Changing Status in Spain

Renew your residency card section
Long-term residency section
Citizenship section
Pareja de Hecho And Matrimonio section
Tarjeta Comunitaria section
Permanent Residency section
Arraigo Social section
Autonomo Or Cuenta Propia section
Miscellaneous section
 







Renew your residency card



The Residency Card (AKA "TIE" or "Permiso de Residencia"), not the visa or NIE number, is what gets renewed. Then when re-entering Spain at some later time, you show the Residency Card instead of a visa.

From /u/ultimomono:
The visa is what you apply for at your designated Spanish embassy in the US to enter the country correctly (i.e. not as a tourist); residency is what you must apply for once you have entered Spain under the correct type of visa. Once you have residency, all of your renewals happen within Spain.

From someone on /r/Spain:
NIE is just a number, think of it like a social security number in the US. You get one and then you have that for life. The residency card is a physical card [which says "Permiso de Residencia"]. The thing is most people refer to the card (incorrectly) as the NIE. ... [The card may be valid] to a concrete date (as happens with student visas) or a set number of years depending on your personal situation.

From Myra on CAB FB group 10/2014:
"NIE number is for life. If you have applied recently the cert will state that it has a validity of three months. Only need to renew if asked for up-to-date copy."



First Residency Card (at least for non-lucrative) is valid for 1 year; renewals should be for 2 years each, up to 5-year mark.

From Esencial Blog's "NIE and Residency Card":
"The authorities will not contact you to remind you that you need to renew your residency card, so you must verify when your residency card expires and make sure to renew it in time."

Can apply starting 60 days before current card expires, and up to 90 days after it expires. Procedure is "Renovacion de residencia temporal" ? You keep your old card until your new card is ready (then they'll take the old card from you). If you travel after the old card expires, but before you have the new card, get an "Autorizacion de Regreso" and also carry the residency-renewal papers with you.



Renewal process:
  1. Get appointment: SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa" and you want "Otros Tramites" and then "Renovacione de Aut. de Residencia".
    (Another way is Cuerpo Nacional de Policia's "Cita Previa para Renovacion del Documento Nacional de Identidad y Pasaporte".)
    If you're having trouble getting a cita, don't put in an expiration date; that seems to make it easier. Maybe even put in a fake early date.

  2. Documents needed to apply in first office visit:
    • EX-01 form.
    • Passport valid for 1 year more.
    • Complete copy of all pages of the passport. Probably a good idea to add a little summary sheet listing the dates when you entered and left Spain, to make it easier for them to see that you resided in Spain at least 180 days in previous year.
    • Current residency card.
    • Proof of financial support.
    • Proof of health insurance.
    • Probably a good idea to have a copy of your padron, to show that your address hasn't changed.

  3. At the end of the office visit, you will get a tasa form for €15.76. Pay it at a bank. (Or you will get the form later in the mail, pay it, and mail it in.)

  4. Some time MONTHS later, get notified (by postal mail) that your renewal has been approved.

  5. Get another appointment, but I'm not sure if you do this via email (specified in approval letter) or same way as first appointment. I just went to the office without a cita.

    It's not clear whether this second office visit has to be after the old residency card expires.

  6. Second office visit, taking documents:
    • Favorable-result letter.
    • Passport.
    • Current residency card.

  7. Get a tasa form (Modelo 790 codigo 052) for €18.54. Pay it at a bank.

  8. Back to office for third time, taking documents:
    • Favorable-result letter AND a copy of it.
    • Passport.
    • Copy of the passport's ID page.
    • (Second) Tasa receipt: €18.54.
    • Two color passport photos.
    • Current residency card.

  9. At the appointment, office will take your fingerprints, and give you a resguardo that serves as legal ID.

  10. About 25 days later, you will get a phone call, or just go to office again (no appointment needed) to pick up new residency card. Take passport, old residency card, and resguardo. Office will take your fingerprints again. Surrender old residency card, get new one.


You can't change your type of residency (e.g. from non-lucrative to work or student) when renewing the card. You'd have to apply for a new visa at the consulate in your country.

Bucking the Trend's "How to Renew a Non Lucrative Residence Visa in Spain"
Bucking the Trend's "Spanish Residence Permit Renewal - Approval"
Cale Gram's "How to Renew Your TIE in Barcelona, Spain"
Wagoners Abroad's "Spanish Resident Card Renewal Process"
Gobierno de España's "Renovacion de la autorizacion de residencia temporal no lucrativa"



My experience renewing 9/2016 to 3/2017 in Jerez de la Frontera:

Online, earliest cita I could get was for 2+ months later. So I decided to try the office anyway, with no cita.

I filled out the application form and made two copies, copied my whole passport, made a summary-sheet showing when I'd gone in and out of Spain, gave copy of bank account summary, letter showing medical coverage, copied my Permisso de Residencia (both sides), copy of padron. Summary-sheet, bank summary, medical letter are in English.

On 9/21 I went to the National Police office in Jerez (Plaza del Arroyo 17) without a cita. At 11:30 or so, there was no line, and I walked in and sat down in front of an officer. I put my Permiso de Residencia and passport and stack of photocopied documents on the table. I pointed to the application form and "1st Renovacion" check-box. She asked if I had a cita, and I said no, can't get one until November. She said something like "I can give you a cita for Friday (2 days from now)" and she looked on a computer and in a logbook.

Then instead she thumbed through the top few of my documents for a moment, had me date and sign the two application forms, then said "The documents will be sent to Cadiz for processing. Take them upstairs to be stamped, then either you're done or they'll send you back down here." I went upstairs, the two application forms got stamped, back downstairs. Officer gave me one stamped application form back, took the rest of the stack, said you'll get a letter in the mail, done !

It happened so quickly that later I wished I'd checked the stack of documents more carefully before handing it over. I think I gave them all the right stuff, maybe with a couple of duplicates.

Six and eight days later, tried to check status here [may have changed to here], got "no information found". Tried various submission dates, no luck. Eventually figured out I've been using it wrong all along: the "Cl@ve" icon is hiding ALL digital ID methods, not just Cl@ve (which I don't have). Clicked on it, clicked "eidentifier", used my digital certificate, and it found my tramite ! In progress, two weeks after I submitted it. And it gave me the expediente number, which I didn't have before.

On 10/17, received a letter (dated 10/5) saying I must pay tasa of €15.76, which means they're approving my renewal. Have to pay the tasa within 10 days of receiving the letter. Then within 15 days of paying the tasa, have to mail the paid tasa to the extranjeria office in Cadiz.

Paid the tasa and mailed one copy on 10/19.

10/29, online status still says "en tramite". So I guess it won't change through the various stages of this process, until done at the end.

11/8, I had a cita I got long ago, so I went to the office. They said "still en tramite, you just have to wait for a letter in the mail, and anyway you won't be coming to this office, you'll be going to aother office". And they gave me a slip of paper with another office's address, also in Jerez (Plaza Domecq 46-47).

Then I said "I'm traveling to USA, do I need to get a regreso ?", and they said yes. [Note: I'm in the renewal stage after paying tasa, before having fingerprints taken. Not sure if that matters.] So I got tasa forms from them (€10.30), went to bank and paid the tasa, back to office and applied for regreso (submitted EX-13 form, passport and copy of ID page, one of the stamped tasa forms, maybe copy of residency renewal application form). At first they said come pick it up in 2-3 days, then they said 3-5 days, then said 2-3 days.

Went back 3 days later (11/11) first thing in the morning, and regreso was done. Handed over passport, got back passport and a one-page regreso (pic), good for up to 3 months.

1/16, went to the office, they say renewal status still is "en tramite", and the status will change online when the letter is mailed.

On 1/17, the online status changed to "resuelto - favorable" !

On 1/26, received letter saying go to Extranjeria to pick up your card.

1/27, went to Extranjeria. They handed me a tasa to pay (€18.54), said come back in a couple of days with the tasa, two pictures, and copy of passport ID page (as well as original passport, old residency card, and letter showing approval).

Tried to check status here, got "no information found". I think their system is having problems. [May have changed to here. But that doesn't find my expediente either.]

1/30: Back to Extranjeria. Handed over: passport and copy of ID page, renewal sheet I received in mail AND a copy of it, old residency card, paid tasa form, two photos. Guy grumbled that I handed over copies of same photo I used 1.5 years ago on my original card, but accepted them. Lots of electronic fingerprinting of my index fingers, pressing them, then rolling them, several times. Finally done, but no new card yet. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying, but sounds like we'll get an automated phone call or SMS in a couple of weeks, come pick up the card somewhere. I asked if it will be this same office, but couldn't get a straight answer. He gave me a "resguardo" paper that says it's valid legal ID for 45 days. Paper he gave me says when that phone call comes, bring passport and old residency card and the resguardo, come to same office, pick up new card.

2/7 and 2/28: Still can't find my expediente online.

3/1: To Extranjeria. My card still is not available, somehow they received batch 16 but not batch 15 (mine). Try again in 2-3 weeks.

3/15: Back to Extranjeria, and they had my card. They never called us, and now they say we were supposed to call them. Card has an issue date of 1/30 on it, so it took 45 days to get from the main office in Cadiz city to my hands. Valid for 2 years since start date of previous card.

So, the whole process took 1 week short of 6 months.



If your renewal gets denied, you could try a "recurso" (appeal). Probably have to get a gestor or abogado to do it ?



6/2017: Heard of a new way to start the renewal process online: Secretaria de Estado de Administraciones Publicas' "Renovacion Telematica de Autorizaciones de Extranjeria". But I think it requires Java, which hasn't worked in my browsers for a while now.

From someone on "American in Spain" Facebook group 1/2018:
Applying for a renewal ONLINE is the most easy thing we ever made. I just uploaded 4 documents scanned. Passport, proof of income, proof of health insurance, and the fee (tasa) paid. That's ALL. You scan the documents, upload through the webpage, sign it electronically and wait no more than 40 days. No more queueing, no more fotocopies, no more paying anybody ... all you need to be able to do it online is the electronic signature or (certificado electronico o digital) ...

Web page to apply online to renew: Gobierno de España's "Procedimientos de la categoria Extranjeria". Choose "MERCURIO - Renovaciones de Autorizaciones de Extranjeria - Presentacion Telematica".

When filling the tasa form you must check the box "Pago en efectibo" if you want to print it and go to the bank to pay it.





Long-term residency ("el permiso de residencia de larga duracion")



After 5+ years of long-stay residency (renewed at the 1-year and 3-year marks), apply for long-term residency ("el permiso de residencia de larga duracion").

It's "long-term" residency, not "permanent" residency. You renew it every 5 years. There is a separate "permanent residency" (see "Permanent Residency" section) which is for family/spouse of EU citizen.



Someone said this card gives you permission to work in Spain, even if your previous residency had been non-lucrative.

I think this does not give the right to reside or work in other EU countries ("right of free movement"). You would have to apply for residency in another country if you wanted to reside or work there.



Someone said you can apply for a "certificado de residencia" to see how long you have been in/out of Spain in your 5+ years of residency, because you can only be out for up to 10 months in 5 years before you apply for long-term residency ?
Cuerpo Nacional de Policia's "Certificado de residente"



Gobierno de España's "Residencia de larga duracion"
Expat Agency Spain's "How to become a permanent resident in Spain"
Parainmigrantes' "Autorizacion de Residencia de Larga Duracion - UE"

What is this ?
Gobierno de España's "Residencia de larga duracion - UE"
Someone on Facebook says: "It looks like the only difference between the two is the the UE one gives you the possibility to work anywhere in the EU while the other one does not. Also the UE one would count any previous years that you were in Spain as a student towards the five year requirement, while the other one would not."



After getting long-term residency, if at any time you leave EU for 1 year continuously, you lose residency.
Parainmigrantes.info's "Contar el tiempo fuera de España para no perder la tarjeta de residencia"





Citizenship



After 10 years of residency, you could apply for citizenship.

If non-EU person marries a Spanish citizen, can apply for citizenship after 1 year of residency-while-married.



Benefits of citizenship over residency:



Must pass DELE A2 language test and a CCSE citizenship (history, culture, etc) test. You can take the tests before the date when you are eligible to start applying for citizenship. You have to pass the tests before you can apply. There may be waiting lists of several months before a time-slot is available for you to take the test. Expect to wait 1-3 months to get test results back.

FEDELE's "Spanish nationality tests"

DELE = "Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera".
DELE - Level A2
Cervantes' "Spanish Level Test"
AIL Madrid's "The DELE Exam Samples and Past Papers"

CCSE = "Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España".
Giralda Center's "What are the CCSE exams?"
Instituto Cervantes' "Que es la prueba CCSE"
Parainmigrantes' "Test de Nacionalidad Española"
Notes from Navarra's "Studying for the CCSE"
Notes from Navarra's "The CCSE Day!"



Documents needed to apply:
Applications can be submitted entirely online.



After applying for citizenship, it can take up to 2.5 years before getting result. Then more waiting until the swearing-in ("juramento").



From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
In Spain there is a difference between dual nationality and having two nationalities. In Spain you can only have dual nationality with a few countries because there is an agreement on which nationality becomes active and which nationality is put in hibernation. So there is no British-Spanish dual nationality but you can have both nationalities without any issues. Your children will always have the Spanish nationality. That is protected by the constitution. When they are 18 they will have to decide between their nationalities but this will only have effect in Spanish territory (art. 23 codigo civil) so if they pick Spanish they will no longer be British INSIDE Spain. If they pick British they will be British and no longer Spanish but as I said before they will never lose their Spanish citizenship so they can claim it back ANY time. Once you get Spanish citizenship legally you won't be British inside Spain but your British citizenship is never lost.



SpainGuru's "Applying for Spanish nationality after marriage: step by step"
COMO's "How to Apply for Spanish Nationality through Residency"
Notes From Navarra's "Applying for Spanish Nationality (Pt 1)"
SAIER's "Spanish Nationality" (PDF)
Gobierno de España's "Nationality by residence"
iAbogado's "How to apply for Spanish nationality"
Spotahome's "How to Get Your Spanish Citizenship"
Ministerio de Justicia's "¿Cómo se adquiere la nacionalidad española?"
Expat Agency Spain's "Dual Nationality - Spanish Citizenship"



USA allows dual citizenship, but some articles dispute this ?
State Dept's "Dual Nationality"
Legal Language Services' "Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in the United States?"





Pareja de Hecho And Matrimonio



Alternatives:

PdH with a citizen does NOT give you right to work; marriage does ? But PdH followed by getting tarjeta comunitaria does give you the right to work.

Expatica's "Getting married in Spain: Marriage and partnerships in Spain"
Maria Teresa Velasco's "Marriage in Spain"
iAbogado's "Getting married in Spain"
Angloinfo's "Civil Marriage in Spain"
bccvisalaw's "Marriage in Spain"



My understanding is that doing (and potentially undoing) pareja de hecho has ZERO implications for taxes and inheritance and ownership of assets. So a much simpler process than marriage (and potentially divorce).

But PdH does have some benefits in case of inheritance, according to Health Plan Spain's "Understanding Common Law Partnerships And Pareja de Hecho In Spain".

From someone on "Spain Immigration and Residency Questions" Facebook group:
In Spain even if you get married, you have two fiscal regimens to choose from. You can either do gananciales, which means you share everything, and bienes separados, which means you only own the assets under your name and the liabilities under your name. I believe with pareja de hecho you automatically get bienes separados, but if not, there is a process and you can choose it, so either way you are covered.

Before or after marriage, you can specify the "fiscal regime" ("régimen económico") of the marriage by creating a notarized "capitulaciones matrimoniales" document. Apparently it's simpler and cheaper to do it before marriage.
Laura Delle Femmine's "Me caso, ¿separacion de bienes o gananciales?"
Legalitas.com's "¿Que tramites debemos realizar para casarnos en regimen de separacion de bienes?"
Notaria Zaragoza's "Capitulaciones Matrimoniales"
notariado.org's "¿Cuando y por que hacer capitulaciones matrimoniales?" (PDF)
Agreement24's "Preguntas Frecuentes sobre Capitulaciones Matrimoniales"
Example documents: from Colombia, from Ecuador, Iberley



Apparently, names and procedures of PdH vary by region. Name of PdH may be "Pareja de Hecho" or "Pareja Estable" or some local equivalent ?

If your PdH is approved, you can have a little ceremony at the govt office. Then about 30 days later, you will receive an official certificate in the mail. Then you can apply online for a cita to apply for tarjeta comunitaria. After you apply, you will get a paper that says your application is in process. With that paper, you can be hired by a company.

COMO Consulting's "What are the Differences Between Pareja de Hecho and Marriage in Spain?"
Love From Andalucia's "Pareja de hecho"
Tumbit's "Common-Law Partnerships In Spain - 'Pareja de Hecho'"
COMO Consulting's "How to do Pareja de Hecho in Spain"
spainguru's "How to apply for 'pareja de hecho' (civil union) in Spain"
Junta de Andalucia's "Preguntas frecuentes de los usuarios en relacion con la inscripcion en el registro de parejas de hecho de la comunidad autonoma de Andalucia"
Karen Nemeth's "The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Long-Term Residency Visa in Spain with a Pareja de Hecho"
Gobierno de España's "BOE-A-2007-4184" (the law in Madrid)

You have to get a "certificado de solteria" that says you are single. If you get it from USA, have it apostilled there. If you get it from US embassy or consulate in Spain, have it legalized at the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores.
SpainGuru's "How do I get the Certificacion de Fe de Estado Civil (for Pareja de Hecho or Marriage) in Madrid?"



My experience applying for PdH in Jerez de la Frontera in 2017:

5/23/2017: Had an appointment at local government office (on Calle Consistorio). Got paper application forms; the electronic one online is totally different and makes no sense. Found that the application and interview will be done in this office; we don't have to go to Cadiz. My lady was born in Peru but now is a Spanish citizen; we're told that she needs documents from Spain, not Peru. All good news. I already have residency; after we get PdH, probably next time I go to renew my residency, I'll be given a 5-year renewal instead of a 2-year renewal.

Later, looking at the papers we were given: Nowhere do the papers say you must have been padron together for N months, or even padron together on the date of application, and nowhere do they say you must show a padron of any kind. But the main "Solicitud de Inscripcion" application form has spaces for both names and only space for one address, implying that you must be living together.

In USA, went to my state offices. Cost $92 to get certified birth certificate and no-marriage certificate, another $80 to have them apostilled.

The birth certificate is mostly handwritten (it's the original form filled out by the doctor or nurse), and hard to read, so I typed up a text file of my reading of it, to make things easier for the translators. Also, I'm pointing out to the translators that the two apostille pages are absolutely identical except for a certificate number, so really I need 3 pages translated instead of 4.

8/20: In Spain, sent email to four translator services, asking for quotes. Three responded, and one of them was half the price of the others: Idiomatic Language Services

8/22: Emailed scans of my documents, to be translated.

8/24: Went to Registro Central in Jerez to get solteria document for my lady, and they said "oh, after you do PdH at the local ayuntamiento, you have to come here and do it a second time, with a second set of original documents" ! And we need to show two years of padron together ! Local ayuntamiento didn't say anything about this. Local ayuntamiento gave us nice clear printed instructions, but the registro has nothing to give us except oral instructions. Argh ! At least there are no fees charged at the registro, either for the solteria document or the PdH.

8/24: Translation is done, received scans in email. Asked for second set of paper copies.

8/31: Received translations in paper mail: two sets of paper copies. Total cost was €91.

9/4: To local city hall, and did pareja there. Lots of forms and handing over papers and signing and stamping stuff. Good news: we have everything needed (mainly, birth certificate and soltera certificate for each of us; no padron needed). Bad news: the man is taking all of our originals, and we're going to need a second set of originals for the registro central. He won't accept compulsados, and neither will registro; they both demand originals. Charge here today is only €2.50, but we've paid about $300 to get these original documents from USA and Barcelona, and we're going to have to get another complete set. Mayor has to sign our certificate here, so we'll receive that in about 2 months [later, I'm told no, it will be mailed to registro]. Were given a stamped copy of first page of our application form, as proof we applied.

9/7: Mailed forms to USA to start getting another copy of birth certificate and no-marriage certificate. Another $92.

9/20: Went to registro civil, and my partner negotiated with them. They may accept some form of "compulsado" from the ayuntamiento about my documents. At registro, there will be an interview of sorts, so I have to know a bit of Spanish. They want 2 years of padron. None of this is written down anywhere.

9/21: To town hall, and my partner talked them into doing compulsados of my USA original documents, to take to Registro. But there's a problem with her padron.

9/28: To the Registro Civil with my partner and her parents. In and soon the four of us are in the office with a lady. We hand over a mound of documents and forms and ID cards. It seems to be sufficient, even though a couple of our documents have defects (no originals of my US documents, since we handed them in at ayuntamiento, and my partner's padron has a 4-month gap in it, so she shows utility bills).

Her parents hand over their IDs and sign a form attesting that we're honest people and not running a scam. Then the three of them clear out of the office and the lady talks to me to write up a document. Takes about 15 minutes, and stretches my Spanish language abilities. It's an interview/quiz, and I have to tell her things such as the names of my partner's parents and son, how we met, how long we've lived together, etc. She prints up the document, I correct it, she prints it again, I sign it, then I'm out and my partner is in.

Her interview takes even longer than mine, which surprises me, since she knows the language. Turns out she was bonding with the lady, they chatted about all kinds of things.

Then we're out. Our application and documents are submitted. They will get back to us with any additions needed. I have to continue getting second set of originals from USA, apostilled and translated.

10: Ordered and received new documents from USA.

11/7: Ordered new translations for new documents.

11/22: Went to Registro to deliver translated documents. Where my partner is told "we don't need those, we already have everything we need, you just had to call us to schedule your appointment for the final steps and ceremony, but sorry, earliest appointment we have is 2 months from now". Great, $250 down the drain, and they could have called us a month ago to schedule the final stuff.

1/16: Went to Registro to deliver photocopies of the DNIs of the two people who will be our witnesses.

1/19: Went to registro in nice clothes with our witnesses, to appear before a judge. Each group of people has a 5-minute time-slot. The judge read a short statement, asked if we were doing this of our own free will, etc. All four of us signed a form, judge gave us a Libro de Familia, we exchanged rings and kissed, judge said all done, and we're out.

So, the whole process took 8 months (probably could have been 4 if we'd pushed and been lucky), and cost about $550.

I notice that the Libro de Familia has "matrimonio" printed in it (not handwritten or typed, it's there in the basic printing of the booklet) in several places, and doesn't say "pareja de hecho" anywhere. Did we accidentally get married instead of PdH ?

I was able to download a "Certificado Matrimonio" online from Andalucia via Portal Adriano's "Obtencion del certificado de matrimonio". And it says "(4-2) Matrimonio: (4-2-1) Civil".

There seems to be no way to check the PdH registry of Andalucia online. No way to request a certificate.

2/4: I'm starting to suspect that we're BOTH PdH and married(civil). We did first at Ayuntamiento, then they said we had to go to Juzados/Registro. I think that was wrong; we did PdH at Ayuntamiento and then marriage at Juzgados. We never received any certificate from Ayuntamiento.

Yes, we're married.

10/2018: received email from Jerez Ayuntamiento saying our PdH is approved/resolved, we're PdH !



My situation after being married:

My situation after being married:
My strategy thoughts:



My experience doing a notarized "capitulaciones matrimoniales" document in Barcelona in 2018:




Catalunya allows one to register as PdH either in-person or online.
See more info about PdH in Catalunya in the Address Change section of my Living in Spain page.
Inmaculada Castillo's "Las parejas de hecho en Cataluña"
LegalTeam's "Solicitar la Tarjeta de Familiar de Comunitario por inscribirse como Pareja de Hecho en Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona y Girona tras la apertura del Registro Autonomico de Parejas de Hecho"



Como Consulting's "How to Renew a Tarjeta Comunitaria"



If you got residency or TC by virtue of becoming PdH with a citizen, your residency or TC is dependent on the PdH. If you remain PdH for 3 years, that dependency then is removed, and you have the residency or TC in your own right. The PdH can be terminated after the 3-year mark without affecting your residency or TC.



In Spain, it is not common to change name after marriage, but there IS a procedure for changing one's name: Ministerio de Justicia's "Cambio de Nombre y Apellidos"



Apparently there is no way of registering a foreign marriage in USA, or with US consulate/embassy in any foreign country (including Spain). If you're married in Spain, you're married in USA. If you want a US Catholic church to recognize your Spanish Catholic marriage, there might be some church way to do that. Depending on your US state, there might be a way to register ("inscribe" ?) your Spanish marriage with your US state ? Or you might be able to also marry or "remarry" in your US state, so that you are registered as married in both countries.



If married in Spain, you DO have to change your filing status on US income tax returns. The rates and deductions are different; you can't file as "single" any more.

Does my Spanish-citizen spouse have to get involved with the US tax system ?
"If your spouse is a nonresident alien and you file a joint or separate return, your spouse must have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)."
from IRS's "Nonresident Alien Spouse".

But someone on "US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group 2/2018 said:
"If you file MFS and you spouse is an NRA with no obligation to obtain a US social security number or TIN (has no US source income nor Green Card), then your spouse has no US tax filing obligation and you do not have to list your spouse's name on your US tax return.".

And with respect to that IRS page, same person said:
"That information is not complete. If you are using a software to file, generally there is a box to check which states 'NRA not required to have social security number'. If your software does not support this function (TaxAct does), do a paper-file and write NRA in to the box for Spouse social security number, and the box for Spouse's occupation.".

Do not open any joint bank accounts, anything where the NRA partner has signature authority over US assets. Being death-beneficiary of estate or accounts is okay.



If a US citizen marries a Spanish citizen who already has a Spanish citizen adult dependent child, does that open any avenue for the two Spanish citizens to acquire US citizenship ?
Summarized from people on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group 2/2018:
"Everyone stays in Spain. Spouse and child start applying for 'green cards' to enter USA, 'sponsored' by the US citizen. Probably spouse would get approved much faster than child. At this time, US govt is proposing to change law so adult children can not get green card, only minor children can. After getting green cards, move to USA, after residing there for several years they can start applying for citizenship."

USCIS's "Family of U.S. Citizens"



After getting married to a Spanish citizen who is "alta" on SS (a worker), I was able to get full NHS coverage through her. My experience in Barcelona in 2018:

  1. To local INSS. Showed ID cards and Libro de Familia (tried to show padron convivencia, but they didn't care), and obtained a "Documento Acreditativo del Derecho a Asistencia Sanitaria". It says I am a beneficiary of her, I am entitled to healthcare coverage through her.

  2. Took that to my medical center. Obtained a new temporary healthcare card, and a "resguard" paper that says I'm approved. Permanent card will come in the mail in a few weeks.

  3. Canceled Convenio Especial coverage by stopping the payments and sending a letter to the central health administration that had sent the Convenio papers to me.

  4. A couple of months later, the whole situation changed anyway, govt passed a law that everyone gets "free" NHS.




If your marital status changes in a way that affects your right to residency, you must report that change to extranjeria. For example, if you obtained residency or Tarjeta Comunitaria via marriage, and later you divorce, you must report that divorce to NatPolice/extranjeria.





Tarjeta Comunitaria (Regimen Comunitario)





5-year residency card which allows work, social security and medical benefits.
For non-EU nationals who marry or PDH an EU national.
How does this relate to "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union" ? Same thing, I think.

I think this does not give the right to reside or work in other EU countries ("right of free movement"). You would have to apply for residency in another country if you wanted to reside or work there. Someone on Facebook says: "You on your own cannot go to another country in the EU to work without a Visa. If your [EU citizen] partner moves and establishes residency in that country, you can do the TC application in that country."



How long can you live outside Spain before you lose this status ? Looks like you lose it if you stay outside Spain for more than 6 months in 1 year, same as normal long-stay residency.
Judith Tabares Iglesias' "Mantenimiento de Tarjeta Comunitaria"
Articulo 14 item 3 in BOE's "Real Decreto 240/2007"

If later you divorce, you don't lose this status if you were married for at least 3 years and lived together during the marriage for at least 1 year.
Cat Gaa's "Modifying Spanish Residency after Divorce or Dissolution of a Civil Union"



Can you apply if the EU citizen is on paro or baja from SS ? Someone on Facebook says EU partner must be "alta" on SS for minimum of 2 months. But it's also possible to get the tarjeta if EU citizen is "baja" and non-EU citizen gives proof of enough money to support themselves (savings, income, pension).



Someone on Facebook says you're allowed to work before getting your TC card, as long as you're "alta" on Social Security. I don't know if your TC application has to be "in tramite" for this to be true. And a company may be reluctant to hire you until you can present the actual card to them.



Love From Andalucia's "Tarjeta comunitaria"
Costa Calida Chronicle's "Residency in Spain"
Parainmigrantes.info's "10 Consejos imprescindibles antes de tramitar la Tarjeta Comunitaria"
Parainmigrantes.info's "¿Se puede trabajar con la tarjeta comunitaria?"
Gobierno de España's "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union"
EX-19 form (PDF)




Application procedure:

  1. Get a cita at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".
    [Menus and pages may differ depending on your location.]
    Select province, click "Acceptar" to see other tramites.
    Select "Solicitud de Autorizaciones". Click "Acceptar".
    Read section "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union". It says "make cita in name of non-EU person" if applying for just one person. Click "Entrar".
    Fill out ID form and click "Acceptar".
    See page with name and ID number, click "Solicitar Cita".
    Get page saying "no citas available".
    Try again over the next week or more until you get a cita.

  2. Documents needed to apply in first office visit:
    • Confirmation of the cita, probably need it to get into the building.
    • EX-19 form (PDF), filled out, and signed by both people.
    • Photocopy of EX-19 form.
    • Residency card (TIE) of non-EU person.
    • DNI of EU person.
    • Photocopies of both ID cards.
    • Passport.
    • Complete photocopy of all pages of the passport.
    • Original Pareja de Hecho document or Libro de Familia (no copy needed). [But in Barcelona I found the Libro de Familia was not sufficient; had to provide an "inscripcion del matrimonio".]
    • Original empadronamiento colectivo or conviviencia (no copy needed).
    • Something showing "economic means":
      • That the EU person is employed or "alta" in Social Security (Seguridad Social's "Informes y Certificados" and click on "Current worker status report" or "Limited employment history report"), or
      • Some proof of money needed to support non-EU person without state aid.
    • Some proof of health insurance for the non-EU person ?
      • Copy of non-EU person's NHS card, or
      • Some proof of private insurance. But:
      • There is a simple check-box on the application form saying "I have medical insurance".
    • Maybe good to have a copy of the public health insurance card of the EU person.
    [But see my actual experience in Barcelona 5/2018, below, which has a somewhat different list of documents.]
    EU person does not have to go to the office.

  3. Documents you will receive at end of first office visit:
    • Photocopy of EX-19 stamped and with a long number written on it.
    • "Comunicacion de inicio del procedimiento y admision a tramite" document showing that your application is in process.

  4. Wait for a "resolution" letter, maybe 1 month later. There may be no letter; you may have to look online for status of the tramite to change to "favorable".

  5. Get a cita at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".
    You want "Expedición de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero" and then "Toma De Huellas (Expedición de Tarjeta)". Abbreviation for USA on the web form is "EEUU".
    Get page saying "no citas available".
    Try again over the next week or more until you get a cita.

  6. Documents needed for second office visit:
    • Printed "resolution" letter with bar-code.
    • Residency card (TIE) of non-EU person.
    • Passport.
    • 1 photo.
    • Padron if your address has changed.
    • Tasa 790 012 paid. €10.71, and check "Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familia de un ciudadano de la Union".

  7. Document you will receive at end of second office visit: "resguardo" needed to pick up new card.

  8. Wait 30-40 days.

  9. Go back to office with "resguardo" and passport and pick up new ID card. Unless limited by the residency situation of the EU person, the card should be valid for 5 years.




My experience applying for Tarjeta Comunitaria in Barcelona in 2018:

At the start, I already had residency (valid TIE) and Libro de Familia. I am married to a Spanish citizen.

So, for me, acquiring the TC mainly means getting onto NHS healthcare for free (I'll drop Convenio Especial). Might mean better NHS coverage too, such as coverage when visiting other EU countries ? I might get permission to work (but I don't want to work). Might mean I don't have to renew residency for another 5 years, instead of about 1.5 years from now.

2/4: Started trying for a cita. None available.

2/8: Got a cita ! It's for more than 3 months from now, 5/18.

5/18: Went to first appointment, with my partner. All the official wanted was application form (I left blank the 3rd page, list of documents supplied), my TIE, my partner's DNI, my passport and copies of all pages, padron conviviencia, and proof of our marriage. No need for anything else I brought: copy of application form, copies of ID cards, proof of medical insurance, proof that my partner is "alta" in SS, bank stmt, photographs.

Official ran the documents through a scanner and gave them all back. Application form is stamped.

But a problem: the Libro de Familia was not accepted as proof of our marriage. We have to supply a marriage certificate, which we don't have, never received one. He said go to web site of registro central, or go to their office in person, to get one. We have one month to supply it. He gave me a "Requerimiento Aportacion Documentos" page that has an expediente/requerimiento number, my ID information, then a line specifying that I'm missing an "inscripcion del matrimonio" document.

So I went to Registro Civil de Barcelona and ordered matrimonio certificate. Same price for 1, 2 or 3 copies, so I ordered 3. Price €43. Paid by US credit card. We got married in Cadiz province, so looks like the certificates will come from there. Had to give a lot of information: names, my NIE, where married, date of marriage, registry page number from Libro de Familia, reason for requesting certificate, where to send, etc. Didn't have to have a digital certificate. Immediately received an email confirmation.

5/31: Matrimonio certificates arrived in the mail. Sent one of them, and a copy of the "Requerimiento Aportacion Documentos", to the registry address specified on the RAD (double-check the address, it was truncated on my document).

6/12: Received an email saying there was a resolution of my expediente. Connected to SEDE and tried to download the resolution. But it requires a Java application to "sign" it, and none of the browsers allow Java any more.

6/18: Went to Extranjeria to ask them to print my resuelto, but they said go away and send the expediente number to infoext.barcelona@correo.gob.es, so I did that.

6/21: Got email response, with resuelto document (PDF) attached. It says "Acuerdo ... Conceder", which means favorable resolution. Tells me to make another cita for "expedicion de TIE", at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".

On that page, I chose tramite "CNP- Toma de Huellas (Expedicion de Tarjeta) y Renovacion de Tarjeta de Larga Duracion". On next page, country abbreviation for USA is "EEUU". Left the "expiration date" field empty. Worked through the pages, and immediately got a cita, first try ! For 8 days from now.

[Later that same day, I received a copy of the same resuelto document in postal mail. This copy has an authentication bar-code on it that the electronic copy doesn't have.]

Resuelto says I've been granted 5 years ("fecha de caducidad" is 5 years from first office visit date). Has a couple of "if" clauses saying if less than 6 months granted, no need to do anything further, but since I get more than 6 months, I have to do another visit.
Documents to bring to office:

Took photos at booth in metro station; remember to take off eyeglasses.

6/29: To Extranjeria for my cita. List of documents they wanted is what is shown above, no problems. Did fingerprints of both index fingers. They kept my TIE and one tasa page. Received a resguardo, official says pick up my new card in 4+ weeks, I think. Resguardo says it expires in 45 days. Take passport when going to pick up card.

7/17: Went to office at Carrer de Mallorca 213, and they had my card, probably could have gone a few days earlier. Handed over the resguardo, showed my passport, they asked if I'd already turned in my previous card (I had, the previous office kept it), gave me my new card. Done !

Later went to local govt and asked if they need to see my new card so they could update my padron. They said since my NIE hasn't changed, they don't need to do anything.





Permanent Residency



AKA "Residencia de carácter permanente".

I think this is "Tarjeta Comunitaria Permanente".

This is for a family member of an EU citizen, if the family member has resided in Spain for at least 5 years.
Gobierno de España's "Residencia de carácter permanente"

Does this ever have to be renewed ?

I think you lose this status if you stay more than 2 years outside of Spain.
Parainmigrantes.info's "Contar el tiempo fuera de España para no perder la tarjeta de residencia"

This status is specific to each country in EU; getting PR in country A does not give you PR in country B, you have to apply for PR again there. But getting PR in country B should be easier, and you don't have to reside there for 5 years before applying, because you had PR in country A.





Arraigo Social



Process by which someone who has lived/worked in Spain for years becomes a legal resident.
"por Cuenta Ajena": worker.
"por Cuenta Propia": entrepreneur.
SpainGuru's "Residency Type: Understanding Arraigo Social por Cuenta Ajena"





Autonomo or Cuenta Propia



Self-employed worker.
From a lawyer on Facebook:
There is no autonomo visa per se. There is a "visado de residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia". Autonomo is also not a sector (those would be the CNAE codes), but rather a descriptor of fact. An autonomo is a person who carries out an economic activity habitually, personally, and directly. They work "por cuenta propia".

Benidorm Seriously's "Register for Autonomo"
Spotahome's "How to Become a Freelancer in Spain: Going Autonomo for Dummies"
Sanitas' "Registering As Self Employed Autonomo In Spain"
Expats in Spain's "Autonomo Social Security" (PDF)





Miscellaneous



For hard-core questions about visas, residency, etc maybe see BOE's "Codigo de Extranjeria" (PDF)

Maybe you can get answers about EU visas and travel at Europe Direct

Tasas for some operations:
Gobierno de España page

If you pay a tasa incorrectly and want a refund:
Parainmigrantes' "Devolucion de tasas pagadas indebidamente"
Various agencies and regions have specific online procedures too; search for "espana devolucion tasa pagado" or something similar.



If you haven't already, see my Moving To Spain page.







This page updated: November 2018.



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