For members


Reader question: Does Spain’s TIE residency card always have an expiry date?

Does the residency document issued to non-EU nationals (including Britons now) living in Spain always have to be renewed after a period of time?

expiry date tie card spain
Image: anncapictures/Pixabay

The Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Foreign Identity Card) – more commonly known as the TIE – is the residency document foreigners from outside the EU/EEA need to get to live in Spain.

It’s now also the residency document being issued to UK nationals in Spain who hadn’t registered as residents before July 2020 (when it first replaced the old green residency documents).

Does the TIE always have an expiry date? Yes.

Unlike many of the older green Certificado de Registro residency documents for EU residents in Spain which have no expiry date on them, or the NIE foreign identity number which always stays the same and doesn’t have to be updated, the biometric TIE card does have an expiry date, even if you’ve been living in Spain for more than ten years and could by then apply for Spanish citizenship. 

When you are issued with your TIE card for the first time, it will initially be valid for a period of five years, after which you can apply for permanent residency and will receive a 10-year TIE card.

This card needs to be renewed every 10 years, by applying for a renovación or renewal. You will need to start the renewal process three months before the expiry date.

It’s also worth noting that if you do become a Spanish citizen, you have to renew your DNI Spanish ID card every ten years if you’re aged between 30 and 70, after that the document has no expiry date.

To apply for your TIE , the Spanish government website states that you need:

  • your completed EX17 application form
  • your passport
  • recent photographs of yourself
  • The resolution of the authorisation of the card
  • Proof of payment of the corresponding fee
  • Proof of registration in the Social Security system, if this applies to you

British residents in Spain 

Brits who were already residents don’t need to change their green residency document for a TIE but have been strongly encouraged to do so by both the Spanish and the British authorities. 

British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott explained: “ As was always said, the green certificate is a valid document to prove your residency and your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement in Spain, and that’s not changing. However, both we and the Spanish government would now strongly encourage you to take steps to exchange the green certificate for the new biometric TIE.”

When you exchange your green residency card for a TIE, it will be valid for either five years or ten years, depending on how long you have been living in Spain.

If you apply for the TIE and have been resident in Spain for less than five years, you will be issued with a temporary TIE, valid for five years. If you apply for the TIE and have been resident in Spain for more than five years, you will be issued with a permanent TIE, which is valid for 10 years.

According to Perez Legal Group “If you have already been living in Spain as a resident, then this time counts towards the five years. For example, if you moved to Spain two years ago, you only need to wait three years to apply for long-term TIE card”.

Once you have your 10-year permanent TIE card, you will continue to renew it every 10 years, just like all other non-EU residents. The renewal process is exactly the same as described above. 


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For members


EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

Moving to another country is never easy, as it requires going through cultural changes and administrative formalities. It can be even more complicated when looking for a job.

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

According to new data released by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the knowledge of the national language and the recognition of professional qualifications are the two most common obstacles experienced by foreign-born people in finding a ‘suitable’ job in countries of the European Union.

Overall, about a quarter of people born outside the EU who had experience in working or looking for work in the bloc reported some difficulties getting a ‘suitable’ job for level of education (without considering the field of expertise or previous experience).

The Eurostat analysis shows that the situation is better for EU citizens moving within the bloc. But there are major differences depending on countries and gender.

Life can be more difficult for women

In 2021, 13.2 percent of men and 20.3 percent of women born in another European Union country reported obstacles in getting a suitable job in the EU place of residence.

These proportions however increase to 20.9 percent for men and 27.3 percent for women born in a non-EU country with a high level of development (based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index) and 31.1 percent for men and 35.7 percent for women from non-EU countries with a low or medium level of development.

Finland (42.9 percent), Sweden (41.7 percent), Luxembourg (34.6 percent) and France (32.1 percent) are the countries with the highest shares of people born outside the EU reporting problems. Norway, which is not part of the bloc, has an even higher percentage, 45.2, and Switzerland 34.3 percent.

In contrast, Cyprus (11.2 percent), Malta (10.9 percent), Slovenia (10.2 percent), Latvia (10 percent) and Lithuania (6.7 percent) have the lowest proportion of people born outside the EU reporting difficulties.

Lack of language skills

The lack of skills in the national language is most commonly cited as a hurdle, and it is even more problematic for women.

This issue was reported by 4.2 percent of men born in another EU country, 5.3 percent of those born in a developed country outside the EU and 9.7 percent of those from a non-EU country with a middle or low level of development. The corresponding shares for women, however, were 5.6, 6.7 and 10.5 percent respectively.

The countries where language skills were more likely to be reported by non-EU citizens as an obstacle in getting a relevant job were Finland (22.8 percent), Luxembourg (14.7 percent) and Sweden (13.1 percent).

As regards other countries covered by The Local, the percentage of non-EU citizens citing the language as a problem was 12.4 percent in Austria, 10.2 percent in Denmark, 7.8 percent in France, 5.1 percent in Italy, 2.7 percent in Spain, 11.1 percent on Norway and 10.1 percent in Switzerland. Data is not available for Germany.

Portugal (77.4 percent), Croatia (68.8 percent), Hungary (58.8 percent) and Spain (58.4 percent) have the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving, while more than 70 percent of non-EU citizens residing in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway said they had participated in language courses after arrival.

Lisbon Portugal

Portugal has the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving. (Photo by Aayush Gupta on Unsplash)

Recognition of qualifications

Another hurdle on the way to a relevant job in EU countries is the lack of recognition of a formal qualification obtained abroad. This issue was reported by 2 percent of men and 3.8 percent of women born in another EU country. It was also mentioned by 3.3 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women born in a developed country outside the EU, and 4.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Eurostat says this reflects an “unofficial distrust” among employers of qualification obtained abroad and the “low official validation of foreign education”.

The lack of availability of a suitable job was another factor mentioned in the survey. In Croatia, Portugal and Hungary, this was the main obstacle to getting an adequate position.

This issue concerned 3.3 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women born in another EU country, 4.2 percent of men and 5 percent of women born in a developed non-EU country It also worried 3.9 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Restricted right to work due to citizenship or residence permits, as well as plain discrimination on the grounds of origin were also cited as problems.

Discrimination was mostly reported by people born in a less developed non-EU country (3.1 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women) compared to people born in highly developed non-EU countries (1.9 percent for men and 2.2 percent for women).

Citizenship and residence permits issues are unusual for people from within the EU. For people from outside the EU, this is the only area where women seem to have fewer problems than men: 1.6 percent of women from developed non-EU countries reported this issue, against 2.1 percent of men, with the share increasing to 2.8 and 3.3 percent respectively for women and men from less developed non-EU states.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.