updated Summer 2018
With summer holidays around the corner and an ever-growing wait time at Extranjería, many short-term residents in Spain scramble to figure out what to do during dead summer months when their residency cards are not yet processed. At COMO we get loads of questions asking, “How can I extend my student visa?” or “How can I travel around Europe when my resident card expires?”, and most often the solution they’re looking for is an autorización de regreso.
At its most basic, an autorización de regreso is your legal way to exit Spain and re-enter national territory again before 90 days have passed from the initial issue date. Many times, when you renew your TIE card, or if you have the misfortune of losing it, you may need to leave Spain for travel, work or other reasons. Having this document means you won’t be hassled coming back through customs, even if you do not hold a physical TIE card, because it states that you are in the process of card renewal.
You do not need to do an autorización de regreso in the following instances:
- You are not leaving Spain or traveling exclusively in Spain
- Your current TIE has not expired and will not expire before you return to Spain
But remember, an autorización de regreso is only valid for one exit and one reentry. Let’s imagine that you are planning to travel from Madrid to Canada on June 15th. Your document is valid until roughly September 15th, but you will return on August 1st, jet over your jet lag and take a long weekend in the UK. Technically, you are leaving the Schengen Zone twice and would thus need two regresos.
What documentation do I need for an autorización de regreso?
Firstly, you’ll need to make an appointment at your foreigner’s office, or Oficina de Extranjería.
- Two copies of EX-13, filled out, signed and dated
- Printed confirmation of your appointment, if applicable
- Valid passport + 1 photocopy of all pages
- Current TIE + photocopy of the front and back
- Título de Viaje, which can be transportation tickets or a printed itinerary of your trip
- A certificate proclaiming the need to travel, be it a wedding invitation, a death notice or something similar. Note that this document should be translated if the original is not in Spanish.
- Form 790 código 012 (or 790 código 052 if paying in the police station) paid for 10,30€ at any national Spanish bank
If your TIE card has been stolen, you should also bring along the police complaint, known as a denuncia policial.
It’s also wise to bring your stamped renewal paperwork with you, should you be asked to show proof that your documents are in the process of being renewed.
When filing out your EX-13 paperwork, pay special attention to Section 4, where you’ll be asked to explain why you need the paperwork. Mark the first box if you’re requesting a regreso to travel (Titular de autorización de residencia en periódo de renovación o prórroga) and use the blank space to explain your situation and why you’re requesting the autorización.
Note that if you’re leaving Spain for more than 90 days, a separate visa will be required, though most extranjerías will allow you to renew your NIE and process your autorización de regreso in the same day.
Where to apply for the autorización de regreso
You’ll have to make an appointment at your nearest extranjería office to apply – click here, choose your province from the dropdown menu and then solicitudes, if possible. Some smaller cities may not require you to make an appointment for this sort of paperwork.
Note that foreigner’s offices are usually in province capitals and other large cities.
You will not be given the autorización immediately: in most cases, you can pick it up after seven days but be sure to ask.
I can’t get an autorización de regreso appointment. Now what?
Prone to happen close to holidays, it is often difficult or even impossible to find an appointment until you fly. Don’t panic just yet. Take the closest appointment to your fly day, print a copy of your flight itinerary and the necessary documents to your extranjería.
That said, you should always plan ahead. It’s much easier to cancel an appointment at Aluche than it is to find one!
I’m only traveling in the Schengen Zone. Do I really need to get a regreso?
Yes, you should. Border patrol and customs are more stringent these days and have the right to ask you for documentation – even if you’re just driving over the border. Save yourself the hassle and buck up the fee to get a resreso to be used in Europe. Schengen countries that are known to be more strict are Germany, Austria and many in Central Europe.
Can I get a regreso if my TIE / visa is already expired or I haven’t yet applied for my Spanish residency card?
Unfortunately, not unless you have an extremely sensitive case. This would include providing proof of a family emergency, but given the time sensitive nature of an emergency, you often don’t have the luxury of going back to get the physical paperwork.
If you just forgot about getting one, you run the risk of being flown right back to your home country. It’s usually better (and often cheaper) to cover your bases and get a new passport in these instances.
If you are not asked to show the concession at customs, keep it – once granted, it’s valid for a full 90 days. That said, it’s always wise to bring supporting paperwork with you in your carry-on when you travel as proof that you’re a legal resident of Spain – Cat and Hayley have both gotten into trouble by forgetting their TIEs and leaving the Schengen Zone and were held and questioned by the police!
More questions about completing the autorización de regreso, about NIE renewals or other Spanish paperwork? Email us at email@example.com or contatc us through our contact page. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.