Residence Permit Renewal: Make sure you spend at least 6 months in Spain!

November 22nd, 2018

One of the most common causes of rejection by the Spanish authorities when it comes to renewing a residence permit is directly related to the failure of the applicant to comply with the minimum stay requirements that Spanish law dictate.

A temporary residence permit application allows a person to stay in Spain for more than 185 days per year during a maximum period of 2 years. These temporary residence permits can be renewed once 2 year period has passed, but only if you spend at least 185 days in Spain within each year, which is the minimum stay requirement set by Spanish law for temporary residence permits.

Another important time limit to consider is the maximum period of time you can spend out of Spain when applying for permanent residence. As a temporary resident, you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residence card once you have been a legal resident in Spain on a continued basis for 5 years (provided that other financial requirements are met). During these 5 years, the sum of all the days you will have spent outside of Spain should not exceed a total of 10 months. When this is not met, we recommend our clients to apply for an extraordinary renewal of their residence permit (which is an additional two-year temporary residence permit extension), in an effort to accumulate enough days during this time to finally meet the permanent residence minimum stay requirement.

It should also be noted that once you are a permanent resident, an absence of 12 months or more will lead to the cancellation of the residence card validity.

We cannot but emphasize the importance of this minimum stay to keep your residency status or be able to apply for a new one. As a matter of fact, it is one of the main reasons for a rejection in immigration applications. Some time ago, Spanish immigration officers would have a more relaxed attitude towards the actual compliance of this requirement. However, this is no longer the case, and they will thoroughly examine all the entry and exit stamps on your passport.

Despite the above, the current Immigration regulations stipulate exceptional cases that would serve as a justification of a prolonged absence and that would not lead to a renewal rejection: Force majeure reasons, illness, natural catastrophes and accidents.

35 thoughts on “Residence Permit Renewal: Make sure you spend at least 6 months in Spain!

  1. Bill Schreiber

    Once one has a permanent residency visa (non lucrative), what is the maximum amount of time over the five-year period of the visa that one can be out of Spain and still renew the visa at the end of five years?

  2. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Bill

    If you are permanent resident there´s no minimum stay in order to renew the card, since the police station does not check the passports as thoroughly as they usually do for temporary residents. However, be sure you are not out of Spain for more than 12 consecutive months, as it is a reason for the loss of the resident status.

    Regards,

  3. Adam Qais

    Hello Patricia
    Thanks for your insights.

    I am married to a Spanish national and just in the process to apply for temporary residency card. Could you please advise the following:
    1. How many days will I be required to live in Spain in a year to retain my residency?
    2. Does temporary residency card get cancelled automatically if I am out of Spain for more than 180 Days?
    3. Does the immigration stamp the passports for temporary resident card holders at airports flying out of EU Zone?

  4. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Adam,

    Please read my answers to your questions:

    1. How many days will I be required to live in Spain in a year to retain my residency? 185 days
    2. Does temporary residency card get cancelled automatically if I am out of Spain for more than 180 Days? No, you can be fined though or allowed to try and justify the absence.
    3. Does the immigration stamp the passports for temporary resident card holders at airports flying out of EU Zone? Yes. Those entry/exit stamps are then considered at the time of calculating the amount of time out of Spain.

    Regards,

  5. Nk

    Hello Patricia,

    My son has been granted a dependent visa as his mother has a EU blue card. He however will not be residing in Spain (he will still be schooling in his home country, he’s 7 years old). Under the circumstances is it advisable to apply for the resident card as he will not meet the minimum stay requirements to live in Spain.

    Also when in Spain and applying for the residency card, will his passport have to be submitted and not returned until a decision is taken? Asking this question as he is due to visit his mother in couple weeks for about 3 weeks before returning to his home country.

  6. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello NK

    I don´t see the need to apply for a residence card for your son if you don´t have any intention to let him reside there. If you still decide to go ahead and process the fingerprints and card application at the police station, note his passport won´t be retained.

    Be aware, that at the time of renewal, he may be rejected because the minimum stay requirement has not been met and did not attend school in Spain.

    Regards,

  7. UC

    hi
    I have permanent residency card ( temporal por reagrupación familiar autoriza a trabajar), How many days i am required to stay in spain for safe renewal of my card?

  8. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Umer,

    The minimum stay required in order to keep a residency status is 180 days per year ( 6 months ). This amount can be extended to two months if the reasons are work related. In any case, you should never be out of the country more than 12 continued months, as that can lead to the extinction of the residence card.

    Regards,

  9. NK

    Hi again Patricia,

    Following on from my 25 July 2019 post, my son has been granted a single entry class D Non-lucrative visa. However, the immigration affairs lady at his mother’s company is saying that he MUST stay in the country until his resident card is sorted which takes 4-8 weeks. My question is does this mean he won’t be allowed to leave Spain without this card or the condition to stay in the country only applies if we actually go ahead and apply for the residency card.

    Another question is that the custody document I signed mentioned all 3 kids whereas its only the girls who are relocating. Will fact that the custody document mentions all 3 kids pose a problem for the residency application of the girls? They are 2 and 4 years so they are minors

  10. Yalda

    Is it allowed to work in private sector, i.e. bar, restaurant, shop, etc.? Under the residence permit visa?

  11. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello NK,

    If you apply for a return authorization ( Autorización de regreso ) for your son, there´s no need for him to remain in Spain while the card is issued.

    He has the obligation to apply for the card within a month since he entered Spain.

    Regarding your last question, I need more details on the type of application and documentation your filed before giving you an answer.

    Regards,

    Patricia

  12. Patricia Martin Post author

    Yalda,

    No, you are not allowed to work in any sector if you have a NLRP. It does not involve permission to work in Spain.

    If you wish to work, you need to apply for a modification of your permit at the time of renewal.

    Regards,

    Patricia

  13. Johann

    Hi Patricia,
    My wife has to do her second non lucrative renewal now, but spent 23 days too (203 in last 365, but never more than 6 consecutive months) much out of the country due to my work.
    Do they have a leniency or what advice do you have to renew without problems?
    Thanks

  14. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Johann,

    If the authorities find out, after checking entry/exit stamps, that she spent more than 180 days out if Spain in a year, they may reject her renewal application and allow her a month to file an appeal against the resolution, when she will be given the opportunity to respond and explain the reasons that can lawfully justify her absence. The law allows two extra months´ absence if they are work related and can be proved with supporting documentation. I understand that if the one that can justify work reasons is yourself and not her, an appeal may not succeed.

    Nevertheless, I recommend you to still file the renewal application and then take action depending on the resolution.

    Regards,

  15. Youssef Atimen

    Hi I will go to Spain for work so my question the embassy will give me multiple entry visa or only single entry visa? because me not from EU and i want to travel to my country within my visa valid.

  16. Lee

    Hi Patricia, do i need to renew my spanish green residency card issued in 2012 (non permanent), before applying for a new TIE card after Brexit has taken place?

    I have been mostly living in the UK since this date 2012, but have just bought a property and my intention is to now reside in spain permanently in mid 2020.

    I have just registered as a padron and have a spanish bank account.

    Will they not renew my residency or issue an TIE if i havent been in Spain continually for 6 months?

    Also how do they check how long I’ve been in another country as i have no passport stamps as this has never been done when i travel to and from Spain?

    Many thanks in advance
    Lee

  17. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Youssef,

    I am not sure whether you have already filed the work permit application and whether this is a salaried or self-employed type. The application procedure varies in each case.

    Note that, once the application is approved, you will be granted a single residence visa to enter Spain as a resident and apply for the relevant residence card at the police station. Once you have the card in your hands, you will be able to travel back and forth from Spain using that card, always observing the minimum stay requirement in order not to lose the right to renew your residence permit after the first year.

    Regards,

  18. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Lee,

    We highly recommend you to obtain a permanent residence registration certificate, specially since your intention is to reside on a permanent basis in Spain.

    The authorities do not have a way to track down how long you have spent out of Spain during the last 5 years, because you are EU citizen ( no exit/entry stamps on passport ), and therefore will take the starting date appearing on our green card as reference when issuing the permanent registry certificate.

    We are still unaware of the exact procedure for UK citizens living in Spain after Brexit finally takes place but we are confident that they will not meet any obstacles to remain as long as they still meet the usual conditions.

    Regards,

  19. Christina

    Hello Patricia,
    Thank you for all the great information! My husband and I have couple of questions:

    1) We have a Non-Luc Visa, fist year. We are set to renew in March 2020 out of the Granada, Spain office. We cannot for the life of us find a website with an exact list of requirements (documents etc) for renewal. Could you perhaps point us in that direction please?

    2) The Non-Luc Visa renews 1 year, 2 year then 2 years again when at that point you can apply for the 5 year Visa. Is this the permanent Visa a you mentioned above? Does it need to be renewed, ever?

    3) We may want to live temporarily (for an extended holiday) in Germany, perhaps 6 to 9 months. Since there is no enter/exit passport stamping due to the Schengen Zone, is there a way for officials to know? Don’t know any other way to ask that one 🙂

  20. Joseph Mann

    Hello. A brief background, I hold United States
    Citizenship, I completed a 9 month employment period as an English language and cultural assistant at a public school in Spain. My employment and TIE residence started on October 4, 2018 and ended on June 30, 2019. My contract is renewed to begin working on October 2, 2019 valid until June 30, 2020. I left Spain and left the Schengen area on June 30 of 2019, and I plan to return to the Schengen zone on September 27 of 2019 to start working and fulfil my renewed 9 month contract.in Spain.
    My question: With my new contract at hand, would I need a Spanish visa just to re-enter Spain and renew my TIE?

    Thank you

  21. irum

    hello dear i get my temperory resident card in july 2019 and i am plaining to visit my home country for period of 6 month. after every 6 month i will come in spain for a period of one month . is this situation cause any problem in getting permanent residency for me

  22. Kyle Mills

    Hi Patricia:

    I’m a US citizen with Spanish residency–I just received my first 2 year renewal of my TIE. When you say that I have to spend 180 days per “year” do you mean per calendar year? For instance can I be gone from Spain from July 15 2018 to June 1 2019? That’s a full year away, but I’ll still live in Spain for more than 6 months in both calendar years. Or would I have to fly to Spain sometime in early January to get and entry stamp in my passport–even if I then just turn around and return to the US.

    Thanks!

    Kyle

  23. Mohamed Abouzeid

    Dear,
    I want to know two thing regarding the Non-Lucrative visa in Spain:
    1) the condition of 183 days for the first year only or it is a condition all over the 5 years before taking the permanent card?

    2) When i applying for my family( wife & kids) for joining me in the non-lucrative visa the same condition of staying 183 days in Spain is applying on them same like me or not & if yes it is for the first year only or during the five year until they getting the permanent visa?

  24. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Abouzeid,

    You need to spend at least 6 months per year in Spain in order to be able to renew your residence card and keep the residency status. However, if your intention is to eventually become a permanent resident, you will need to be sure you are not out of Spain for more than 10 months in the first five years. If you exceed that limitation, you will be still be able to renew your residence card every two years and the third renewal will eb considered as extraordinary renewal as you would not meet the requir4ments for a permanent residence card yet.

    The same conditions apply to all card holders.

    Regards,

  25. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hi Christina

    The official website with exact information about the procedure and documentation concerning Immigration procedures is the Ministry of employment, Migration and Social Security website; Migration State Department, though the information is in Spanish:

    http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/InformacionInteres/InformacionProcedimientos/Ciudadanosnocomunitarios/renovaautorizaciones.html

    Once you are eligible for the Permanent residence card, and you obtain it, you will have a permanent right to residency, having to renew the physical card every 5 years at the police Station.

    In order to be eligible for the Permanent residence card , you will need to be sure you are not out of Spain for more than 10 months in the first five years. If you exceed that limitation, you will be still be able to renew your residence card every two years.

    IN response to your last question, the officials can check the border agency information at any time, so even if they cannot find out your absence based on stamps, they can still have records of your travels. Nevertheless, they will only do this if they have evidences or concerns about your renewal application. Note that for you to spend more than 90 days in Germany, the German authorities may ask you to get the relevant authorization since you are not an EU citizen. You are allowed to stay in another EU country ( Schengen area ) for 90 days every 180, holding the spanish residence card.

    If you wish to discuss further, please feel free to drop us an email via our contact form.

    Regards,

  26. Patricia Martin Post author

    Dear Mr. Mann

    You need to renew your work and residence permit and your TIE. I understand you hold a residence card authorizing you to reside and work as a salaried worker.

    As a US citizen, you will be allowed to enter Spain without a visa. However, note that you need to apply for the renewal right away, as the latest you can file is the 30th September ( 3 moths after expiry ). As you will be working for the same employer, you will have to show a copy of the renewed contract.

    Please click here to learn about the renewal application process:
    http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/InformacionInteres/InformacionProcedimientos/Ciudadanosnocomunitarios/hoja018/index.html

    If you wish to discuss your particular case with us, please feel free to contact is via our website contact form.

    Regards,

  27. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Irum,

    You can travel to your home country and come back to Spain after 6 months. This won´t pose a problem, however, when it comes to renew the residence card in July 2020, you need to be sure that you stayed in Spain at least 6 months in the last 12 months, so if you intend to only spend a month in Spain, this will have a negative effect when filing for renewal.

    Regards,

  28. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kyle,

    They check that you have not spent more than 6 months out of Spain/EU in a period of 12 months since you got your renewed residence card.

    I strongly advice you against spending 12 consecutive months out of Spain, or the EU.

    Regards,

  29. Amir

    Dear Patricia,

    So my parents are travelling in two weeks to Spain to get their first permanent residence card that will be valid for 1 year. They have to stay 6 months (non-consecutive) in their first year right?

    After that, they will renew their card and give them extra 2 years (correct me if I’m wrong). And in each year, they have to spend 6 months till they reach 5 years. However, this will result in more than 10 months out of spain in 5 years as stated above (please explain)

  30. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir

    First of all, I´d like to clarify that your parents won´t get a permanent residence card.

    During the first five years their card is considered a temporary residency card. They will renew it twice (after the first year and then after the first three years) and the maximum amount of time they can be out of Spain is 180 days. In case they are unable to spend at least 10 months in Spain per year, they will always have the possibility to renew their cards every two years. However, if after the first five years they have not exceeded 10 months out of Spain, they will be eligible for the permanent residence card, that once granted is automatically renewed every five years.

    Regards,

  31. Amir

    Dear Patricia,

    Continuing the previous post…
    Just a summary to double check:
    1) To maintain the temporary residence card for the first 5 years, we have to spend 6 months per year (non-consecutive).

    2) To be eligible to apply for a permanent residence card, we have to not exceed 10 months out of spain in the first 5 years.

    3) If we are exceeding 10 months out of spain in the first 5 years, then we can still renew our cards every 2 years to be able to get the minimum required days to apply for a permanent card.

    4) Lastly, when is the perfect timing for my parents to apply for their children (reunion) to join them in Spain. The children ages are 24, 22 and 18.

  32. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir,

    Read my comments:

    1) To maintain the temporary residence card for the first 5 years, we have to spend 6 months per year (non-consecutive). – Correct

    2) To be eligible to apply for a permanent residence card, we have to not exceed 10 months out of Spain in the first 5 years. – Correct

    3) If we are exceeding 10 months out of Spain in the first 5 years, then we can still renew our cards every 2 years to be able to get the minimum required days to apply for a permanent card.- Correct. Also known as extraordinary renewals.

    4) Lastly, when is the perfect timing for my parents to apply for their children (reunion) to join them in Spain. The children ages are 24, 22 and 18. –

    Family reunion permits applications can be submitted once their first renewal applications are in process. Please note they cannot apply for your family reunion permits, since you are all over 18. You will have to file three independent non lucrative residence permit applications in the same way your parents have, in the event you meet the requirements of that particular permit.

    Regards,

  33. Amir

    Dear patricia,

    We are trying to figure out other solutions to get the permanent residence and eventually the passport later on. Staying in Spain for 10 months every year for 5 years is kind of a hard thing to do for us.

    My question is: If we invest money in Spain, how much money do we have to pay to be able to get the permanent residence card without living in spain for 10 months?
    Please explain in the case of : 1) Buying a property and 2) Just freezing the amount in the bank in Spain.

    Thank you.

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