Do you have a relative who is a Spanish national? Is your partner or spouse a European Union citizen? Then, you can get your right to live and work in Spain really easily. All you have to do is to apply for the procedure called family member of an EU citizen. And it’s really simple: you just need to constitute marriage or a civil union and the procedure will unfold smoothly. Would you like to learn more about it? Then keep reading. In this post, we are going to cover everything you need to know in order to get your residence permit successfully!


Residence card as a family member of an European Union citizen


First of all, let’s start by defining this procedure.

There is an intrinsic residence right that enables relatives of someone who holds the Spanish nationality or of someone who is an EU citizen to live and work in Spain as if they were EU citizens as well. Executing and obtaining the Spanish residence permit via this procedure is called the family member of a European Union citizen.

Basically, this right applies to spouses and registered civil unions that start living with their Spanish or EU partner in Spain for a period of time longer than 3 months. They can apply for a residence and work authorization that will enable them to work in Spain under the same conditions as any other EU citizen.

That is why many relationships that are composed of one individual from the EU and another from outside the area get married or constitute a civil partnership so their partner can get the Spanish residency.


Nevertheless, not only partners under marriage or civil union can get their visa using this path. Other relatives of an EU citizen can also benefit from this procedure.

But, which ones exactly?


To which relatives does the family member of an EU visa applies?


Let’s now tackle the application scope of this procedure. To which relatives does it apply? Article number 2 defines it clearly:

Direct relatives. We are talking about your spouse or civil partner registered on the EU public registry.

First-degree descendants. The children of both the European Union national or of his or her spouse. In this sense, there is something important you should bear in mind. If the son or daughter is under 21 years old, the Community regime will be applied to him or her. On the other side, if she is older than that, it will be the general immigration regime which will prevail.

First-degree ascendants. This procedure also applies to the parents of the EU national, provided that he or she is in charge of them. Important note: grandparents won’t enjoy the possibility of getting their residence permit in Spain under this course of action.


Relative of an EU citizen as an extended family member


What do we understand as an extended family member?

Any other family member, no matter his or her nationality, that is not included in the cases foreseen on the previous list defined by the 2nd article. Furthermore, it is important that there is connivance with the EU national; or that the EU national is in charge of him or her due to severe health problems.

We find in this list:

The civil partner that is not registered. In this case, it will be necessary to demonstrate a minimum of a year of connivance or to have children in common.

Other relatives of the UE citizen, under the following requirements:

  • That the EU national is in charge of them in their origin country
  • Other individuals who are part of the immediate family circle and that due to health issues must be under the care of the EU citizen
  • Individuals who have lived together with the EU national for a minimum of 24 months or under their care

Important note. Despite the fact that you can read this list here, what the Immigration office will actually request can be a bit more strict. They will always require from you to accredit both the connivance and the economic dependence with and of the non-EU citizen who wants to get his or her permit in Spain.

Furthermore, you may have noticed that we did not mention brothers or sisters here. The truth is that they are not part of the 2nd article, neither regarded as members of the extended family. But there is an exemption: if you can accredit that you live together and that they depend economically on you, they will be able to benefit from this procedure too.


Do you have any doubts so far? Then ask anything to our immigration lawyers here and get an instant answer:


    Procedure and renewal: Main legal aspects


    First things first: where is this residency card processed?

    At any of the Immigration Offices located in your Autonomic Region, as it is the case in Catalonia.

    Bear in mind that you just have 90 days to process this card once you have entered the country. And you can do it after entering as a tourist in Spain.

    The residence and work authorization as a family member of an EU citizen is valid for 5 years since it is issued. If the EU citizen states that he or she will be living less than that in the country, then the card will be valid for that same time frame.

    This means that this residence card is only valid as long as the EU national is living in Spain. Why? Because, as we have already mentioned, the EU citizen must be in charge of the non-EU national, or be his or her partner, as a general rule for this procedure to hold. Therefore, if the first one is not in Spain, these conditions do not hold. 

    And what about the renewal? You will need to do it via telematic means. In this sense, it will be really important that the EU citizen you applied with is still a Spanish resident, and the relative bond is still valid.

    Finally, let’s talk about the TIE, the card that contains your NIE number and your residence permit type. In this sense, the TIE (“tarjeta de identificación del extranjero” in Spanish) of the community citizen expires after 5 years of being issued.

    But hold on for a second.

    The community citizen can be outside Spain as long as he or she wants. But if the non-EU citizen that has obtained this visa is outside the country for more than 6 months, hir or her card will expire and be lost. Then, at the renewal time, it will be necessary to ask the initial one again as the renewal per se won’t be possible.


    What is the difference between civil partnership and family member of an EU citizen?


    After many of our clients asking this question over and over again, we felt the need to finally solve this question once for all. 

    What is the difference between a civil union (pareja de hecho) and the residency as a relative of an EU national? Because, actually, they are not the same. Nevertheless, it is somewhat normal that people confuse both concepts. 

    One can be a means to obtain the other one. 

    As we have seen in the first section, the family member of an EU citizen procedure is one of the ways in which you can obtain a residence authorization in Spain. It is one of the many paths you have to obtain a visa in Spain. 

    And, exactly as how its name defines, for this procedure to be applicable you need to actually be the relative of an EU citizen. And that is why many couples register themselves as a civil union: just to grant the non-EU citizen of the partnership the right to apply for this procedure. 

    Now that you know it, don’t make the mistake again. You need to constitute a civil partnership in order to be able to get your residency in Spain as a relative of a European Union citizen or a Spanish national. 




    Requirements to get the family member of an EU citizen visa


    The list of requirements is really short and simple. If you have an EU relative or partner, you are lucky. You will avoid the hassle and required documents that other types of permits demand. 

    Which are then, exactly, the requirements you will need to meet to get your residence and work authorization this way?

    • To accompany or to join the European Union citizen in Spain. This means going to the country to live with him or her.
    • The European Union citizen must be a resident in the country. Remember that being a resident implies living for more than 183 days per natural year in Spain.
    • The EU (or more specifically, Spanish) national must be working under a legal contract, studying in the country or with sufficient economic funds. This economic means must be certified under the EU citizens’ name.
    • Since August 2018, having private health insurance is not necessary anymore. Any given criteria derived from universal health will be accepted.
    • Accrediting the emotional tie, which means, for example, demonstrating that you actually are the civil partner of the EU national. In the upcoming section, we are going to focus specifically on this requirement.


    Economic means needed: exact numbers


    In the case that you are requiring to demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means, what will that exact amount be?

    It will depend on the number of family members you are willing to bring to Spain:

    • If you just want to bring one relative, € 627.13 per month (€ 8779.82 annually)
    • For two family members, € 885.36 per month (€ 12395.04 per year)
    • For three relatives € 1143.59 (€ 16010.26 per year)
    • For four € 1401.82 (€ 19625.48 per year)
    • And finally, for 5 family members: € 1660.05 (€ 23240.70 per year)


    How to accredit for the tie between both relatives


    In this section, we are going to cover the legal steps to accredit the bond between the UE national and the non-EU citizen effectively. This is a crucial step in the application procedure for the residence permit.

    In this sense, the correct way to accredit the relationship will vary depending on the concrete type of bond:

    1. Spouse

    If you, as an EU citizen, have constituted marriage with a non-EU national, will need to present a marriage certificate issued during the last 3 months. But not all certificates will be valid:

    • It must be issued from a country member of the European Union
    • Conversely, if it is issued by a country outside the EU, and additional registry will be usually required.

    And what happens in those cases in which you haven’t already registered your marriage? Well, then, you can also apply for the family member as an EU citizen visa, but they will just give you the residency card for 2 years.


    2. Registered civil partner

    Let’s talk now about the case in which you have already constituted a civil partnership. How can you demonstrate it? It is really simple: the same as in the marriage case.

    There is no need to present the singleness certificate. You will need to enroll the “pareja de hecho” in the municipal registry, the registry of the corresponding Autonomic Region, or on the Stable Couples Registry (in the case of Catalonia). Nevertheless, there are some provinces in which you can also do it at the Police Office.

    In this case, the application form EX-16 is the one you will need to present, 2 copies. Furthermore, it will also be required the submission of:

    • Applicant passport copy or copy of the national id card (DNI) provided that he or she is a Spanish national
    • Certificate of registration (certificado de empadronamiento), which demonstrates that both members of the civil partnership are living together.
    • The document that accredits that the civil union is valid on the application moment. For that, you will need to go to the Civil Partnership Registry and ask for this certificate.
    • Pay the legal fee, which is around 10€.

    In this case, the procedure won’t last any longer than 3 months. In many offices, it takes even much less than that.

    *Important note. Trough the Vienna agreement, the plurilingual certifications do not require being legalized or any sworn translation.

    In this sense, we have just seen how it is possible to get the residence permit being a relative of a UE citizen both via a civil partnership and via marriage. But, which of the two is better? Which option is gonna yield more benefits according to our situation? In order to solve this issue, we have created a blog post in which we talk about the main legal differences between marriage and a civil partnership in Spain



    3. Non-registered civil partner

    Caveat: the relatives of the civil partner, before registering it, do not have the right to this residence card. What you then need to do is to register it, and they will instantly have access to this visa.

    For example, let’s consider the case of the civil partnership between a Cuban citizen and a Spanish one. She has a daughter. We register our civil union, and now they both have the right to apply for the family member of an EU citizen visa.

    If we did not have registered anywhere, her daughter wouldn’t have this right (but she, my civil partner, would).

    In the case that the EU citizen dies, the relatives keep their condition as legal residents.


    4. Relative of which the EU citizen is in charge

    As we have already talked about, in the case of the extended family, it was a requirement that the EU citizen was in charge of them. But we are not referring merely to being in charge economically speaking. It also implies that the relatives need the material assistance of the EU national. Being in charge is not providing with economic resources only, it means three different things:

    • Your relative (dependent one) does not have any income to sustain his or her basic needs. Therefore, or she does not have income or the one she receives is too low.
    • You, as the EU citizen, must have been in charge of your relative. This can be accredited, for example, by sending money to the origin country regularly.
    • The EU citizen is the person who precisely must take care of the non-EU, and he or she is the only one who can be in charge of her relative.

    Living in Spain for more than 5 years under the EU regime


    Let’s suppose that you have obtained your authorization to live in Spain as a relative of a European citizen. After getting the actual residence permit and renewing it twice, you will have lived in the country for 5 years.

    If within that period of time you haven’t left the country, you will able to get the permanent residency in Spain, which will allow you to live and work in the Spanish territory for the long-run. This is, indefinitely. 

    Its requirements are really simple to meet, and that card will be valid for 5 years (with the possibility to renew it afterward). 


    Apply for your residence permit now!


    You have now seen the benefits and possibilities that the residence permit as a relative of a European Union national can provide to you.

    But maybe preparing all the documents and going through all the legal steps can be a tedious and boring task. How can you make sure you are doing everything right?

    Don’t worry, we can help you. Our expert immigration lawyer team will handle all the application procedure for you, from the beginning to the end. Our mission? Help you move to Spain easily.

    Whether you would like to start NOW enjoying this procedure our you still have any question…



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