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residence of a family member of an eu citizen in spain

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Residence of a family member of an EU citizen in Spain

Who is an EU citizen?

Family members of a Spanish citizen or of another Member State of the European Union, or of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Switzerland, who do not hold the nationality of one of these States, when they join or accompany them, and are going to reside in Spain for a period of more than three months, must apply for and obtain a Union citizen's family card.


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

What are the requirements to be eligible for EU family residence?

1. Accompany or join a Community citizen who has been resident for more than three months, has sickness insurance and sufficient financial means for the family unit, or is a student with sickness insurance and sufficient resources for the family unit.

2. The EU citizen must fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • Be an employed person in Spain, or
  • Be self-employed in Spain, or
  • Have sufficient financial resources for themselves and their family members. It will be considered sufficient accreditation for the fulfillment of this requirement that they are greater than the amount established each year by the General State Budget Law to generate the right to receive a non-contributory benefit.

3. Have public or private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country, which provides coverage in Spain during their period of residence.

4. Be related to a Union citizen in any of the following ways:

  • Spouse or partner with a proven stable relationship (at least one year of continuous cohabitation or common offspring)
  • Child of the Union citizen or of his or her spouse or registered partner
  • Any family member dependent on or living with the Union citizen
  • Any family member who, for serious reasons of health or disability, it is strictly necessary for the Union citizen to take charge of his or her personal care

What are the documents to be presented for the residence of an EU family member?

  • Application form on the official application form (EX 19) in duplicate, completed and signed by the family member of the Union citizen.

It is a very common mistake to file the form without the signature of the EU family member. In some provinces it is even obligatory for the spouse or common-law partner to appear on the day of filing in case a short questionnaire is required to avoid fraud.

  • Full valid passport of the family member (If the passport has expired, a renewal application form must be provided).
  • Documents accrediting the existence of family ties or kinship (birth certificate, marriage or other) legalised and apostilled (in the case of having been carried out outside Spain).

**In the case of dependents or relatives with serious health reasons: supporting documentation of the relationship, dependency, or serious health or disability reasons.

  • ID card or certificate of registration of the Union citizen
  • Depending on the status of the Union or European Economic Area citizen:
    • If you are an employee: documentation proving that you are working, employment contract, company tax identification number, social security number, among others.
    • If you are self-employed, documentation accrediting your activities, such as: self-employed form 036, registration in the Mercantile Register, registration with the Social Security, latest declarations.
    • If you do not work in Spain, you must provide: Public or private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country.

*Pensioners meet this condition by providing certification of health care at the expense of the State from which they receive their pension.

  • Documentation accrediting the availability of sufficient resources, which may be accredited by any legally accepted means of proof, such as property deeds, certified cheques, documentation justifying the obtaining of capital income or credit cards with bank certification of the amount available as credit on the aforementioned card.
  • If you are a student you must present the following documentation:
    • Registration of the educational establishment, public or private
    • Documentation proving that you have public or private health insurance. You can provide a European Health Insurance Card valid for the period of residence.
    • Declaration that you have sufficient resources for yourself and your family members for your period of residence in Spain.
  • Three (3) recent colour photographs, white background, passport size.

What is the procedure for EU family residence?

  • Present the documentation within three months of entering Spain at the Aliens Office in the province where they are registered (by appointment).
  • Once the file has been submitted, a receipt will be issued certifying that the application has been submitted, which is sufficient to prove the legal residence status until the card is issued.

A favourable decision must be obtained within 90 days of the application. In some cases, when the application is presented by lawyers or certified managers (our case), a favourable decision is obtained within working days. If you wish to process your residence as an EU family member, you can contact us here.

  • Once the residence permit has been approved, you will have to make a new meeting, but this time for fingerprinting and the issuance of the EU citizen's family card.

What are the characteristics of residence for EU family members?

Once approved, the residence card of a family member of a Union citizen is valid for five years from the date of issue, or from the planned period of residence in the Union, and is a residence with permission to work, whether employed or self-employed.

When can I apply for Spanish nationality?

  1. Two years: for unmarried EU couples.
  2. One year:
  • Who, at the time of application, has been married for one year to a Spaniard and is not legally or de facto separated.
  • The widow or widower of a Spaniard, if at the time of the death of the spouse they were not separated, either de facto or judicially.
  • Born outside Spain of a father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all of them were originally Spanish.

What should I do once my first card expires and I have not yet obtained Spanish nationality?

Once your residency expires, you will have to make an application for long-term residency. In some cases, when filed by lawyers it is usually quicker.

Why is the Community Card being refused?

These are the most frequent reasons why the Community Card is refused:

  • Not having sufficient financial means. This is usually the main cause, because for this you must be working, either self-employed or employed, and make a reliable declaration of income, and if you do not prove that you have sufficient income, you will most likely be refused.
  • Health insurance. Health insurance, whether public or private, is compulsory. If it is private, it must fulfill the same requirements as public health care. In other words, full medical insurance.
  • Failure to prove that you live in the care of the EU family member. In the case of ascendants or children over 21 years of age or relatives, i.e. an extended family, it is necessary to prove that they are living in the care of the EU citizen's relative, and in many cases this is not done and the card is therefore refused.
  • The Community Card is not refused for having a criminal record (unless it is very serious), it is possible to obtain it even with a criminal record but if it is refused for representing a danger to society, that means that the person has been arrested many times and has not served the assigned sentence, in that case it can be refused even if you do not have a criminal record.
  • If it is not clearly and sufficiently demonstrated that you are a direct relative of the Spanish or EU citizen, i.e. if it cannot be accredited because the documentation is not legalised, because it is incorrect or the documents are out of date, it will be automatically refused.
  • Unfortunately, there are cases of forgery, especially in the case of registered partnerships or fake marriages, and to be sure that you will not be refused a Community Card, it is enough to avoid such mistakes.

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