How to Apply for the Family Reunification Visa for Spain

 How to Apply for the Family Reunification Visa for Spain

Moving to Spain might be your dream come true but not if you have to leave your loved ones behind. The good news is that they may be able to live with you while you work or study in the country. The Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores) is the government authority that oversees visas and permits in Spain, including family reunification visas. Spain has a relatively open policy for reuniting families compared to other EU countries. In fact, Spain was one of the top three European countries to issue residence permits to minors in 2020. Furthermore, in some circumstances, Spain enables families to also reunite with extended family members.

If you’re from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland you can join your relative in Spain without a visa. However, you must follow certain rules regarding registering as a foreigner and getting a Foreigner’s Identity Number (NIE). Non-EU/EEA relatives of non-EU/EEA citizens living in Spain will require a family reunification visa to reunite in the country. The family member in Spain must generally live legally in the country for one year and receive authorization to stay for another year before their relatives can live in Spain with them. However, your family members are immediately eligible to apply for a family reunification visa if you have one of the following:

  • Long-term residence permit from another EU member state
  • EU Blue Card
  • Student or researcher visa

Who can apply for the family visa?

Relatives that are eligible for family reunification are:

  • Your spouse or civil partner (with whom you are still in a relationship).
  • Unmarried dependent children, including adopted children, aged 18 years or under, of both you and your partner or spouse.
  • Dependent child, grandchild or an adult for whom you are a legal guardian. For example, you have legal custody of a grandchild or are the caretaker of an adult who has a disability and cannot live independently.
  • Parents, of both you and your spouse, over the age of 65 (younger in exceptional cases) who cannot live independently due to age and health concerns. 

Under the EU Community regime, children who are ages 18 to 21 can also relocate with the family reunion visa provided that they are dependent on their family and if they are enrolled in academic studies. 

Visa length of the family reunification visa

The family reunification visa will be valid for as long as the residence visa of the person they are joining. Therefore, if the foreign resident applying for family reunification has a temporary residence permit, the family reunification visa is valid until the same date. If the foreign resident applying for family reunification has a long-term residence permit or EU long-term residence permit, the family reunification visa will expire on the date of the Foreigner’s Identification Card (TIE).

You can submit an application (jointly) to renew the visa 60 days before it expires. Everyone can apply to become a permanent resident of Spain after living legally in the country for five years. 

Benefits of the family reunification visa

Partners (married or registered union) and children over age 16 will be able to look for work, become self-employed, or study without obtaining an additional permit. They will generally also have access to social benefits such as Spain’s public healthcare system and social security. Education is compulsory for children under 16 years of age. As such, they can attend public primary and secondary schools. 

Other relatives who join you with a family reunification visa will need to first get a valid permit before they can legally work or study in Spain. 

How to apply

The person who has the Spanish residence permit must be the one to initiate the family reunification visa application. If you’re still in your home country, apply at the Spanish embassy there when you apply for your own residence permit. If you’re in Spain, go to your local Foreigner’s Office. You may need to present the following documents:

  • Original and copy of your passport and copies of the passports of your family members
  • Copy of your residence permit(s)
  • Proof of the family relationships, for example, marriage and birth certificates
  • Sworn statement that you aren’t living with another partner, if your spouse or partner is joining you
  • Evidence of your employment and/or proof you can financially support your family
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Evidence of adequate room for everyone to live with you, for example, a rental contract

Once the application has been granted, your relatives have just two months to go in person and apply for a visa at the Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country. They may be required to have an interview and could also need to show the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of the family relationship, such as a marriage or birth certificate, or adoption papers
  • Certificate showing ‘no criminal record’ for the past five years
  • Medical certificate proving that they do not have any disease which could endanger public health

The process of family reunification takes around 4-5 months. However, the exact period will depend on how long it takes to prepare and gather all the documentation and how long it takes to get an appointment with the immigration office. After the Spanish authorities grant the visa, the joining relative will have three months to travel to Spain with the visa.


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