Healthplan Spain


What Is An Arraigo In Spain? Expat Tips

If you find yourself in Spain without a valid residence permit and have been living in the country for a while, there may be a way to regularise your situation and obtain temporary residency for exceptional circumstances through the arraigo program.

In this article, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the four types of arraigo available in Spain, the requirements for each, and the step-by-step application process.

By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge necessary to legally live and work in Spain for an extended period of time.

We will cover the following:-

  • What is an Arraigo in Spain?
  • What are the different types of Arraigo?
  • How do I get residency with an Arraigo?
  • Can I work with an Arraigo?
  • Can I obtain Spanish citizenship with an Arraigo?
  • The requirements to apply
  • The process to apply for an Arraigo

Let's take look!

What is an Arraigo?

In Spain, "arraigo" refers to a legal concept that allows undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country for a certain period of time to regularise their immigration status. Specifically, arraigo refers to a type of residence permit that can be granted to individuals who can prove that they have been living in Spain for a specific period of time, usually two or three years.

There are different types of arraigo permits depending on the circumstances of the individual. For example, arraigo social is granted to those who can prove that they have strong social ties in Spain, such as having children who were born in the country or having a long-term partner who is a legal resident. Arraigo laboral is granted to those who can prove that they have been working in Spain for a certain period of time, typically two years.

It's important to note that the arraigo is not a guaranteed pathway to legal residency or citizenship, and each case is evaluated on its own merits by the Spanish authorities.

What are different types of Arraigo in Spain?

Arraigo Social

Arraigo Social is a permit that grants temporary residency and work authorisation to foreign nationals who have been living in Spain under irregular circumstances for at least three years. It is a relatively simple way for non-European Union citizens to legalise their status in the country without having to return to their country of origin. This can be accomplished by entering Spain as a tourist, living in the country for three years without proper documentation, and then applying for the permit.

Arraigo Social is governed by Spanish immigration law, specifically Law 4200 of the immigration regulation and Royal Decree 551/2011. The process has undergone significant changes and improvements since the reform of the immigration regulations.

The permit is exclusively for third-country nationals who have lived in Spain without being registered as residents. It allows the applicant to apply for residency directly from Spain, without the need for a visa.

The requirements for a third-country national to apply for residency via Arraigo Social are:

  • Being a third-country national (not a citizen of the EU, EEA, Switzerland, or family member of an EU national)
  • Having no criminal record in Spain or in other countries where the applicant has previously lived
  • Having lived in Spain for at least three years without proper documentation, with absences from Spain during this period not exceeding 120 days
  • Having not been refused entry into Spain and not being considered undesirable by any other country with which Spain has a reciprocal agreement in this regard
  • Having a valid employment contract signed by the applicant and the employer for at least one year. The contract and employment should meet all Social Security payment requirements. Alternatively, the applicant must prove they are economically self-sufficient.

Having local connections, which can be demonstrated through:

  • Family ties with a Spanish resident or national, such as marriage, legal common-law partnership (Pareja de Hecho), or having children
  • An official statement (Informe de Arraigo) confirming the applicant's local connections, issued by the comunidad autónoma or Town Hall.

In summary, Arraigo Social is a process that allows foreign nationals who have been living in Spain without proper documentation for at least three years to legalise their status and obtain temporary residency and work authorisation.

Arraigo Familiar

Another option available is the Arraigo Familiar. This temporary residence authorisation is granted under exceptional circumstances to foreign citizens who are currently in Spain. There are two main situations in which this permit may be granted:

1. Parent of a Spanish Minor: The Arraigo Familiar may be granted to individuals who are the father or mother of a minor child who holds Spanish nationality and live with them. If cohabitation is not possible, the parent must demonstrate that they fulfill their parental obligations towards the child. Additionally, individuals who provide support and care for a Spanish citizen with a disability in the exercise of their legal capacity may also be eligible, provided they are the person responsible for the disabled individual and live with them.

2. Spouse, Dependent, or Ascendant of a Spanish Citizen: The Arraigo Familiar can also be obtained by the accredited spouse or common-law partner of a Spanish citizen. Furthermore, it applies to ascendants over 65 years of age, dependents under 65 years of age, descendants under 21 years of age, or dependents over 21 years of age, of a Spanish citizen or their spouse/common-law partner. The duration of the residence permit under Arraigo Familiar is determined on a case-by-case basis. While it is possible for the permit to be granted for up to five years, the actual duration depends on various factors and is at the discretion of the immigration authorities.

It's important to note that this type of authorisation is specifically limited to those who fall into one of the two aforementioned categories.

Please keep in mind that immigration regulations may change, so it is advisable to consult the official website of the Spanish immigration authorities or seek professional legal advice for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the Arraigo Familiar process.

Arraigo Laboral

Arraigo Laboral is a temporary residence permit granted to foreign citizens who have established strong ties to the Spanish labour market. The Arraigo Laboral allows individuals to legally reside and work in Spain based on their employment situation. Here are the general conditions and requirements for applying:

1. Job Offer: You must have a valid and formal job offer from a Spanish employer. The offer should comply with the legal requirements and labour regulations in Spain.

2. Employment Contract: You need to sign an employment contract with the employer, which specifies the terms and conditions of your employment, including salary, working hours, and duration of the contract.

3. Adequate Qualifications or Experience: You should possess the necessary qualifications, skills, or experience required for the job position offered. The employer must provide evidence that your profile is suitable for the position.

4. Work Experience: Typically, there is a requirement of having worked in Spain for a continuous period of at least two years. This work experience demonstrates your established connection to the Spanish labour market.

5. Absence of Suitable Candidates: The employer must demonstrate that there were no suitable candidates available within the Spanish or EU labour market for the job position before offering it to a foreign worker.

6. Compliance with Immigration Requirements: You must meet the general immigration requirements, such as having a valid passport, not having any criminal record, and being in good health.

If your application is approved, the Arraigo Laboral will grant you a temporary residence permit, allowing you to live and work in Spain. The duration of the permit may vary, typically ranging from one to two years. After the initial period, you may be eligible to apply for a renewal or other types of residence permits, depending on your situation.

It's important to note that immigration regulations and specific requirements may vary, so it is advisable to consult the official website of the Spanish immigration authorities or seek professional legal advice for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the Arraigo Laboral process, including the work experience requirement.

Arraigo por Formación

Another option for obtaining a residence permit in Spain is the Arraigo por Formación, which has recently garnered attention as a promising initiative to address the situation of undocumented migrants. This particular program offers a temporary residence permit to foreigners without legal residency who successfully complete vocational training courses, known as "Formación Profesional (FP)" in Spanish. The Spanish government aims to provide an opportunity for these individuals to regularise their status, contribute to the labour market, and integrate into Spanish society.

The Education Ministry, recognising the significant number of undocumented migrants in the country, is actively devising a potential resolution to assist them. The proposal suggests granting a temporary residency offer to non-resident foreigners who undertake vocational training. The plan is currently being drafted as an amendment to the royal decree on the Regulation of Vocational Training, sanctioned in 2022.

The initiative is designed to reinforce the rights, freedoms, and social integration of non-native residents in Spain. By allowing undocumented migrants to pursue vocational training and obtain a temporary residence permit, the government seeks to address labour shortages and provide opportunities for individuals of all ages to enter the labour market.

To be eligible for the Arraigo por Formación program, applicants must fulfill specific prerequisites. These include possessing adequate Spanish proficiency and relevant skills that enable them to complete their preferred vocational training program. The courses are designed to be shorter in duration, providing candidates with the necessary qualifications to access the labour market swiftly.

Upon successful completion of the vocational training program, individuals will be granted an initial temporary residence permit. The duration of this permit is typically one year, allowing them to legally reside in Spain while they complete their vocational training. However, if a student receives a job offer related to their training, they may be eligible to apply for a two-year residency permit in Spain. This enables them to continue living and working in the country, contributing to the labour market and society.

This recent development demonstrates the Spanish government's commitment to providing pathways for regularising the status of undocumented migrants and integrating them into society. By aligning the Arraigo por Formación program with the existing settlement through training (arraigo por formación) temporary residency authorisation, introduced in August, the government is expanding opportunities for foreign residents who have already resided in Spain for at least two years.

As with any immigration program, it's essential to stay informed about the latest updates and requirements. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, individuals are advised to consult the official website of the Spanish government or seek professional legal advice to understand the specific details and application process of the Arraigo por Formación program.

Can I get residency in Spain with an Arraigo?

Throughout this article, we've explored how obtaining temporary residency through arraigo (whether social, familial, or labour-related) allows you to live and work legally in Spain for a period of one year.

However, once this year is up, you cannot renew or extend your arraigo permit.
But don't worry – there's good news! You can still continue living legally in Spain by obtaining a regular residence permit. After completing your first year with the initial arraigo authorisation, you can modify your status to obtain an ordinary residence permit, which can be renewed indefinitely.

To do this, you can choose one of three options: a work visa to work for a company, a work permit as a self-employed worker (autónomo), or a non-lucrative residence visa (if you no longer wish to work). It's worth noting that the most common modification is towards a work permit, but you must find a job offer before the end of the year with arraigo, or you won't be able to obtain your residence permit.

Additionally, there's a time limit for this modification. You must apply during the 60 days before the card's expiration date due to exceptional circumstances, or within 90 days after it has expired.

Can you work with an Arraigo?

With an arraigo permit, you can work legally in Spain. This temporary residence permit is directly linked to a work permit, which means that once you obtain it, you'll be able to work in the country for one year either as an employee of a company or as a self-employed individual.

Furthermore, after renewing your arraigo residency for the first time, you can continue working without any issues as long as you fulfill all the requirements.

Once a foreigner obtains temporary residency through any of the four types of arraigo, they must register with the Social Security office within 30 days of receiving the authorisation in order to work legally in Spain. This can be done in any region or city.

It's worth noting, however, that minors under the age of 16 are not permitted to work, regardless of their arraigo status. Additionally, those between 16 and 18 years old will need explicit authorisation from their parents or legal guardians to work.

Can I obtain Spanish citizenship by Arraigo?

Spanish nationality can be acquired through various means, one of which is continuous residency in the country. This means that foreigners who have lived in Spain legally for a certain period of time can be granted Spanish citizenship.

Once you obtain your arraigo, which is proof of continuous residency, you have taken the first step towards obtaining Spanish nationality.

Typically, any foreigner who has lived in Spain with a valid residence permit for ten consecutive years can apply for Spanish citizenship by residency. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. For instance, if you are married to a Spanish citizen, you only need to live in Spain for one year to qualify. Citizens of Portugal, the Philippines, Andorra, or any Latin American country, as well as Equatorial Guinea, only need to reside in Spain for two years. If you are a refugee, it takes five years to qualify.

In other words, the time required to live legally in Spain to obtain nationality depends on which of the three categories you fall under. However, the important thing to note is that obtaining Spanish nationality through any of these routes is indeed possible.

Do you need to contract private health insurance when applying for an Arraigo?

The requirement for private health insurance can vary depending on the specific type of Arraigo and the region in Spain where you are applying. Generally, for most Arraigo categories, it is mandatory to have health insurance coverage during your stay in Spain. This is to ensure that you have access to healthcare services and to fulfill the requirements set by the immigration authorities.

In some cases, you may be required to provide proof of private health insurance when submitting your Arraigo application. This insurance should cover medical expenses and provide comprehensive health coverage while you are residing in Spain. It is important to note that the insurance policy should meet the minimum coverage requirements specified by the Spanish authorities.

However, the specific details and requirements regarding health insurance can vary depending on the region, so it is crucial to consult the official website of the Spanish immigration authorities or seek professional legal advice to obtain accurate and up-to-date information related to your specific situation and the requirements for health insurance coverage.

Ensuring that you have adequate health insurance coverage is an important aspect of the Arraigo application process, as it demonstrates your ability to support yourself financially and access healthcare services during your stay in Spain.

At Health Plan, we can provide you with a private health insurance policy for your arraigo application.

What documents do I need to apply for an Arraigo?

Whether you qualify for Arraigo Social, Arraigo Laboral, Arraigo Familiar, or Arraigo por Formación, it is crucial to be familiar with the required documents and application process.

To apply for an Arraigo, you will need to gather the following documents:

1. Official application form: You must complete the designated application form for residence under exceptional circumstances, which is usually form EX-10.

2. Passport: Provide a copy and original of your valid passport. Ensure that your passport has a remaining validity of at least six months.

3. NIE (identity number as a foreigner): If you obtained an NIE upon entering Spain, include a copy of the NIE document.

4. Proof of payment: Submit proof of payment of the corresponding application fee, which is typically €15.75.

5. Census document (empadronamiento): Include a copy of your census document, which verifies your residency in a particular locality in Spain.

6. Criminal record certificate: Obtain a criminal record certificate for the past five years from your home country or any other country you have resided in during that period. If necessary, have the certificate translated into Spanish.

7. Specific documents: Depending on the type of Arraigo you are applying for, additional documents may be required including private health insurance.

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, follow these steps to apply for an Arraigo:

1. Make an appointment: Schedule an appointment at the nearest national police station in your region. This is where you will submit your application and supporting documents.

2. Attend the appointment: Take all the required documents to your appointment and submit them to the immigration authorities.

3. Pay attention to the process: Pay any necessary fees and cooperate with any additional requirements or interviews as instructed by the immigration authorities. Be prepared to provide any further information or clarification they may request.

4. Await a decision: The immigration authorities will review your application and supporting documents. The processing time may vary, and you will be notified of the decision once it has been made.

Please note that the specific requirements and procedures for applying for an Arraigo may vary depending on your region and individual circumstances. It is recommended to consult the official website of the Spanish immigration authorities or seek professional legal advice for the most accurate and up-to-date information related to your specific situation.

By following the prescribed documentation and application process, you can initiate your Arraigo application and take an important step towards obtaining a residence permit in Spain.