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Right to a Document Certifying Permanent Residence

Posted in: Residency, The Law In Spain,
Author: Myra Cecilia Azzopardi
Tags: ,

You will find a full explanation on the right of a permanent resident to apply for an updated or duplicate certificate for the inclusion of permanent residence status: “residente comunitario permanente en españa desde –/–/—-“. Here.

Of late, there has been misinformation circulating on the Internet and groups with links to Spain. There has not been any recent changes to the law on the requisites for the application. Below we provide extracts of the Spanish Royal Decree and the EU Directive on the application of such a document after continuous legal residency of five years.

Updating an address, renewal of lost or stolen certificate for temporary residents (less than five years of legal residence in Spain) can be subjected to conditions, in this case the applicant can be asked to prove the right to on-going residency. This could include documentation showing health insurance, employment or and sufficient means.

Making an application for a duplicate for permanent residents, (having resided legally in Spain for continuous five years or more).

Extract from the Spanish Royal Decree:

“Citizens of a Member State of the European Union or of a State Party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, and members of the family who are not nationals of one of these States are holders of the right to reside on a permanent basis; those who have resided legally in Spain for a continuous period of five years. This right will not be subject to the conditions set forth in Chapter III* of this Royal Decree”.

“At the request of the interested party, the Foreigners’ Office of the province where the foreigner has his residence or, failing that, the corresponding Police Station, will issue, as soon as possible and after verifying the duration of the residence, a certificate of the right to reside with permanent character*.
Chapter 3 holds the articles with requisites and documentation asked to provide when EU citizens register at the foreigner’s office (residency) and their non-EU families apply for the foreigners ID card at the foreigner’s office or Extranjeria”.

*The registration certificate showing legal residency for five years or more.

The articles taken from the EU Directive:

“Union citizens who have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in the host Member State shall have the right of permanent residence there. This right shall not be subject to the conditions provided for in Chapter III.
Upon application Member States shall issue Union citizens entitled to permanent residence, after having verified duration of residence, with a document certifying permanent residence”.

It is clear that the updated/duplicate version must be provided without conditions. It appears that some offices are asking for records apart from the registration certificate to prove five-year legal residency.

We must repeat that temporary residents by law lose the continual right to residency if they have been absent from Spain for six months. There are exceptions listed here:

Validity will not be affected by the absences of longer duration of the Spanish territory that is proven to be due to the fulfilment of military obligations or, that do not last more than twelve consecutive months and are due to reasons of pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, serious illness, studies, professional training, or transfers for reasons of a professional nature to another Member State or to a third country.
This expiration by absence will not apply to holders of family cards of citizens of the Union linked through a labour relationship to non-governmental organisations, foundations or associations, registered in the corresponding general registry and officially recognised as being of public interest as co-operators, and to carry out research projects, development cooperation or humanitarian aid, carried out abroad. Nor shall it apply to holders of said card who remain in the territory of another Member State of the European Union for the implementation of temporary study programs promoted by the Union itself.


“Periods of involuntary unemployment duly recorded by the relevant employment office, periods not worked for reasons not of the person’s own making and absences from work or cessation of work due to illness or accident shall be regarded as periods of employment”.

CAB advises those who have had reason to claim unemployment benefits should continue to sign on as unemployed even after the benefits have ceased. Unemployment is not a reason to refuse the update on residency certificates.

Information on the right to permanent residency before five years, can be found on the link provide on the first paragraph.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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