Guide to a long-term residency/permanent residency in Spain

Guide to a long-term residency/permanent residency in Spain

2022-02-16 18:13:19


After residing in Spain continuously and legally for 5 years, expats have the right to apply for a long-term residency visa. In this article, we will explain all the eligible cases for the applications and how to get a long-term residency, also known as permanent residency in Spain.

1. What are the benefits of long-term residency/permanent residency?

The long-term residency guarantees a lot of benefits to its holders:

  • This residency card is valid for 5 years once issued. You will only need to renew it every 5 years.
  • With this residency, you can live, work or study in Spain as self-employed or as an employee. You are free to switch among different jobs and no longer need sponsorship.
  • You will have access to an EU permanent residency card, which enables you to work and live freely in other countries in the European Union.
  • Except for the voting rights, you will have more or less the same rights as the Spanish citizens.
  • You can recover the long-term residency card if you “lost it”: After obtaining the card, if you are outside the European Union for more than 1 year continuously, the card will expire. But you still have a chance to recover it in your home country or in Spain.

2. What requirements should I meet?

There are a lot of requirements to be met. Like other visas,  the basic requirements are:

  • You are not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen nor a family member of these countries
  • You are not residing irregularly in Spanish territory
  • You don’t have any criminal records in Spain or in any other country that you have resided for more than 6 months
  • You are not protected from entering Spain
  • You are not in a commitment that specifies that you should not return to Spain after going back to your country of origin

Besides the requirements above, you should fit in one of the following cases:

  • You have legally and continuously resided in Spain for five years:
    • Absence from the Spanish territory: The continuity will not be affected,
      • if your one-time absence from Spanish territory is less than 6 months and if the total absence from Spanish territory in 5 years is less than 10 months
      • if it’s for work reasons, the absence should not exceed 1 year within the 5 years required
    • A student visa or student residence permit: Since student visa/student residence is an “estancia”(short-term stay), it should be counted as 50% when calculating the residency time.
      • Eg. If you have resided in Spain for 4 years by renewing your student residence permit, you still need 3 years of residency to apply for the long-term residency.
  • You have resided in the European Union for 5 years as an EU blue cardholder.  And you reside in Spain during the latest 2 years before the long-term residency application date:
    • Absence from the European Union: The continuity will not be affected,
      • if your one-time absence from Spanish territory is less than 12 months and if the total absence does not exceed 18 months in 5 years
  • You are a resident beneficiary of the Spanish contributory retirement pension
  • You are a resident and have been born in Spain and resided in Spain before reaching 18 years old. At least you have resided in Spain for three years before the application.
  • You are Spanish by origin and have lost Spanish nationality
  • You are a resident who has been under the guardianship of a Spanish public entity during the last five consecutive years
  • You are stateless, a refugee, or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection in Spanish territory and have the respective status recognized in Spain.
  • Furthermore, you have contributed notoriously to the economic, scientific, or cultural progress of Spain or the projection of Spain abroad.

3. What documents should I present in the application process?

  • Application form in the official model (EX-11) in duplicate, duly completed and signed by the applicant, except in the case of having contributed to economic, scientific, or cultural progress (In this case, the application would be carried out by the General Direction of Immigration.)
  • A full copy of a valid passport and a copy of it
  • Currency residency card and a copy of it, valid and in force
  • Certificate of criminal records in Spain and in any other country you have resided in the last 5 years.
  • If applicable, you need to submit a report issued by the regional authorities or the educational center that certifies the schooling status of the minors in your charge who are at schooling age.
  • Paid proof of 790 052 2.6 “autorización de residencia de larga duración y autorización de residencia de larga duración-UE a abonar por el extranjero”
  • Public or private insurance coverage: You need to have public or private insurance coverage to cover your medical needs. Check our offer, suitable for all kinds of visa insurance/residence permit in Spain.
  • Depending on the case that applies to you:
    • Case b): supporting documentation of previous residence periods as holder of a Blue-EU card in other EU countries.
    • Case d) and e): birth certificate.

Important notes: 

  • Documents must be issued in Spanish or officially translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the territory where the application is submitted.
  • In general, you need to submit copies of all the documents specified above and present the original documents when applying.

4. How to apply for the application?

  • If the applicant is resident in Spain when doing the application, he or she can do the application personally or with the help of a representative on the official website.
  • If the applicant is not resident in Spain, he or she needs to apply for the residency personally:
    • If the applicant is in Spanish territory, he or she can apply on the official website.
    • If the applicant is currently outside the Spanish territory, he or she can present in the consulate or a similarly competent diplomatic office.
  • In case h), la Dirección General de Inmigración will help with the application, following the proposal of a public authority

5. When will I know the results and what to do next?

Usually, it might take around 3 months before knowing the results. But if the applicant does not receive any notifications after three months, it could be understood that the application has been accepted. However, you cannot apply for the NIE card before getting the ¨“favorable”¨ result.

When you get “¨favorable¨”, like before, you can get your fingerprint appointment at a Policía Nacional office located in the province where you are registered, together with a duly completed EX-17, paid fee of NIE card (¨TIE que documenta la autorización de residencia de larga duración o de residencia de larga duración-UE¨), and a passport-sized photo.


[1] PORTAL DE INMIGRACIÓN. Residencia de larga duración. (2022). Retrieved 16 February 2022, from 

Our contents will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 16/02/2022

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