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Time spent outside of Spain can affect the validity of your permanent residency Spain.

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Permanent residency in Spain is a goal for the international community’s young and old alike. The way there is sometimes rocky, and often takes time and energy. 

Read on so you don’t put your future permanent residency at risk by spending too much time away.

How Long is Too Long?

​If your intention is to apply for permanent residency, you are required to reside legally in Spain beforehand,  continuously, for 5 years. Of course, within this five year period, you are allowed to leave the country for a set amount of time.

The Spanish government has set the limit at six months per year. Any more than six months can cause issues for those working on permanent residency applications.

What’s more, when applying for permanent residency, you could be rejected if you have spent more than a total of 10 months ​outside of Spain in that 5 year period.

Potential Consequences

You shouldn’t take your chances and surpass the outlined time periods for a number of reasons.

Loss of residency status

This one is the worst, should we even go on? You may risk losing your residency status, which can lead to difficulty obtaining a new residency permit. It can even lead to difficulty returning to Spain at all. If this happens, you will have to start over from scratch.

Tax implications

If you are a Spanish tax resident, you are subject to Spanish tax laws, which require you to pay taxes on your worldwide income. Spending too much time outside of Spain may affect your tax status. It can potentially make you liable for taxes in other countries.

Difficulty renewing documentation

If you spend a significant amount of time outside of Spain, you may have difficulty renewing your documentation, such as your passport or permanent residency. And you know that generally, Spanish government completes paperwork for renewals in a flash(a joke to ease the pain)

Impact on social benefits

If you are receiving social benefits in Spain, such as healthcare or unemployment benefits, spending too much time outside of the country could make you ineligible for those benefits.

Difficulty integrating

Of course, spending a lot of time outside of Spain can also make it challenging to integrate into the Spanish community. You are likely to miss out on cultural events and opportunities to connect with locals the way you could with permanent residency in Spain.

It’s important to note that the consequences of spending too much time outside of Spain can vary depending on your specific circumstances and the length of time spent abroad. 

If you are planning to spend an extended period outside of Spain, it’s essential to plan ahead with a professional to make sure you understand the potential consequences and can take steps to mitigate the negative impacts.

Are there any exceptions to the rules to permanent residency?

The general six month rule mentioned is relatively far-reaching, but there are a few exceptions. 

The most common exceptions are for:

  1. Those working for organisations that act in the public interest
  2. Holders of valid long-term residence authorisations
  3. Investors and entrepreneurs who hold Golden Visas

To begin, you can stay more than 6 months per year outside of Spanish territory by working for non-governmental organisations that act in the public interest by performing research projects, development cooperation, or humanitarian aid. Bear in mind these organisations, associations, and foundations must be officially recognised and registered.

Another exception to the rule is for holders of a valid long-term residence authorisation (or ‘permanent residency Spain’). You may leave the European Union for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months. If you surpass this period, however, you will have to apply for a new visa to return to Spain.

Finally, we should mention the Residence Visa for Investors, Entrepreneurs, Highly Qualified Professionals, Investigators and/or Employees realising intra-company movements and their families. They are commonly referred to as Golden Visas.

The holder of a Golden Visa can renew their residence even when they have absences of more than 6 months a year. This helps investors or employees do business outside of Spain, as long as they have base of operations there.

In conclusion, it’s possible to travel outside of Spain without jeopardising your residency. That said, you must understand which circumstances apply for you, and do a little planning.

Can Lexidy help me with permanent residency in Spain?

Of course! We help people with a vast range of queries relating to Spanish immigration and residency. Our multilingual international legal eagles are here to help. Contact us or get in touch for a free consultation below.

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