Residence card for family members of a European Union national, 14 questions answered

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Updated on 02/15/2020

Clarifying the most frequent doubts about the EU family residence card in Spain

1- What is the residence card for family members of an EU citizen?

The residence card for a family member of a citizen of the European Union is a document that must be processed by any family member of a Spanish citizen or of another citizen of a Member State of the European Union, or of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Switzerland , who do not hold the nationality of one of these States, when they meet with him/her or accompany him/her, and they will reside in Spain for a period exceeding three months.

It is expressly regulated in Royal Decree 240/2007, of February 16, on the entry, free movement and residence in Spain of citizens of the Member States of the European Union and other States parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

If, for instance, you are Venezuelan and are married to a French national who resides in Spain, and you want to reside in Spain with him/her, you must get this residence card.

2- What benefits does the EU family member’s residence card offer?

The EU family  member residence card is a means of identification, which allows the beneficiary to reside and work in Spain under the same conditions as a Spaniard. You can also leave and enter Spain without problems (although the right to the card can be lost due to absences greater than 6 months in a year).

3-For how long is the community family residence card valid?

5 years for the temporary (that is, the initial), and 10 for the permanent (which is processed after the temporary); The latter must be renewed every 10 years.

Provided that the conditions that gave rise to the granting of the card do not change, as we will explain in point 13.

4- Which relatives of the Spanish citizen or another EU country citizen may be beneficiaries of the EU family member residence card

The Spouse, provided that the agreement or declaration of nullity of the marriage or divorce bond has not fallen.

Partner with whom you have a union similar to that of the spouse (that is, a common law partner or a stable partner), and registered in a public register established in a Member State of the Union, or in a State party in the European Economic Area and provided that said registration has not been canceled. Marriage situations and registration as a registered couple will, in any case, be considered incompatible with each other.

Children of the citizen of the Union or of the European Economic Area, or of his spouse or registered partner, under twenty-one years old, or older than that age if the child is living in his charge, or is incapable.

Direct ascendant of the citizen of the Union or of the European Economic Area or of his spouse or registered partner living in his charge.

Any family member who is in charge of the citizen of the Union in the country of origin.

The family member who lives in the country of origin with the citizen of the Union. Coexistence shall be deemed accredited if a continuous coexistence of 24 months in the country of origin is reliably demonstrated.

Any member of the family, who for serious reasons of health or disability is strictly necessary for the citizen of the Union to take care of him.

In fact, unregistered couple with whom the EU citizen has maintained a stable relationship duly proven by proving the existence of a lasting bond. In any case, the existence of this link will be understood if a time of marital coexistence of at least one continuous year is accredited, unless they had common descent, in which case the accreditation of stable coexistence duly proven will suffice. Marriage and partner situations will be considered, in any case, incompatible with each other.

5-What are the Member States of the European Union and other States parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area?

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland *, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein *, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway * , Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland **

* States parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

** Agreement of June 21, 1999, between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation, on free movement of personnel.

6- Where the EU family member residence card is applied for

The application for the family residence card is presented at the Immigration Office of the province where the family member is going to reside. It cannot be filled at the Spanish consulate in the country of origin, as some think.

7- Who submits the residence card application

The application is presented personally by the family beneficiary of the card, although the community citizen must also sign the application.

8- When the EU family member’s residence card should be applied for

The regulations states that it must be filled within three months from the date of entry into Spain of the relative who will be the beneficiary of the card.

9- Can I apply after 3 months?

Yes, there is no penalty for doing so after this period, nor does the right to request it expires.

10- Requirements for obtaining the community family residence card

  • Firstly, it must be demonstrated that you are a relative of a EU citizen, with the birth or marriage certificate, stable couple registration, etc., as the case may be.
  • Secondly, that your residing with the EU citizen in Spain, through the corresponding certificate of coexistence (that is, the so-called joint registration at the City Hall).
  • Finally, it has to be demonstrated that the community citizen has sufficient financial resources to support his family member. This is the most complex requirement to fulfill, and we explain it in our article “Financial requirements to obtain the community family resident card”.

11- What does it mean to be in charge of?

In the case of some family members, it is required that the latter has “been in charge” of the citizen of the European Union prior to entering Spain. There is no legal definition of this concept, but the Administration has understood that a family member in charge is that family member who, in order to reach or maintain a decent standard of living in his or her country of origin or nationality or in the one who usually resides, requires financial assistance of the EU citizen for their basic needs.

So it is necessary to demonstrate in this case both the income that the family member has had in their country of origin as well as the remittances and other contributions that the citizen of the Union has made periodically.

12- Can you be expelled from Spain if you do not apply for the community family card?

No, in accordance with the aforementioned Royal Decree 240/2007, article 14.4, you can demonstrate your status as a family member of a UE citizen (and, consequently, your right to reside in Spain together with him), by any other means of proof admitted in Law .

13- What happens if I am no longer a relative of a EU citizen?

In our article “Can I lose my EU family card?” We explain that in some cases you can keep your card and in others you can’t. If you do not have the right to maintain said status, there is always the possibility of obtaining a modification to a residence and work permit under the so-called general regime.

14- How and when you must renew the community family card

The renewal of the community family card must be requested one month before expiration, at the “Oficina de Extranjería”. You must meet the same requirements as for the initial card, in addition to proving that you have not been out of Spain for periods longer than 6 months in a year.

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