How much time can I spend out of Spain as a Resident?

One question that is asked time and time again is, “I’m a resident, how much time can I spend out of Spain?”. The answer to this is not quite straight forward, and depends on what type of residency you have and when you began living here. As a resident of Fuerteventura, you are, of course, a resident of Spain, and therefore there are no restrictions on traveling to Mainland or any of the other Spanish islands and territories.

Below we go through the various residency types and the time you will be allowed to be absent from Spain for.

Temporary Residency

When you first move to Spain, for the first 5 years your residencia will be known as ‘temporary’ and the following movement restrictions will apply.

If you moved to Spain after 31st December 2020

Moving here after Brexit you will have first obtained a visa in order to come over. Once here you obtained your TIE, allowing you to reside in Fuerteventura, and indeed anywhere in Spain, permanently.

With this residency you are allowed to be out of Spain for a total of just 10 months in your first 5 years. However, the maximum amount of continual absence is 6 months in one year. The year is not a calendar year from January to January, but one that starts from the date on your TIE, so if that date is 20 June your year runs from 20 June to 19 June.

If you moved to Spain prior to 31st December 2020

If you moved prior to Brexit, then your residencia is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. In this case you are allowed to be out of Spain for a maximum period of 6 months in any one year. There is no total maximum restriction. Your year is not a calendar one, but starts from the date on your Residency/TIE, so if that date is 20 June your year runs from 20 June to 19 June.

The only exceptions to the length of time absent from Spain, are for compulsory military service or by one absence of a maximum of 12 consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country.

It’s been asked exactly how long is 6 months? Of course 6 months is exactly 182½ days, but you can’t really calculate that you are out of Spain for that exact time, so, logically, you must be in Spain for at least 183 days.

Permanent Residency

When you have had your residencia for 5 years you will be classed as ‘Permanente’. You will then be allowed to be absent from Spain for a period of up to 5 years. This applies no matter when you moved over.

What if you are absent for longer?

If the time you spend out of Spain is longer than the time you are allowed to be absent, you stand the risk of losing your residency and not being allowed to apply for it again.

How will they know?

There are various methods by which you might get ‘caught’ by the authorities, just one of which is when you come to renewing your TIE they often ask you to prove that you have indeed been residing in Spain in accordance with the regulations. This could be by providing bank statements and/or utility bills.

Resources:

NOTICE: The information on this website is intended to serve as a guide for UK Nationals who reside, or wish to reside, in Fuerteventura. While we try to make it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, we do not assume any legal or other liability for its accuracy, and refer you to existing Spanish National, Schengen and EU regulations.

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