Arraigo Familiar or Family roots: how to request it from outside Spain

In many cases, people who are outside of Spain have relatives in Spain and want to join them. However, they may find it difficult to obtain a residence permit due to a lack of roots or “arraigo” in Spain. Arraigo Familiar is a way of demonstrating strong ties to Spain and is way for obtaining a residence permit. In this article, we will explain how to apply for Arraigo Familiar from outside Spain.

What is the Arraigo Familiar or Family roots?

Arraigo Familiar is a situation in which a person has solid ties to Spain, either through relatives or other significant relationships. The objective of arraigo familiar is to avoid the separation of families and promote their reunification.

Legally, it is an residence authorization for exceptional circumstances (Autorización de Residencia por Circunstancias Excepcionales).

Requirements to apply for Arraigo Familiar

Currently, some Spanish nationals’ relatives are required to obtain an Arraigo Familiar. Certain relatives have been included in the Immigration Regulations since the change of the immigration regulations took effect on August 16, 2022, specifically within the figure of Arraigo Familiar. So, if you are relative of a Spaniard, you must ask for a Arraigo Familiar.

Here are the four main assumptions:

  • The spouse or legal common-law partner (pareja de hecho) of a Spanish national.
  • Descendants under the age of 21 or dependents over the age of 21 of a citizen of Spanish nationality, or of their spouse or common-law partner. 
  • Ascendants above the age of 65 or dependents under the age of 65.
  • You are the son of a father or mother who was originally Spanish.

Therefore, for example, if you are an American or a British citizen who got married to a Spaniard, and would like to move to Spain, one of the residency options is to obtain the Arraigo Familiar, which is typically good for 5 years and permits you to live and work in Spain with no restrictions. With this kind of permit, you are given permission to work for someone else’s account as well as for yourself, and you are free to engage in any of these activities without doing any other procedure. After the initial 5 years, you will be able to obtain the long-term residence permit for another 5 years.

However, for the last case (Being the son of a father or mother who was originally Spanish) the duration of this authorization will only be one year, and after that year will need to be renewed.

Also notice that, if you are a relative of a Spanish citizen but do not fall under these circumstances (E.g. you are the sister of a Spanish citizen, etc.), you must apply for a Residency Card for a Community Member, through the concept of Extended Family (Tarjeta de Residencia de Familiar de Comunitario, a través del concepto de familia extensa). These relatives have not been covered by the figure of Arraigo Familiar and therefore it will be necessary to continue obtaining the Community Card (Tarjeta Comunitaria).

Also, there are extra requirements for the Arraigo Familiar

  • You cannot be a citizen of one of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, to which the Union citizen regime applies.
  • You must not have any criminal records for crimes covered by the Spanish legal system both in Spain and in their prior residences.
  • Not being barred from entering Spain 

Necessary documentation to apply for Arraigo Familiar

To apply for Arraigo Familiar, it is necessary to present the following documentation:

  • Official application form (EX-10) in duplicate, properly filled out and signed by the foreigner.
  • Complete copy of passport, travel document or registration card with a minimum validity of four months.
  • Criminal record certificate issued by the authorities of the country or countries where the individual has resided in the five years prior to entering Spain.
  • Proof of family ties and nationality, including birth certificate and/or documentation of parental obligations.
  • Payment of fee 790 code 052.

Any document issued outside of Spain must be legalized or apostilled, and if necessary, it must also be translated by a certified sworn translator.

Where can I apply for Arraigo Familiar if I am outside of Spain?

The direct relatives of Spanish nationals have been subject to this arraigo familiar since the Reform of the Immigration Regulations came into effect last August 2022, but what about the relatives who are not in Spain? How are those requests made?

Remember that only family members who are already in Spain may apply for arraigo familiar, which is a Residence Authorization. 

Member of your family who live abroad, they must apply for a “community family reunification visa” (visado de reagrupación familiar comunitaria) or enter Spain while meeting all entry conditions. You should bear in mind two factors in this situation:

Your family member must apply for a Community Family Reunification Visa at the Spanish Consulate in their country of origin or in the country where they are legally residing if they have a passport that requires a short-term visa to enter Spain.

If your family member is a citizen of a country whose entry into Spain does not require a short-stay visa (For example USA or UK), they may enter with the papers demonstrating that they are a member of a Spanish family.

In this regard, there has been no change in the process of reuniting relatives of Spaniards with their families, which was in effect prior to the implementation of the 2022 Immigration laws reform.

Here, you must also consider the fact that there isn’t currently an Arraigo familiar or family reunification visa specifically for relatives of Spaniards, therefore it will be necessary to get the community family reunification visa in order to enter Spain.

The application for Arraigo Familiar once in Spain

Once all the necessary documentation has been gathered, the application for Arraigo familiar must be submitted to the Immigration Office where you have your registered address in Spain. The process may take several months, so it is recommended to submit the application as soon as possible.

Once the application is received, the Immigration Office will carry out an evaluation of the applicant’s ties and relations with Spain. If the links are deemed to be sufficient, a residence permit will be issued. If the links are found to be insufficient, the request will be denied.

Currently, we have the following options for applying for this permit:

  • In person. To do this, you must make an appointment in advance at the office closest to you and attend in person.
  • Online. Using your digital certificate and the Mercurio Platform.

Once you have filed it, they will issue you a receipt for your Arraigo Familiar, just like they do with the other applications. You may check the status of your application online to keep a close eye on it.

The Immigration Office has three months by law to process and respond to your application after receiving proof of it. If, after this time, you have not heard anything about that request, it is possible to conclude that it has been allegedly denied due to “administrative silence”. Contrary to other procedures, in the case of Arraigo Familiar, and arraigo laboral or social, the “silencio administativo” will mean that our application has allegedly been denied.

This does NOT mean that the procedure is denied, but that we can file a Contentious Appeal against this alleged denial due to negative silence.

Tips for applying for Arraigo Familiar

  • Make sure you meet all the requirements and present all the necessary documentation.
  • Provide detailed and accurate information on the applicant’s links and relations with Spain.
  • Hire a professional immigration expert.


Arraigo Familiar is a way of demonstrating strong ties to Spain and can be an important requirement for obtaining a residence permit. However, it is important to meet all the requirements and submit all the necessary documentation to have a higher chance of success in the application. In addition, it is advisable to submit the application well in advance of the planned travel date.

In summary, if you are looking to join your family in Spain and need a residence permit, Arraigo Familiar may be an option for you.