If you have applied for Spanish nationality by residency and need or want to travel abroad, keep on reading. Because in this article we will definitively solve a common question among applicants, the question of whether it is really possible to travel outside Spain and leave the country while your citizenship file is being processed and you are still waiting for a resolution.
Undoubtedly this is a crucial point and one that generates fear among foreigners, since after so much time preparing your application and experiencing important waiting times, the last thing that should happen is to get your file denied simply because you did not know the answer to this question.
So without further ado, let’s find the right answer.
Can I travel outside Spain if my citizenship file is still being processed and I am waiting for an answer?
Yes, it is totally possible to leave Spain and travel while abroad you are awaiting the resolution of your Spanish nationality file.
However, we must be careful with this answer and set some limits, because although it is true that departures are allowed, you still have to comply with a series of obligations as a Spanish resident.
Therefore, what are you allowed and what are you not allowed to do?
You can enjoy a short-duration trip abroad that does not extend beyond the allowed time (which we analyze below how much it is precisely).
You can even leave frequently and enter the country back as long as you can justify your reasons (usually that would be work-related).
But you cannot submit your nationality application and then automatically go back to your country of origin with the idea of returning once you receive a favorable decision; nor can you leave for a long and prolonged period of time.
Therefore, the key thing here is to understand how long you can actually and precisely stay away while waiting for the decision from the Ministry of Justice.
But before we take a look at this maximum duration allowed for travel, we must first understand a fundamental concept: supervening irregularity (“irregularidad sobrevenida” in Spanish).
Supervening irregularity and its relation to your nationality application
In principle, supervening irregularity is not a cause of refusal of your nationality application.
That is to say, turning into an irregular situation once you have already presented your nationality by residency application (that is, strictly afterwards), would not invalidate that application and would still allow you to obtain a favorable answer.
What is evaluated in order to issue a favorable response (or deny the application) is that you have complied with the requirements up to the time of the application (before).
However, in order to avoid legal problems in the final stages of the procedure (after your citizenship is finally granted and you must carry out the oath phase, for example, or obtaining your Spanish ID and passport), it is strongly advisable that you keep your residency in force and fully valid.
And this should be your main goal while waiting for your application’s response: not to lose your residency card or resident status, as this is the factor that will largely determine the following point.
In addition, in case you receive a negative result and you are not granted citizenship, you would be left without residency in Spain (hence becoming an irregular citizen in the country) and therefore you would have to return back to your country of origin with no option to stay.
How long can I stay out of Spain if I am applying for citizenship?
As we have just seen, the most important thing is that you do not lose your residency in Spain.
Thus, the exact time you can be outside of the Spanish territory because of your trip does not depend on any rule required by the citizenship procedure, but it has to do with the type of card you have and its requirements to avoid losing it.
In that sense, we find the following main options:
- If you are the holder of a temporary residency card (1-2 years), you cannot be outside Spain for more than 6 months in a one-year period
- For long-term residence holders (5 years), no more than one consecutive year outside the European Union is permitted
- And for those who have a permanent community card, no more than 2 consecutive years outside Spain
Here you can find one of our articles in which you will find the complete list of residences with the maximum time allowed outside Spain.
Receiving your citizenship resolution while being outside of Spain
In addition, there is another negative consequence you could suffer from as long as you travel outside Spain for too long while waiting for your resolution.
What happens if you receive your favorable resolution while you are out of the country?
In principle, there would not be any problem, since you would receive the notification, both by post mail and by online means.
You would be able to check the status of your file online at all times through the “cómo va lo mío” portal at all times, and know almost instantly that you have finally been granted citizenship.
However, once you are granted citizenship there is a very important deadline to respect.
You have a maximum of 180 days to take the oath, and if you wait more than this time you will lose your nationality.
So, as long as you can make sure that you will be alert to receive your resolution (if you are not in Spain through cómo va lo mío since you would not see your post mail), and you make an appointment for the oath within the deadline, you would not have any problem.
But many times long trips make the foreigner see the notification months later when returning to his home in Spain, once it is too late.
Conclusion: you can leave the country, but be careful with time spent abroad
In short, and as a conclusion to this article, it is possible to travel and leave Spain while waiting for the resolution.
If you need to go on vacation for a month or two to your country of origin, there will be no problem whatsoever. Your process will not be affected, and you will be able to resume the next steps as normal when you return to the Spanish territory.
However, in order for this to be the case and for there really to be no problem, you must ensure that you meet two main goals:
- That your residency card does not get extinguished, so you cannot stay outside Spain longer than the time your type of residency allows
- Be aware of a possible favorable resolution and make sure that you request the appointment for the oath within the established deadline
However, if you still have doubts or would like to ensure that your citizenship application gets 100% approved and you follow all the steps correctly, our team of lawyers is at your complete disposal. Fill out the following form with your information and particular case, and we will contact you as soon as possible: