The start of a new year always implies changes and updates when it comes to immigration and nationality regulations. That is why in this article you will find a summary of the most important ones for 2021. Keep on reading, as it is very likely that some of these confirmed changes will affect your situation as a foreigner in Spain (in many cases they will really make things much easier for you!).


Faster residency resolutions


Let’s start with this update as it is undoubtedly great news for many foreigners in Spain who are about to obtain their residency or to renew their permit.

We are currently seeing how many resolutions for different types of applications are being granted in record time.

Applications that used to take months now take a few days or just a couple of weeks.

This is happening in large cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, although in smaller municipalities where there is less “demand” for immigration procedures, timings may be even shorter.

And we are experiencing this, for example, with procedures such as the application for social arraigo (a procedure that has been granted favorably in the vast majority of cases during the last few months).

This streamlining and speed is largely due to online applications, something we will explore in one of the new changes of this article.


More flexible & extended conditions for family arraigo


Until now, the process of “arraigo familiar” allowed you to reside in Spain for 1 year.

But things have changed now. If you meet the requirements (which you can find here), from now on this residency may not only be for one year, but for 5 (being assimilated to the EU family card) according to the new Instruction published by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration in Spain.

You can read the full instruction here.

Remember that to apply for this type of arraigo you must be the parent of a Spanish child with whom you live in Spain, or be the son/daughter of Spanish parents of origin. If that is the case, before you were granted a residence permit for 1 year, modifiable at the end of the period to another type of residency (although you had to meet the extra requirements for this too).


Increase in citizenship fees


The different fees related to any immigration procedure vary from year to year.

Hence, for 2021, after the publication of the new General State Budget (PGE), the fees to solicit Spanish citizenship have been increased to 103,02 €.

This fee will be fixed throughout the year; and as you may already know, paying the corresponding amount is essential to avoid delays associated with requirements from the administration.

If you want more information, you can access a complete list including prices for all the administrative fees for 2021 here. Within this list, you will be able to find the corresponding fee for any immigration procedure.


The IPREM for 2021 rises 5%


As you may already know, the IPREM is the indicator of multiple incomes in Spain, a very important figure for demonstrating the possession of sufficient economic means in the country, necessary to apply for many residence permits.

This indicator refers to the minimum monetary amount necessary to cover the essential expenses of any individual in Spain. In other words, the basic cost of living to satisfy your basic needs.

In that sense, the IPREM has gone up, as it does every year. If in 2020 it was €537.84 per month, in 2021 it rises to €564.90.

This represents an increase of more than 5% over the previous year.

This amount will be very important both when applying for study stays and for residence permits that require proof of a minimum level of income to support the applicant in the country (such as the non-lucrative visa).


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You can now change your employer for arraigo social


Good news for those who are applying for arraigo social or are about to do so.

Until now, this process of regularisation due to exceptional circumstances was associated with a particular company, the one that offered you the job in the first place (having a job offer is a crucial requirement for this procedure).

But if for whatever reason this company ended up not hiring you, you could not change into a new one, and your arraigo application got denied (and, therefore you ended without your legal residence).

But this has changed for 2021: it is now possible to change companies once you have been granted arraigo as favorable.

You just simply need to find a new employer, and apply for a change within a maximum of 40 days.

After 10 days max. the administration will respond favorably (so, as you can see, it is a fairly quick process).

This flexibilization is a substitute for a massive regularisation of foreigners in Spain, a regularization that most likely won’t happen in 2021.

However, something similar will occur with these greater facilities at the individual level in procedures such as social or family arraigo.


New Spanish nationality exam questions


As you may already know, the Spanish nationality exam renews its questions every year.

Thus, in the January exam, we have already seen how the new set of questions was brand new. Those questions will last throughout the whole year until a new 2022 change.

That is why, if you are going to study by practicing with official questions, make sure they are the ones from 2021!

However, this is not as important a novelty as the following one.


Possibility of taking the Spanish citizenship exam online


As you are reading!

That exam that many people dread, the Spanish socio-cultural exam (CCSE), which is so important for obtaining Spanish nationality, can be taken online.

In that sense, it is not possible to choose.

The Instituto Cervantes is adopting this modality in certain scenarios, although legally it is now totally possible to take them online.

That is why it is absolutely certain that we will see online CCSE exams in some Spanish regions during the year.

In addition, it is very likely that the DELE A2 will also be taken online in the near future; all this motivated by the current global pandemic situation.


Elimination of face-to-face procedures


During the last few years (and especially during the last few months), more and more immigration procedures changed from in-person to online.

As of 2021, almost all existing proceedings can now be carried out online (leaving just essential formalities such as fingerprinting as face-to-face procedures).

Thus, there are currently two different ways to submit your application:

  • Through the professional register, used by lawyers, administrative operators, and social workers.
  • Via the public registry, which can be used by anyone with a digital certificate.

Nevertheless, it is very common that the foreigner does not have a digital certificate, so she cannot submit her application online.

If this is your case, don’t worry. Our team of immigration lawyers can carry out the procedure for you, which will also allow you to get a much faster response (as applications through the professional register are examined much more quickly).

Just send us an email to [email protected] and we will take care of everything for you.


Citizenship applications still unresolved


The situation remains unchanged. There are many Spanish nationality files that are still waiting for revision and having been left without a response for a very prolonged time.

In fact, all applications submitted in 2020 have still not been processed.

This undoubtedly generates a great deal of unease and complicates the situation for those foreigners who by right should be able to have their citizenship in Spain (having fulfilled all the requirements and having sent the documentation correctly).

That is why since the beginning of March 2021 a new shock plan has been implemented to speed up the resolution of all these applications

This plan will affect both citizenship by residency files and citizenship by Sephardic descent.

And, for any other questions, we are always ready to help. 


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