Understanding ‘Arraigo Social’: Your path to temporary residence in Spain

Application documents

Navigating Spain’s ‘Arraigo Social’ or social roots pathway to temporary residence can be daunting, especially if you have a police record. This guide is designed to simplify the legal landscape and shed light on how recent legal developments might affect your application for residency under the ‘Arraigo Social’ program.

What is ‘Arraigo Social’?

‘Arraigo Social’ is a legal concept in Spanish immigration law that allows individuals, who have established social ties in Spain, to apply for temporary residence. It’s often a ray of hope for those who have built a life in Spain but lack formal immigration status.

The concern: Impact of a police record

A common worry is whether a police record could derail your ‘Arraigo Social’ application. Traditionally, having a clean criminal record was a key requirement. However, a recent ruling from the High Court of Justice of Galicia offers a new perspective.

The case that changed the perspective

The court considered a case where an individual’s application was denied due to a past financial offense. This raised an important question: Should any police record, regardless of its nature, automatically lead to a rejected ‘Arraigo Social’ application?

Key takeaways from the Court’s decision

  • Not All Records Are Equal: The court emphasized that minor or one-off offenses might not be sufficient grounds for denial.
  • Focus on Severity and Repetition: The ruling suggests that only offenses that are severe or show a pattern of unlawful behavior should impact ‘Arraigo Social’ applications.
  • A Chance for Rehabilitation: This decision indicates a move towards a more forgiving approach, recognizing that people can change and a past mistake should not permanently affect one’s future.

Implications for your ‘Arraigo Social’ application

This development is encouraging if you’re applying for temporary residence under ‘Arraigo Social’ with a minor police record. It suggests a shift towards evaluating applications more on individual merit and current circumstances rather than solely on past mistakes.

Why this matters

Understanding this shift is crucial because it opens doors for many who previously thought their chances were slim. It aligns with the broader principle of integration and second chances, key to the ‘Arraigo Social’ philosophy.

Need personalized advice?

Remember, while this guide provides a general overview, each case is unique. Specific details of your police record and current situation play a crucial role. For personalized advice, our legal experts specializing in immigration law are here to help.


The recent legal developments around ‘Arraigo Social’ and police records in Spain are a significant step towards a more inclusive approach to immigration. If you have been hesitating to apply due to a past minor offense, now might be the time to reconsider.

Contact us for support

If you have any questions or need assistance with your ‘Arraigo Social’ application, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team. We’re committed to providing you with the guidance and support you need for your journey towards temporary residency in Spain.

The residence on Social Roots and/or work permit in Spain is governed by the following laws and regulations:

  1. Organic Law 4/2000, of January 11: This law, focused on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain and their Social Integration (specifically article 31.3), is commonly referred to as the Immigration Law.
  2. Regulation of Organic Law 4/2000: Approved by Royal Decree 557/2011, of April 20, this regulation (articles 62 to 66 and 123 to 130) is known as the Immigration Regulation.
  3. Royal Decree-Law 19/2012, of May 25: This decree covers urgent measures for the liberalization of commerce and certain services.
  4. Law 39/2015, of October 1: This law outlines the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations.
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