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Last update 18-06-2021

Permanent residence (more than five years)

Permanent residence

Citizens of a Member State of the European Union and family members who are not EU Member State nationals acquire the right of permanent residence in Spain if they have lived there legally for a continuous period of five years.

The right of permanent residence may also be enjoyed before completion of a continuous period of five years of residence by:

  • Workers or self-employed persons who, at the time they stop working, have reached the age laid down by Spanish law for entitlement to an old age pension, provided that they have been working in Spain for at least the preceding twelve months and have resided there continuously for more than three years. The condition as to length of residence does not apply if the EU citizen is the spouse or registered partner of a Spanish citizen, or of a citizen who has lost his/her Spanish nationality as a result of entering into a marriage or registered partnership with the worker.
  • Self-employed persons who take early retirement, provided that  they have been working in Spain for at least the preceding twelve months and have resided there continuously for more than three years. The condition as to length of residence does not apply if the EU citizen is the spouse or registered partner of a Spanish citizen, or of a citizen who has lost his/her Spanish nationality as a result of entering into a marriage or registered partnership with the worker.
  • Workers or self-employed persons who have resided continuously in Spain for more than two years and stop working there as a result of permanent incapacity to work. There is no requirement to prove the length of residence if such incapacity is the result of an accident at work or an occupational disease entitling the person concerned to a benefit payable in full or in part by an Spanish public authority, or if the citizen is the spouse or registered partner of a Spanish citizen or a citizen who has lost his/her Spanish nationality as a result of entering into a marriage or registered partnership the worker.
  • Workers or self-employed persons who, after three years of continuous employment and residence in Spain, work in an employed or self-employed capacity in another Member State, while retaining their place of residence in the Spain, to which they return, as a rule, each day or at least once a week. For the purposes of entitlement to the right of residence only, periods of employment spent in another Member State of the European Union are to be regarded as having been spent in Spain.

Family members of a Spanish citizen, or of a citizen of another Member State of the European Union, who are not Member State nationals and who reside in Spain may obtain a permanent residence card for family members of an EU citizen if they have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in Spain, provided that the family relationship on the basis of which their residence card was issued still exists, or if they retain their right of residence as family members of EU citizens in the case of death, order for annulment of the marriage, divorce or dissolution of a registered partnership.

Irrespective of nationality, the family members of the EU citizen who are residing with him/her in Spain are to have the right of permanent residence in Spain if the EU citizen has acquired that right for himself/herself. If the EU citizen dies before acquiring permanent residence status in Spain, the family members who are residing with him/her in Spain are to acquire the right of permanent residence there, on condition that:

  1. the EU citizen had, at the time of death, resided continuously in Spain for at least two years; or
  2. the death resulted from an accident at work or an occupational disease; or
  3. the surviving spouse lost his/her Spanish nationality as a result of his/her marriage to the EU citizen who has died.

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Application

The person concerned must apply in person at the Non-nationals Office) of the province in which he/she resides or, failing that, at the relevant police station.

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Documentation

Along with the duly completed application form, the person concerned must submit the original and a copy of the following documents:

  • A valid passport or identity document. If it has expired, a copy of the expired document and of the renewal application.
  • Documentary evidence of payment of the fees charged for issuing the certificate.
  • Documentary evidence of the circumstances in which the right of permanent residence was acquired, except where it was acquired by virtue of having lived in Spain legally for a continuous period of five years.

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Authority responsible for the information

Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration
State Secretariat for Migration
Directorate-General for Migration