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

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

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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