Our immigration team at Costaluz Lawyers regularly gets asked what happens if you’ve applied for a visa or permit and don’t get a reply. How long should you expect to wait? And then if the stipulated period comes and goes, what happens when you hear nothing from the Spanish Embassy or Foreign Office? In this article, we answer those questions.
How long does the Spanish Embassy or Foreign Office legally have to reply?
The period of time they have to reply to you by law depends on the type of permit or visa. In general, it ranges from one month to three months as follows:
Notifications of official decisions on applications
In this case, the organisation has a period of three months to answer you. The three months start on the day after you have registered your application with the appropriate official body.
Notification of applications for residence permits for family regrouping, seasonal work permits and residence permits for minors whose parents are foreign residents in Spain
The official body must notify the interested party within one month and a half of the decision. The time period starts the day after the application is registered.
Notification of visa application except non-lucrative visas
Spanish embassies or the Foreign Office have one month to answer applications for visas. The month starts the day after you register the application at the appropriate Consular Office.
Notification of non-lucrative visa applications
The time limit for this type of Spanish visa is three months.
What happens if the Spanish Embassy or Foreign Office requests more documentation?
If you receive a request for additional documentation or information from the official body in charge of your application, the stipulated time period for a reply is interrupted. It restarts when you present the required documentation.
So, for example, if you register your visa application on 1 February and on 5 February you receive a request for more documentation, the Embassy or Foreign Office has more time to reply (10 or 15 more working days). This means that the deadline for the authorities to respond would be 1 March plus 10 or 15 working days more.
What happens if you hear nothing?
Just because official bodies must reply within a certain time frame does not necessarily mean they do. Silencio administrative, as it’s known in Spanish, is relatively common and in some cases, you may hear nothing at all.
If this is your case, you should assume that your application for a permit or visa has not been approved.
Can I appeal against the silence?
Yes, you can and in many cases, our immigration team advises that you should appeal. It can, however, be an onerous process and we advise getting professional assistance to ensure your appeal is as effective as possible.
An appeal typically involves the following procedure:
- You request confirmation of the rejection of your application from the official body.
- If you do not receive this confirmation within 15 days, you make another request for confirmation.
- If this confirmation also fails to materialise within a month, you present a case at the Spanish courts requesting that the Spanish Embassy or Foreign Office answer your application.
What can I do to improve my chances of success?
Our experience at Costaluz Lawyers has shown us that in most cases, the best way of getting a visa or permit application approved is to present all the required paperwork. You should also ensure that the application form is correctly and completely filled in.
Contact our team now for a free, no-obligation consultation and assistance with your Spanish visa or permit application.