Renewing Your Long-Term Residency Card In Spain: Everything You Need To Know

The dream of many would-be expats in Spain is to have their own long-term Spanish residency card. The Spanish residency card is given to non-national permanent residents of Spain, and getting your hands on one isn’t the end of the paperwork you’ll have to complete!

The long-term Spanish residency card (known in Spanish as the Tarjeta de Larga Duracion) needs to be renewed every five years. Here’s everything you need to know about completing that renewal process:

Who Is Eligible For A Long Term Spanish Residency Card?

Spain’s long term residency card is different from the permanent residency card, although the two have many similarities.

The main difference is that if you apply for a long-term residency card rather than a permanent one is that you didn't initially get five years of temporary residence. Instead, you have to renew shorter temporary one or two-year visas and residency cards that add up to five years. Some examples of those people who might apply for a long-term Spanish residency card include non-EU nationals, digital nomad visa holders, and non-lucrative visa holders.

Once you have your long-term Spanish residency card, you’ll have to renew it every 5 years. But the good news is that the renewable process is very straight forward (we won’t go as far as to say easy, but very nearly!)

It’s important to note that it is the physical card you are renewing in this process, and not your status as a legal resident of Spain.

When Do You Need To Renew Your Residency Card?

It might sound obvious, but you’ll need to renew your residency card once it expires. Each card is valid for 5 years, but you can’t renew it early. You couldn’t choose to renew your card a month in advance so that it doesn’t lapse, for example.

We recommend that you make your appointment with the immigration office to renew your card on the day after it expires. That way, you won’t need be left with an invalid card for a long period of time. Having said that, this could be easier said than done. The Spanish bureaucratic system is incredibly complicated to navigate and getting appointments when you want them is near-impossible. If this is the case, it´s better to have any appointment than none, so just take what you’re given!  You can apply for your appointment via the following link.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Renewing Your Card

The first thing you’ll need to do to renew your card is to have an appointment. This should be at the police station geographically closest to your home. You’ll need to make sure your still eligible for your residency which means you shouldn’t have don’t any of the following since your last renewal:

  • Stayed outside of the EU for more than 12 months
  • Committed a crime and gained a criminal record

You should also ensure you have all the correct paperwork with you when you attend your appointment. These should be originals and not photocopies. Those documents are:

  • EX-17 application form
  • Padron certificate
  • Your expired long-term residency card, and a photocopy of it
  • Your original passport and a photocopy of it
  • Proof that you have paid the corresponding fee via form 790-012
  • A recent passport sized photo

You may also be asked for evidence you have been living in Spain continuously for the past 5 years (some police stations will ask for this but others won’t). Passport stamps, rental payments, and other invoices are good examples of evidence of this.

How Long Does The Renewal Appointment Take?

There is no guarantee that the staff in your local police station will be running on time, so it’s worth allowing a couple of hours for this process. You will need to share all of your documents which will be checked, and your fingerprints will also be taken.

Around one month after everything has been processed you will be able to go and pick up your new card. Be aware that some places require you to get another appointment to pick it up, so check this when you attend your initial appointment.

Don’t worry, while you’re waiting for your new card your residency is still valid, but make sure you carry the right documentation if you need to travel outside of Spain.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Looking to escape the cold and rainy weather in the UK and make an escape to the sun? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you buy the Spanish home of your dreams. We’re excited to help you make your next move your best move!