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spanish residence

One question we are frequently asked is, whether a family member or partner of an EU citizen can lose their right to reside in Spain before the first 5 years of residence are up.

In general, a person who accredits their family relationship with an EU citizen residing in Spain, can apply for the residence card and will be granted a residence and work permit for an initial duration of 5 years.

Of course, many things can happen during those five years. On the family member’s residence card, the NIE number of the EU citizen is stated and so it is clear that the permit, in general, is tied to the continuing family relationship.

Furthermore, you may want to return to your country of origin for an extended visit, what happens if you stay outside Spain and the EU for a long period of time?

This post is meant to clear up some common doubts:

What happens if I get divorced or cancel the registration as a stable couple on which my residence permit is based?

If you obtained your residence card through being married to an EU citizen, or as a registered stable couple with an EU citizen, the consequences of your official separation depend on how long you were officially a couple (married or registered) and how much of that time you spent residing in Spain.

If you were married or registered as a stable couple for fewer than three years, you and your children who are not children of the EU citizen will lose their residence permits.

There are exceptions to this rule, for example when you, as the non-EU citizen, have been granted the custody of the children you have with the EU citizen.

Should this be your case, you can apply for a modification into another residence permit in accordance with the general regime (non-EU) without having to return to your country of origin.

What happens if I spend a long time outside of Spain?

The residence card and your right to reside in Spain, will expire in case of absences from the EU of more than six months within a year.

There are various exceptions:

  1. Holders of residence cards remaining in the territory of another Member State of the European Union are not affected.
  2. The six month rule does not apply in cases where the absence is due to the fulfilment of military obligations or other obligations that do not last more than twelve consecutive months due to reasons of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, serious illness, studies, professional training, or transfers for reasons of a professional nature to another Member State or a third country.
  3. The restrictions are not applicable to holders of residence cards for family members of EU citizens, linked through a labour relationship, who are working abroad for non-governmental organizations, foundations or associations, that are registered in the corresponding general register. These organizations must be officially recognised as being of public interest as cooperators by carrying out research projects, development cooperation or humanitarian aid abroad.

What happens if my family member dies?

The death of the EU citizen will not affect the residence permit of family members who are non-EU citizens, as long as they have resided in Spain as their family members before the death occurred. They are obligated to inform the authorities.

The death of the EU citizen will also not lead to the children losing their residence permits, regardless of their nationality, as long as the children reside in Spain and are enrolled in a school until they finish their studies.

Can Lexidy help me with matters of Spanish residence?

Of course we can. Get in touch with us for a free consultation below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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