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.

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

  1. Amandip Ponsiya

    Thanks for your quick answer but if I am not proof and I m still working in other job like in whole year 10 to 11 month so it is not problem to renew if the ask me why you leave the first job I can tell I’did not sing the Baja letter and I didn’t leave he makes Baja voultario he didn’t have sign on Baja latter

  2. Amir

    Hey Patricia,

    So my parents finished their first year and renewed their temporary residence visa and they were given extra 2 years now. My question is: How can I apply (26 years old) to join them? On the Solicitud de visado nacional I have an option to choose the same way my parents did which is ‘Visa with no work’. However, their is another option on the form to reunite with family. Can i choose this?

    Also, what documents can I show in order to show them that I am dependent on my parents even though I am 26 years old.

    Thank you.

  3. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir,

    If you are over 25 years old you cannot apply as a dependent on your parents unless your dependency is based on health issues, or any other urgent and exceptional circumstance.

    Plaase feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss your case in detail.

  4. Mohan


    I am on HQP, with residence permit issued from 30-Sep2016 and empadronamiento registered as on 11-Oct2016 and current renewed permit expiry as on 15-Aug2022. Now I got another job to join in May2021 out of spain in asian country. So if I resign here and go to join in other non-european country , can my family do continue here until end of 15-Aug2022? If Yes, are we eligible if I return in spain (after 5 months from May-2021 to Sep2021) in Oct2021 to apply for long-term residence permit for me and my family?

    Please suggest.

    Thank you!

  5. Vasanthal

    Am srilankan have residence permit in nederland
    I want to start company for Ayurveda hhospital in spain
    Can any one give advice

  6. Patricia Martin Post author


    Note you are in the obligation to notify the Unidad de Grandes Empresas about your change of situation. You have a month to do so, after the change has taken place. If you leave your current job in Spain, you have the obligation to notify them and then they will take a decision on whether you are still eligible for the residence permit you hold. your family´s situation will depend on yours and their permits could be cancelled, unless they meet other residence permit requirements and are able to apply for a modification, independently.

    In the event you keep the job in Spain and your residence rights remain, note that you can be out of Spain up to 6 months per year and if you have not exceeded 10 months out of Spain for the last 5 years you will be eligible for the long term residence permit.

    If your relatives have been observing the minimum residency rules and they also meet the long term residency card requirements, they will be able to apply for it. In your case, you will meet the requirements in September 2021.

  7. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Vasanthal,

    If you wish to start a business in Spain I recommend you to consider the Self Employed work and residence permit application. A business plan and proof of investment is required among other specific requirements related to the particular activity and the province where you are looking to settle.

    Please feel free to contact us by email if you need further information.

  8. Boocheek

    Hi Patricia,

    My work visa is valid from March 2020 – March 2022. I have been away in Spain from October 2020 and will return on May 2021 (7months). I’m currently in the UK and was planning to return since January but due to lockdown, the latest date that I can return to Spain is in May.

    Do you think this will be an issue with Spanish Authorities once I try to renew my work visa again on March 2022? What are the implications?

    And will I still be able to enter Spain by May 2021 given that I was away for a long time?

  9. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Boocheek,

    You won´t have any problems to return in May.

    When filing your renewal application in 2022, be sure you have documented evidence to prove your impossibility to return to Spain between October 2020 and May 2021, so they do not reject your renewal for exceeding the 6 months rule.

  10. Eileen Fitzpatrick

    I would like some advice about a temporary residence visa. We have a flat in Spain since 2004 and would like to stay there for 6 months of the year and the rest of the time in Scotland. Would we have to move our tax base. We are retired, first of all can we apply for temporary residence visa?

  11. Patricia Martin Post author


    Note that as long as you visit Spain for no more than 90 days every 180 days, and for a maximum of 180 days per year, you are not in the obligation to register as residents in Spain. If your intention is to stay longer than that, I recommend you to apply for a temporary residence permit. This is an option you certainly have and the application is filed at the closest Spanish consulate .

    If you exceed 183 days per year in Spain, you will become a fiscal resident as well.

  12. Amir

    Hey Patricia,

    So I heard that the government are being very lenient about people not completing their 6 months per year due to corona. I know someone that got their visa extension and they only stayed 2 months in 2021. Anyway, we finished 5 months this year, do you think they will accept that or should we complete the 6 months?

    Thank you.

  13. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir,

    If you have not remained for 6 months in Spain in the last year they may reject your application, but bear n mind they are not considering absences due the State of Emergency that lasted from March 2020 to June 2020. Also, if you can prove you were unable to fly due to a lockdown where you were stuck, they will also consider it.

  14. Lexi

    Hi Patricia
    I hold long term residency status in Spain but am currently abroad due to family obligations and have not been able to go back to Spain due to the pandemic (it has been less than a year since I left Spain). Now that travel has opened up, I am planning on going back to Spain in order to keep my residencia but will need to leave again. I am planning on staying for a week. Is this long enough or is there a minimum stay required?
    Thank you

  15. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Lexi,

    If you haven´t been abroad for more than 12 consecutive months when travelling back to Spain, your residence card´s validity remains.

    There´s no minimum stay required, but you must observe the 12 consecutive months´ limit when being out of Spain.

  16. Sarah

    Hey, I have a question. If I have a temporary residency and I go to another EU country (say three months or more ) would that cause any problem when I renew my residency? Since there is not stamp on the passport between EU countries I assume they wouldn’t know I left the country and for how long, right? Or am I missing something? Thanks a lot.

  17. Lexi

    Hi again Patricia, thank you for your quick response regarding going back to Spain before 12 consecutive months for a week to maintain my Spanish residency.

    I actually have permanent long-term EU residency. I am thinking about going for a quick 2 or 3 day visit to another EU country. Will going to another EU country count towards the maintenance of my Spanish residency or will it only be valid if I go to Spain? I am just worried that with the travel rules changing all the time, I can look at other countries as options to visit to maintain my long-term EU residency.

    Thank you very much for your very helpful answers!

  18. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sarah,

    You are right. Your passport won´t be stamped, but the Immigration authorities have access to the border and customs agency and they can request a report if they believe it necessary when you are processing your renewal application. Anyhow, note you mustn´t stay in another EU country for more than 90 days every 180. If you intend a longer stay, a residence permit application should be considered.

  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Lexi,

    An entry stamp to Spain must be on sight. If you enter the EU via another country, the authorities may request proof of your stay in Spain (for instance, if you crossed the border by car) when you renew your residence card.

    Anyhow, Spanish residents are exempt from travel restrictions, so you can enter Spain by just showing your residence card.

  20. Oliver

    Hi all – sorry this is long and very specific.

    I have the Article 50/Brexit TIE card which was given to me on 4th of Feb 2021 which expires on the 29th of November 2025. I was unable to fulfil the 183 days minimum stay in my first 365 days of being in possession of my card.

    I had to return to the UK to finish my job until April 2021 (which I have evidence for) so lost 3 months due to this straight away. I had expected this to not be an issue because I planned to move out permanently straight away after this.

    However, the day before I was due to fly, I was involved in a pretty terrible bicycle accident in London in May 2021 which took me out for 1 month. I broke my jaw and was in hospital for a week. I was also required to return to the UK hospital for months following the accident and Covid travel rules meant I couldn’t risk going to Spain and being unable to return for one of my appointments.

    I was finally able to travel on a permanent basis about 3 months later in August once I’d received both my covid vaccines and have been living in Spain ever since. My total days for the 365 day period comes to 155 which is obviously short of the 183 required.

    Has anybody got any idea if they would take the accident into account when I go for renewal in 2025 or for the long-term residency? Because, as it stands, my renewal would almost certainly fail unless they give me dispensation for the accident. My immigration lawyer in Spain is convinced there will be no issue as I have all the medical documentation proving what happened but I am really not convinced. I need more reassurance than ‘it’ll probably be fine’ because I plan to make some major investments out here (start a company for example) and I don’t really want to do that if my residency is going to be taken off me in 3 years. I have read that they are really strict on this.

    thanks for your response!

  21. Amir Al Maaz

    Dear Patricia

    If my temporary residence card expires on 30 September 2022, what is the maximum days before the expirey date would you recommend to apply for renewal?

    They take alot of time to issue the card so maybe if I apply for renewal 2 months before the expiry, i can speed things up.

    Appreciate your help.

  22. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir,

    The earliest you can file the renewal application is two months before the card expires.

    Note that even if the renewal application is approved before the card expires, you need to wait until its expiration in order to formalize the new card application at the police station (Fingerprints process).


  23. Anita

    Hi. I am a British citizen who got my TIE ( temporary) card in 2021. The expiry month is September 2025. This year I may not be able to stay in Spain for 6 months. Does that mean I will not be able to renew my residency in 2025?
    Your advice will be much appreciated.

  24. Bryan Kenneth Liguid

    Hi. I am currently holding a residencia y trabajo temporal cta. ajena and I just recently quit my job which laster for 1 year and 7 months, because I’m planning to pursue my studies. Will there be any problem regarding my residency if I don’t seek employment let’s say for 12 months until my card expires? My residency will expire in 2024.

  25. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Bryan,

    I believe that next time you renew your card you will be able to apply for the Long Term one (having completed 5 years residency) and in that case you don’t have to prove your financial status, but just actual residency. Therefore, you can register at the Employment office and sign up for your unemployment benefit while you are studying.

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

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