David vs. Spanish Residency (Round 2)

How to get the Spanish residency

Around 8 months ago I wrote David vs. Spanish Residency (Round 1) to try to clarify some doubts. It’s time for round 2!


In early 2013 some of my clients asked me whether the Spanish residency must be renewed after 5 years. They were not sure as they were told by somebody that was also told by somebody else.

It sounded as: “the friend of my friend of my friend said that…” rumour. Was it true or false?

Rumours are occasionally true. You know it. In Spanish we’ve got an idiom: “when river sounds it’s because it hauls water” (cuando río suena agua lleva) :-)


To make 100% sure I asked this question to several policemen from different police stations in the area (Orihuela, Torrevieja and Elche).

According to them you do have to renew your Spanish residency after 5 years to get the permanent one.

Up until 5 years people have a temporary Spanish residency.

In other words, for instance, if you obtained your Spanish residency on the 2nd of January 2009, you should renew it on the 2nd of January, 2014.

Spanish National Police emblem

(Immigration procedures are supervised by the Spanish National Police)

I have not found any difference in rights between the temporary and permanent residencies. Neither have I heard of any case where both of them had different functions or conditions.

To me both the temporary and permanent Spanish residencies will grant you the legal permission to stay here.


This is a good question. The policemen answered unanimously: “you have to renew it after 5 years”, when I asked what happened in case you don’t.

One policeman added that the problem here is that neither the A4 Spanish residency nor the newest “green card” version say that it must be renewed after 5 years.

Spanish Ministry of the Interior logo

(The Spanish Ministry of the Interior defines the immigration laws. It is the department above the National Police)

To be honest, I don’t think they will kick you out of the country if your residency is not renewed, although that’s just a guess.

I will shortly do a research to try find some experts in foreign issues to know whether there’re any consequences if you don’t renew your 5-year residency (as well as to make 100% sure if you have to renew).

Of course, I will post the outcome of my research in the final article of the series: David VS Spanish Residency (Final Round) 😉


I always give the same advice to my clients: “keep all your legal documents in force, up to date, especially when you live in a foreign country”. And I don’t mean only Spanish residencies, but driving licences as well.

Spain is not really a very strict nation regarding foreign laws; at least not for members of the European Union, and so they are 99% of my clients.

That does not mean however one day things could change. In fact, they will certainly change like everything in life. The problem is that we do not know how that change will affect the Spanish residency requirements.

Since I’ve been doing translations I’ve seen one modification. Obtaining your Spanish residency was fairly easy before, as long as you meet some basic requirements.

Today they additionally want to make sure that you have sufficient financial means and health coverage in Spain by either being employed, self-employed or pensioner.

Do you remember when getting a health card in Spain was as simple as snapping your fingers? Those days are gone. Here we have another change.

Foreign laws have been moving for the last 13 years. Another change could be around the corner.


I would renew my Spanish residency if it were more than five years old. No doubt. I would get the permanent one.

It is one of the most important documents for foreigners in Spain, and it’s just a process that does not take that much nor cost a fortune (10.50€ if you know how to do it yourself).

The final permanent Spanish residency is delivered to you straight away, as always.

don't do it tomorrow!

(Renew it today not “mañana”!)

Years ago, as you possibly know, I lived in the USA, which was a foreign country to me. I always kept all my foreign documentation up to date as well as in a safe place (very important, you have to get a new Spanish residency if you lose it!).

There’re always tricks everywhere to stay and work illegally. It does not go with me. I prefer peace of mind.

Getting a legal residency in other countries can cost thousands of Euros. Spain is cheap in this respect.

You can read more about the permanent Spanish residency at the Spanish Ministry of the Interior official website (in Spanish).

I hope you have a better understanding of all this by now. Anyway I will definitely close the circle in the “final round”. Stay tuned!


Credit Image: R. Alcántara, Spanish Ministry of the Interior

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