On May 20, the Official State Gazette (BOE) published Order SND/421/2020 of May 18, in application of the Royal Decree that establishes the State of Alarm in Spain.

The Spanish Government, by means of this new regulation, allows to maintain in force those authorizations of residence, stay or cards that expire during the State of Alarm or during the 90 days previous to the beginning of this one.

The declaration of the State of Alarm has prevented many workers from requesting the renewal of their authorizations and residence cards. This is detrimental not only to workers, but also to many employers.

This ministerial decree, which came into force last Wednesday, will extend the authorizations without the need to issue an individual resolution at the Aliens Office for each of these authorizations.

The aim of the new regulations is to prevent foreign citizens from finding themselves, involuntarily and as a consequence of the suspension of administrative deadlines, in a situation of supervening irregularity.

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions that arise with the new ministerial order:

Q: Which authorisations or residence cards are automatically extended?

  • Non-lucrative residence.
  • Residence and work.
  • Stay for: studies (not all, explained below), student mobility, non-working practices, voluntary work.
  • Family member cards for EU citizens.
  • Long-term residence cards.

Q: In what cases are authorisations or residence cards automatically extended?

When their validity has expired between December 14, 2019 ( when they have expired during the 90 days prior to the beginning of the State of Alarm, which was agreed on March 14) and the end of the State of Alarm (foreseeably on June 7, 2020).

Q: Do I have to do anything to benefit from this extension?

No, you do not need to take any steps. They are automatic extensions and it is therefore understood, for all purposes, that your authorisation is in force (to work, to apply for family reunification, etc.).

Q: Until what exact day will my authorization/card be in force?

The 6 months extension is counted from the day after the expiry of your NIE and will be extended until 6 months after the end of the State of Alarm. Therefore, the extension that occurs will exceed six months and will be retroactive to the day after the expiry of the authorization or residence card (this means that it will be considered renewed from the day after the expiry of the card).

For example: if we consider that the last day of the State of Alarm is June 7, the NIE card that expired on December 20, 2019, will be automatically valid until December 7, 2020.

Q: If I have already submitted my renewal request, do I benefit from the automatic 6-month extension?

A: Yes, of course. Let's see, if you have already presented the renewal and you meet the requirements to renew (depending on the authorization or residence card you have, these requirements vary), you will be renewed for the period that corresponds to you according to your authorization or residence card, which is more beneficial than the fact that you are renewed for six months, since you will be renewed for 1 or 2 years, depending on the case, unless you are entitled to access a long-term residence.

Q: So when should I use this 6-month route?

We understand that this option should only be used if you do not comply with the requirements for renewal (minimum time of contribution, work contract in force, sufficient economic means from the employer, etc.).

However, if you do comply with the requirements for renewal, it is better to submit the request for renewal via telematics or through a representative, if necessary.

This method can also be used by those persons who, in spite of meeting the requirements, do not wish to file the application online because they are unable to use the technology or because they cannot do so through a representative.

Q: Which persons are not eligible for an automatic extension?

Students who are doctors and who are doing their residency in Spain (Médicos Internos Residentes-MIR).

Q: What other situations are extended?

  • If you are in Spain with a 90-day visa, your stay will be automatically extended for 3 months from the end of the 90 days, but only to stay in Spain;
  • Visas under mobility agreements are extended for three months from the end of the alert status;
  • Visas for study stays of up to 180 days are also extended for 3 months from the end of the alarm state, provided that the person is in Spain and has not been able to return to his/her country of origin;

Q: If I am outside Spain and I have one of these authorizations or visas, and it is expired, will I be able to enter Spain without any problem?

Yes, since the authorizations/cards that appear in the first question of the article are automatically extended, the person would be entering the country with his or her authorization automatically extended under this rule.

Those who have obtained a long-stay visa under the Entrepreneurs' Law 14/2003, whose validity expires during the validity of the State of Alarm (i.e. between 14 March 2020 and 7 June 2020, unless the latter is extended again), may also enter Spain.

Q: Will the fact that I was out of Spain during the State of Alarm, without being able to return, harm me when it comes time to renew?

A: No. The time spent outside Spain as a result of not being able to return because of the COVID19 will not be considered as a negative element when proving the continuity of the residence.

Conclusions

The Secretariat of State for Migration recognizes that the impossibility of submitting applications for the renewal of these permits in person and the difficulty of carrying out these procedures electronically has generated "great legal uncertainty" for foreigners residing in Spain, as well as for employers and other social and economic agents.

In addition, holders of a temporary residence and/or work permit and a residence permit, as well as holders of a family member card of a Union citizen or an extended long-term card, who are abroad during the alert period, may enter Spain by presenting their valid and updated travel document together with their expired foreigner's identity card.

Finally, absences from Spanish territory due to the impossibility of returning to Spain due to the health crisis will not be counted for the purposes of continuing the stay.

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