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.

María Luisa de Castro


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.

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