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Family Arraigo visa to Spain por Canadians


1)What is the Arraigo familiar?

2)Main requirements

3) Process timeline

4) Required Documents for Fingerprinting Appointment

This article shares my experience as a Canadian obtaining residency in Spain and the steps I took to get  a Family Arraigo approved.


1) What is the Arraigo familiar?

If you are a Non-EU citizen and are with a relative who has Spanish or EU citizenship, then you are entitled to get a 5-year residency card  that allows you to live and work in Spain. After the 5 years are finished you could apply for permanent residency.

There are three visas under exceptional circumstances:

– Arraigo familiar
– Arraigo social
– Arraigo laboral

For my case, I applied for the Arraigo familiar through my Spanish partner. Doing the arraigo gave me a leeway to pass on providing proof of economic means to live in Spain, a work contract, and health insurance contract.

For me getting my residency renewed to a Family Arraigo was not an easy process. Free resources to learn about the process were scaring for me at that time, and it became very emotionally exhausting procedure.

I started the process in July 2022 with Pareja de hecho and didn’t have the residency physical TIE card approved until late April 2024.  Yes, that was how long it took when I went for my first consultation with a lawyer in Malaga and learned about the Pareja de hecho.

Getting the Pareja de hecho was easy, but what followed after was tricky as there wasn’t a lot of current information to help us with the process. We still thought that I needed to apply for the Tarjeta Comunitaria. But, after two months of gathering all of the documents for the european card (“Tarjeta Comunitaria”), we learned that it was no longer valid and replaced by the Family Arraigo.

We were even misled into thinking the Tarjeta was the correct process because we had contacted a legal agency for advice and were guided on doing this Tarjeta. You can imagine how frustrated and upset it was when we learned we were applying for the wrong application!

Feeling overwhelmed with a new process, we didn’t want to waste anymore time figuring out what to do next, so we ended up hiring a proper lawyer to help us. We thought it was worth it to trade in some money with convenience and peace of mind.

This article is a continuation of the Parejea de hecho and the correct steps to take to completing the residency with the help of your Spanish partner.  You will need to apply for the Arraigo Familiar (Family Roots) in Spain if you are a non- EU citizen who is in an irregular situation in Spain. The benefit of this process is that you are eligible to obtain legal residency up to 5 years without renewal and a valid work permit to work for Spain. Double win!

It is one of the three residence authorizations that help those in an irregular situation and are faced in exceptional circumstances (ie: overstaying past your 90 day allowance).  If you are with a partner or spouse who is a Spanish citizen, this (Arraigo Familiar) would be the one to do.

As mentioned above arraigo Familiar is one of four ties: family, work, social, and training. 

In this article we will focus only on family tie, which is a continuation of the steps after getting  the pareja de hecho certificate with your Spanish partner. 

However, the Tarjeta Communitaria still applies if your partner is not Spanish citizen but an EU citizen. In this case you do need to apply for the Tarjeta Communitaria, which involves more documents (work contract, proof of insurance, valid funds to live in Spain)

To be eligible for the family arraigo, you must first be a non-EU citizen and have a link with a Spanish national.

Here is a list of groups a non-EU citizen could find him or herself in:

  • You are the father or a mother of a Spanish child (born in Spain) and is less than 18 years old.
  • Descendants of a Spanish citizen
  • Spouse or accredited domestic partner of a Spanish citizen (this is the most common one and the one highlighted in the article)
  • Legal guardian who is in charge of a minor Spanish citizen
  • Person that provides and supports a Spanish citizen with disability with whom he or she lives

While you can have a lawyer or an immigration agency from Spain assist you in this entire process, you can use this article as a guide to help you plan and learn more about the requirements and steps involved to getting this application approved successfully.

2) Main requirements

  • Non-EU citizen with ties to a Spanish citizen
  • Clean criminal record for the last 5 years allowing you entry to Spain
  • You must already be in Spain to start this application. Either you can come here as a tourist (during your 90 day stay), or you are transitioning from an expired visa or soon-to-be-expired visa over to the Family arraigo, or you are starting as an irregular with no Spanish ID issued.  It is important to note that when applying for the family arraigo there is no minimum period you need to demonstrate that you have been living in Spain provided that you have met all of the requirements mentioned above.

Require Documents for residency paperwork

  • Valid and non-expired passport + photocopy
  • Completion of the EX-10 form, link found here
  • Reciept of tax paid with Tasa 790 052 form  (This is used to pay the administrative fee to the government when applying for residence.) The tax cannot be paid online. You can easily  paid through an ATM with cash at any BBVA bank in Spain. 
  • Pareja de Hecho Certificate (proof that you are linked with your Spanish partner)

Criminal record in the countries you lived in the last 5 years. The document must be authenticated or apostilled from country of origin and must be translated in Spanish by a sworn translator)

3) Process timeline

The application timeline generally takes 3 months for the office to process your documents and provide an update.  If after 3 months you have not heard anything back it is important to follow up in case your application has gotten denied.
Additionally, if you need to leave Europe during the time your application is pending it is important that you apply for the autorización de regreso which grants you permission to leave and come back to Spain without any issues.

Once you receive the news that your residency has been approved, the next steps would be to book an appointment on the government website to do your fingerprinting (Toma de huella) with the trámites de nacional policia.

No appointments available message

There may be several times during the day where you may not be successful with getting any appointment and it would show a message (as shown in the screenshot above) that there are no appointments available. In this case I would recommend to try again, either next morning or early afternoon as more appointments will be refreshed.

Below are the steps that you need to take to complete your appointment booking.

Once you have the appointment scheduled and received a confirmation by email. You will need to prepare the following documents to bring to the office on the day of your appointment.

4) Required Documents for Fingerprinting Appointment.

– Form EX 17 printed and signed

– Fee 790 012 printed and paid (bring receipt)

 – Printed concession resolution

– Valid passport (copy and original)

– Updated registration certificate (padron)

– DNI model recent photograph

-** Original TIE card (even if its already expired)  (If you already a TIE card made and you are renewing your residency status into a Family Arraigo, you will need to bring your TIE card as well)

It is always better to be over prepared with the documents than underprepared. In my case, the government staff did not need  my passport at all and took the TIE instead. But, another officer may want to see it. It is also important to point out that you must bring a recent photo because they will not accept any old photos you have. I had tried to use the same photo for my TIE card as I had extras, but the office was able to find out that the photo was an old one as the same photo appeared in their system.  Luckily, the officer was kind enough to allow me take a new photo and waited for me while I went to a nearby photo shop. I would not take any risks and go there underprepared in case they send you away and you need to book another appointment to come back later.

The officer will provide you with instructions on what to do when you come and pickup your official renewed TIE card. You will need to wait until your card is ready for pickup (usually 1 month later) in the same government office website, by selecting the option: Policia – Recogida de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE)

Card pickup booking

Once your fingerprints have been submitted, you will need to wait for minimum 1 month before you can schedule a follow up appointment on the same website to pickup your renewed TIE plastic card.  The option you would select on the same website would be “RECOGIDA DE TIE”.

Photos taken at the fingerprinting and TIE card pickup office

I would recommend that you have as much patience as possible as this process cannot be rushed. You are living in a country where there are many layers in their bureaucratic system and time will pass!

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