Residency for Parents of a Spanish Child: Requirements and Documents

residency for parents of Spanish child

Are you the parent of a minor child in Spain? Then good news! After the new instruction published at the end of last year, you can now apply for your residence permit as a parent of a Spanish child and live in Spain for 5 years. In this article you are going to learn how to apply step by step and which are the main requirements to fulfill.

We will also explore the main differences with social arraigo and the procedure for parents of children from any EU country who want to get Spanish residency.

Let’s get started!

Following the new instruction published by the General Migrations Directorate in September 2020 (instruction number 8/2020), an initiative to facilitate the situation for many foreigners in the country, this new residence was created.

Thus, the residency for parents of Spanish children is a 5-year residence authorization granted, as its name indicates, to the father or mother of a minor child with Spanish nationality.

This authorization grants the right to work, both as an employee and as a self-employed person (without any type of limitation).

And it introduced many advantages.

Until now, the parents of a Spanish or EU minor child used to apply for family arraigo; a procedure which, as we will see later, is much more tedious and offers fewer advantages.

But now they can obtain their legal residence through this specific authorization, which in this case won’t be due to exceptional circumstances, and will not allow them to obtain a residence just for 1 year (but for 5).

In addition, once obtained, the computation of years required for nationality starts counting.

Do you have any questions? Ask our lawyers anything:

Main differences with family arraigo

As we have mentioned, if you were the parent of a Spanish minor child (or children who are citizens of any EU country) until now the procedure to obtain residence in Spain was to apply for family roots.

However, after this new instruction, it is possible to do it through this new residence authorization.

And in that sense, it will be much easier and more advantageous for you.

First of all, since the application for family arraigo can be somewhat complex (compared to the simplicity of this one as we will explore later on in this article).

On the other hand, the arraigo grants you a residency for just one year only, while this card this for 5.

And, finally, once this year of arraigo was over, it could become complicated to renew, and continue living in Spain for the long-term became quite complex in most cases.

That is why if you still do not have your residency but you are the parent of a Spanish child, we recommend you to apply for this card.

And if you already have your residency through family arraigo, modify it (since it is totally possible to formalize this change and it offers many additional advantages).

What is the difference with the residency for parents of children from the EU?

On the other hand, there is a difference depending on the nationality of the child in Spain

In case the child is not a Spanish national but is from any other country from the European Union, it is still possible for her parents to request a card for 5 years with the right to work.

We are talking about the residence authorization for parents of EU children; and in this case, it is not under the general immigration regime, but under the EU regime.

For practical purposes, both are quite a similar process. But there are certain differences too.

In the first place, in order to apply for authorization as a parent of an EU citizen, it is necessary to prove sufficient economic means and to have complete health care coverage in Spain (either with public or private insurance).

These are not requirements that we find in those cases in which the minor is a Spanish national: it is not necessary to have a job offer, nor a contract, nor to carry out a self-employed activity

In addition, you will not be asked for health insurance.


Let’s take a look at the 3 main requirements you will have to meet to apply for this residence authorization, which, as you will see (and unlike the family roots and the card for parents of EU minors) are very simple and easy to comply with.

Background records

Whenever you apply for any kind of residence permit in Spain, one of the first things the immigration office will check is whether you have criminal or police records.

However, in this case, the assessments are made on an individual basis.

This means that the mere existence of a criminal record will not be an enough cause for denial.

Therefore, in order for the application to be denied for this reason, there must be a current risk present against public order by the applicant who has a past criminal record. 

Otherwise, simply having criminal or police records won’t get your application rejected.

Demonstrating you family tie

On the other hand, you must prove and demonstrate the family link with the minor child.

That is to say, that you are indeed her parent (either father or mother).

For this, you will need to provide the birth certificate of the minor issued by the Spanish Civil Registry, in which the nationality of the child and the paternal-filial relationship can clearly be seen.

Joint cohabitation

Finally, it is necessary in order to obtain this residency as Spanish parents that the applicant father or mother lives together with the child in the same address (within Spain).

This is something that is demonstrated by a joint census registration (called “empadronamiento” in Spanish).

If there is no such cohabitation, the father should instead use the family arraigo path, which allows to formalize the application without such cohabitation; although then it will be necessary to demonstrate that you are economically in charge of the minor.

Here you can find a guide including all the requirements and legal process to apply for “arraigo familiar”.

Documents to submit

What documents should you include in your application? 

Here you can find the complete list, also acting as a summary of the requirements we have just seen:

  • Complete passport.
  • Joint city registration (“padrón”), where all members of the family are registered.
  • Birth certificate of the child issued by the Spanish Civil Registry.
  • Copy of the Spanish identity card of the minor in case he/she has it (up to 14 years old it is not obligatory but recommended to get one).
  • Criminal records of the parent, issued in the countries where she has resided during the past 5 years.

Application and legal process

Finally, how exactly should you apply for this residence permit as a parent of a Spanish national?

You have two alternatives.

The first one is to attend and submit your application in person at the immigration office. In this case you will first need to get an appointment, and currently it can be quite difficult to find one, causing the process to extend for a  long period of time.

The alternative? Submitting your application online.

You can apply for this residence permit online through the Mercurio platform. This will give you a much faster response, as well as being a very convenient alternative.

For this you will need a digital certificate, or to use the services of a lawyer to submit all the documents for you.

That is why if you need the help of our team of expert immigration lawyers, we are at your complete disposal. We will prepare all the documentation for you and send it to you so that all you have to do is sign.

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

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residency for parents of Spanish child

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