Have you just submitted your residency application in Spain (or you are about to do it) and you would like to know how long you will have to wait until the immigration office issues a favorable response or resolution? In this article you will find a precise answer to this question, we will explore all the factors that can delay the process for longer than it should, and we will provide a crucial tip that will help you get your resolution faster.

What the Spanish law states


Law 30 from the Legal Regime of Public Administrations states it clearly.

The immigration office has a maximum period of 3 months to resolve your application.

That is, 3 months to analyze all the documents you have submitted to obtain your residence permit (or renew it), verify that you meet all the requirements, and issue a favorable (or negative) response.

Therefore, as a general rule, you should receive an answer (of any kind) within 90 days.

But… what happens if this time period has passed and you have not received any type of answer?

What happens depends on the type of card you are applying for:


Positive administrative silence


If the application you have submitted is for a residency card renewal (i.e., you already had your residence card in Spain, but it expired and you have submitted the required documentation to extend it), then positive administrative silence will be the rule.

That is to say, after these 3 months, if you do not receive a response, your application will be considered as approved, and you may proceed by requesting an appointment to obtain your TIE or new physical card.


Negative administrative silence


But, on the other hand, if the application you have submitted to the immigration office is for an initial residency card (i.e., it is the first time you apply for residency in Spain), we encounter a somewhat more problematic situation.

In this case, negative administrative silence applies.

Therefore, a lack of response after these 3 stipulated months would mean that your application has been rejected. At this point, what you could do is file an appeal (in case you do not agree with the decision), although it may not be necessary. Later in this article we will explore this option.

However, most likely, even though the law establishes it, your application can still be approved after this period (despite the negative administrative silence).

And this is due to the current situation the different Spanish immigration offices are suffering.


How long do immigration applications take in 2022?


The different immigration offices in Spain are saturated.

And this is especially true in big cities with a large number of foreigners in them, such as Barcelona (where the average time to resolve an application is currently 152 days), Madrid, or Murcia.

Thus, in our office, we have seen many cases in which a foreigner applies, for example, for arraigo social, and it is not until after 4, 5, or even 6 months that she does not receive a positive resolution.

That is to say, even though the 3 month period established by law has expired, they still get their positive resolution weeks later (and therefore their residency).

Therefore, we can provide here an important piece of advice.

Before starting with your application, check and verify how long your particular immigration office is currently taking (as there is a big difference between one office and another located in a different city in terms of speed of response) to resolve applications from the exact procedure you are applying for.

Here you can find the official updated times.

In this way, you can get a clear idea of the time you will have to wait, and use this time frame as a reference to decide if you should continue waiting (since there is a possibility that you will get a favorable resolution) or if you should initiate some complementary action, such as the one detailed in the next section.


What can I do in the face of this negative administrative silence or rejection of my application?


Let’s suppose that not only the 3 regulatory months have passed, but also several extra ones too, and you know for sure that you should have already obtained a favorable resolution (but you haven’t received any kind of notification).

In that case, and given that the negative administrative silence has been applied (and therefore your application would be rejected), you still have a chance to get your residency.

If you do not agree with the decision issued by the Immigration Office (since you consider that you do actually meet the requirements or you want to correct any document uploaded incorrectly), you can appeal.

That is to say:

In both cases what you will be doing is requesting the administration to review your application again in detail so that they can finally approve it.

Here you can access one of our articles with all the details about this procedure.

However, as we mentioned in the previous section, it is important not to be in a hurry when filing an appeal, and to be patient because with the current delays at the immigration office, it is very likely that it will not be necessary to initiate this extra procedure (but just keep waiting a bit more).


A tip for obtaining a faster resolution


There is one thing to keep in mind. Once you file your application, there is no way to speed up the time it takes for the administration to finally issue a response.

It is something that no foreigner, lawyer, or anyone has the power to control or affect.

However, there is one thing that will help you enormously, and that is to make sure that you meet all the requirements correctly, and that your documents have been prepared as required by the immigration regulations.

This will not only save time for the public officer in charge of analyzing your application (thus speeding up the process), but it will also save you from the need to appeal afterwards because your file was incomplete or you uploaded it incorrectly (something that would imply longer delays).

Hence, if you would like our team of immigration lawyers to review and prepare your application in detail so that you do not have to worry about anything, let us help you now:


Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts


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