Logotipo Gentile Law

How long can I be out of Spain without losing residency?

How long can I be out of Spain without losing residency? Publicado: 22-03-2024

The immigration legislation in Spain sparks one of the most heated debates regarding the duration of absence from the country to maintain residency. For many European Union (EU) or non-EU citizens choosing to settle in Spain, the goal is long-term establishment. However, this desire for prolonged residency necessitates the periodic renewal of the residence permit, with specific requirements regarding the time allowed outside the national territory. 

Residency in Spain: A Commitment Over Time

Residency implies a commitment to the country that grants rights and responsibilities to residents. According to the law, exceeding the permitted time outside of Spain may result in the loss of the residence permit. This underscores the importance of understanding the established timelines and how they vary depending on the type of residence authorization. 

1. For holders of temporary permits or family permits of EU citizens, Royal Decree 557/2011, article 16.2.2, sets a maximum limit of six months of absence within a year. Exceeding this period would result in the loss of residency. 

Additionally, even with a temporary residence, if exits from the country amount to more than 365 days within a 5-year period, this type of residency would also be lost. 

It is noteworthy that the family permit of an EU citizen, although valid for 5 years, is still considered temporary residency. Therefore, the timelines for its loss are the same. However, once renewed, the permanent residence permit under the EU regime allows absences in Spain for up to 2 consecutive years. 

2. For holders of permanent or long-term permits, such as national long-term permits or those of the EU, the timelines are extended. In this case, the long-term or permanent residency will be lost if the individual has been outside the country for 12 continuous months, or more than 30 months within the last 5 years. 

How are the absence timelines calculated? 

Understanding how absence timelines are calculated is essential to avoid losing residency. 

1. For long-term or permanent community permits, the period begins when leaving the EU and ends upon re-entry into the common territory. 

2. For temporary permits, one must count one year backward from a specific date and verify if, during that period, they have been outside the country for more than 6 months.

Is it possible to recover residency after losing it due to absence? 

It is important to note that for any residency recovery process, the permit must be valid, despite having lost residency. For instance, if the permit validity expires in May and one seeks to initiate the recovery process in August, immigration authorities would reject the application. 

In the case of recovering an extinguished long-term permit, if the individual has been outside the country for more than 1 consecutive year, they can recover long-term residency. Even though the permit is extinguished, the right to reside in Spain remains valid, allowing for recovery. To do so, the foreigner must apply for a residency recovery visa at the Spanish consulate in their current country of residence. 

On the other hand, regarding the recovery of temporary residency permits, unfortunately, if the allowed time outside Spain has been exceeded, it is definitively lost. However, it is crucial to mention a ruling by the Contentious-Administartive Chamber of the Supreme Court, which declared null and void the article of Regulation of the Foreigners Law that establishes as a cause of extinction of the authorization of temporary residence in Spain for foreign citizens the stay outside Spain for more than six months in a one-year period. This limitation of a fundamental right such as freedom of movement should be established by Organic Law. 

Final Remarks

In conclusion, the question of how long one can stay outside Spain without losing residency is crucial for those wishing to settle in the country. The answer varies depending on the type of residence authorization, and it is essential to understand the timelines and requirements to avoid losing residency. In any case, having specialized assistance can facilitate and expedite the process of renewal or recovery of residency in Spain. If you are interested in initiating the process for residency recovery, from the Immigration Department of Gentile Law, we have specialists in the processing of these types of procedures that offer a more efficient and secure process. 


Send Comment