here´s some relevant information from the annoucement made in December by the Immigration authorities concerning UK nationals remaining in Spain after the 1st January 2021:

    “If you have arrived in Spain after 1 January 2021.

    Although the general rule for those who arrive in Spain after the end of the transitional period is that they are not beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, there are some exceptions.
    These cases occur, especially, when a family link with a beneficiary of the Agreement can be evidenced, existing prior to the 31st December 2020 but which, for whatever reason, it has not resulted in an effective exercise of residence until after that date. This scenario also include children born as of January 1, 2021.
    In these cases, the Instructions determine a period of 3 months from arrival in Spain to obtain the residence document to be processed as usual.
    Those three months are counted upon arrival in Spain or date of birth. This period is an administrative formality. It will not affect your status as a Resident.
    As specified in the third statement, if applications are filed after that period, foreign offices will consider the circumstances and reasons for non-compliance and will give the applicant a sufficient additional time to file the application if the reasons for non-compliance are founded upon assessment by the Immigration office. Despite this, those that are presented after that period will be admitted also and, if these non-compliance reasons are not attended, the corresponding fine may be imposed.”

  25. Christopher Conniff

    With regards to the previous question, I understood that there was an automatic 90 day extension for tourist stays while the state of alarm is still in place. This is section 4 from the document:

    ‘Extension of stays of up to 90 days.

    Those people who are in Spain in a situation of stay (tourism/business), for a period not exceeding 90 days, that has expired during the validity of the State of Alarm, will see their stay automatically extended for a period of three months.

    This validity will be limited to Spanish territory.

    The extended period will be taken into account for the purposes of calculating the maximum authorised time for future stays‘

    Is this no longer valid?

    Many thanks

  26. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Christopher

    That information was intended for tourists that entered Spain before the State of Alarm was announced (14th March 2020) and have been unable to return to their countries for that reason.

  27. Mark


    I have a question. My TIE is expiring on July 16, 2021. I will be submiting my documents for renewal on May 18. Once approved in about a month, can I immediately take huellas even before the expiration of my card? Can they allow me to do that?

  28. Patricia Martin Post author


    You cannot apply for the new card until the current one is expired. If the card expires during a weekend, you may be able to renew it on the previous Friday.

  29. Abdulla

    Is the EX-00 Solicitud de autorización de estancia y prórrogas sufficient(favorable decision) to legalize your stay in Spain; in which case the TIE is expired ? Also, does renewal terms such as those of the TIE 30 or 60 days before expiration and 90 days after expiration apply to the EX-00? Is it possible to renew the TIE after a year since its expiration date? And since the EX-00 requires the TIE as part of the documents to submit for a renewal application is it possible to renew it with an expired TIE??

    Worrying questions.
    Thanks in advance.

  30. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Abdulla

    You need to check the specific requirements of the type of permit you have to confirm the renewal dates, that as you mention, are normally either 60 days before expiry, or 90 days after (this may lead to a sanction).
    Note that cards are not issued if the validity of the permission to stay has a duration of less than 6 months.


    Hi I have Spanish Visa valid till 7 / sept / 2021, I have work authorization that has been expired last month although my company has already applied for that and my NIE is also expired but Employer said that due to some problems in ministry the work renewal process is delayed for 3 weeks. My question is that may I enter in Spain on 30August 2021 as my visa is valid till 7 / sept / 2021 if I visit to my country. Lets say I want to visit my country on 1august to 30sugust 2021 so is it possible to enter back in Spain with old Expired NIE as I have visa valid till 7 Sept/2021 may I enter Spain just a week before the expiry ?

  32. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Kumar,

    If your visa is valid until the 7th September, I understand you just need to be sure to be in Spain before that date. However, you mention you have a expired work permit and the renewal application is in process. In this case, the best option is to apply for a return authorization at the police station before you leave, as it will allow you travel with an expired TIE for three months, and during that time your renewal application will probably be approved.

  33. Manjit singh

    My name is manjit singh. I come india .5 January 2020. After coronavirus fear I not go back Spain. I have residence permit long duration it is expire 7 February 2021 .how I can come back Spain please give me advice thanks

  34. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Manjit

    You can recover your rights as a holder of a Long term Residence card via the procedure called “Recuperación de la titularidad de una residencia de larga duración”. The procedure involves an appointment at the Spanish embassy to file the application together with fresh medical and criminal record certificates, legalized and translated into Spanish.
    Once they approve your application, you will need to get a residence visa based on that approval to enter Spain and apply for a new TIE.

    You can check the information here.

    If you need further help, please contact us using our contact form.

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