How to get long-term EU residency in Spain: step by step

How to get the long-term EU visa in Spain as a non-EU citizen

After being an auxiliar for one year and working for nearly five (both on contract and as a freelancer), I finally reached eligibility to apply for a sweet long-term visa. In this article, I share my experience in successfully applying for residencia de larga duración–EU.

If you’ve been living and working in Spain for five years and you’re not European, then you may be eligible to apply for this type of residency. But it may not be your only or best option. Learn about alternatives in our previous article on permanent and long-term residency options in Spain.

Keep in mind that “working” applies to those either on contract at a company (cuenta ajena) or working for themselves on a freelance visa (cuenta propia). Any time spent working on a student visa (I’m looking at you, auxes) counts for 50%, time-wise. So if you’ve only ever been an auxiliar, you’d have to be an aux for ten years to be eligible for this type of residence.

Also keep in mind that you must have physically been in Spain most of that time. Extended time outside of the country can impact your eligibility.

The process

Luckily, the process for applying for this type of residency is pretty straight forward if you meet the requirements. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make an appointment at a registro público
  2. Get your documents in order
  3. Submit at your appointment
  4. Wait (up to three months)

Let’s look at each of those steps in detail.

1. Make an appointment at a registro público

The system for making an appointment at a registro público is different from making an appointment, for example, at Aluche. This is because the office in Aluche is specifically for extranjería (foreigners’ office), while a registro público is simply an office where any person in Spain (citizen or not) can go to submit documentation for many different bureaucratic processes. They simply scan your documents and then send them to a different office for processing (presumably to reduce traffic at those key offices, like the foreigners’ office).

To make this appointment, visit the webpage on the Comunidad de Madrid site. As far as I know, you can make it for any of the offices labeled oficina de registro, regardless of their area of specialty (education, environment, justice…). I always go to either the one on Calle Gran Vía, 3, or the one at Plaza de Chamberí, 8, because they’re both central and quite nice. However, any of them should work!

Just click on:

> Acceder

> Prove you’re not a robot 😉 and click Solicitar Cita.

> You can select any of the office types, as I said above. For the Gran Vía office, you’ll have to select 01. Consejería de Presidencia, Justicia e Interior (OFICINA 360)

> Choose the Gran Vía office, and the service type is Registro de documentación

> If you’re only submitting documents for one process, you can put “1″ for Número de registros.

Choose your time and date and you’re good to go!

2. Get your documents in order

If you’re at this point in your journey in Spain, you’ve surely applied for other visa types. The documentation needed for this application is no different. You can find the official list of documents required on the government page here

They include:

  • A good old-fashioned EX-11 application form
  • A good old-fashioned tasa (fee): Modelo 790 código 052 epígrafe 2.6
  • Full copy of your passport (and bring the original to the appointment)
  • Proof you can support yourself economically. This is kept vague, but I personally used a bank statement (simply how much I had in my account) plus my IRPF file (summary of annual income taxes paid).
  • Proof you have health insurance. This doesn’t have to be private! I was a freelancer when I applied, so I just included proof I was in the Spanish health system (a photocopy of my healthcare card and a document from social security saying I had the right to access healthcare in Spain). However, if you need a private health insurance, Spainguru recommends this one: link to health insurance page

Don’t stress too much about proving you have lots of money. The Spanish government just wants to make sure you’re not at risk of going bankrupt. Just show them records of how much you’ve paid in taxes, or any other proof of a stable income, and you should be fine!

3. Submit at your appointment

This was the easiest trámite of all time, seriously. It’s great to submit at the registro because A) they don’t ask you questions, they just submit the documents; and B) they tend to be very kind (as opposed to my experience at foreigners’ offices). I just prepared all my documents—and a copy of each—and I was in and out in five minutes.

They will give you a recibo de registro de documentación. This just shows that you submitted the documents, but not necessarily that the application has been filed (it hasn’t been yet). This means you don’t have a número de expediente yet. 

So how do you get it? It’s the same place where you can check the status of your application. Check out Información sobre el estado del expediente de extranjería and login with either your Cl@ve Pin or your information: NIE, birthday, and the day you applied. Note: the day you applied might be in the system as one or two days after you dropped off your paperwork at the registro, so you may have to play around with the date.

4. Wait (up to three months)

You’re done! The Spanish government has 3 months to give you your resolution. In my case, it took about 6 weeks to get approved. The website mentioned above will be updated first, but it’s only to inform you of the status of the application, and cannot be used to apply for your TIE.

However, soon after, you’ll receive the official, physical letter that says ‘Resultado favorable’ in the mail. You’ll need that letter to apply for your shiny, new TIE.

Next steps

If you’ve been working in Spain for this many years, you know this next step like the back of your hand. With the ‘resultado favorable’ paper in hand, it’s time to make an appointment to get your TIE (this will hopefully be the last time you’ll have to do this for five years!). Remember, of course, to bring your official letter with the ‘resultado favorable’ resolution on it.

And that’s it, you’re done! Good luck on your journey to becoming a resident of Europe. I hope it was helpful!

For more information on the requirements for this type of residency, check out our blog post about long term residency options, which also compares this process to other similar ones.

Anonymous author

The author is a multilingual content creator from the US. After studying Spanish, Translation and Interpretation, and International Studies at Indiana University, she moved to Madrid, where she’s been working as a copywriter, editor, and translator since 2016.