For members


How to travel to Spain if your residency document has expired

What happens if you want to travel, but your Spanish residency document has expired or you're waiting for it to be renewed? Will you still be allowed back into the country? Here's how to make sure you can return to Spain.

How to travel to Spain if your residency document has expired
An 'autorización de regreso' (return permit) may not be granted to foreigners who are subject to a ban on leaving Spain or a limitation on their freedom of movement. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

The short answer is yes, you can return to Spain. As long as you have a valid passport that is in date, you will still be able to travel out of Spain and return again.

However, you will need to apply for an autorización de regreso or re-entry permit.  

Non-EU citizens should get a TIE if they live in Spain. This will either be a temporary residence document valid for five years or a permanent one, valid for 10 years. When this document expires, you will have to renew it and if you have to travel during this time, you will need to apply for the autorización de regreso.

READ ALSO: Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?

What is an autorización de regreso?

According to the Spanish government the autorización de regreso is a document authorising foreign residents to be able to exit and return to Spain during a period of renewal or extension or their residence card such as a TIE.

It is generally needed when you want to return to Spain by plane or ferry, as residency documents are usually not checked at Spain’s land borders.

This is a document that only gives you the right to return to Spain, it doesn’t have anything to do with your permission to enter other EU countries.

In order to be eligible to apply for the autorización de regreso you must:

  • Be the holder of a residence document and have initiated the renewal or extension process of the authorisation that enables you to remain in Spain within the legal term.
  • Be the holder of a valid foreign identity card and have submitted a request for a duplicate card due to theft, loss, destruction or expiry.
  • Prove that the trip responds to a situation of need and there are exceptional reasons why you need to travel during this time.
  • Have your initial residence or authorisation favourably resolved.

You may also need to apply for a return permit if you’re newly arrived in Spain and haven’t received your TIE card yet, but need to return to your home country or travel while you’re waiting.

The Spanish government states that: “An autorización de regreso may not be granted to foreigners who are subject to a ban on leaving Spain or a limitation on their freedom of movement agreed by the Judicial Authority as a precautionary measure or in an extradition process, or as a result of a final judgment”. 

What is the application process?  

You can apply for the autorización de regreso at any public registry, immigration office (extranjería) or the police station corresponding to the province where you are registered.

You will usually need to get a prior appointment or cita previa beforehand, so make sure you do it as soon as possible as it may take longer than expected to get an appointment if you’re in a part of Spain with a large foreign population. When you get your appointment, you will need to take with you the following:

  • Application form – modelo EX-13 in duplicate, completed and signed.   
  • A copy of the complete passport or registration card or valid travel document.
  • A copy of the request for the renewal or extension of the foreign identity card, or proof of its presentation.
  • Supporting documentation to show that the trip responds to a situation of need and there are exceptional circumstances.

Remember that as well as the documents above, you will generally need photocopies as well as the originals.  You will also need to pay the associated fee of €10.30 and download the Modelo 790 in order for the fee to be processed.  

How long will the process take?

Usually, your authorisation will either be granted on the spot or within a few days, however when it comes to Spanish bureaucracy, there are often delays, so be aware that it could take up to two weeks if the police have many other applications to process at the same time.

How long is the authoristaion valid for?  

According to Spain’s National Police website, “it will be valid for no more than ninety days (3 months) from the expiration of the residence or stay permit, if requested prior to said expiration”.

The return authorisation may be used for all the departures and the subsequent returns that are required during its validity.

READ ALSO: Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?

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For members


‘Only the rich will travel’: How EU rules could cost Spain 11 million tourists

EU measures to reduce the aviation sector's net emissions by 2050 could have a huge impact on Spain's tourism industry and economy, the country's main airline and tourism associations have warned.

'Only the rich will travel': How EU rules could cost Spain 11 million tourists

Leading airline bosses have warned that EU plans to reduce the aviation industry’s net emissions to zero by 2050 could have a major impact on the Spanish tourism sector, with potential losses of 11 million international tourists a year, according to a report.

The startling figure comes from a report made by consulting firm Deloitte, who estimate that the loss of tourists could mean a reduction in Spain’s GDP by around 1.6 percent (roughly €23 billion) and the loss of 430,000 jobs by 2030. 

The economic impact would be felt across different sectors, too, with the hospitality sector projected to lose €3.6 billion, and the new tax measures on aviation alone would mean a 0.9 percent drop in GDP and 236,000 jobs lost.

READ ALSO: Spain eyes tourism record after ‘dazzling’ summer surge

For a country like Spain, whose tourism sector makes almost 13 percent of its overall GDP, the socioeconomic effects could be dramatic.

Spain is the second most visited tourist destination in the world, with over 80 million visitors a year, and it is expected that it could be one of the countries most effected by the incoming changes to the aviation sector as eight out of every ten international visitors to Spain come by plane.

The Deloitte report was presented at an event jointly held by the ALA, Spain’s airline association, and the CEOE, its business federation, during which the presidents of both bodies met with the bosses of some of the biggest airlines in the Spanish market.

‘Only the rich will travel’

The environmental measures wouldn’t only have an impact on the Spanish economy or its big airlines, however.

At the meeting Jesús Cierco, Corporate Director at Iberia Express, expressed his fear that “these measures will make only the elites able to travel,” suggesting that any increased costs to the aviation industry could be passed down to the consumer. These include the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) , the restriction of emission rights, the application of a tax on kerosene and the possible application of a €7.85 tax on airline tickets.

The Deloitte report suggests that the use of sustainable fuel to meet the 2050 deadline, which is as much as 6 times more expensive than normal fuel, combined with a tax on kerosene and reduced CO2, which will also become more expensive, mean that costs could rise for the consumer – in this case tourists hoping for cheap flights abroad. 

READ ALSO: How Spain is imposing caps on visitor numbers for its top attractions

Javier Gándara, president of ALA, explained that “airlines are committed to achieving zero net emissions by 2050 and we are already on the path of decarbonisation.”

“The sector agrees with the environmental measures that contribute to achieving this goal,” he added, “and we are willing to assume an extra cost to the extent that they contribute to the decarbonisation of the sector.”

Gándara did however warn that the measures could have an “impact on the tourism sector,” something he considers “an economic pillar for Spain.”