Your Guide to What to Do if Your Application for Residence in Spain is Rejected

It is relatively common for an application for residence in Spain to be rejected. The same applies to residence permit renewals. At Costaluz Lawyers, we have noticed a slight increase in rejections of Spanish residency applications, particularly among British citizens after Brexit. In this article, we look at what to do when your application is turned down and answer some questions about the process.

First Step to Take

The important thing to remember when your application for residence in Spain is rejected is that this is not the end of the process. You still have the opportunity to appeal against the decision and get a favourable verdict the second time round.

The key lies in contacting an expert in immigration to help you. The chances are that your first application failed because you did not complete the form correctly or provide the right documentation.

Find out more about residency for British nationals in Spain after Brexit. 

When to Take the First Step

Under Spanish law, you have one month to present an appeal after you receive official notification. For example, if you receive notification on 1 February, you have until 2 March to file your appeal.

Reasons to Appeal

We presume that if you have applied for residence or renewal of your permit, you are keen to live in Spain legally so you already have strong motivation to appeal. Other reasons include:

  • The process is free (apart from professional fees if you use an immigration lawyer).
  • You can continue to live in Spain until a decision is made on your appeal. And most importantly, you cannot be deported while the process is taking place.
  • An appeal does not stop you from changing your application for residence in Spain. For example, if you are appealing against the rejection of an investor visa, you can meanwhile apply for a different visa, e.g. the non-lucrative visa.

Who to Appeal to

Legislation in Spain allows for two types of appeal against administrative decisions including residence permits and renewals. They are:

  • Appeal for reversal of the decision – this is known as recurso de reposición in Spanish and you make the appeal to the same official organisation that denied your application.
  • Appeal to higher authority – you make the second type of appeal, known as recurso de alzada, to the next authority in the decision-making chain.

Your immigration lawyer is the best person to decide which appeal best suits your application for residence in Spain.

Need to know – the different residency options in Spain.

How to Appeal

The appeal process will obviously vary depending on your particular case. It’s very important that the appeal focuses on the reason your application was turned down. It’s also vital that your appeal offers compelling arguments for the decision to be reversed. You do this by citing immigration regulations and laws.

At Costaluz Lawyers, we believe that this is only possible if you use an expert in immigration to help you. You will also save considerable time and stress by putting the matter into the hands of an expert.

Timeline for Your Appeal

As previously mentioned, you have one month to file an appeal. The authorities then have three months to reply. In some cases, you can expect to hear well in advance of three months particularly in areas with fewer applications for residence in Spain.

 During the Appeal Period

If you are in Spain and appealing against the rejection of a residence permit, you are not allowed to leave the country. If you do leave, you may find that you are refused entry at the border when you return.

If you are in Spain and appealing because your residence permit renewal was turned down, you may leave Spain. However, you need official authorisation to leave and reenter the country.

What Happens if the Appeal is Turned Down?

If your appeals for a reversal of the decision and to higher authority are unsuccessful, your next step is to take the case to court. This is only possible if you have exhausted all appeal channels within the Spanish administrative system. A court case puts the decision regarding your residence permit application or renewal in the hands of a judge.

Help With Your Appeal (and Your Application)

If your application for a new permit or renewal of a previous one is rejected, get in touch with us. Our expert immigration team will assess your case and grounds for appeal to ensure you have the maximum chance of success the second time around.

If you are still at the initial process of applying for a permit, contact our team. By using their services, you will ensure that your application gets everything right from the beginning and that there will be no need for an appeal.

Maria Luisa Castro

Director and Founder
María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English-speaking clients with legal problems in Spain. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation.

20 thoughts on “Your Guide to What to Do if Your Application for Residence in Spain is Rejected”

  1. Good morning, me and my partner have a made a application for Residency in Spain my partner has been refused but mine is still pending, we have been together for 15 years never married but lived together, we have opened up a restaurant in Spain, when we started the application this was not on the application, we have done everything legal have all the certificates in place, we both have put everything into this business but worried now if we don’t win appeal to live and work in Spain we will be deported
    Can you advice please what we should do.

    Thank you

  2. Hi there thanks for this post! I’m trying to find out much time the government gives people to leave Spain if the recurso de reposición has been denied – ‘no favorable’.

    I remember being given 30 days to make the recurso when I was denied the first time. Do I have 30 days again to prepare myself to leave the country? (Can’t afford to go down the lawyer path).

    Thanks a lot!

  3. Good afternoon
    My residency has been rejected for the reason I could not provide a utility bill in my name.
    I live on a community where I pay the administrator to pay all my bills including tax of the car etc.When asking for there bills found none was in my name but previous owners. I have owned this property 8 years
    The administration said just sorry you will have leave in a month
    Is there anything I can do
    I appreciate your advice.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Marion:

      I would ned to see the rejection document and your application so we can see if there were enough elements which proved the time you have been living in Spain.

      Contact us by email so we can send to you a free appraisal


  4. Hi, I live in Mallorca and I am currently waiting for my residency application to be approved. I need to travel back and forth from London on business but I have been advised not to leave Spain until my residency application has been approved. Is there any way around this?


  5. Stefan Anthony Klym and Dianne Elizabeth Klym

    Hi our residency application has been denied on the basis of late application. We tried and tried Sept and Oct of last year by phoning or going to the office in Almeria but ythey always gave us the answer there are no appointments available in the next few days. A lady from social services who works in the villages here where we live told us to go and see her where we gave her all our details and she said she would get an appointment for us. However it did not happen. There is a lot more to this story. Which maybe better to talk to someone on the phone. We have lived here since 2015 we bought a piece of land in 2004 and finally built a house and moved in June 2015. We know we should have done our residencia but never seemed to get round to it until Brexit came upon us. We have had a padron to our village since July 2015. We have been law abiding citizens paid our bills and have loved every minute of living here in Spain. We are both devastated. I am 70 next year and my husband 63. We thought we would live our lives out in Spain but now we have to go back to England and start again. Heartbroken Dianne and Stefan

  6. Good afternoon
    I have had my residencia refused as I cannot prove I was living in Spain last year. I did travel here in September pre Brexit to rent somewhere and I have a contract and can prove I was paying the rent from September. I had to return home as I was selling my uk property and I was hoping to come back later in the year but Covid restrictions prevented that so I couldn’t travel back here until restrictions were lifted in May this year.
    Am I able to appeal the decision based on this?
    Many thanks


      Dear Victoria,

      I can’t honestly see that succeeding in an administrative appeal as they are decided by the same organ which issued the decision ( the Foreign Office) and these are getting very fixed to the criterium of analysing if you were here in Spain by December 31st

  7. Hello
    The Spanish Department of immigration wants banking records (and other bills to support me) to substantiate my TIE application as a UK national wanting to gain spanish residency. I arrived in Spain on the 15th of December 2020. My application was lodged on the 19th of December 2020, and I received my padron on the 16th of December 2020.
    Importantly they want 6 months worth of bank and utility payments – is this a usual request by immigration office for TIE applications?

  8. I applied for my residence with a company called one stop solutions in February 2021Isupplied all my paper work I know that my padron was dated 19th Feb with my S1 form 2021 it was submitted and I went and done my finger print and i was favourable and was just waiting to go and get my TIE then I was arrested because the company changed the date on my padron now I have tried to reapply but I’m now getting rejected I have lived here for 4 years can you help

    1. Hello,

      I would need to see related documents for an appraisal. There are also possibilities to apply for residency based on a continued stay in the country: this is called “residencia por arraigo”.

      Thank you,

  9. Hi,
    I am a EU citizen with residencia in Spain. My partner is British but, her application for residencia was rejected 4 times under the Brexit agreement as was my sons. I applied for residencia for my son as a family member of EU citizen. But, request has been made for proof that I have parental responsibility, proof of earnings and tax returns from the UK. Despite sending bank statements with over 20k in UK bank (translated) how should I proceed as I can not get requested documents and translations alone would cost thousands. Can my family be deported ?


      Hi John,

      If you are registered as a civil union in the Local Council where you live, you can proceed to register your partner as a non-EU family member of EU resident.

      In regards to your son, just bring the birth certificate and tax and bank certificates translated by a jury translator.

  10. Hello

    I applied for residency in Dec 2020, having the padron and house deeds. For this first application I had hoped that EHIC and travel insurance might be enough (the notes for guidance on the online application were not clear) but this application was rejected 5 months later and they stated that they could not accept the health cover part (and needed bank stuff in Spanish). So I immediately got suitable cover and I had everything else in order and in Spanish and I reapplied. This second application (for non-economically-active residency) has been rejected today on the grounds that I did not have health insurance for the first three months of 2021.
    So, in essence, I responded to their initial rejection by addressing their concerns completely for my second application but this appears to have been a waste of time, as it was already impossible in May 2020 for me to get health insurance retrospectively!
    Of course, had they responded to my initial application within the 3 months that they say they will, I would have been able to re-apply within the first 3 months of 2020, including new health cover.

    Do you think that the fact that they failed to respond within their own time limits, (which may have materially affected my chance of applying the second time successfully) are grounds for a successful online appeal on technical grounds?
    Would it also be appropriate to provide a letter detailing my personal circumstances and economic contribution to the country etc, or best to leave that to a (hopefully not necessary) later appeal to a judge?

    I don’t think I’m the only one caught out by the health cover on 1st Jan 2021 issue.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Dear Mark,

      That’s correct. You are not the only one under this problem related to retrospective health care obligations.
      We are fighting these cases at the Court level at present, we hope Judges will make sense of this mess.

      Thank you,

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