You may have heard how being the son/daughter or father/mother of a Spanish citizen can grant you the residency in Spain, easily. And that is completely true. The legal procedure that enables you to do that is called arraigo familiar. And in this article we will discover everything related to it: to whom exactly it does apply, requirements, documents, and application procedure. Are you ready?
The arraigo familiar is one of the three residence authorizations inside the group of those conceded due to exceptional circumstances. The other two paths we find inside that group are the arraigo social and the arraigo laboral.
In this case, we are talking about an authorization that allows you to live and work in Spain for a whole year.
After that first year is finished, you have the possibility to renew your authorization. Well, technically you can’t renew it. What you do is to modify it; as you will jump to an ordinary residence authorization (we will talk about the renewal process later on).
The important thing is that the arraigo familiar process carries within a work permit. This work permit can be both as a self-employed individual or as an employee.
Hence, you are allowed to open your own company and work as a freelance professional or find a job and work for a company.
Who can apply for it?
Let’s now move to the most crucial question here: who can actually benefit from the arraigo familiar procedure?
There are are two groups of foreigners who can:
- The father or mother of a Spanish child (born in Spain) who is less than 18 years old. In this group, parents of children who are from the European Union would also be eligible for arraigo. That means that no matter if you are the parent of a Spanish, Italian, or French kid, you can get your arraigo familiar in Spain. That is why many foreigners decide to have their children in Spain so that they can get residency afterwards thanks to their children obtaining nationality by mere presumption.
- Children of Spanish citizens by origin. This refers to those foreign citizens who are direct descendants of Spanish individuals who got their nationality due to the historical memory law or because they were children of Spanish citizens themselves.
But wait for a second. Maybe we should clarify something here that will help you define if you are inside any of the two groups. Who exactly are Spanish citizens by origin?
- Individuals whose parents are from Spain and born in Spain
- Those who got Spanish citizenship due to the historical memory law
- Individuals whose parents didn’t apply for their nationality when they were born, so now they have recovered it
Some additional considerations
Before moving on to the next section, let’s clarify a couple of things.
You now know which are the two groups of people eligible to get the arraigo familiar.
Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that this process only works for non-European citizens.
Furthermore, you can’t have the entry to Spain forbidden if you want to get your application accepted.
Where should I apply for this type of arraigo?
There’s an important difference here with the rest of Spanish permits.
You must initiate the application procedure from Spain. You can’t get a visa in your origin country in order to enter the Spanish territory and start the procedure there.
The foreigner wishing to get the arraigo familiar must be already in Spain. Maybe you entered as a tourist in the country or you did it under an irregular situation.
It does not matter. As long as you meet all the requirements, your authorization to live in the country will be granted.
Therefore, the main applicant (or her designated representative) will submit all the documentation at the Immigration Office located in the city in which she lives.
She must do it in person, as the telematic path is not available for the arraigo.
Let’s now define which are the exact documents you need in order to apply for arraigo familiar:
- Your passport and a copy of it
- EX-10 form
- The corresponding fee paid
- The document that accredits that you have your address registered in Spain (what is called “padrón”)
- Criminal records in the countries in which you have lived for the past 5 years
- Your birth certificate. This document does not expire.
- Birth certificate of your father/mother, obtained in a Consular Civil Registry (at your origin country) or via the Central Civil Registry if you are in Spain.
- Birth certificate of your grandmother/grandfather. Why? Because, many times, descendants from Spanish citizens have a grandmother or grandfather who was born in Spain and has citizenship by origin.
*Bear in mind that all the documents must be legalized in case your country is not part of the Hague Apostille agreement, or apostilled if it does.
When will I get my response?
Once you gather and submit all the required documents, the Immigration Office has 3 months in order to emit its response.
If, after those 3 months, you did not receive any update, that means that your application got denied. That is what is called denial due to administrative silence.
Also, don’t forget that if you would like to leave Spain during those three months in which your application is being processed, you will need to request an authorization to leave and come back to Spain (“autorización de regreso”).
Arraigo Familiar Renewal
As we mentioned, the arraigo familiar will grant you the possibility to stay in Spain for a year. Then you will have to renew it via a modification.
And here is where we find some important requirements. Because for many it is much more complicated to renew this authorization rather than to get it in the first place.
Once you renew your arraigo familiar, you will jump to:
–Work permit as an employee, if you have been working for a minimum amount of years in Spain.
–Work permit as a self-employed individual, if you have constituted your company or become an “autonomo”
–Non-lucrative residency, if you haven’t worked but have sufficient economic funds.
That is why it is so important to work during your arraigo year. Otherwise, once the renewal time comes, you won’t be able to keep your residency in the country.
Needless to say, if you have been working illegally without a contract, that won’t count as working.
However, if you applied for the arraigo familiar because you have a Spanish or EU minor child, and you do not meet the requirements for any of the three previous alternatives, you could apply for an extension of the this type of arraigo.
But that won’t be the case if you had requested it because you are the child of a Spanish citizen of origin. In those cases the extension is not possible, and if you do not move to one of the three previous residences, you would gain an irregular status in the country.
Arraigo Familiar or Family Member of a EU citizen?
Many non-EU citizens who are aware of the two options in order to get the residency have this doubt.
Which process should I aim for?
The answer is: it depends.
If you are someone whose parents obtained their citizenship due to the historical memory law or by origin, go for the arraigo familiar procedure.
But if your partner (spouse or civil partner) is the one from Spain, you must request the residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen.
The best alternative to arraigo
Since the end of last year, there is a new residence authorization you can apply for that can be very much more advantageous.
Thus, if your child is a Spanish national, you can apply for the residence authorization for parents of Spanish children.
Unlike the arraigo, this residency lasts for 5 years and its application requirements are much easier to meet.
This residency can only be requested as long as you are actually living with your child in the same house. If that is not the case, then the arraigo familiar will still be te go-to option.
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