Residency permits For Members

What happens if I don't renew my TIE residency card in Spain?

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What happens if I don't renew my TIE residency card in Spain?
There's a difference between renewing your residency and renewing your residency card in Spain.

After five years of temporary residency in Spain you can apply for long-term residency. But what happens if you don't? How about if you already have a long-term residency card and don't renew it after five years?


The important thing to know here is that there's a difference between not renewing your residency altogether and not renewing your residency card if it's lost or expired, and that there's a difference between changing from temporary residency to long-term and renewing your long-term residency card.


What happens if I don't renew my long-term residency card?

After five years residing in Spain with a temporary residency card you can apply for your long-term residency card, known as Tarjeta de Larga Duración in Spanish.

It's often referred to as tarjeta de residencia permanente (permanent residency card), and it even states permanente on the card, but it's not technically true that it's a permanent card that can't cease to be valid. Long-term TIEs should be renewed every five years.

If you forget to renew your long-term residency card or do it after the expiration deadline, you shouldn't have any major problems.

Legally speaking, failing to renew the long-term TIE would not be a reason for losing your residency, according to immigration lawyers from Balcells group. Nor would losing or damaging it, because by renewing a long-term residency card you are in effect just getting a new card and not renewing your legal long-term rights to reside in Spain.

So, if you do not renew the card, you still maintain your right to reside in Spain, but your physical card would not be valid as it has expired.

If the police stop you and ask for your residence card and it has expired, you could be fined.

It's worth noting that you can only renew a long-term residency card in Spain after it has expired.

What happens if I don't change from a temporary residency card to a long-term card?

If you fail to change your temporary residency to a long-term residency you could lose your residency rights and theoretically even be removed from the country if caught.

You must start the process within 60 days before your temporary TIE's expiration and up to 90 days after, giving you around five months in total to do it.


Fortunately, moving from temporary to long-term residency has recently become easier for foreign nationals living in Spain after the Spanish Supreme court  changed the rules regarding the conditions for renewal, and ruled that temporary residency permits will not be withdrawn from those who have been outside the country for six months or more. For many foreigners in Spain, this requirement was one of the major stumbling blocks to gaining long-term residency rights.

What isn't clear yet is if Spanish migration authorities will set a new limit to the amount of time that can be spent outside of Spain with temporary residency.

READ ALSO: EX-11: How to get your long-term residency card in Spain


How to renew your long-term residency card Spain

While renewing your temporary permit is pretty crucial, renewing the long-term residency is a little more relaxed in Spain.

For people with long-term residency who have lived in Spain for 10 years - that is those who are approaching their second application process (the first being from temporary to long-term residency after five years) - renewing your long-term card must be done after it has expired, so it can't be done before the expiration date as it can when moving from temporary to long-term.

To renew your long-term residency card you will have to prove you haven't committed any serious crimes in Spain and that you haven't spent more than 12 consecutive months outside of the European Union. You'll need to complete form EX-17 and provide some paperwork to your assigned extranjería office (padrón, passport and photocopy, expired residency card, proof of payment of modelo 790-012 fee and a new passport-sized photo).

Immigration lawyers at Balcells Group do recommend trying to make an appointment to start the process the day after your card is set to expire so you aren't left with an expired card for too long.

According to the Spanish National Police website, the body that handles these sorts of residency renewals, "foreigners who hold a long-term residence permit or an EU long-term residence permit must apply for renewal of the TIE every five years."

Information about the process and documents needed to renew the long-term residency can be found on the police website.

READ ALSO: Can you use your Spanish residency card rather than your passport to travel?


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