Civil Partnership (“Pareja de Hecho”) in Spain to Get Residency

civil partnership to get residency

Requirements, legal process, and everything you need to know to get residency in Spain after constituting a civil partnership.

This is undoubtedly one of the most recommended and common paths used by foreigners from all over the world to get their legal status in Spain, and this article finally solves all your doubts around this topic.

In the vast majority of cases, two people who maintain an affective relationship decide to legally formalize it with the main aim of strengthening the bond in a deeper manner.

However, beyond the purely symbolic or loving benefits, there are other advantages associated with this legal registration.

We already saw in our post on the differences between constituting marriage and a civil partnership in Spain how the latter option was much more agile, faster, and required fewer requirements for its completion; as well as being less binding in certain aspects in the long run.

However, in addition to these advantages, there is another one that makes many foreigners who had not planned to give legal validity to their relationships rethink that fact completely.

That is, a non-EU citizen who is a register as a “pareja de hecho” with a Spanish citizen or a citizen of a member state of the European Union can easily obtain her residency.

More specifically, this partnership is the main requirement to obtain the so-called community card, a residence permit valid for 5 years that allows you to both live and work in the country.

What’s next in this article is an explanation of how the legal process works step by step, from the registration of the couple until the final achievement of the residence permit in the Spanish territory.

Step-by-step process to obtain residency through a civil union ("pareja de hecho")

We can divide the process of obtaining residency after registering as a civil partnership with a Spanish or European citizen into 3 distinct phases.

First of all, you must enter Spain (with or without a visa), register the civil union, and finally apply for a family member of an EU citizen residency card.

This is a process that you can carry out completely from Spain, entering as a tourist, and without the need to go back to your country of origin at any time.

Let’s see how it works exactly.

Entry to Spain

The first step in this process is for the non-EU citizen (the one who wants to apply for residency) to enter Spain as a tourist.

To do this, and as we saw in our post on how to bring your partner to Spain, we must differentiate between the cases in which this foreign citizen is originally from a country that requires a visa to enter Spain vs. one that does not.

You can access here the complete list of countries that do not require a visa.

You can continue reading this article to find more information, or if you prefer you can ask our immigration lawyers anything directly:

Entering Spain if the foreigner is from a country that does no require a visa

If the non-EU citizen is from a country that has an agreement with Spain and does not have to apply for a tourist visa to cross the Spanish border, the process is a little easier.

She will simply have to travel to Spanish territory and meet the Spanish/European citizen (his/her partner), without any prior formalities.

Entry if the foreigner is from a country that requires a visa to enter Spain

However, if the applicant is from a country that does require a visa, then the procedure will be initiated at the Spanish consulate located in the country of origin.

In order to enter Spain, she must first apply for a visa as a family member of an EU citizen (so that once she enters the Spanish territory, she can obtain the EU card).

To do so, you will have to demonstrate, already at the consulate, the following 3 requirements:

  • That there is indeed a relationship with your partner, who is in Spain
  • That the partner is a citizen of the EU
  • And that he actually has the will to bring you with him

Registering the civil partnership before a notary

Once the non-EU citizen enters Spain, she has a period of three months (the duration of his/her tourist visa) to formalize the process (although, as we will now see, once the EU card has been requested, there would be no problem if she falls under an irregular situation).

Thus, the next step will be to register the civil partnership before a notary.

And, in that sense, you would have two options:

  • Registering the civil union directly in Spain (or in any other country within the European Union), something that we recommend you for ease in the procedure
  • Or do it outside the EU, but in this case, the civil partnership certificate would not be valid in Spain and you would have to exchange it for a valid one to finally get it properly registered in Spain

Requirements to register your "pareja de hecho"

Something crucial and you must take into account is that the requirements to register the civil partnership change according to the Autonomous Community in which you are located.

In some regions, a minimum period of cohabitation is required, which can vary between 1 or 2 years; while in others just a certificate of joint town hall registration is required.

However, the following are the requirements that you must meet in any case:

  • Neither of the two members of the relationship can be married
  • Both partners must be of legal age (over 18 years old)
  • They must be registered together at the same address and municipality
  • Identification documents of both members of the cuople must be provided (ID card/passport)
  • If there is a minimum period of cohabitation, proof of cohabitation must be provided

You can find here all the details (extended) to register your “pareja de hecho” in this article.

Bear in mind that it is completely possible to register your civil partnership while being under an irregular situation (without residency).

Family member fo an EU citizen residency application

Once the civil union has been registered before a notary, the non-EU citizen will now have a legally recognized relationship with a Spanish or EU citizen, which gives her the right to obtain residency in Spain.

Thus, the next step will be to apply for the residence card as a family member of an EU citizen at the Immigration Office.

This process can be done completely online.

In this application, it will be necessary to submit and include:

  • Registration certificate of the civil partnership
  • Form EX-19, which you can download here
  • ID from the Spanish citizen, her DNI (or certificate of registration of the EU if she is a European citizen)
  • Passport of the non-EU citizen

Finally, although it is not necessary to prove economic dependence, the European citizen must demonstrate sufficient economic solvency. For this, she has two different options:

  • If she is currently working and is registered with the Social Security, her employment contract will be sufficient and valid
  • If she is not working at the moment, she will have to provide a bank certificate proving the possession of sufficient funds (we are talking about 9000€ per year).

Timings and final steps

After submitting the application, and within 3 months (although with the current delay this period could be extended to 5-6 months), the non-EU citizen will be able to go to the immigration office to register her fingerprints, and then return a month later to finally obtain his residence card (which will be valid for 5 years).

And what happens if I enter into an irregular situation?

As we have mentioned, in principle you have a total of 3 months to complete this procedure, since after 90 days the validity of your tourist visa would be terminated, and therefore you would be in an irregular situation.

However, once you submit the application for your family member card, the most usual thing is that you will not receive a quick response, but that your favorable decision will come after 3, 4, or even 5 months.

This would obviously mean that you would be in an irregular situation at some point while you wait for the resolution.

But since you have already submitted your application, there would be no problem: the process is still possible and would not affect its outcome.

In that sense, we recommend that you consider these 90 days as an indication that you should complete each step as quickly as possible, and know the requirements clearly beforehand to avoid unnecessary delays.

And, in order to speed up the procedure even more and ensure success at each and every stage, our suggestion is that you contact our team of lawyers who are experts in this procedure so that we can advise you and guide you step by step.

Get in touch with our lawyers and let us guide you step by step:

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civil partnership to get residency

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