There are many ways to get residency in Spain. But the vast majority of them demand requirements that are difficult to meet. However, there is a widely used option by non-European citizens: the civil partnership. And it may be one of the easiest ones. In this article, we will talk about how to do it step by step. We will explain everything you need to know to become a legal resident. You are about to learn how to get the residency in Spain through constituting a civil marriage. Let’s start!


How to apply for a residence permit in Spain as a civil partner of an EU-Citizen


Undoubtedly, this is one of the most used immigration procedures for foreigners who want to start living in Spain.

And there’s enough reason for that. Because the process is really straightforward and offers huge advantages.

As long as the non-EU citizen has a relationship with a European, they can register a de facto couple in Spain and thus obtain a residence permit for the non-European.

However, we must make an important warning here.

While it is possible to register the union between both members in a country other than Spain in order to obtain the residency, not all countries will be valid.

That is, to obtain the permit as a family member of an European Union citizen, it is necessary that the civil union couple is registered in a European country. Otherwise, the application will be denied.


Get the residency directly from Spain as a tourist


As we saw in our article about entering Spain as a tourist and getting the family member of an EU citizen visa, this is an option to enter Spain without papers and get residency directly. Without the need to embark on any procedure in the Spanish consulate located in your country of origin.

Unlike other residence permits, such as the non-lucrative visa or the golden visa, it is possible to obtain the residency through a civil partnership directly while in Spain.

That is, we do not need to return to our country at any time. You can end up getting your legal status entering as a tourist.

After landing in Spain with your tourist visa, you will have 3 months to complete the entire legal application procedure. Don’t worry, you will have enough time. 

The first step is registering the “pareja de hecho”. Once registered on the notary, you can proceed to apply for the card as a European relative.

And without leaving Spain!

Let’s see how this works step by step.


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How to register the civil partnership


This is the first step in the whole process: register the de civil partnership.

In general, there are two options to register it:

  • Directly in a European Union country
  • In a country outside the EU, but with subsequent registration in that area.

Thus, the important requirement will always be that the union is registered in a country belonging to the European Union.

If you register it in Sapin after entering as a tourist, you will only have 3 total months to complete the entire legal procedure, so it is very important not to waste time.

However, in most cases, when the applicant applies for the residence permit during their stay as a tourist, it takes more than 90 days to obtain the residence card. And it would not be a problem.


How to start the process


The specific requirements will vary according to the Autonomous Community in which we are located. Thus, while there are regions that require a minimum period of living together (usually 1 year) in the same address, in other regions as in Catalonia, no.

In the latter case, it is possible to register the couple with the only requirement that both members are registered at the same address. No need to prove that they have been living together for any specific period of time.

You can start the process online here.


What are the main requirements and documents to submit?


As we have already mentioned, the requirements will vary according to the region. However, it will be important that:

  • Both members are over 18 or emancipated.
  • Are registered in the town hall jointly.
  • If applicable, they must provide evidence that demonstrates continued coexistence at the same address for 1 year.
  • The two members of the couple must bring their passport or ID.
  • They cannot be married already.
  • Both gay and heterosexual couples can be registered.

For more detailed information, here you will find a complete guide to the civil partnership in Spain, including all the related legislation


Family member of an EU citizen visa through civil union


Once we have registered the couple we are much closer to getting the papers.

At this time, the non-European citizen, by the mere fact of already having a family bond with her (European) partner, will possess the right to reside in Spain and to work legally in the country.

And this will materialize through the community card (which the non-European citizen must request).

This card has a duration of 5 years.

However, if you process it because your partner is a student, that duration will change. You will be granted residence for the time that your partner’s studies are planned. Therefore, we recommend not doing so through the student path.

Thus, he must attend the nearest immigration office to begin the process. There you must present the EX-19 model.


Which are the requirements to get the EU family card through civil union?


The main one will be to demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means by the European/Spanish citizen. The exact amount will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed. Or, otherwise, if you are a student or do not perform any kind of lucrative activity.

As a general rule, you can consider the need to demonstrate € 627.13 per month (€ 8779.82 per year).

To demonstrate these financial means, if you are working and registered in Social Security, you will not be asked to provide any additional documents. However, if you do not work, you must present a bank certificate in the name of the Union citizen.

Once the civil union is constituted, the requirements to be met are something simple.

As the couple is already legally registered, providing the certificate of registration will be another requirement to meet.

Finally, regarding the identification documentation required, the non-EU citizen must provide his passport, and the European citizen must have his or her DNI or EU registration certificate.

Once the resolution is received, it will only be necessary to register the fingerprints to obtain the residence card or TIE.


What happens if the civil union is dissolved once the residence card has been obtained?


This is another very frequent question that our clients ask us.

What if I break up with my partner and we cancel the civil partnership? Will I still have my residence permit?

It depends.

After all, it was that bond regulated through a civil union that allowed the non-EU citizen to obtain her residence permit. Thus, if this legal relationship is canceled, you will lose the right to reside and work legally in the country.

In that case, the non-EU citizen has the obligation in the following 3 months after canceling the partnership to modify her permit to another type of residence as well as notifying the immigration office that the European regime is no longer applicable.


The de facto couple has lasted a minimum of 3 years, and a period of joint living in the same domicile is demonstrated for at least 12 months.

In that case, the non-Europe citizen would continue to keep his card and legal status for the 5 years initially planned. And, once finished, she would be able to apply for permanent residence.


Spanish citizenship through “pareja de hecho”


In order to get Spanish citizenship certain years of uninterrupted residence in the Spanish territory are required. That number of years (2, 5 or 10), depends on the country of origin of the applicant.

However, there are certain cases in which the constitution of marriage involves the reduction of that period of time in just 1 year. This undoubtedly speeds up the process. A lot.

Is it possible to do the same with the civil union? Can nationality in Spain be obtained through “pareja de hecho”?

The answer is no.

Although the civil couple and marriage are comparable in many ways, they do not reach this point.

Thus, the citizen requesting nationality will have to reside in Spain for the period that corresponds to her according to her nationality. Regardless of whether she has a Spanish civil partner or not. 


Get help getting your residence permit


If you would like to have a team of specialized immigration lawyers by your side during the whole process to get residency easily …

Do not hesitate to contact us!

We will help you step by step so that getting the papers does not become a tedious problem.


Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and we’ll answer all your questions:


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