A residence authorization that is easy to obtain with simple requirements. A residency that allows you to live and work legally in the country for 1 year, with the possibility of renewal. We are talking about arraigo familiar in Spain, and in this article you will discover everything you need to know to enjoy a successful application. We will analyze all requirements you must meet in order to obtain it, the main alternatives to still be granted residency, its step-by-step application procedure, and the complete list of documents to be submitted.
What is the family arraigo residency?
The arraigo familiar or family arraigo is a residence authorization due to exceptional circumstances that grants the possibility to live and work in Spain for 1 year to those non-EU foreigners with a Spanish child or Spanish parents.
When it comes to requirements, the application process is quite simple.
And if we also take into account that this authorization must be obtained while the foreigner is in under irregular situation (it is not necessary to request a visa to enter Spain), it turns out to be one of the most favorable paths to residency for many.
In addition, as we have mentioned, it allows you to work in Spanish territory both as a freelancer (i.e., registering yourself as a self-employed worker and offering your services as an independent professional) and as an employee of a Spanish company.
Together with the two other types of arraigo (social and labor), family arraigo is regulated by Article 123 (and more specifically Article 124) of the Spanish general immigration regulation.
There are different ways to obtain this residence authorization (as we will now see), but they all have something in common: in order to apply for family arraigo it is necessary to be a family member of a Spanish or EU citizen.
Let’s see how that is actually translated.
How to obtain the family arraigo: the 2 possible scenarios
Thus, there are 2 different ways or situations in which a foreigner can apply for the residency due to family roots in Spain.
Family arraigo through a Spanish child
The first way to obtain this type of arraigo is through being the parent of a Spanish or EU under-aged child.
However, there is an important nuance.
In order to obtain family arraigo thanks to being the father of a Spanish kid, it is necessary that you are not living with him or her, but you are up to date with all your parental obligations.
That is to say, you do not live with your son or daughter but you can demonstrate that you visit him or her frequently, that you are paying for his food and other necessities, etc.
But what happens if you do live with the child? In that case, good news.
If that is the case, instead of applying for arraigo you will apply for a new residency card known as a residency for parents of Spanish children “residencia para padres de hijos españoles”.
This option is much more beneficial, as it offers the same conditions as the arraigo familiar, but with the main difference that it is granted for 5 years instead of 1.
Family arraigo through having an EU child
On the other hand, if you are a foreigner but your child is Italian, German, French or from any country of the European Union, you could also apply for your family roots.
But, again, here we can find two possible scenarios:
- If you have sufficient economic means, instead of the going through the arraigo path you will apply for the community card (a residency card for 5 years)
- If you do not have sufficient means and you do not live with your son or daughter, then you will have to apply for the arraigo familiar following the procedure described in this article
Family arraigo through being the child of a Spanish citizen of origin
On the other hand, there is the case in which you are the child of a Spanish citizen of origin; that is, you have either a Spanish father or mother.
Here you will simply have to provide your birth certificate to prove the family relationship and that of your father or mother to verify that they are Spaniards by origin, and the family arraigo will be granted to you.
Family arraigo through marriage
Many foreigners mistakenly think that they can also apply for family arraigo through marriage.
That is, if their spouse is Spanish.
This type of arraigo does not apply in these cases, but there is an alternative.
The right residency that should be obtained here is the family member of an EU citizen card (which as we have seen is much more beneficial for its 5 years of duration).
This will be the case whether you are married to a Spanish or EU citizen, or if you have constituted a civil union with him/her.
Do you have so far? If that is the case, ask us anything and get an immediate answer:
Requirements for arraigo familiar
In addition to being in any one of the abovementioned cases, there are a series of requirements that must also be met in order to successfully apply for this residence authorization for exceptional circumstances:
- You must not have criminal or police records
- You can’t be a citizen from any EU country
- You must be in Spain at the moment of your application (since you cannot apply for this residency from your country of origin), even if you are in an irregular situation
Bear in mind that unlike social arraigo, in this case it is not necessary to demonstrate any previous period of time lived in Spain; therefore, you could apply for this authorization after just 1 or 2 weeks in the country.
Also, it won’t be necessary either to provide a work contract or to demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means.
So, as you can see, the requirements are quite simple and the list pretty short.
Documents you will have to submit
As this is a simple procedure, there are not a large number of documents that you will have to submit together with your application.
But which are exactly those documents?
- Application form EX-10
- Criminal record certificate from your country of origin
- Your passport (including a copy)
- The birth certificate of your Spanish or EU child (if you find yourself under this category)
- If you are the child of a Spanish citizen by origin your birth certificate to prove the kinship bond
- The birth certificate of your father or mother (whichever was originally Spanish)
It is important to mention that any foreign document must be translated into Spanish and legalized/apostilled. This will especially apply in the case of birth certificates.
Application procedure step-by-step
Once you have all the documents ready, you must prepare and submit them to the Immigration Office corresponding to your usual residence.
However, you have two different possibilities available to submit your family arraigo application:
- Make an appointment with the immigration office and attend in person to hand in all the required documents
- Submit all the documents online. This is undoubtedly the most recommended option, as the process will go much faster and you will get your resolution in less time. You can submit all the paperwork online using your digital certificate through the Mercurio platform.
The exact resolution time will vary depending on the immigration office where you have initiated the procedure (those in big cities will be slower as they have much more applications to analyze).
However, this is a procedure that does not usually take very long, so you could get the resolution in just a few weeks.
Once you get your favorable resolution, you must then apply for your physical card (TIE).
What if my application gets rejected?
It is unusual for your application to get rejected, because if you carefully read this article and make sure you meet all the requirements you should not have any problems.
However, it is possible that for some reason your application is rejected.
In that case, you will have two different options:
- File an administrative appeal
- Go directly to court by filing a contentious-administrative appeal.
Undertaking an appeal, whatever type it may be, can be a tedious and complicated task.
What is the best option then?
You will choose one route or the other depending on your particular situation, although in many cases it may be advisable not to use either of these two paths in order to avoid wasting time and money.
That is why our recommendation is that you contact our lawyers so that we can assess your situation.
We will analyze if it is really necessary to initiate an appeal (if so, we will see what type), or if it would be advisable to opt for other alternative ways to end up getting the residence in Spain under an easier option.
As we have mentioned, any arraigo residency has a duration of one year.
What happens when this year comes to an end?
If your intention is to continue living in Spain, you will not be able to renew. Technically speaking, what you will be doing is a modification: modifying to a regular residence permit.
And this is where one of the biggest drawbacks associated with this residence authorization comes into play.
While it is very easy to be granted arraigo familiar in the first place, the renewal has a number of fairly strict requirements (especially labor ones) that pose difficulties in many cases.
Then, in order to renew you will have three options available. You will be able to modify to:
- Non-profit residency, in case you have sufficient financial means and have not worked (nor want to do so in the future)
- Self-employed work permit (“por cuenta propia”), if you have been providing your services as an independent professional
- A work permit as an employee (“por cuenta ajena”), if you can prove that you have worked for a minimum period of time in the country during your family arraigo year
If you do not meet the requirements for any of these three options, you may be able to make an extension of your family arraigo (equivalent to a second application). This extension can only be formalized as long as you have a Spanish or EU citizen child (having Spanish parents would not make you qualify).
If you need legal assistance with your application, our lawyers are at your complete disposal. We will manage everything on your behalf so you just need to sign!