Can You Lose Spanish Residency, And if You Lose it Can You Get it Back?

Gaining Spanish citizenship or residency is a life-long dream for many, enabling them to stay permanently in Spain, buy a villa or apartment in the country that they can live in full time, and work in Spain too.  Gaining Spanish residency or Spanish citizenship takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, and often a lot of money. Once you’ve got it, you’re going to want to hold on to it: but it is possible to lose your right to keep your Spanish residency, and you will have to go through the whole application process again if you want to get it back.

Here’s everything you need to know about how you could lose your Spanish residency or Spanish citizenship, as well as how to go about getting them back again:

Losing Your Spanish Residency Status Due to Time Outside of Spain

If you are a temporary resident of the EU then you, and your non-EU family members who are residing with you, could lose your residency status if you spend more than six months out of any given twelve-month period living outside of Spain. There are exceptions to this rule however – you will retain your residency rights if the reason for your spending longer than six months outside of Spain are:

  • Compulsory military service
  • One consecutive 12-month period due to pregnancy or childbirth
  • Serious illness
  • To study or undergo vocational training

If you are a permanent EU resident who has Spanish residency rights then you will lose these rights if you live outside of Spain for longer than two years.

Finally, if you are a temporary non-EU resident who has residency in Spain (and have been a resident of the country for at least five years, then you would lose your residency rights if:

  • You don’t renew your residency card at least 60 days before it expires, and pay the associated fee
  • You leave Spain for more than six months out of any twelve-month period
  • In the case of sporadic absences from Spain, the sum of these periods outside the country during the last five years must not exceed 10 months, unless for work, in which case 12 months.
  • If you lose or change your nationality
  • If your original application is found to be fraudulent

Additional Reasons Who Your Spanish Residency Could be Revoked

As well as ensuring that you remain in Spain for the required amount of time in order to maintain your residency in the country, you must also ensure that you don’t fall foul of any of the following reasons, which could lead to your residency being revoked:

  • Committing any kind of crime. This could be as minor as a positive breathalyzer whilst driving, or being arrested for committing a petty theft. If you commit a crime then you could lose your residency card.
  • Owning money to the Hacienda (the Spanish tax office). You must be able to show that you have no debts to the country when you go to renew your residency card, or your application will be rejected.
  • If the Spanish authorities have issued an order to expel you for any legal reason.
  • If you have a Spanish work permit or working residency card, but you aren’t working or seeking employment.

What Happens if You Lose Your Residency Status?

If you lose your Spanish residency for any reason, and then want to live in Spain and apply for residency again, then the good news is that there are no rules preventing you from doing so. Whether your application will be accepted would depend on your specific circumstances, but if you had a temporary residence permit then you will need to start from the beginning; the full residency application process would have to be started again. If you had permanent residence then the process may be slightly different – you should consult with a specialist immigration lawyer to get advice tailored to your unique situation.

Losing Your Spanish Citizenship

There are three main reasons why you could lose your Spanish citizenship, once you have secured it. These are being emancipated, residing abroad for a period of three years or more, or voluntarily acquiring another nationality. In most cases, Spain does not recognise duel citizenship, so if you acquire citizenship to another country, you would lose your citizenship in Spain. The only exception to this rule is if you obtain citizenship in one of the following countries: an Ibero American country, the Philippines, Andorra Equatorial Guinea or Portugal. This will not have an impact on your Spanish nationality or on your status as a citizen.

Can You Get Your Spanish Citizenship Back?

Just like with Spanish residency, it is possible to get your Spanish citizenship back. You must apply within three years, declaring that you wish to revert back and preserve your Spanish nationality. In order for this application to be accepted, the following criteria must be met:

  • You must be living in Spain and be a legal resident of the country. This rule, however, can be void if the applicant is an emigrant or the children of emigrants.
  • You must make an official declaration that you wish to recover your Spanish nationality
  • You must register that you have taken back (or recovered) your Spanish nationality at the Civil Registry.

Have you always dreamt of retiring to Spain? Whether you’re looking for golden mile properties in Marbella or bargain property in Andalucia, our local property experts are perfectly placed to turn your dreams into a reality. Why not get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.



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