All about the family reunification visa in Spain

Non-EU residents in Spain can bring their spouse/partner, children, parents (in-law) to Spain on the family reunification visa. Read to learn how.


8 minute read
Updated on 31 Jul 2023

A huge number of expats move to Spain every year, whether it’s for studying, working, retiring. And since moving abroad's a huge decision, many expats want to bring their family or partner with them.

In this article, we’re going to show you how you can bring your spouse or partner, children, or parents (in-law) to Spain on a family visa.

Can I bring my family to Spain?

Yes, all non-European residents who’ve renewed their initial Spanish resident permit can bring their family members to Spain on a family reunification visa. This visa's officially known as reagrupacíon familiar in Spanish but you may also know this as a dependent visa, spouse visa, or a family reunion visa.

You're exempt from the requirement of renewing your permit if you have an EU blue card, a long term EU resident permit, or a student or researcher visa.

If you’re an EU citizen or a Spanish passport holder, you need to apply for an EU family member residence permit to bring your non-EU family member to Spain.

Which family members can I bring to Spain on a family reunion visa?

The family reunification visa allows non-EU citizens to bring their immediate family to Spain. Immediate family members include:

  • Parents and parents in law (ascendants) above the age of 65
  • Children under 18, including adopted or children of your partner (descendants)
  • Spouse or civil partner

Parents under the age of 65 can be brought to Spain if there's a compelling reason they're unable to take care of themselves.

Children between 18 to 21 years can be brought to Spain if they’re studying and economically dependent on you. Children above the age of 21 can be brought to Spain if they’re disabled and you’re their primary caregiver.

Bringing extended family to Spain

Unfortunately, non-EU citizens in Spain cannot bring their extended relatives to Spain.

Examples of extended family members include:

  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Nieces or nephews
  • Uncles or aunts
  • Cousins
  • Disabled family members
  • Unmarried partner (stable, long-term relationship)
  • Children below 21 years of age

To bring your extended family to Spain, you’d either need to have EU citizenship or gain Spanish citizenship. And as a Spanish or EU citizen, you can’t apply for the family reunion visa but the EU family member residence permit (Tarjeta Communitaria).

If you're eligible for Spanish or EU citizenship, it could be beneficial to apply as you could grant a 5 year long residence permit to your family members. But remember that you’d also need to prove that you’ve been financially responsible for them in their home country and that they will live with you in Spain.

Spain family visa requirements

The requirements for family reunification in Spain are plenty. So pay attention to the variety of documents that both you and your family member(s) need to submit for the family reunification visa and residence permit.

Because the documents needed for each family member differs, we’ll first start with the documents that are required for all applicants.

For the non-EU citizen in Spain

  1. Filled in Visa Application formModel EX02.

  2. Valid passport, copy of passport, and copy of family members’ passports.

  3. Residence permit.

  4. A legal document that proves your relationship to family member (more on this below).

  5. Adequate housing report obtained from your town hall. This shows your house has sufficient room for everyone.

  6. Proof of health insurance

  • Public health insurance if you’ve access to Spain’s healthcare.
  • Private health insurance if you’re unemployed or not eligible for Spain’s healthcare.
  1. Proof that the family member(s) is financially dependent on you.
  • For example, bank statements that show you make regular payments or pay major expenses for the dependent.
  1. Proof you’ve sufficient funds to support your family.
  • You need to show you’ve more than 150% of the IPREM value for 1 family member. In 2023, this is €900 per month or €10,800 per year.
  • For any additional family members, you need to have at least 50% of the IPREM. In 2022, this is €300 per month or €3,600 per year.
  • To prove this, submit your bank statements for the last 6 months and a work contract that lasts at least 1 year or is indefinite. If self-employed, submit your income tax statements.

For the family member abroad

  • A filled-in Schengen visa form (if applicable) or a sworn statement from the resident in Spain that you’ll be living with them in Spain.

  • A valid passport and copy of passport.

  • Criminal background record, showing a clear record for the last 5 years.

  • A health certificate (no older than 3 months) proving you don't have any serious illnesses and aren't a threat to society.

  • A legal document that proves your relationship to the family member in Spain (more on this below).

All of these documents need to be translated into Spanish and notarised in your home country.

What documents do I need for each family member?

Aside from the general documents mentioned above, you also need to arrange for specific documentation depending on which family member you want to bring to Spain.

Bringing children to Spain

The primary document's the birth certificate. If you and your partner are married, the birth certificate must have the name of the child and both the parents.

If you’re bringing your partner’s child, you must show the child’s birth certificate with your partner’s name and your marriage certificate or civil partnership document.

If you’re bringing an adopted child, you’ve to present the birth certificate (if available) and the adoption certificate.

For children between the ages of 18 and 21, you need to show financial proof that your children are economically dependent on you and are also studying at an educational institute in Spain.

Bringing Spouse or Civil partner to Spain

Spain allows all non-European residents to bring their partners to Spain.

Whether you’re married to a different or same-sex partner, you need to present your marriage certificate. Alternatively, you can bring your civil partner (Pareja de Hecho) with whom you’ve signed a civil partnership agreement.

If you’re married, you also need to prove that neither of you is married to a 3rd person and that your relationship is not a marriage of convenience. To demonstrate your marriage’s seriousness, you could present rental contracts with both your names or other similar proof.

Bringing parents or in-laws to Spain

There’re stricter conditions to be met if you want to bring your parents or parents-in-law.

  • You need to have a permanent residence permit in Spain or a long-term EU residence permit.
  • Your parents or in-laws must be above the age of 65 and be in need of your care due to their (health) condition.
  • If they’re younger than 65 years old, you need to have demonstrable proof that they’re not in a good condition and you’re the only possible primary caregiver.
  • You must be financially responsible for them. You can prove this by showing regular payment exchanges or showing you’ve made the major payments on behalf of them.

The main document you need to bring your parents to Spain's your birth certificate. If you want to bring your parents in law, then you need to present your marriage certificate along with your partner’s birth certificate.

Bringing unmarried partner to Spain

Unfortunately, non-European citizens cannot bring their non-European unmarried partners. Only Spanish or European citizens can do that under the family member of EU citizen residence permit. So if you’re eligible to apply for a Spanish or another EU country’s passport, you might want to consider that.

Unlike other extended family members, your long-term partner will only get a 1-year temporary residence permit. After that, you need to make it official, either by marrying or signing a civil partnership agreement.

The main requirement's to prove that your relationship's legit, long-term, and stable. The EU citizen needs to make a sworn declaration that they want to live with their non-EU partner and submit proof such as:

  • You’ve lived together for at least 1 year (uninterrupted or interrupted).
  • You’ve lived together for a few months only due to exceptional circumstances.
  • You’ve shared bank account(s), a rental contract, bills, invitations to events, etc.
  • You’ve got a child together.
  • Documents showing you intend to get married in Spain.
  • Documents showing historic proof, such as flight tickets, pictures, messages, etc.

All these documents need to be notarised. And unfortunately, whether or not the proof's enough really depends on the person reviewing your documents. So the more compelling proof you’ve, the better your chances.

Application process for the resident in Spain

The non-EU citizen in Spain needs to start the process by requesting an appointment at the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extanjeros) and submitting Model EX02 along with all the supporting documents.

Once you get the approval for the family reunion residence permit, your family members need to start the process on their end.

Application Process for the family member abroad

You’ve 2 months from the approval of the family reunion residence permit to apply for a family reunion residence visa.

You need to apply for this visa in person at the Spanish Consulate of your country. Please bring all the translated and notarised documents in Spanish. You may also be called for an interview.

The consulate will respond to your visa application within 2 months. Once you receive the visa, you’ll have 3 months to move to Spain. If you don’t hear from them, consider your application denied because of administrative silence.

Processing time- How long does it take to get a family reunion visa?

The entire process from submitting the application to the family member(s) actually arriving in Spain can take between 4-6 months.

How long does a family reunion resident permit last?

The duration of the family reunion resident permit's dependent on how long the non-EU citizen’s residence permit's valid.

  • Temporary resident permit- the family reunion resident permit's valid until the expiration date of the non-EU citizen’s resident permit.

  • Permanent residence permit or EU long-term residence permit- the family reunion residence permit's valid until the expiration date of the non-EU citizen’s TIE card – foreigner identification card.

Can my family work or study in Spain on the family reunion visa?

Immediate family members such as partners or children from the age of 16 are allowed to work, become self-employed, or study. They’ll also get access to Spain’s healthcare system and social security as they’re dependent on you.

Extended family members will need to apply for their own residence or work permit to legally live independently and work in Spain.

After arrival in Spain

After arriving in Spain, your family members need to arrange for some important documents.

How to renew the family reunion residence permit in Spain?

If you choose to renew their residence permits, you’d need to show the same proofs as when you submitted the visa application. This includes documents such as the adequate housing condition report, financial statements, etc.

It’s important to start the renewal process at least 60 days before the expiration date. You can renew the residence permit until 90 days after the expiration date, but you’ll have to pay a fine.

To renew, head to the Foreigner’s Office in your region and submit all the documents you submitted the last time. Your application may take up to 3 months to be approved and you’ll be considered a legal resident while you wait for the decision. If you don’t hear anything after 3 months, consider the application approved based on positive administrative silence.

After 5 years of legal residence, your family can apply for permanent residency.

Alternatively, it may be better to not renew the family reunion residence permits if your partner or child has started working. In this scenario, they could get their own residence and work permit and you’ll no longer need to show proof you've enough financial funds to support them.

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