How to Renew your Long-Term Residency Card in Spain

how to renew long-term residency in Spain

Once you have been living in Spain legally and continuously for 5 years, you will be able to apply for the so-called long-term residence card. One of the main advantages of this permanent residency is that it allows you to live and work in the country indefinitely. However, every 5 years you will have to renew it.

Thus, in this post we are about to solve all your doubts about how to renew this long-term residence card in the Spanish territory.

We will explore those tips that will be very useful for your to enjoy an easier process and that will prevent you from making the most common legal mistakes.

After staying in Spain for 5 years with your long-term residence card, you will need to renew it; again obtaining a card that will last for 5 extra years.

This is a very simple process, especially if we compare it with the usual renewals of short-term residencies (which demand long lists of requirements).

The most positive and advantageous thing in this case, and what makes the process so easy to complete, is that you will not renew your status as a legal resident in Spain, but only the plastic or physical residency card.

This is something we can clearly understand by solving the following question.

What happens if I miss the deadline or forget about the renewal?

Fortunately, if you forget to renew this card after 5 years or you do it after the deadline, you will not suffer any major problems.

Legally speaking, this is not enough valid reason for losing this residency card.

As we have just seen in the previous section, renewing the long-term residency simply means renewing the residency card in its physical format, the plastic.

Thus, if you do not renew it, you will still maintain your right to reside in Spain indefinitely, but your physical card would not be valid.

This situation is very similar to the renewal of your passport or DNI as a Spaniard: not renewing them when they expire does not imply losing your nationality.

However, if the authorities ask for your residency card and it is expired because you have not started the renewal process, you will have to face a financial penalty.

Do you have any questions? Contact or read on for more information:

When exactly should I start the renewal process?

This is one of the most important points in this process and the one that generates the most errors. The long-term residency is renewed when the card is already expired (and never before).

You cannot renew it one month before it expires (for example) in order to avoid spending time without a valid card.

What is the solution?

When the expiration date is approaching, make an appointment at the immigration office to renew it. Ideally, choose the day following the card’s expiration date to avoid being left with an invalid card for a prolonged period of time.

Remember that this appointment is requested completely online, and you can do it through this link.

Where can I renew my long-term NIE?

At the police station closest to your usual place of residence.

You can find the one closest to your location here.

It is important that you carry out the renewal at the police station that corresponds to you, as you cannot renew it in any city (otherwise the process will not be possible).

Main requirements

Generally speaking, there are two fundamental requirements that you must meet in order to be able to renew this long-term card.

While it is true that (as we have seen) you would generally always have the ability to renew it, here we are facing the 2 requirements that could invalidate your renewal and cause you to lose the card:

  • First, not staying outside of Europe for more than 12 months consecutively. In that sense, it is very easy to comply with the requirement: if you are out of this space, you can always enter any country in the EU one day, get your passport stamped, and leave again).
  • Not committing any serious crimes (such as drug trafficking, abuse, etc.). Generally, the magnitude and seriousness of the crime has to be very serious to prevent you from being able to renew your card.

How to renew the long-run residency step by step

Once you have your renewal appointment, you will have to submit the following documents at the immigration office:

  • Application form EX-17
  • Empadronamiento (in case you have changed your address)
  • Long-term card (the one you want to renew and which is now expired) and a copy of it
  • Original passport + photocopy (must be valid)
  • Proof that you have paid the corresponding fee, form 790-012
  • Updated passport photo

It is possible that some police stations may ask for proof of continuous residence for the last 5 years. As a general rule, this should not be the case, as it is not a necessary requirement to renew the long term.

However, it is the only way that many police stations have to verify that you are not in breach of the 2 requirements that would extinguish your card and that we have mentioned above.

Therefore, if you want to make the process faster and more agile, you could bring any proof that you have been in Spain in the last few years, such as the stamps in your passport if you have entered or left the country, tickets, invoices, etc.

At this visit to the police station, you will have to put your fingerprint on the scanner to renew it.

After 25-30 days from the appointment, you will be able to return to pick up the renewed card.

During this time while you wait for your new card to be issued, your residency is still valid to live and work in the country, although if you are traveling outside of Spain you will need to request authorization to return.

If you have any doubts about the renewal of your long term residency, our expert immigration lawyers will advise you step by step.

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

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how to renew long-term residency in Spain

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