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. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Alex

    Spain only recognized your residence status in Spain. If they have no information of your residence status in another country, you still have a right to file your renewal application in Spain. However, you may have not been in Spain the minimum amount of time required for the temporary residence permit renewal ( 183 days per year) and this may jeopardize your renewal applications. You will only be able to apply for the long term residence card ( valid for 5 years ) if you spent at least 10 months per year in Spain during the last 5 years. If you only meet the temporary residence permit minimum stay requirement, you can apply for an extraordinary temporary permit renewal.


  2. ElenaFerreira

    I have to apply for the 3rd renewal (2nd two-year renewal) of my non-lucrative visa on February 2021 – is the minimum stay in Spain to qualify 6 or 10 months. This under normal circumstances would not have been an issue, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak I am stuck in South African and can currently not return to Spain.

  3. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Elena,

    The usual rule indicates you mustn´t have been out of Spain for more then 180 days per year, but in these exceptional circumstances, they will not take into consideration absences dated between March 14th and end of the lockdown, to protect your right to renew your permit next year. You can check the official announcement made by the government on the 20th May (click here to read the text) regarding consequences of the lockdown on Spanish residents stuck abroad and temporary visitors that are stuck in Spain.


  4. Katherine

    Hi Patricia, I took a look at the BOE in regards to your comment above about being out of the country, but I can’t find the exact part of the BOE that states that time out of the country after March 14th won’t count as an absence. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction? Thank you so much for your help.

  5. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Katherine,

    Check article 7:

    Artículo 7. Ausencias del territorio español.
    A los efectos de considerar acreditada la continuidad de residencia, no se computarán las ausencias del territorio español como consecuencia de la imposibilidad de retornar a España por el COVID-19.

  6. Dominique

    Hi- I had to fly back to the US due to cover 19 situated things in the US and am planning to return but am getting delayed. I am counting my days and plan to renew my visa for the 3rd time (it’s my 3rd year in Spain, finishing my 2 year visa now before renewing for another 2 years) and I want to make sure do I need to be in Spain 185 days- my lawyer told me 6 months and a day- so I don’t know if that’s 186 days? Could you clarify because I want to fly back but due to the circumstance I don’t want to miss it by a day, and also I was already in Spain and had to fly out so I’m not sure if I would be covered under the recent publishings of accounting for time after lockdown. Many thanks for all of your advice!

  7. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Dominique,

    I understand that by visa you mean residence permit.

    Absences during the COVID-19 situation of alarm in Spain, do not count for residency purposes. This means they will not consider you were out of Spain when counting the minimum 6 months per year you are allowed to be out.


  8. John Sinclair

    Hi Patricia, how will the immigration know if I fly out and fly in again through a different Schengen country and pass immigration in that country ? Just wondering as I am nearly retired and planning what I was hoping could be a 7 month trip. Thank you


    i Got my first year araigo card from Madrid (salamanca) and right after got the card i have moved to barcelona since i got very good opportunity here in barcelona.and now been 6 months in barcelona and tex is going very well.only question is is there any problem at the time of renewal of card?since my padramento is here in barcelona since i moved here.pleas eguide me in this regard.

  10. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Muhammad,

    When the Arraigo Social residence card expires, you need to apply for an initial residence card based on your circumstance. You are actually shifting from one exceptional situation to an ordinary situation, so it is not a renewal.

    You will then be able to file the application in Barcelona as you have got there your job and naturally, provide with your new padron in Barcelona.

    Note that you were in the obligation to notify your change of address when you moved to Barcelona and that you can be sanctioned for it.

  11. Kam

    Hi Patricía,

    I began working Gran Canaría as a full time teacher on 4 November 2019. I would like to move to Andalusia in August. I might be without a new job and I might stay in temporary accommodation, such as airbnb. Can you tell me if, as a UK national, this will effect my Temporary Residence. I have an N.I.E. and social security number and have spent at least 185 days in Spain and do not wish to return to the UK.

  12. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kam,

    You can move and work anywhere in Spain. There aren´t any geographical restrictions for EU and UK nationals.

    If you want to remain in Spain for more than 6 months per year, you must apply for the residence registration certificate that is being issued to UK nationals. You can apply for it now that you are in the Canary islands and when you move to Andalusia, have the address changed by visiting the corresponding police station.


  13. Amritpal Singh

    Hello I got permiso de residencia (temporal authoriza a trabajar)in Oct 2019 then I worked till feb2020 in one company and from feb 2020 I started new job in other but in may they r saying due to covid they can continue my contract for job .now I have no job.i want to know Is there any problem for renew my second year residency ???

  14. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Sinclair,

    Your Passport is stamped every time you fly in and out of the Schengen area, and that´s how the authorities check how long you have been in the EU.

  15. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amritpal,

    You will be able to renew your permit if you prove that the contracts were terminated as a decision taken by your employers and that you have registered at the unemployment office and are actively looking for a job. I understand that if your last employer terminated your contract in May, during the COVID-19 crisis, you must have been advised on how to proceed with your benefits application at the unemployment office, since dismissals have been prohibited during this crisis.

    I recommend you to contact a gestor that specializes in immigration to check your work documentation and advice you.


  16. Anastasia Quaicoe

    Hello my temporary residence of 1year will be expired in 2months time,I want to know how many years will be given to me this time. My husband brought me here and have not worked before within the year.Thanks

  17. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Anastasia,

    If you hold a temporary residence permit based on a family reunion authorization, the validity of your renewed card will be the same as your husband´s residence card.


  18. S S B

    I am in Spain on INICIAL ALTAMENTE CUALIFICADO, the D type visa printed on my passport has validity of 365 days . I have received by N.I.E. card, (PERMSIO DE RESIDENCIA) and it has validity of 2 years. Do I need to renew my VISA at the end of 365 days or is my N.I.E. card is enough for me to stay legally in Spain and also travel in and out of EU?

  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello SSB,

    The residence visa that has been stamped on your passport indicates the time you have been given to apply for a TIE as you have been granted a residence authorization. If the TIE, once obtained, is valid for two years, the residence rights as well. You can use that TIE to prove your residence status in Spain, and for travelling in and out of the EU.

  20. Syed Ali Akbar Zaidi

    Hi, the result of my applciation of first renewal of non lucrative residence visa is non-favourable. my residency card expired on feburary 20, 2020 and decision came on june 29, 2020. please guide can i make an appeal? if yes, how long the decision of appeal will take? further, if i dont go for appeal in how many days i have to leave spain after non favourable decision?.

  21. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Syed,

    Thanks for your message.

    The possibility to appeal and the expected outcome of it can only be discussed after reading the rejection letter. An appeal can take a long time, but if there are good chances of success, we recommend you to go ahead. In the event you decide not to appeal, the letter must have indicated the time you have been given to leave Spain.

    I recommend you to contact an Immigration lawyer that can check the rejection letter and give you their opinion.

    Please let me know if you wish to send it to us for checking.


  22. Leo

    I’m a resident in Spain (working for a Spanish company) for 2 years now.
    Since the COVID-19 started, I’m staying in another country (but still working for the Spanish company).

    Is my residency safe?

  23. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Leo,

    Your residency will be safe depending on the type of permit and the expiration date on the cards. Those cards expiring during lockdown have an extended validity and you are allowed to return to Spain with the expired card even if you do not have a return authorization.

    Feel free to drop us an email if you wish to receive more detailed information for your particular case.


  24. Sam

    Hello Patricia,

    I am a French National. I moved to Spain in 2004 as a child with my family. I have a green residency card with no expiration date that was granted in 2012. It states that I’ve been a residente comunitario since 2008.
    I moved to the US in Fall 2014 for graduate school and later met my wife. I only visited Spain a handful of times in between. We just moved back to Spain this month.
    Is my resident card still valid? Do I need to completely redo the residency process or can I just renew my card easily?

  25. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sam,

    Your card is still valid. You can easily apply for a fresh one. Once you have completed 5 years in Spain you will be in apposition to even apply for the permanent EU registration certificate. The application is also filed at the Police Station.


  26. Adeel

    Hi Patricia,

    In extreme case, if I have permanent residence and a valid card, do I understand correctly that I get to keep the residence (and can update the card when it expires) as long as I visit Spain every 11 months?

    Thank you!

  27. Kamran Abid

    Hello patricia
    Hi i got my my residence card in aug 2019 and it contibued for 3 and half month then i travelled to my country in january and came back in march and then this pandemic happened i was jobless these four month but from this month i started another job on full contract but the problem is my residency will expire in 20 days and i heard it needs atleast 6 months work to renew it can i apply for renew it in october after becoz by october 6 moths work requirement will complete and i have spent 9 months here in spain

  28. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kamran,

    As you may know, in order to renew your initial work permit, you must have been registered as a worker for 6 months at least. If you changed jobs, you need to prove why was the work relationship ended (not voluntarily) and whether you registered at the Unemployment office to actively look for another job. If you provide with a new contract, you may be able to renew the permit depending on the reasons for the previous contract termination.

    I recommend you to contact an immigration lawyer that can review your documentation and confirm the correct route to follow.

  29. Ali shah

    Hi hope u fine i have a permanent resident card how much time i can stay outof spain in total 5 years thanks waiting for ur realpy

  30. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ali,

    As a permanent residence card holder, you must not exceed 12 consecutive months out of Spain in order to keep you residency status.


  31. Amir

    Hello Patricia,

    So we got our first year of temporary residency on September 19 and we’re supposed to sit atleast 6 months in Spain to be able to renew it in September 20.
    My question is: We only stayed in Spain for 2 months and the pandemic occurred. We still have to do 4 months and September is almost here. Do you think they are giving some kind of help due to the situation? Will they exempt us and renew our visas?


  32. Clea virtucio

    Hello i have already submitted my papers to renew my residency here in spain last july2,2020 question is what if i leave my job this month because i cant take the atittude of my employer and how she treats me is really really bad. I already check my status online and it says that its in tramite. Do will i have a problem if i leave my job while my papers is still on process. Thank you to who ever will answer my question

  33. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Clea,

    We do not recommend you to leave your job while the application is in process.You can change jobs after 3 months, and register at the unemployment office as job seeker and still be in a position to renew in the future. If you are dismissed (not leave your job voluntarily), and then register at the unemployment office as job seeker, you can leave earlier and still be able to renew the residence permit next time.



  34. Rose K

    Hi my mom lucrative visa is supposed to be for a year ending on October 1 2020, but my NIE card is valid till Jan 21, 2021. I read I can renew upto 60 days before the date. When should I be applying for renewal? About now or do I have to wait till November?

  35. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Rose,

    Your mother can file her permit renewal application any time until end of January 2021 and you can do it any time after 21st November 2020 (two months before expiry).


  36. Amir Al Maaz

    Hello Patricia,

    So my parents finished their first year so far of their temporary visa and now they are renewing it to get another 2 years. However, their address has no PO box or any building number so they were scared that the postman won’t find the location so they wrote their friends address in the application to be able to get the letter.
    Is this legally acceptable?


  37. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Amir,

    They can indicate their personal address in the personal details section and then a different address for notifications, in the notification section of the renewal application forms. SECTION 3) DOMICILIO A EFECTO DE NOTIFICACIONES.

  38. Britsailor


    Thank you for writing this very interesting article.

    I would like to know if this rules outlined in this article is relevant to Non-EU residents or EU Citizens. You mentioned passport stamps will be checked however EU citizens passports are not stamped and also I drive alot back and forth to Spain so often just driving into the country where there are no passport checks.

    My second question was regarding the reasons for prolonged abscences. I work at sea and therefore can spend upto 6 months in a year at sea and would be automatically out of the country for too long. There is no way I could ever meet the minimum time requirements without leaving my job. Would that be considered an exceptional circumstance.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Many Thanks.

  39. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Britsailor,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    This article applies mainly to non EU nationals. UK nationals are still considered EU national in practical terms and your passports are not stamped when entering or leaving the EU.

    Anyhow, should non EU national rules apply to you in the future, note that absences that are work related can be accepted for a period of two additional months. That is to say, if you are out of Spain for 8 months in a year and 2 of those months were based on work obligations that can be justified with documentation,  the authorities may still renew your residence authorization.

  40. Victoria

    really useful article! thanks a lot 🙂

    Just one thing to clarify as you mentioned they will make an exception during COVID19 crises for spending more than 180 days outside Spain.
    will it be needed to justify?
    because honestly i can travel back to Spain now but i just prefer to stay with family here at home during lockdown rather in Spain alone. So they might say when i go go for renewal process since i could have travelled, why didnt i?

  41. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Victoria,

    They will not take into account those absences during lockdown (14th March- 21st June 2020) as well as those that can be evidenced, based on the impossibility to travel because there are not flights, the country you are in is on lockdown or you are sick and unable to travel. If there´s a possibility for you to return but you choose not to, that is not a justified reason.

  42. Kumar

    Hello Patricia,
    I am currently working with highly skilled employee work permit .If I get opportunity in another EU country , after resign from the current employer what would be the status of my current residence permit, is it possible to travel another EU country ? how many months will be valid?
    Thank you
    really appreciate for your time and reply.

  43. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Kumar,

    Your residence card has a validity and it does not change because you quit the job. The only impact will be the impossibility to renew it.

    If you decide to move to another country, you will have to check their regulations concerning immigration and find out if you can apply for a residence permit there.

  44. Gatla

    This is an excellent post. if I have a permanent residency (PR) of Spain but want to move to my home country (non-EU) for more than a year (to work there), can I still maintain my PR by visiting Spain every 6 months ? just like a visitor not paying any taxes in Spain or carrying out any other activities ? That means I am no longer registered for empadronamiento and I am visiting like a tourist every 6 months. Can I still maintain my PR for 5 years ? How do I check if my residency is cancelled for any reason ?

  45. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Gatla,

    Permanent residence cards are only cancelled if you spend more than 12 consecutive months out of Spain. Otherwise, you can still keep the card and it will be valid as long as you renew it upon expiry.

    There´s no other to way to check whether a card has been cancelled than asking the police/immigration authorities.

  46. Jiwoon Kim


    I am married to a Spanish citizen and therefore I possess the tarjeta comunitaria. We are planning on going to Canada for 2-3 years to study. In this case would I lose my residency or would it be considered as an exception?

  47. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Jiwoon Kim,

    It depends on various factors:

    Is your residence card considered permanent? In that case, after a year out of Spain, you card can be cancelled, but you can easily recover it without much hassle and file the application at the Spanish consulate.

    Is your residence card considered “Inicial”, that is, it is the first card you have? If this is the case, after 12 consecutive months out of Spain, the card will be invalidated. You can argue the absences are based on Study programs if these are carried out in the EU. If they are programs that you chose independently and out of the EU, these are not covered by the permitted absences exemptions. In this last case, you´d lose the card and would have to reapply once back in Spain.

  48. Amandip ponsiya

    Hi Patricia I hope u good I have question I got my 1st residencia temporal I was working 86 days in company but he said I don’t have work you can find somewhere else I said ok but he did Baja voultario I don’t know why but I didn’t sign the Baja letter and after 2 days I got work 40 hours and fijo contrato and it is fijo it will go long like for example whole year now my vida labrolal is 4 months and continue but there is any problem for renewal or problems in future for pr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.