How to Enter Spain as the Relative of a Spanish Citizen

enter Spain as a Spanish relative

The new regulation has transformed most immigration procedures in the country.

And entry to Spain is undoubtedly one of them.

Thus, in this article we analyze how you can now enter Spain as the relative of a Spanish citizen.

We will look at the case of parents, children, and the most usual case: spouse or civil partner; including the requirements that must be met in each case.

In order to enter Spain as a non-EU citizen, in many cases it is necessary to apply for a visa.

We are talking about the Schengen visa with a maximum duration of 90 days, which, even if you are not going to be a tourist for a few weeks but plan to take up residence in the country later on, you must apply for in order to enter and cross the Spanish border.

That is unless, according to your country of origin, it is not necessary to apply for a visa.

If you are not sure, you can find here the complete list of countries that do NOT require a visa to enter Spain.

However, the requirements apply in both cases; foreigners who do not need to apply for a visa must demonstrate the same requirements when crossing the border (they just won’t need to apply for the document).

But, on the other hand, it is not the same if you have a Spanish (or European) relative than if you do not have one, since having one means greater advantages.

If you don’t, you will have to comply with the general requirements of the Schengen visa (more complex, which you can find here).

But if you are a family member of a Spanish citizen, the requirements are different since you benefit from the fact that you enter the country to join that family member.

Which family members are we talking about for this entry?

It is essential to define to which family members the points analyzed in this article do actually apply.

That is to say, which relatives can enter Spain as family members of Spaniards?

  • First of all, ascendants (parents) over 65 years of age, or under this age but who are under the charge of the Spanish citizen
  • Descendants (children) under 21 years of age, or over 21 years of age who are dependent on the Spanish citizen
    Finally, the spouse or accredited civil partner

Until now, these family members could enter Spain by applying for a visa as family members of an EU citizen, and it was easier for them.

However, from now on this could change.

The current problem: from the EU regime to the general regime

The new immigration regulations of August 2022 brought about major changes.

Perhaps one of the most important ones has to do with the change of application from the EU regime to the general one for all family members of Spanish citizens.

That is, until now, these direct relatives of Spanish nationals (non-EU nationals) could obtain their residency cards through the community regime (known as the family member of an EU citizen card).

But with the entry into force of this regulation, they will now move to the general regime, and they will do it through the figure of family arraigo.   

This will condition the entry to Spain and how it should be carried out for these family members.

Until now, the Spanish citizen was considered an EU citizen first, and thanks to this, his non-European family member could apply for a visa as a family member of an EU citizen to enter Spain.

However, with this change in the regulation, the Spaniard is now considered Spanish first (and therefore his family members can apply for the arraigo and not the community card), so they should apply for an arraigo visa (something that did not exist until now) to be able to enter.

Requirements to travel and enter Spain as a Spanish family member

As we have mentioned, this list may change (and we will be reporting on our blog about the new developments).

However, until now, family members of Spanish citizens had to comply with the following requirements to be able to enter the country:

  • In case it is the spouse, it will be necessary to provide the marriage certificate. In case the marriage is not registered in Spain, this certificate must be legalized and apostilled
  • In the case of registered partnerships, the registration of the stable partnership in the corresponding Spanish registry must be provided
  • For children, their birth certificate
  • In addition, for children of Spanish citizens over 21 years of age, it will be necessary to demonstrate that they have been in the care of the Spanish citizen for at least one year
  • For ascendants (father or mother), birth registration of the Spanish citizen proving the family relationship
  • If you are not traveling with the Spanish citizen (since you are joining her), you must also bring the city hall  registration in Spain (“empadronamiento”)

Requisitos para el resto de familiares

On the other hand, there are also a series of requirements for other family members:

  • In the case of entering as an ascendant or descendant of the spouse of the Spanish citizen, the spouse’s birth registration and the marriage registration must also be provided.
  • In the case of the extended family, it is necessary to demonstrate kinship with the Spaniard and also that she has lived in charge during the last year of residence or that she has lived with the Spaniard for at least 24 months in the country of origin.
  • For any family member who joins the Spanish citizen due to a disability or other serious health reasons, in addition to the proof of the family relationship, it will be necessary to prove the health condition

And so far this post, which, as we have mentioned, may be subject to change and we will be updating it.

If you have any doubts or would like to receive complete legal advice to be able to enter Spain with your visa and subsequently obtain residency, our team of immigration lawyers is at your complete disposal.

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

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enter Spain as a Spanish relative

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