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Difference between stay and residence in Spain


In the field of immigration and aliens law, there are terms which often cause confusion, especially when it comes to understanding the difference between stay and residence, two terms used to refer to the time that a foreigner stays in Spanish territory.

At Ódice Abogados, a law firm for foreigners in Malaga, we have extensive experience in this field and we want to share with you key information to understand these concepts and guide you towards the right path during your stay in Spain.

What is a stay in Spain?

A stay in Spain refers to the limited time that a foreigner spends in the country without establishing permanent residence.

Specifically, the room has a duration maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period y does not allow work or any economic activity in the country.unless special authorisation is obtained.

In addition, during the time of stay, foreigners are subject to Spanish laws and regulations, however, this period of stay will not count towards obtaining Spanish nationality for legal and continuous residence in Spain..

difference between stay and residence

How do I apply to stay in Spain?

La estancia en España se concede a través de un visado de corta duración (visado Schengen), como un visado de turista, de estudiante o de negocios. 

The requirements for this type of visa include:

  • Valid passport.
  • Proof of accommodation during the stay (e.g. hotel reservation).
  • Proof of the reason for the trip (travel reservations, invitation from a family member or friend, etc.)
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover expenses during the stay.
  • Travel medical insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation.
  • The procedure for obtaining this visa is usually carried out at the Spanish consulate in the applicant's country of origin before travelling to Spain.

What is a residence in Spain?

Residence in Spain is the authorisation that allows a foreign person to living in Spain for a period of time longer than 90 days and involves establishing a domicile and habitual residence in the country

Once residence is granted, a so-called foreigner's identification card (TIE), which accredits legal residence status in Spain and allows you to live and work legally in the country.

In this respect, it is essential to bear in mind that it must not being absent from the country for extended periods of timeThe residence permit may be revoked, as this may result in the loss of residence.

Renewal of Spanish residence

In relation to the renewal of Spanish residency, it is crucial to point out that this is not perpetual and requires regular renewals which vary according to the type of residence.

When should the residence permit be renewed?

The initial temporary residence in Spain is usually valid for one year. After this period, it can be renewed for two-year periods.

This renewal must be applied for within 60 days prior to the expiry of the current residency.However, it is also permitted to do so within 90 days of expiry.

How is residency renewed?

The renewal process generally involves the submission of an application and a number of documents to the Aliens Office

The exact documents required may vary, but generally include evidence of continued compliance with the conditions that gave rise to the initial residence.

Some of the general documents required are:

  • Valid passport.
  • Criminal record certificate from the country of origin.
  • Proof of the reason for applying for residence (employment contract, admission to an educational institution, etc.).
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay.
  • Medical insurance covering all risks in Spain.
  • In some cases, an integration test may be required, such as a language or civic knowledge test, as well as a social integration report issued by the Autonomous Community or Local Corporation.

What happens if residency is not renewed?

If you do not renew your residency, you run the risk of staying in Spain illegally, which can have legal consequences and make it difficult to obtain residency in the future.

Types of residence in Spain

In Spain, residency can be acquired for various reasons and, depending on these, different types of residencies are classified. The most common at present are:

Family Reunification Residence

This type of residence allows foreigners who are already residing in Spain to bring their immediate family members.

The requirements to apply for this type of residence include having a legal residence in Spain for at least one year and having the authorisation to reside for at least another year.

Residence for Work

For those who have found an employment opportunity in Spain, there is the possibility to apply for a residencia por trabajo. Recently, the Digital Nomads Visafor foreigners wishing to work remotely from Spain.

The process of obtaining residence for work in Spain can be complex, as it requires the company offering the job to prove that it could not find a worker registered as a jobseeker in Spain to fill the job offered.

Non-Profit Residence

This type of residence is for those who have the financial means to live in Spain without the need to work.

In order to obtain it, the applicant must prove that he/she has sufficient financial resources for him/herself and his/her family members during his/her stay in the country.

Residence on the basis of Arraigo

The residency on the basis of arraigo is offered to those who have been in Spain continuously for a certain period of time (usually three years) and have established social or economic ties with the country.

In order to obtain it, a series of documents and proof of "arraigo" in Spain are required.

Remember that these are just a few examples and that there are other types of residency depending on specific circumstances. If you are considering residency in Spain, it is important that you consult an expert in immigration law to understand what is the best option for your situation.

Contact our lawyers specialised in foreigners and immigration at this link.

difference between stay and residence

Difference between stay and residence in Spain

The main difference between stay and residence in Spain lies in the fact that the duration of the legal stay and on rights that each situation confers.

While the stay is of a temporary nature and limited to a maximum of 90 daysWith some exceptions, residence permits a longer stay and can be renewed depending on the duration of the residence permit obtained.

In relation to rights and obligations, we find another major difference between stay and residence, since during a stay, foreign nationals have limited rights and are subject to the regulations established for the type of visa they hold. On the other hand, residents have more rights and responsibilitiesincluding access to education, health care and the possibility to work legally in the country.

How can I change from Stay in Residence to Residence?

In general, it is not possible to change directly from a stay status to a residence status. Normally, the individual must return to his or her country of origin and from there apply for a residence permit.

However, there are exceptional situations such as in the case of students who have been in Spain for more than six months and want to change their stay from study to residence for work.

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Immigration Lawyers in Malaga - Difference between stay and residence

At Ódice Abogados, we understand that navigating the complexities of immigration and residency renewal can be a challenge.

Our team of specialist immigration lawyers in Malaga are on hand to guide you through this process, providing you with the information and advice you need to make informed decisions.

If you have questions about your stay, your residency, the renewal of your residency, or any other aspect of Spanish immigration law, please feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation through our web formemail or telephone


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