Supreme Court in Spain rules temporary residency cannot be revoked after a six-month absence

Spanish residency permit

The Supreme Court of Spain has recently made a major decision that has significant implications for foreign citizens holding temporary residence permits.

In a groundbreaking ruling, the Court declared article 162.2 of the Regulation of the Law on Foreigners as null and void. This article previously established that if a foreign citizen with a temporary residence permit in Spain spent more than six months outside of Spain within a year, their residence permit could be terminated.

Why has this changed?

The ruling was a result of an appeal made by an Iranian woman. She had her temporary residence and work permit in Spain declared extinct in 2019 by the government sub-delegation office in Girona because she had been outside of Spain for more than six months.

The Court determined that this particular article was invalid as it restricted the fundamental right to free movement of foreign citizens holding temporary residence in Spain.

The limitation of such a fundamental right can only be enforced by a law, not a regulation like in this instance, the Court ruled. This safeguard ensures the fundamental freedoms of foreign residents are protected at a legislative level, reaffirming the supremacy of legislative law over regulatory rules.

What does this ruling mean?

Since Spain’s temporary residence permit now allows stays outside the country for over six months within a year, thousands of immigrants of diverse nationalities can travel freely without the fear of Spanish immigration authorities revoking their coveted residency. This residency also grants the privilege of visa-free travel within the Schengen area. 

This verdict pertains to temporary residence permits issued under Organic Law 4/2000, which expanded immigrants’ rights in Spain. However, it didn’t directly address permits granted under the Entrepreneur Law.

While the Court’s ruling appears to widen the rights of temporary residents, practical implementation remains uncertain. The Court also suggested that the Spanish parliament might consider passing a specific law on this matter.

Distinct types of residence permits are subject to their own allowable periods of absence from Spain, as per existing regulations. Violating these periods could result in the suspension of Spanish residence permits.

We can help you understand Spanish visas

Many people with visas for living in Spain have unanswered questions, particularly about how long they can remain in their home countries and whether this is possible for extended durations with an active residence permit. At CostaLuz Lawyers, we can help you to answer those questions.

So, if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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