6 Month Rule for Spanish Residency - How does that work?
Posted: 12 July 2014 12:47 AM  
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Joined  2014-07-12

Can someone explain how the “6 months” is calculated after getting a Spanish residency?  I’m a US Citizen married to a Spanish Citizen (almost 40 years).  Will be establishing residency in Spain but will still need to travel frequently back to Florida (Family/Business).  I know I have to live in Spain for six months so that the residency isn’t revoked but:

1.  If I travel to another EU country, will that still count towards the 6 months or does it have to be on Spanish soil?
2.  Does the 6 months have to be consecutive or can I hop back and forth to the States but still total 6 months in Spain and/or EU.
3.  Are we talking calendar year or what?

Thanks and really appreciate some assistance with this.

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Posted: 14 July 2014 05:31 AM  
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Joined  2010-06-16

Good questions!  I’ve actually wondered them myself, and am about to post a related question…

Short answer:  You’re best off contacting Extranjeria directly.  Luckily, they recently started answering general questions via email (they will not address specific situations, at least that’s what they told me).  The email address for residency renewal-related inquiries in Madrid is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
If you will be residing in another city, you might want to check the following website to find the email address for that city.  I say this because, well, you might get different answers depending on who/where you contact.
http://www.seap.minhap.gob.es/servicios/extranjeria/extranjeria_ddgg.html

I don’t know the answer to questions #1 and 3 (my residency started in January, so I had the luxury of just assuming a Calendar year applied).  As for #2, I believe you can travel back and forth, provided that you meet the minimum 182-days requirement.  At least that was acceptable in my case (also a US citizen).  Please note that:  1) In Spain, they stamp your passport when you enter AND when you leave the country (unlike in the US, where passports are only stamped upon entry), and 2) they will ask for a copy of your entire passport (i.e. all pages) when you renew.  Each time I submitted my renewal application, I also listed the range of dates that I was in/out of Spain, and circled the stamps that corresponded those dates in the copy of my passport that I submitted with my application.  I figured they’d appreciate the full disclosure and that I had cut out that work for them. wink

Hope this helps! smile  Good luck!

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Posted: 14 July 2014 07:25 AM  
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Sorry, a couple of minor corrections:
Minimum requirement is 183 days (not 182, I always get confused about that)
What I wrote about passport stamps applies to air travel.  I don’t know whether that’s the case for train/ferry travel.

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Posted: 14 July 2014 11:19 AM  
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Thank you SO much for getting back to me.  My husband is landing today from Miami and first thing tomorrow we’re heading to the Leon Extranjeria to submit the paperwork.  I will ask the questions and will post what they say on the Forum.  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but family and business was keeping us from moving.  NOW, I’m having a major “cow” about making the jump…. It’s not a 100% thing since we still need to travel back and forth for the same reasons and that will be pretty much the routine going forward.  The thought of not being able to travel to Miami for a WHOLE six months is not possible so, hopefully, I’ll be able to hop back and forth keeping that magic 183 days in mind.  Thanks for the passport tip.  It will show transparency but also help me keep tabs on the total days.  Once the dust settles on this issue, then it’s off to get a driver’s license.  UGH!  I’ve been driving for 45 years and NOW I might have to go to driving school????  Test???  Anyways, great Forum and again, thanks for responding to my questions.

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Posted: 29 July 2014 04:02 PM  
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Well, we went to Extranjeria with all my paperwork from the list that was given to me a week earlier.  I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone smiling and very willing to assist.  This was a total 180 from last year when I was rudely told that I would have to leave the country since I was overstaying the 3 months!  I guess the good thing about last year is that it made us start the residency process sooner than we had planned. 

Anyways, submitted the paperwork on a Tuesday (July 15) and received a call on Thursday that my application had been approved so I went on Friday and picked up the “Resguardo de Solicitud o Renovacion de Tarjeta de Extranjero”!!!  (We asked if they could rush it and they did!!!...)  IMMEDIATELY went to the Comisaria de Policia - Extranjeros and presented the Resguardo, photographs, my US passport AND the “Certificacion de Inscripcion Padronal” (Alta) from the Ayuntamiento where I live.  No one had told me that I needed that but luckily I had it!  They took my fingerprints, my husband went to the bank and paid the 10,50 Euros while I waited and was given a stamped receipt and told to wait a few weeks when I would be notified to pick up my NIE card.  I already have the NIE number and I was told that as of July 18, 2014, I had all the rights of any resident! 

Next step:  I’m assuming that in addition to opening a bank account, owning property, buying a car, etc., I will be able to start a business!  I submitted proof of financial solvency (have enough $$$ to not be a burden) and I don’t know if I need a work permit or not since I will be an “Autonoma” in the future.  Any comments with this?

Also, since my husband is a Spanish Citizen (dual US/EU) and after having my Residency for one year, can I apply for Spanish Citizenship at that time?  I know I have to live here for 183 days before July 17, 2015 but I really want to get my Spanish citizenship so that I don’t have to worry about that restriction in the future….or do I?  Does anyone know if I will still be required to live in Spain (EU) for 183 days every year even after becoming a Spanish citizen? 

Thanks!

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Posted: 25 August 2014 03:57 AM  
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Joined  2014-08-25

Ali - That sounds so amazing, I’m so happy it went so quickly and smoothly for you! I’m guessing it was a rare thing that you found out about your residencia approval in just two days - is the Leon extranjeria office known for being particularly fast and not very busy so that things are processed quickly? And are there other extranjeria offices which are also known for bring quite fast? (perhaps some other forum posters know about this).

I’m worried that going to one of the offices in a big city will ensure that an approval could take months. My Spanish wife and I are not sure yet where we are going to settle so we were thinking that it might be good to pick somewhere initially with a fast and efficient extranjeria office to speed up getting my tarjeta.

Also, did you ever happen to find out about the train/ferry vs airline when it comes to stamping exits departing the country?

Thanks!

BTW I believe that once you receive your Spanish citizenship you will not need to live in Spain for a specific amount of time each year. Once you’re a citizen you’re a citizen, period - they can’t take that away from you. The residency requirement of 183 days after you have your Spanish passport only becomes an issue when you are filing taxes.

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Posted: 25 August 2014 04:05 AM  
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Hi Director1.  This was the Leon Extranjeria and it wasn’t always such a pleasant experience.  I went there in 2013 and was treated rather rudely.  I did submit all my documents at that time plus a ton more so they had me in the system already.  I asked them if they could rush this since I was leaving in a couple of weeks to take my granddaughter back to the States but would be returning in 2 weeks.  I’m actually in Miami right now but am going back next week.  I got my NIE number but I’m still waiting for the actual card.  Again, not sure what it was that made this process go so quickly since that is virtually impossible when dealing with any government entity in ANY country.  I am 100% convinced though that if we had gone to Madrid as we had originally planned, I’d still be waiting in line!  Good luck!

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Posted: 25 August 2014 04:12 AM  
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(I think I was editing my original post to you when you wrote your response just now so have a read of my updated post)

I think you’re right about still waiting in Madrid - am deathly afraid of big govnt offices: small ones just feel so much more doable. Annoying that you had two radically different experiences, I guess just depending on who woke up on which side of the bed that morning.

I managed to get my NIE issued through the Spanish embassy in London (and in under a week) - despite being told by many people that embassies no longer issue NIEs! Again; misinformation all over the place.

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