Are you living in Spain with your long-term card and the time to renew is around the corner? In this article you will find all the answers you need. We will analyze how the process to extend your residence in the country for 5 more years work so you can understand what are the 2 fundamental requirements you must fulfill and what documents you must provide. So if you want to renew your long-term residency easily, read on!

What is the long-term residency?


Before diving deep into the renewal process, let’s first provide a bit of context.

What exactly is long-term residence and how can it be obtained?

The long-run residency card (which you may probably know by its former permanent residence name) is the residence permit granted to a foreigner who has been living in Spain continuously and legally for 5 years.

That is to say, after several renewals of your temporary residency, you will be able to acquire this card with an indefinite character.

Its main advantage?

That once you acquire it you will be guaranteed the right to reside in Spain indefinitely. That is, forever.

The only thing you will have to worry about then is renewing your TIE or physical card (the plastic that contains your photo, name, and type of residence); which is what we will cover throughout this article.

In addition, this permanent residency will allow you to work as an employee or self-employed, and to regroup your parents. And as if that were not enough, you do not need to have sufficient economic means to apply for it (in fact you do not even have to be working at the time of application).

In order to obtain it, the only requirement you must meet is making sure you haven’t been outside Spain for more than 6 months in a row and no more than a total of 10 months during the past 5 years.

If you want more information about permanent residency and the step-by-step legal process to obtain it, you can find out more in this complete guide.


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How does it work?


Let’s take a look at exactly how the renewal process works.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that this is a completely easy and simple procedure, especially if you compare it with any renewal you may have done before in Spain.

No more economic means, no more long paperwork.

Why is that? Very simple: as we have mentioned, here you do not renew your right to reside in Spain (that is something already guaranteed to you for life). In this case, what you renew is the plastic or physical document that contains your type of residence, a procedure that is much more agile.

Thus, every 5 years (the duration of this card until it expires) you must renew your long-term residence in Spain, following the procedure detailed below.

However, after 10 years living in Spain (that is, after the first renewal of this card) you can apply for citizenship by residence in Spain. From then on you won’t have to worry about renewals anymore.


renew long-run residency


What are the requirements for renewal?


You must make sure that you meet (just) 2 totally fundamental requirements in order to successfully renew this long-term card, although as you will see in a second they are not very demanding from a legal standpoint.

However, you must again bear in mind that you are only renewing the card itself (and not the right to reside in the country). Hence, in most cases when you haven’t renewed properly (either due to missing requirements or due to a missed deadline), your foreigner identity card can be recovered quite easily.

But our recommendation will always be to comply with the immigration laws and to carry out the process correctly from the beginning to avoid problems and extra legal hassle.


Do not exceed the maximum time of residence outside the country


First of all, you can’t have stayed more than 30 months in total outside the European Union during the 5 years during which you have lived with this card if you want to renew it.

And note that we haven’t mentioned outside Spain (as happened for the initial application for this card). This requirement refers to the European Union as a whole.

Therefore, meeting it is much easier.

And if you are going to be out of the EU for a long period of time, you can always enter any country of the Union in a timely manner before reaching those 12 months in a row just to have your passport stamped, hence continuing to comply with this requirement.


No serious criminal record


On the other hand, the second requirement you must meet is the lack of serious criminal records.

Although we recommend that you avoid criminal records (of any kind) as much as possible, usually just serious crimes will prevent you from successfully renewing.

Minor sanctions are not often a problem for the authorities.

However, try to avoid at all costs to commit any kind of crime or illegality in the country.


Where and when should I renew?


This is one of the most frequent questions we receive, but it should not generate any headaches due to how the simplicity of the entire process.

The first thing you should take into account is when.

You cannot renew your long-term residence while it is still valid. That is, the national police will not manage your renewal unless your card has already expired. This is something new if compared with the renewal of a regular work permit.

That is why our recommendation is the following.

First of all, clearly mark in your calendar the card’s date of expiration. A few weeks before that time, start the procedure to get an appointment for renewal, something you can do through this link.

Try to get an appointment the day after the card expires, thus minimizing the amount of time you will spend without a valid document.

Where will all of this take place? The renewal is done at the nearest foreigner’s police station according to your usual residence.


How does the process work?


Once you get an appointment and attend the police station on the day and time given to you, you must submit all the necessary documentation (which we will see in the next section).

If everything is correct, you will register your fingerprints once again, and the administration will start the process to issue your new card.

This means that on this day you will leave without a valid document, as the new one will be in process.

After approximately 20-30 days you will be able to pick up your new card again.

But you might be wondering: what if I want to leave Spain during that month when I don’t have a valid card? How will I be able to get back in?

The answer is simple: you must request a return authorization (“autorización de regreso”).

This document, which is valid during the time your new card is being processed and issued, will allow you to cross the Spanish borders again easily and legally.


What do I need to renew my long-term residence card? Required documents


Let’s now understand which is the list of documents that you will have to provide in order to renew successfully:

  • Firstly, your residence card (now expired), and a copy of it.
  • As always, your passport (valid and in force) plus a complete copy of it.
  • ID photos to be stamped on the new card.
  • Application form EX-17.
  • In case of changing your address, “empadronamiento” or registry certificate, which can be obtained on your townhall.
  • Proof that you have paid the relevant fees, with a cost of € 20.60 (this amount varies every year).
  • You may be asked to provide proof that you have not been outside the EU for more than 12 consecutive months, although with the passport stamps this is more than proven.


Do you still have doubts or would you like our team of lawyers to manage the renewal for you? Then don’t think twice: reach out and let us help you!


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


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