Registration Card for Undocumented Immigrants in Spain

cédula inscripción for undocumented immigrants

A passport is an indispensable document for foreigners, and that is a fact that anyone understands. But what happens in those cases where either you have not yet been granted your passport or it has expired and you can’t renew it? How can you formalize any procedure or travel?

The solution is simple: the registration card called “cédula de inscripción” in Spanish, the document that undocumented immigrations must obtain.

And in this article you will find everything you need to know about it. We will analyze the 2 main requirements that must be met for a successful application, as well as the documents that you should include in your application. Including extra really useful tips!

What is a "cédula de inscripción"?

The cédula de inscripción is a crucial document for foreigners who are undocumented in Spain.

It is a printed identification card issued by the Spanish authorities when the foreigner needs to be identified in the country after his attempts to be documented by his country of origin have failed.

In other words, when the foreigner needs to have a passport but no country will document her, a cédula de inscripción will be issued to fulfill this identification function.

Thus, it is not a residence permit, since it does not grant the possibility of residing and working in Spain, it simply identifies the immigrant legally speaking. However, it does not invalidate the capacity to apply for residence, as we will now see.

One of the most typical and usual cases in which this registration card is requested is when the foreigner enters Spain as a tourist and during his stay, her passport expires

If her country of origin does not have a consular office in the Spanish territory, then this foreigner would be undocumented since she would not be able to renew the passport, so the only solution then is to request the cédula de inscripción.

However, the process is not that simple. Even if this situation occurs, the foreigner must meet a series of requirements in order to successfully apply for it.

Which ones?

Requirements to get your registration card as an undocumented immigrant

There are two fundamental requirements to obtain this registration card as a foreigner, in addition to other more generic (but no less important) requirements.

Let’s analyze them.

Justify your need for identification

The first requirement that the foreigner must meet in order to request this identification document is to demonstrate that she really needs it.

Thus, she must prove that for reasons of public interest, fulfillment of certain commitments in Spain (for example, to renew the passport), or for humanitarian reasons, she needs to identify or document herself in the country.

Prove the failed attempt to get your passport

And here comes perhaps the most important requirement, as it is the one that in many cases defines whether you can actually apply for the cédula or not.

It will be essential that the foreigner has asked the authorities of his country to identify him, and those authorities have not complied with the request.

In other words, the foreigner must demonstrate that she has contacted the consulate or diplomatic mission of the country of origin to apply for the passport, but the consulate has refused.

And this last sentence contains the key to the procedure. 

For if the consulate simply delays in issuing the passport it would not be sufficient. 

This is what happens in many cases with Venezuelan minors, a process that can take up to 1 year to document a child born in Spain of Venezuelan parents.

Therefore, it is necessary for the consulate to refuse to document in order to get this registration card successfully.

Extra requirements

Finally, the following requirements must also be met:

  • Not having criminal record (something you will demonstrate through a background check)
  • Not having the entry prohibited to Spain, neither to have an expulsion order
  • Not being from the European Union, since this procedure is only reserved for non-EU citizens

How to obtain your registration card (cédula de inscripción)

Now that we fully understand which are the specific requirements, let’s see how to obtain this document step by step, a process that the immigrant initiates personally, and will do so as soon as possible after becoming undocumented.

The first step is to contact the consulate of the country of origin or the diplomatic mission in order to request the documentation. The most common is to send a letter by post mail requesting the passport along with the reason why the foreigner needs to be documented.

It won’t be until you get a negative response (the authorities refuse to document you) that you will be able to continue forward.

Once you receive this rejection from the consulate, you will have to visit the notary. There you will request a notarial act in which the request to the authorities is recorded, demonstrating the lack of response or rejection when it comes to the documentation request.

Then, you will go to the nearest immigration office or police office according to where you currently are, submitting this notarial act in addition to the other documents that we will see in the following section.

The immigration office has a period of three months to issue a response.

If you do not receive any kind of notification, the application for the registration card will be rejected due to administrative silence.

On the other hand, if you receive a notification with a favorable resolution, you could then apply for his residence authorization for exceptional circumstances (although you could have started this process even at the same time you applied for the cédula).

Required documents

At the time of submitting the application at the corresponding immigration office, the following documents must be included:

  • First, the receipt verifying that you have paid the corresponding fee (Form 012 “cédula de inscripción”), due at the time of admission for processing.
  • Application form EX-16, which must be downloaded and duly completed. You can download it here.
  • Notarial record of the request you have made (which has not been attended by the consulate)
  • Copy of your application for the residence authorization due to exceptional circumstances (just in case of not presenting the notarial act)
  • 3 passport photographs (with white background)

Do you have to renew this document?

Finally, we must take into account how the renewal process works.

Generally speaking, the cédula de inscripción is a document that is renewed once a year.

However, if at any time the foreigner has been documented by any country or has acquired Spanish nationality, in those cases the cédula would lose validity and would no longer need to be renewed.

Remember that for any legal questions, our team of immigration lawyers will be happy to help you:

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cédula inscripción for undocumented immigrants

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