Permanent TIE Card: Maintaining Spanish Residency While Living Abroad


I have just got my 10-year valid permanent Spanish residency. I will be living outside of Spain for an unforeseeable future. Do you think there would be any problem? Would I lose my residency?


These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“It depends on the basis of your residence. For example, do you mean Permanent or is it actually Long Term Residence. These are different.”

“It depends if you are an EU citizen or the family member of an EU citizen. In general, your residence right is extinguished after an absence of two years, but of course, your EU rights make it easy to return as a temporary resident. If you’re a British who have obtained a permanent residency under the withdrawal agreement, it’s different, you can be out of Spain for up to 5 years.”

Long-term and long-term EU residences can be recovered. This is because you have already acquired the right to permanent residence. What you renew every 5 or 10 years is the card. If for some reason you leave Spain for a long period of time you can recover the permit.

First, you have to extinguish the current card, and once it is authorized you submit the recovery application. Many do not know it but Long term is the term used for permanent residence in Spain. More permanent than that is Spanish nationality.”

“As you already acquired the right of permanent residency, you will only need to renew your TIE card every 10 years. It is always advisable to spend at least 6 months a year in Spain to maintain the renewal requirements. You will lose the right of permanent residency if you are outside Spain for more than 5 consecutive years.”

– “LTR and PR are two completely different things. “You can recover the permit” – you could recover LTR, but you are NOT LTR. You are PR under the WA and that cannot be recovered! Ignore any comments regarding LTR as they do not apply to you. “you are advised to spend 6 months per year in Spain – that is ridiculous. The 6 months is what you needed to do during your 5-year temporary residence.

Your situation is this: As a PR under the WA, the only way you can lose your residence rights is after an absence of 5 years. You can read this for yourself at Article 15.3 of the WA. “Once acquired, the right of permanent residence shall be lost only through absence from the host State for a period exceeding 5 consecutive years.”. Note that if you lose PR it CANNOT be recovered. Note that the ECJ has decided that any presence in Spain terminates an absence, so provided you take a Spanish holiday every 4 years 11 months, you will not lose PR.

However, as you have discovered, the Spanish Nacional Police don’t understand the law, especially the WA. Let’s say you leave Spain and return to the UK for a couple of years. During that time you lose your TIE card. When you try to obtain a replacement, don’t be surprised if the police ask you for a recent padron certificate to prove your address. You of course won’t have such a thing so you can expect to need to fight for the replacement.”


The discussion reveals the complexities surrounding the maintenance of permanent residency in Spain, especially for British citizens under the withdrawal agreement.

While there is some confusion and conflicting information, the general consensus is that permanent residents can leave Spain for up to five years without losing their residency status.

However, it’s crucial to understand the specific terms of your residency and consult with immigration experts or authoritative sources to ensure compliance with Spanish immigration laws. Misunderstandings and misinformation can lead to complications, emphasizing the importance of staying informed and proactive about residency requirements.