Residency in Spain through Civil Union

Spain offers several routes to obtain citizenship, but many of them come with stringent requirements that can be challenging to meet, especially for non-European citizens. However, there is a widely used alternative – a De Facto Union or “Pareja de Hecho.”

In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Spanish citizenship through a De Facto Union. We will walk you through the essential details, prerequisites, and procedures necessary to pursue legal citizenship.

At our specialized immigration law firm, we understand the nuances of this process and are poised to assist you in your journey toward becoming a legal citizen of Spain.

How to apply for a residency permit as a civil partner of an EU Citizen

This is probably one of the most commonly used legal procedures for non-European citizens who want to start living in Spain, since the process is very easy, as long as the non-EU citizen has an affective relationship with the European citizen, he or she will become a common law partner in Spain and obtain residence for the non-European citizen. We must issue a significant alert here, however. Although it is possible to register a union between the two members in a country other than Spain in order to gain citizenship, it would not be valid for all countries. In other words, it is mandatory that the domestic partner be registered in a European country in order to receive a permit as a family member of a community member. Otherwise, the appeal would be ignored. This is one of the ways to reach Spain without papers and get the residence straight, as we saw in the post on how to enter the country as a visitor and get the community passport.

Get the residency as Tourist

Unlike other residency permits, such as a non-profit residence permit or an investor visa, it is possible to receive documents directly from Spain via a domestic partner, which ensures that we do not have to return to our country at any time. We will have 3 months to complete the legal application process after landing in Spain with our tourist visa. Second, domestic partnerships will be registered. We may continue to apply for a card as a relative of a member of the European Commnity once the couple has been registered with a notary. And without having to leave Spain ! Let’s see how step by step this works.

Registering the pair

This is the first step in the whole process: the domestic partnership registration. There are usually two choices for the registration of a couple: directly in an EU country or in a non-EU country, but with subsequent registration in that region. The final prerequisite would therefore be for the relationship to be registered in a country which belongs to the European Union. In the case of registering as a tourist in Spain, we will have a total of just 3 months to carry out the entire legal process, so it is very important not to waste time. In most cases, however, when the applicant demands a residence permit during his stay as a visitor, more than 90 days pass before the applicant receives the residence card.

How do we proceed with the union’s registration?

According to the Autonomous Community in which we are based, the basic criteria can differ. Thus, though there are regions in the same municipality needing a minimum cohabitation duration of 1 year, in other regions, such as Catalonia, no. In the above case, the only requirement that both members be registered at the same address is for the couple to be registered. You can start the process here online without the need to show that both members have been living together for a certain period of time.

What are the main specifications and records to be supplied?

The requirements will vary according to the country, as we have already stated. It is necessary, however:

  • Both members of the couple are over the age of 18 or are emancipated.
  • They must be jointly registered at the town hall. In the event that it is appropriate, they would need to provide proof that they have been living together for one year at the same address.
  • Their passport or ID card must be brought by both members of the couple.
  • They’re not supposed to be married already
  • Homosexual and heterosexual couples are also able to file.

Family member of an EU citizen visa trough civil union

Once the unmarried couple is registered, we are far closer to having the documents. At this time, by virtue of the mere fact that a non-European citizen already has a family relation with his or her (European) spouse, he or she will have the right to reside in Spain and to work legally in the country. And this will be done by the issuance of a Community Card (which must be demanded by a non-European citizen). The length of this card is 5 years.
The period will change, however, if you arrange it because your partner is a student. A residence permit will be given to you for the period that your partner is expected to study. We therefore advise not to do this via the student path. Therefore, to start the procedure, the student must go to the nearest immigration office. He had to show the EX-19 model there.

What are the conditions to receive an EU Family card through civil union?

The main goal would be to demonstrate the European / Spanish citizen’s possession of adequate economic means. If he or she is working or self-employed may depend on the precise amount and its demonstration. Or, if not, if he is a pupil or does not conduct some kind of profitable practice. As a general rule you should consider the need to display 627.13 euros per month or 8779.82 euros per year. In order to show these economic means, you would not be allowed to have any extra documentation if you are employed and enrolled with the social security system. However, you must show a bank certificate in the name of a citizen of the Union if you are not employed. As the couple is already licensed, it would be another obligation to have a certificate of registration. Finally, the non-EU citizen must provide his / her passport and the EU citizen must provide his / her identity card or EU registration certificate as far as the identification documents needed are concerned.

When the resolution is issued, recording the fingerprints in order to obtain the residence card or TIE is the only thing left to do.

What occurs if once the residence card is obtained, the civil partner is dissolved?

This is another very common query we are asked by our customers. What if I break up with my partner and the registration is canceled? Can I still have my accommodation card? This depends. After all, it was this civil union-regulated affective bond that allowed the non-EU resident to obtain a residence permit. Therefore, if that legal bond is revoked, he loses the right to legally reside and work in the country. In this situation, the non-EU citizen is required to change his or her permit to another form of residence within three months of the cancellation of the relationship and to inform the immigration office that the EU regime no longer applies to him or her, unless … the partnership has lasted for a minimum of three years and there is proof of a period of joint cohabitation for a minimum of 12 months at the same address. And the person may apply for permanent residence once this time is over.

De facto couple for nationality

The acquisition of Spanish nationality includes certain years of continuous residency in the territory of Spain. That number of years (2 , 5 or 10) is based on the applicant’s country of origin. Nonetheless, there are several cases in which the constitution of a marriage means that this span of time is shortened by just 1 year. This makes the method much smoother, without a doubt. Will the same thing be done in a civil union? For a common-law couple, is it possible to acquire nationality in Spain? The reply is no. While in certain ways, civil couples and marriage are comparable, they do not achieve this point. Thus, for the time which corresponds to his / her nationality, the person who requests nationality will have to reside in Spain. irrespective of whether or not you have formed a civil partnership. Will you need help getting into the civil partnership to get the papers? If you want to get a team of immigration attorneys by your side through the entire process to get the residence in an simple way … Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

10 thoughts on “Residency in Spain through Civil Union”

  1. Hi there,
    Thank you so much for the detailed explanation.
    I will go to Spain soon to reunite with my longterm partner and register a civil relationship.
    We intend to stay in Spain, I was just wondering after how many years of residing in Spain can I apply for citizenship?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Hello,
    I applied of registered partnership with my Spanish citizen partner. It has been one and half month but there is still no answer for get the partnership. I am currently in Austria with residence permission and it is going to be expired in a week. Would it be possible if I go to Spain before my permission expires and wait there also after my permission expires for the day of partnership? Or should I go to my home country and apply for a visa to go to Spain? I have a lot of questions about this situation. Would be nice to get some help. Thank you.

  3. Is it possible for a UK passport holder – with a TIE, resident in Andalucia to apply for a pareja de hecho with a non-Eu citizen?

    many thanks

  4. Hello, buenas dias –

    To qualify to apply for Spanish citizenship after just 2 years residence in Spain as a citizen of an Iberoamerican country, does one have to be a citizen of such a country from birth, or is it also OK to be a natualized citizen of such a country?

    For example, if a US citizen lives for a few years in Brazil or Colombia, etc. and becomes a citizen there, can he then use that passport to get Spanish citizenship after just 2 years?

    Also, in such a case, I know he could keep his Iberoamerican citizenship, but would he have to renounce his US citizenship, or could he keep it?

    Un Saludo, Steve

  5. Hi,

    I got my Pareja de hecho in Feb, 2022.
    Last month, I came back to my country.
    For how long can I stay outside of Spain not to lose my right for Pareja de hecho?

    Thank you so much in advance,

  6. Hello,
    Thanks for the information above, it’s been very helpful.
    I have two questions regarding the pareja:
    1- How often can I leave EU and for how long? How would they check if I don’t have any stamps in my passport?..
    2- what are the requirements to apply for permanent residency after being registered for pareja for 3 years?
    Thanks in advance!

    • You can leave the EU whenever you want, but if you have been out of Spain for more than 10 months your residency will not be renewed.


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