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

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.

72 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,

      1. Dear Maria
        We have just been refused our Visa (Pre Brexit Residency Visa under the Withdrawal agreement) for very similar reasons to mark and I wondered if there was any update on the court cases you are involved in?
        We feel there is little point now proceeding with a judicial review of our case unless there was already a precedent that we could refer to.
        Many thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.


          Dear Craig,

          We have already won one case, which has been Appealed again by the Administration before Courts.

          The rest of them are in progress at the first Appeal before the Administration itself.

      2. Dear Maria,

        Myself and my fiancé are in very similar situations regarding not having our health insurance in December 2020. We have just lost our appeal. I was wondering if there had been any more news on any success? We are at the stage of appealing to the judge, or we will need to go down the social route.

        Many thanks


          Unfortunately, the Immigration Offices are following a very restrictive interpretative criterion in relation to the health insurance requirement. Therefore, the only way, as you rightly point out, is to appeal to the courts or to go down the social route.

          1. Hello again Maria
            I’m the same Mark that wrote to you in January last year (see blog post above). I just thought I would give you (and anyone in a similar position) an update on the rejection of my (non-economically-active) residence application on grounds of not having suitable health cover at the start of 2021.
            I put in an administrative appeal, noting two principal facts:
            1) that Spain and the UK had signed a bilateral health agreement so that in practice I was never without health cover.
            2) The Withdrawal Agreement requires that the host state help applicants to meet residence criteria and that initial application errors and omissions are not grounds for rejection so long as these are remedied. This is Article 18 clause (o), though other clauses of the WA also forbid what you describe as the “restrictive” way that Valencia has applied the criteria.
            My appeal referenced the Spanish law (health) and EU law (Brexit WA various clauses) but was of course rejected.
            I appealed to the Defensor del Pueblo (ombudsman) who initially took up my case but then spoke to Valencia and then dropped me as they claimed that Valencia had not broken Spanish law.
            I appealed to the the EU ombudsman (SOLVIT) whose Madrid office took up my case seeing that I was claiming a breach of EU law. They contacted Valencia but then came back to me with essentially stating that Valencia had not broken Spanish law!
            I put in a complaint to Brussels that their Madrid office should interest itself in EU not Spanish law and Brussels SOLVIT (and later the Commission body looking after post-Brexit issues) both agreed that on the face of it I had a strong case. I received advice from Your Europe Advice (EU body) that confirmed that it appeared that EU law had been breached in Spain in my case.
            However, the Commission have been unable to get any response to requests to Spain for an explanation of their actions. They have also just informed me that (despite what I had assumed ) that they are not actually acting on my case specifically, but trying to clarify generally from Spain how the EU and Spanish interpretations might vary.
            So I feel I have exhausted all the avenues open. My experience is that the EU is not capable of protecting British citizens’ rights in the way that the IMA has done for EU citizens’ rights in the UK.
            Part of me wishes to sue Spain for years of living in limbo unable to work or leave the country. Part of me just wants to pay someone something to get this fixed. I now believe that this is how Spain operates.

            Any advice?

          2. Maria Luisa Castro

            Dear Mark:

            I believe I understand that you did not file the administrative litigation appeal in the Court, is that correct?

  11. Hello,
    I have applied for my depended mother residancy and I was asked to send more documents which I did but the documents received to them after required date so they archived the application but I wrote them and explained that I sent docs on time and it was matter of post . And now when I check application status I see “ En via de recurso “ could you please advise what this status means ?
    Thank you

  12. Hello,

    I have applied for Highly qualified NIE renewal and I don’t hear anything from official till now. It’s been a month.

    No News does it mean rejection.

    I’m bit worried about my rejection bcz 2021 I was not in Spain for more than 180 days due to COVID I was stuck in hometowns


      Hi Geet,

      After three months, with no answer from the Administration, it’s a fair enough assumption to assume that your application has been accepted. Silence is good in this situation.

      Hope that helps,


  13. Hi, we had another person deal with our residency. She got my fine but my partners we still haven’t got. Not knowing the system we left it to her. Now finding out it was archived back in October 2021 we were none the wiser? We have a business in Spain and been living here since 2020. I have been told she made a further application in December 2020 again rejected. This has only all just come to light and unsure what to do next. Many thabnsb


      Hi Catherine

      We will just be able to offer our appraisal to you if you send related documents to us:

      – Application and documents brought with the application
      – Decision by the administration

      Best wishes


      1. Hi Maria. I have lived in Spain for 26 years & My mother lives with me
        We have both had residency since 1996.
        I have updated to the TIE card.
        I wish to do the same for my mother. She is 89 years old. Her memory is starting to go,& she cannot sign her name without help. She is in a wheelchair & cannot travel.
        At the moment the A4 paper is still OK. If this changes. What can I do?
        Please help.

  14. Good day
    I am appealing again to the authorities my father is a citizen here and through that link I am trying to get residence .but there is a little difference in name in my passport and on my birth certificate ,my passport says .osaghae Solomon junior
    The my birth certificate says osaghae Solomon oghogho ,would that pose any problems?. I am junior because I hear the same name with my father who is .osaghae SOLOMON Johnson .
    I am asking for your advice on this please .


      Dear Osaghae:

      We would need to review your documents, please send them so we can provide an appraisal to you

  15. Hi,
    I just made the apeal about my arriago , after 1 week they change my status to envió de recurso , then after 3-4 days “Resultó No favorable” I was wondering if they just error or that’s the result already coz I know they said it takes at least 2-3 mos. So wierd since they change the site to check for the status. Thank you hope you can answer my question.


      Dear Janice,

      You need to receive a notification. Wait around one week for this and if not received, ask your legal representative to verify.

      If you do not have a legal representative, you can contact us so we can see how we can help you

  16. Quennie Lozada

    Hi maria! I applied for a residency under the family member of EU citizen. I am married to a Spanish citizen and i am a filipina. We have our appointment last January 13, 2022 for the tarjeta de residencia then we’ve got a notification around march 22 that we need to submit additional documents and until now no news yet. We are so worried.


      Dear Quennie,

      Initially, there are three months for an answer, after which you can appeal.

  17. Hi Maria
    I have just been refused the second renewal of my non lucrative residency due to over time spent out of Spain (7 months). This extra time was due to Covid situation in 2020 and being stuck on drilling platform overseas. I have a letter from my company justifying the situation. Do you think is worth it to make a recurso or they are very strict on days spent outside. Thanks


      Hi Adam,

      We need to review your particular circumstances. Sara Velasco has just sent an email to you on this

  18. Hello Maria
    we applied for our NLV renewal back in October! While in procedure ,they asked us for proof that we paid the tasa. We submitted the proof that it was paid. One month later our application is archived stating because the tasa wasn’t paid. we filed n appeal, but we are the US now should we retrun back to Spain asap?


      Hi Elwine,

      If you do not have a residence permit yet, we recommend waiting until you receive the resolution. Also, we would recommend you consult your Immigration Office.

      Thank you.

  19. Hi Maria ,

    On 2018 through my family I got golden visa and on that time I was 17 years old and on 2020 when we applied to renew the resident card they rejected me.
    I still don’t know the reason why they rejected me!
    Because the lawyer said that he doesn’t know that also.
    The lawyer tried to reapply again but it didn’t work!
    Since then I haven’t go out of Spain and I have been trying to find a solution some how.
    The other thing is that the lawyer never mentioned us that I need to get padron. Therefore I don’t have padron from 2019 to 2021, how ever I have prove of 3 years of studying at school in Spain from 2018 to 2021.
    And beside that for rest of the year I have some invoices under my name and from 2022 I have padron.
    Please I really need your that still possible to reapply for the renewal?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Shaden,

      Unfortunately, applying for a renewal is impossible as you are out of time for this. However, your best option would be to apply for Arraigo Social or Arraigo para la Formación. We will be pleased to submit your application electronically on your behalf.

      Thank you.

  20. Kochar Hassan Hussein

    Hello,dear This is Kochar Hussein im holding Spain residence for studying master,I didn’t study my masters,after I applied for renew my ID, then I have a reject notification from Extranjeria for my renewal residence permit, please what is the solution for my case,
    Kochar Hussein
    +34 602 634 109

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi emz,

      We would recommend you to contact the Immigration Office directly. They will be pleased to assist you and explain the status of your case.

      Also, we will be happy to help you if you need any legal assistance with your case.

  21. My wife has had her residency done 4 the next 2 years but my was trun down we have a bank account with both r names on can you please help

  22. Hi Maria
    My appeal has been rejected from immigration office for permanent residence permit with eu family
    i am working from last tow years in spain i did leave spain more than 2 months in last five years we have our own appartment here in malaga in appeal i gave them 8200 euro bank saldo certificate nota simple of my appartment i studied music production programe here in malaga i gave them my moterbike and my car documents i gave them documents of all the job i applied , i built my music studio in end of 2019 i spent 25000 euros i am working as a freelancer i earned 19338 euros in 2022 and paid all the tax for it and same in 2021 and immigration is tryin to say that we are poor .
    can you help me with my application

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      We will be very pleased to review your file and appraise possibilities. Please contact us via email. Thank you.

  23. Hello, I am in a middle of a digital nomad visa and I fulfill all the criteria, it was rejected once because they thought I am not stable in Spain however I have been staying as a tourist in an airbnb since March 2023 – I have reapplied and given all the documents proving I am staying here (airbnb receipts) My health is declining and I think I have to go back to India for few days to take treatment. what will be a solution here?


      Regarding your question, we do not recommend leaving the country while you are waiting for a response on your visa. However, if your application is favourable, you will be able to come back. But if your application is rejected, you will have used up your 90/180 days and will not be able to return until the period is renewed.

  24. Marie Whitehouse

    Good morning,
    I wondered if you could provide your thoughts on the below?

    Specifically any thoughts on the time taken to hear my appeal would be appreciated – should withdrawal agreement appeals also be heard within 90 days?

    On 12.1.2022 I received a letter of resolution, confirming additional information was required.

    On 9.2.2022 all additional documents were sent to the office electronically.

    This delay which exceeded 10 days was due to postal issues (the date I actually received my letter of resolution was significantly later that the date of the letter)

    We have receipts evidencing the documents requested were sent.

    Unfortunately on 9.3.2022 I received a further letter explaining that the documentation was not received.

    On 21.3.2022 I was informed of an electronic rejection of my application for residency.

    An appeal was submitted based on the rejection of my residency application.

    On 5.5.2023 I have been informed of a hearing date which will be held on 12.2.2025.

    My understanding is that appeal hearings are usually/typically scheduled within 90 days of appeal.

    The time planned for my appeal hearing is planned 693 days after the date of the appeal letter 5.5.2023. Should it be sooner or can I do anything to get the hearing to be sooner?

    My son and I have lived in Spain permanently since 2020. We have a property here and are living independently.

    My son’s residency has been approved.
    I am his sole/main carer, as he is severely disabled and has severe autism.

    Any advice you can give would be great.


    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Good morning Marie,

      Thank you for detailing your situation. I understand how complex and stressful this process can be, especially considering your particular situation and that of your son.

      Regarding appeal times, the regulation typically establishes a resolution and notification period that should not exceed 90 days, I guess that the new date which has been established for February 2025 is because it is a Court Appeal, an Appeal at the Contentious Administrative Court.

      We are available to check your documents and offer a way ahead mainly taking into account the special needs of your son. We are sending an email to you.

  25. Hello dear
    I am from Pakistan and apply for Spanish Business visit visa and refused i need to come spain for my important meeting so how can i do appeal in Spain high court please , i have invitee in spain and business in pakistan , please

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Muhammad:

      To provide you with an appropriate recommendation, it’s crucial to know the specific reason for the visa denial. Once we have that information, we can determine whether it’s more feasible and advantageous for you to appeal the decision or if it would be better to reapply for the visa. Please share the details so we can advise you in the best possible way.

  26. Hi
    My NIE got rejected saying that the group and level in the payroll is a mismatch.
    My company has given the new contract and details to social security and waiting for their response .
    How much time it will take
    Is there a possibility to get accepted the application now

    1. Maria Luisa Castro


      I understand there has been an issue with your application, but I need to clarify an important detail. Could you confirm if it was the residency card or the Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE) that was rejected? This information is crucial to provide you with a more accurate response and advise you properly on the next steps.

      Best wishes,


  27. Hi Maria
    So I’m living in barcelona from last 4 years with highly qualified NIE and the renewal of it got rejected due to
    They say that the group and level is not correct in my payroll
    In return my company now corrected it and taken sign from me in new contract
    We are waiting for Social security to provide some documents after update so we can apply for my NIE again.
    I don’t know why they are not responding on time what’s the timeline and will it be feasible.
    Will NIE got approval this time

  28. Hello,

    My Visa was deemed “inadmissible” because I applied for it within Spain, not the US. However; it is legal to apply for the student visa within Spain. Do you know anything about this? And, Is inadmissible the same as declined?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Lebra:

      It appears there may have been a misunderstanding with your student visa application process. While some visas can indeed be applied for from within Spain, specific conditions and procedures must be met.

      The term “inadmissible” often means the application doesn’t meet initial criteria to be considered, rather than being outright declined. To accurately assess and advise on your situation, we would need to review your application and the government’s decision in detail. Understanding the reasons behind the “inadmissible” status is crucial for determining the next steps, whether reapplying or appealing the decision. Please let us know if you require assistance with this process.

      Best wishes,


  29. I applied for temporary resident permit for my husband but it was not favorable because of my income pay ,please I want to know how much I can earn in spain for dependent of .my husband

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Kimberly:

      For an administrative appeal (recurso de alzada), the administration typically has a period of 3 months to issue a resolution. If you haven’t received a response after this time, it may be considered that the appeal has been dismissed. On the other hand, the maximum time to resolve an appeal for reconsideration (recurso de reposición) is 1 month. Again, if there’s no response within this period, it may be considered dismissed.

      These timeframes may vary depending on your city and Autonomous Community.

      Hope the above helps

      Best wishes


  30. My wife applied for my temporary resident permit but it was denied because they said insufficient economics means but my wife has been working for the past 2month
    How long will an appeal takes to be out

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      The financial requirements set by the Administration depend on what type of temporary residence visa you are applying for.

      Regardless of whether you have an employment contract or a job, the financial requirements are independent of this, as you must prove that you have financial means for a minimum of one year.

      Some visas require about 30,000 euros per year.

  31. I received a notification of acceptance of my application, but it’s stated that I applied for a first renewal. Should I contact the office or just wait; they will see the application on the second renewal?
    Thank you!

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Thank you for your message. I’m not entirely clear on your question. Could you please clarify or rephrase it for me?

      Best wishes


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