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.

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

  1. Daniel

    Hi Patrica,
    Me and my family just applied for our new 2 year non lucrative residency permit but was returned as, not favorable. We are non EU members. I travel for work but my family is in Spain permanently, kids are going to school, bank accounts and all that goes with it . I have been out of the country for more than 6 months. Is there any steps we can take to challenge this? Thx Daniel

  2. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Daniel,

    Note that you can challenge the decision only based on the fact that your absences were strictly related to work, as the law allows two more months per year ( apart from 6 months) if the period of time out of Spain has been related to work commitments.

    Your family´s rejections cannot be challenged based on the fact they did stay in Spain, since their permits depend on yours. If you are rejected, they will be as well.

    They must be mentioned on the appeal but there are no grounds to appeal their rejection resolutions individually.

    I recommend you to hire the services of a local lawyer that can check your documentation and study the case in order to let you know what are the chances of success of such an appeal.

    Regards,

  3. Andrew

    We are living in Spain on a Non Luc Visa and are about to renew it after the first year. We received two parking tickets in Segovia (we live in Granada) in a rental car. We cannot for the life of us figure out how to pay them. So our question is, will unpaid parking tickets effect us applying and being approved for the visa? Thank you.

  4. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Andrew

    The fact that you have minor fines is not an issue at all at the time of the residence permit renewal. It has no effects on the renewal.

    Regards,

  5. bilal

    Hello
    i applied to renew my non luc residency after spending 1 year in Spain, my question is,
    how much time does it take to get a reply from the authorities ?
    regards

  6. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Bilal

    The authorities have up to three months to issue a resolution. Sometimes they take less, it depends on the workload at the time of the year.

    Regards,

  7. Cecilia Siswanto

    Hi I’m renew my resident card from beginning of September in ibiza, but they take a long time to give the “resolution ” and what I heard people who applied since may they dont get this too …
    do you know where I can go ? If they can speed up the process ?
    Malorca, Madrid, or Barcelona?

    Thank you !

  8. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Cecilia,

    The process cannot be changed now and there´s no way to speed it up.

    You can just file an information request by email and check the status online.

    The Immigration office has 3 months to take a decision, so if you filed the application in the beginning of September, you need to wait until the December before you can file a complaint.

    If there´s no answer after that time, your renewal application can be regarded as approved by administrative silence.

    Regards,

  9. Akash

    Dear Patricia,
    I’am really impressed by the way you are responding to each query.
    I hold a Residence permit which is expiring on APR 10 2020. When I moved to Spain in JUL 2018, Company which hired me took care of all the immigration formalities until I received my Residence permit (via an Agency). But my Company informed me now that the Renewal is on me. They will be providing all necessary documentation for the same. If I contact the same agency for the Renewal, they are quoting around 800 Euros for myself and 600 Euros for my dependents (Wife & Kid).
    In this context, I was wondering how easy/complicated the process is it to apply for the renewal on my own?
    And more important how much does it cost in total for Work & Residence Permit renewal for highly qualified professionals ?
    Many Thanks in advance for taking out time to respond to my query.

    Best Regards,
    Akash

  10. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Akash,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Legal fees depend on the amount of work it involves to prepare the renewal documents. Each case is different and some require more work or preparation of documentation than others. Not all renewals are straightforward. The fees you mention are acceptable for three applications though you can find other firms that will charge a smaller amount.

    Answering your question about the difficulty to file the renewal without the assistance of a lawyer or gestor, this will depend on various factors: Your level of Spanish to understand the requirements, documentation to prepare, communications with official bodies and public offices ( civil servants do not usually speak English), be able to understand how administration works in Spain, basically have some practice when dealing with the bureaucracy system in Spain; you may receive a request of further documentation for instance, so understanding the content of the letter is essential. If you need to appeal or request an extension of the time to respond, the help of a professional is going to be crucial.

    Renewal applications are often filed electronically when the applicant has a digital signature installed in their PC, and this will help the process be agile and quick as well as be able to receive notifications online instead of by post. Lawyers and other administration professionals will always use this electronic system. There is of course the possibility to file the renewals personally, but the Immigration office tries to avoid this as much as possible.

    Regards,

  11. Ceecee

    Hola Patricia,
    Good day!
    You surely helped a lot of people here for your kindness to answer their questions and inquiries. Thats why, i took a chance & crossing finger you can help me as well.
    I am a filipina & had a temporary resident visa until february 2021. I had renewed my first 2-year visa last February this year 2019.
    I was informed that in order to renew my resident visa again there are requirements that needs to comply such as the record of social seguro payment which 12 mos prior to renewal.
    Does it needs to be consecutive payment? My last payment was June 2019.
    I was been out several times from the country this year for vacation specifically 3 weeks in Portugal (August) and few months in Germany but not straight period. To be specific (September 9- October 10) then i came back again to Spain but left again last November 2 & still presently here in Germany. In this period i didnt have an employer to pay for me for social seguro.
    I have understood in the topic i need to stay in country (Spain) for 185days per year. Does it affects a lot the period i am
    away from Spain this year for renewal of my visa?
    Looking forward for your help in answering my inquiries.
    Muchas gracias.

  12. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ceecee,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    We need to know the exact type of permit you have as there are different types. In some cases, such as those permits based on the recent Entrepreneurs’ law, the minimum stay requirement is of one day. For ordinary work permits, the minimum stay is 6 months per year. Then, with regards to the documentation required, we also need to check your particular case before confirming what you need. As you mention your last payment was in June 2019, does it mean you quit your job, or that you were made redundant? Did you register at the unemployment office? There are various situations that will require different documentation in order to meet the renewal requirements.

    By reading your message, I understand you have not been out of Spain for more than 6 months, though the concerning issue here is to prove you have maintained the job contract or that you have actively searched for another employer and registered for the unemployment benefit. If you can prove you have your own sources of income there may be a way around it, though it may lead to a modification of your permit.

    Feel free to contact us by email to discuss your particular case.

    Regards,

  13. Ceecee

    Thank you so much for your reply Patricia. I am very glad for your help.
    For further information about my case, i got my temporary resident & working visa after the process of “arraigó”. I renewed after one year stay. Now i had the visa for 2 years stay.
    As what I understood, in order to qualify to renew the visa again i need to present a work contract and the record for the social seguro should be minimum of 12months payment. Am i correct?
    In my case, i worked as a nanny and employed in a spanish family. But due to financial reasons the family can’t afford to pay my social seguro. As i checked my record, i just had 4 mos payment specifically from March to June 2019.
    And again last October i am employed with same family we tried to sort for “alta” of my seguro but only for a month because they can’t really pay it. For the record, i just have 5 months payment for this year 2019. At the moment, i am visiting Germany and not working. I am trying to apply language visa here in Germany but i am also considering and much concern about my visa in Spain just in case my application here in Germany will not work out.
    My visa needs to be renew on February 2021. I wanted to have a clear understanding as early as now so i wont have any problem and settle what is best for my situation. And ofcourse to keep my visa.
    Aside from being out in Spain for several months though i am traveling and visiting with schegen visa countries. I wanted to know how it will affects on the renewal of visa?
    – Can you give me more specific requirements for renewal if i have this temporary resident & working visa?
    – For social seguro payment record, does it needs to be consecutive payment from one employer?
    – is it still valid if i only have 5 months record for this year 2019?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
    More power.

  14. Patricia Martin Post author

    The amount of time out of Spain won´t be a big issue now, but I´d be concerned about your work situation since, if your contract was active for less than 6 months, you need to meet certain requirements in order to renew your work permit:

    1. That your employer cancelled the contract for reasons beyond your control.
    2. That you have actively looked for another job, by means of your registration at the Employment Office (INEM) as a jobseeker.
    3. That you have a valid and active contract at the time of renewal.

    I recommend you to register at the INEM as jobseeker, regardless the fact you travel every now and then to Germany to check whether you can access a residence permit there. However, when called for an interview you need to be available.

    In the event you finally fail to meet the above requirements, you can then consider a modification of your permit to a Non Lucrative residence permit in the event you have savings up to 400% the minimum salary ( 900 € x 4 ) in Spain and a private medical insurance. In the event you are married or are partnered with someone that meets those requirements, you can also modify to a Family Reunion permit.

  15. Molly

    Hello, my husband and I both have our own separate non-luctrative temporary residencies and in 2019, my husband worked in the United States for just under 6 months. We then had two other short trips, one to a medical conference in California and the other to London and Germany for a short vacation. The total time in Spain for my husband was 163 days, but 6 months of that was for work. Does that qualify him for the 2 month work extension you mentioned in one of the comments? I’m worried about whether he will be able to get his 2nd residency renewal this June. If he is ineligible because of the time away, can he be added to my own residency renewal application as my spouse instead so that he can skip over the residency requirement? Am I thinking of all this correctly?

  16. ceecee

    Thank you again for your reply. It gives me more insights what i need to do & prepare.
    One more thing, since my temporary /working visa will be expiring February 2021, i will still have enough time like a year to comply the requirements. And if i will find a work with active contract and able to pay my seguro. Does it assures me that will have smooth processing of visa?
    Or Will i still be questioned or will be a problem that i wasn’t been actively working for less 6 months this year?
    You haven’t mentioned much about social seguro. Is it important to have consecutive 12 months payment record.?
    Thank you again for taking time to answer me. Thank you for your kindness in sharing your information with us. 😊
    Have a great day!

  17. Molly

    Hi, I have one more question about this visa renewal. Is the year considered the calendar year (January to December) or the year in relation to our renewal application (June to June)? That would make a difference in our case.

  18. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ceecee,

    I can´t guarantee the process will be smooth. You may or may not be questioned so the best action to take now is to register as jobseeker at the INEM so at least the immigration authorities see your good will to comply with the law. The law does not mention anything about 12 months consecutive social security payments, but that one of the possible situations is that in a period of 24 months you must have been registered at the Ss for at least 18 months. This wouldn´t be your situation.

  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Molly,

    If your husband is able to prove via documented evidences that some of his absences were related to business commitments, he may be able to compensate part of his absences and renew his permit in June. Nevertheless, bear in mind that the nature of Non Lucrative Residence permits indicates that the applicant doesn´t need to work in order to keep their income.

    The fact that you apply together as a family unit doesn´t help in this regard, as the minimum stay requirement applied to all temporary residence holders.

    Answering your other question, years are counted taking the date the permit was issued as reference; June 2019 to June 2020.

    Regards,

  20. Siva

    Hi Patricia,
    Thanks a lot for taking time to reply to the queries we have.
    I was working in India before and got transferred to Spain within the same company. I came in “highly skilled work visa”. I brought my family a little later after taking time to settle in myself. My wife + infant had their Stage 1 of the process (residence permit application) issued on 29th Jan 2019 & got their second stage (temporary visa to enter Spain) issued by end of February. They came to Spain by end of April. But from April to now they had to stay out of Spain for a period of 5 months. Now I am a bit concerned about this absence & hence I would like to know if it pose any issues when we are renewing the temporary residency next year (October 1st week 2020)? (the validity end date is kept similar to my date itself in the NIE as they are dependents). Will the count be taken from the date of 1st entry into Spain or is it counted from the date the visa was issued because for this type of visa we had to first apply for residence permission, then the temporary one year visa to enter spain & finally get the NIE cards. (I am not sure which one will be taken as a starting count) Also, as they have been outside Spain, we couldn’t complete the town hall registration, addition in social security etc. Will it also pose an issue later on during renewal?

  21. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Siva,

    Thank you for your comment.

    In order to renew the cards, they must have been in Spain at least 6 months within that first years they have been in Spain. It counts from the date they entered Spain in order to apply for their cards, that is not the date the visa was issued. If they didn´t complete basic steps such as empadronamiento and Social Security registration, they will certainly find obstacles in order to renew their permits.

  22. Siva

    Hi Patricia,
    Thanks for your quick reply.

    So if I read it correctly, even for “highly qualified work visa”, its mandatory that the dependents doesn’t stay outside for more than 6 months. Am I right?

    They are in the process of completing the social security addition now and only thing which is stopping is getting an appointment. So if we complete the basic steps before the renewal is it OK or will it still pose an issue due to the delay we had?

    Thanks a lot for your support.

  23. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Siva,

    All temporary residence permits, except those based on the Law of Entrepreneurs 14/2013 ( Golden/investors´ residence visa) must observe the six months rule.

    Regards,

  24. John Chen

    Hola Patricia , this is a very useful posts all this information, I live in Barcelona and the information of renewing the long term residence EU or Long term Espana is not clear.what are the conditions to renew it ? Is the time spent of 12 months valid for one year or 5 years ?

    Thanks , John

  25. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello John,

    The long term residence card can lose its validity for an absence of 12 consecutive months. If you are out less than that, you won’t have any problems. Anyhow, if you lost the right to that card, it is fairly easy to recover it.

    Long term residence cards are renewed every 5 years.

    Regards,

  26. George

    Dear Patricia,
    have a second 10 yr residence Card which will expire in January 2020. I was married to a Spanish Lady and we have a 12 yr old child currently in school in Spain
    We are now seperated but still to sign legal devorce or seperation papers.
    What do I Need to renew my Permit?

  27. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello George,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Your card is Permanente and therefore there´s no further documentation other than your passport photocopy and photo to add to the application when you file it at the Police Station in January.

    Nevertheless, you must notify the Immigration Office of your new marital status once the divorce has been completed. There´s a specific form you can access online for this type of notifications.

    Regards,

  28. Kameron Ghal

    Dear Patricia,

    First, please let me say that I am impressed how you answer all the queries, and in detail! I would certainly use your firm later when things no doubt will get more complicated with my immigration! So here is my question(s):

    I recently obtained my initial one-year TIE for a non-lucrative residency visa. I am currently in Madrid. I am a U.S. citizen. My question is regarding the minimum 185 days per year that I have to spend in Spain. I intend to visit my family and friends, and spend time in the States often, and travel elsewhere (including in the EU) also. I also intend to renew my residency which I believe expires October 2, 2020.

    I assume the min 185 days in Spain (or max 180 days outside of Spain) per year is a total, i.e., need not be continuous? Is that per calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31) or during the duration of my residency visa/card (Oct 2, 2019-2020)? I wouldn’t need a return authorization every time I leave Spain, would I?

    Also, if I spend 185 days or more per calendar year in Spain, do I still have to file taxes if I have no income or property in Spain?

    (By the way, why do you say 185 days, and not 183 days?)

    Thank you very much, Patricia. I look forward to your reply.

    K-

  29. Kameron Ghal

    Dear Patricia,

    First, please let me say that I am impressed how you answer all the queries, and in detail! I would certainly use your firm later when things no doubt will get more complicated with my immigration! So here is my question(s):

    I recently obtained my initial one-year TIE for a non-lucrative residency visa. I am currently in Madrid. I am a U.S. citizen. My question is regarding the minimum 185 days per year that I have to spend in Spain. I intend to visit my family and friends, and spend time in the States often, and travel elsewhere (including in the EU) also. I also intend to renew my residency which I believe expires October 2, 2020.

    I assume the min 185 days in Spain (or max 180 days outside of Spain) per year is a total, i.e., need not be continuous? Is that per calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31) or during the duration of my residency visa/card (Oct 2, 2019-2020)? I wouldn’t need a return authorization every time I leave Spain, would I?

    Does it matter how often/frequently I leave Spain?

    Also, if I spend 185 days or more per calendar year in Spain, do I still have to file taxes if I have no income or property in Spain?

    (By the way, why do you say 185 days, and not 183 days?)

    Thank you very much, Patricia. I look forward to your reply.

    K-

  30. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kameron,

    Thanks for your message and your kind words.

    Regarding the allowed amount of time out of Spain, the real amount the law refers to is 6 months. Sometimes we refer to it by 185 days and some other times by 183. Those 2 days difference is not a big issue. You must consider one year from date to date to count those days, starting the day you actually entered Spain as a resident.

    Return authorizations are only required in order to enter Spain with an expired card, providing the renewal application is in process or this has been approved pending on the actual renewed card to be collected. That authorization has a duration of 3 months and is only issued once for only entry. The card must be already expired or about to when you file the return unitarization application at the police station (previous appointment required). It is then collected in 24/48 hours from the police station. The reason to travel must e justified.

    Frequency of those travels out of Spain only matters as long as you do not exceed those 6 months per year. With regards to taxes, as a resident that spends at least 6 months in Spain, you become a fiscal resident and are in the obligation to file the income Tax declaration very year. Note there is a double taxation treaty between Spain and the US, so if you pay taxes in the US, you don’t have to pay them again in Spain, should there be any tax payment obligation. I recommend you hire the services of an accountant for that purpose.

    Merry Christmas!

  31. Kamrn Abid

    Hola Patricia i found this forum and thank you so much for the work you are doing really appreciated my question is this i am on 1 year temporary residence can i stay outside spain for 4 months on 1 year residence without facing any hurdles to renew

  32. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kamrn,

    As mentioned in the post, the allowed amount of time out of Spain during temporary residence permits is 6 months per year. If you are out for four months, you should be fine.

  33. Stephen Lawson

    Hi Patricia

    I am confused on absences for someone who at the moment is an EU cituzen ( uk)
    I have a green residence con caracter permanente . Our main home is here but i i have been working in the uk . The amount of time has varied year to year , usually i would say less than the 183 days but sometimes more . I declare all my earnings here in Spain as well as paye in uk .
    I am concerned when and if i have to change to a TIE card i will have bern absent too long .
    I keep reading different amounts but was sent a link from the Moncloa that said if absent more than 2 years in 5 i could loose my status .

    Two questions , it does not say if this is consecutive or cumulative .It also said would be retrospective ?
    We have lived here 16 years and i was hoping a straight change to a TIE but concerned if they query length of time away

  34. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Stephen,

    Thanks for your comments.

    To date, absences of EU citizens have not been monitored by the Spanish authorities and therefore I am unable to confirm any advice regarding the consequences of your absences once you obtain a TIE. Actually, I don´t think you will find accurate advice in this regard, as the Ministry of Home affairs has not established any rules yet with regards to the conditions for British citizens after the Brexit is effective.

    Absences are taken into account, with regards to temporary residence permits of non-EU nationals, as cumulative ( 6 months) in a year or when being of 12 consecutive months.

    If you have lived in Spain for 16 years and were given a green residence card on a permanent basis, it is in all probability that the right will be respected and you will have a permanent right to remain.

    Regards,

  35. H Dhirani

    Good afternoon, My initial 1-year non-lucrative resident card expires on 1 Aug 2020. I will appreciate your response to the following questions:
    1. What is the maximum time before expiry that I can apply for renewal? For example, can I apply in May 2020?
    2. Is the online application processed faster than the in-person one?
    3. Is the new card sent by mail or is there a personal pickup option available?
    Thank you for your attention.

  36. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Dhirani,

    Renewal applications can be filed two months before expiry ( 1st June 2020 in your case) the earliest, and then up to three months after expiry the latest. we highly recommend the online/electronic renewal application as it is faster and most Immigration offices prefer and promote it, as it makes their work easier and more efficient. With regards to your last question, the procedure is similar to that of the initial application: Once you receive the approval notification, you need to apply for an appointment at the police station to do the fingerprint process and actual application of the physical card, and then collect the card, also in person, about a month later.

  37. Kelly

    Good day I have being in spain since 2011 I have a son and daughter in spain that have have Spanish Passport . Am working in spain I have life contract in my place of work . Gor 3 years in one company I only travel out of spain when I have holiday in my work place I have visa of uk and USA Visa i put for my two years document now they put not favourable what should I do now please assist me

  38. Kelly

    Hello Patricia I only traveled out of spain for my work holiday with my family I have my first one residents in November 2016 I started working in February 2017 I traveled to Africa for 21 days and UK for 5 days in 2018 I travel to Africa in 21 days out my work holidays in a year in 2019 I traveled to usa for 5 days and uk for 7 days till date am still working with my company with I have life contract over 3 years
    I use it to renew my wife and daughter residents permit I put in for renew in October 2019 i check it internet yesterday I saw not favourable I think there is mistake somewhere my daughter noting yet I have not received
    any letters yet I only check it online please help me out thanks

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