According to INE (National Statistics Institute) data from January 2022, the total number of foreigners living in Spain exceeds 5 million. This does not include the number of foreigners who do not plan to make Spain their permanent residence for more than 90 days.

Knowing your rights and obligations under Spanish law is important, whether you already live in Spain or are thinking of moving there.

Legal protection of foreigners in Spain

To begin with, the Spanish Constitution guarantees all citizens and legal residents the same rights and freedoms regardless of their nationality.

This implies that all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are also available to foreigners. The right to secrecy of communications and the ability to express oneself are also included in this list. Be aware that any deviation from these fundamentals will have serious repercussions.

On the other hand, Organic Law 4/2000, in its scope of application, grants protection to all foreigners who do not have Spanish nationality.

However, diplomats, consular officials, representatives and delegates of permanent missions and their delegations to intergovernmental organizations, officials of international or intergovernmental organizations, as well as the family members of each of the above are not subject to the provisions of this law.

In order to provide a series of anti-discrimination measures to safeguard foreigners in Spain, the legislation contains, in Article 21, a definition of the facts constituting discrimination. In order to guarantee the constant exercise and preservation of rights and freedoms, it is essential to know the legislation.

What rights do foreigners have under Spain's Organic Law 4/2000?

The following is a summary:

  • Documentation.
  • Circulation.
  • Public participation.
  • Freedom of assembly and demonstration.
  • Freedom of association.
  • Right to education.
  • Right to work and social security.
  • Freedom to organize and strike.
  • Right to health care.
  • The right to housing assistance.
  • Subjection of foreigners to the same taxes as Spaniards.
  • The right to family life and family privacy.
  • Right to regroup with family members.
  • Right to effective judicial protection.
  • Right to appeal against administrative acts.
  • Right to free legal assistance.

What are the duties of foreigners in Spain?

Foreigners in Spain have a series of responsibilities and mandates. These obligations distinguish the status of resident foreigner, establishing obvious differences, such as the need for a foreigner staying in Spain for less than 90 days to have health insurance.

All foreigners have the same minimum set of obligations when residing in Spain, such as the following:

  • Maintain documentation in order.
  • Respecting local laws and regulations.
  • Compliance with tax obligations.
  • Cooperate with the authorities.
  • Respecting the conditions of entry and stay in Spain, in the case of visas.

How do we ensure that everyone's freedoms are safe?

To live freely and without legal problems in Spain, foreigners must know their rights and responsibilities under Spanish law. It is crucial to ensure that rights and freedoms are respected, just as it is crucial to comply with Spanish laws and regulations.

Therefore, in case you need legal advice, it is essential that you consult an expert in the field.

In addition, it is necessary to understand and accurately interpret the legislation in its entirety in light of the changes enacted by the Government in 2022 regarding foreigners, which encourage family reunification and the inclusion of foreigners in the labor market. In this way, all rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain are protected.

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