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.

108 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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *