What are the minimum stay requirements for a residency renewal?

When it comes to the renewal of your residence card, one of the most common causes for rejection by the Spanish authorities is directly related to the failure of the applicant to comply with the minimum stay requirements that Spanish law dictate.

A temporary residence permit permits you to stay in Spain for more than 185 days per year during a maximum period of 2 years. These temporary residence cards are to be renewed once every 2 year period, but only if you spend at least 185 days in Spain within each 12 month period from the date of issue of the card. As this 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 spend out of Spain. This is important if you intend to apply 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, you will not be permitted permanent residence. In this case 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 must emphasize the importance of this minimum stay to keep your residency status or be able to apply for a new one. This is the main reason for rejection in immigration applications.

Previously, Spanish immigration officers would have had a more relaxed attitude towards the 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.

It should be noted however that 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, illness, natural catastrophes and accidents.

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Permanent residency is obtained after 5 years of Spanish Residency through Self-Empoyed Residency or Non-Lucrative Residency or Residency through Investment. This followed by 5 years as a permanent resident and means you can then obtain Spanish Citizenship with a Spanish Passport.

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