Healthplan Spain


Visa application form with glasses sitting on top Why Your Spanish Visa Application May Get Rejected And How To Appeal Expat Tips

Many of us who want to relocate and live permanently in Spain will need to apply for a long-term residency visa.

This includes British nationals who since Brexit, may only reside in Spain visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period.

Those wishing to stay any longer than this, need to apply for an appropriate long-term residency visa.

If you are a British national who was living in Spain prior to Brexit, you would need to apply for residency under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The following information is for British nationals who were not living permanently in Spain prior to Brexit as well as other foreign nationals who may have to apply for a residency visa.

Having a visa application rejected is not uncommon in Spain, however, it can be confusing for the applicant who in most cases will believe they have provided the Spanish authorities with all the required information.

It’s important to remember that if your visa application is rejected this is not the end of the process and you may appeal against the decision to obtain a favourable verdict.

Below we discuss the appeals process and the most common reasons why a visa application may be deemed unsatisfactory by a Spanish Consulate or immigration authorities.

This is only a guide and you are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an immigration expert familiar with the application process here in Spain.

What is a visa refusal appeal?

A visa refusal appeal, commonly referred to as an immigration appeal, provides applicants with the opportunity to express their disagreement with the denial of their visa application. This formal procedure involves submitting a request for the reconsideration of the application to the relevant authorities, such as the consulate, embassy, or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How long do I have to appeal and how long will it take?

If you receive a negative response and your application is rejected, you will have one month from the date of being notified to make an appeal.

Spanish authorities then have three months in which to reassess your application and notify you of their decision.

How do I lodge an appeal?

If your application is declined, you have one month to lodge an appeal.

Spanish legislation dictates that you have two types of appeal you can use against any administrative decisions that do not go in your favour including residency and visa applications. These are:-

  • Appeal to have the decision reversed - This is commonly known as a ‘recurso de reposición’ in Spanish and you make the appeal to the same official organisation that denied your application.
  • Appeal to a higher authority - This is called a ‘recurso de alzada’ in Spanish. In most cases, this will be the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid. This must be done within two months of receiving your rejection notification.

During the appeals process, it is important that you provide sufficient evidence and compelling enough arguments to warrant the initial decision being overturned.

In most cases, the reason for the refusal will be included in your decision letter.

When making your appeal, you should include the following information.

  • Your name and surname.
  • The name of the institution you are submitting an appeal to (and its identification code).
  • The date, your signature, and the place of signature
  • A copy of the refusal letter you received.
  • A covering letter stating the grounds of your appeal and a copy of your passport and/or UK residence visa. (A current contact address and home time telephone number must be provided)
  • Any documents you may have to support your appeal.
  • A stamped addressed envelope (SAE)

You should then receive a response within the allotted three-month period.

During the appeals process

It’s worth noting that during the appeals process, you may apply for a different visa. So if you applied for an ‘Investor or Golden Visa’ and are awaiting a decision, you may also apply for a ‘Non-lucrative Visa’ if eligible.

If you currently reside in Spain and make an appeal against a decision, you are not permitted to leave the country. If you do leave, you could be refused entry at the border when you attempt to return.

If you are in Spain and are appealing because your residency renewal was rejected, you may leave Spain, however, you will need authorisation to leave and reenter the country.

If your appeal is rejected and you have exhausted all options in terms of making an appeal within the Spanish administrative system, your next course of action would be to take your case to the Spanish courts.

For this, it is recommended that you contact a specialist Spanish immigration lawyer.

Common reasons for having your visa and residency application rejected

Below you will find some of the most common reasons why a residency visa application in Spain may be rejected.

Incomplete application form - It goes without saying that it is crucial that you complete the application form accurately and without errors.
Applying for the wrong type of visa - There are a number of visas you can apply for in Spain including the Investor visa, Non-lucrative visa, work visa or student visa. Make sure you are applying for the correct one and that you meet all the eligibility requirements.
Lack of funds - Many visa applications will stipulate that you must have sufficient financial funds in order to demonstrate that you will not be a financial burden to the state.

For example, to apply for a non-lucrative visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have an income of at least 400% of the monthly IPREM which in 2023 was €600 for a month. This means that an individual would need a regular guaranteed monthly income of at least €2,400 or €28,800 yearly. This increases further for additional family members with an extra 100% of the IPREM per member.

Other visas will have similar income requirements.

Not having the correct private health insurance cover - Nearly all residency visas in Spain demand that you have private health insurance so that you do not become a burden to the state.

If the policy you have contracted is not adequate, your application may be refused.

Please contact us to find out which of our policies are recognised by the Spanish immigration authorities for residency purposes.

Previous immigration violations - If you have previously flouted immigration rules, this may go against you in the event you wish to apply for a residency visa.

Criminal records - In order to apply for a residency visa, you will need to declare whether you have a criminal record or not. This is done by providing an official criminal record certificate. In the UK this will need to be an ACRO certificate.

If you have a criminal record and immigration officials believe you could be a danger to the public, your application may be refused.

Note that these documents also have to have a sworn translation into Spanish.

Invalid medical certificate - This is also a requirement when applying for a long-term visa in Spain.

Like criminal records, if not in Spanish these must include a sworn translation.

The medical certificate will need to show that you do not have a disease that could have serious public health implications.

Invalid passport and/or photographs - All passports will need to have a minimum validity of at least one year and have two blank pages.

Passport photographs also need to be of a specific size otherwise they could be rejected along with the application.

If you want to make sure that your residency and visa applications are successful, it is important that you complete your form correctly and provide the correct documentation to give your application every chance of being approved.

You can find out more about the different Spanish residency visas via our residency visas for Spain page. This includes information on non-lucrativeinvestor/golden visas and student visas.