Travelling While Applying for Spanish Nationality: What You Need to Know


Many individuals are currently in the process of applying for Spanish nationality through residency, and naturally, they have several questions regarding this procedure. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether they can travel outside Spain once they’ve submitted their nationality application.




The answer is yes, you can travel while your Spanish nationality application is being processed. However, there are a few important factors to consider.


You must maintain continuous and legal residency in Spain throughout the process, not just for the nationality application but also for your residence card and status as a resident.


According to the immigration regulations and the Royal Decree 240/2007 (community regime), specific periods and allowable absences from Spain are established, depending on the type of residence card you hold.


General Immigration Regime:


You can stay outside the European Union for one year continuously with Long-Term Residence or Long-Term Residence-UE cards.

Important Note: On June 20, 2023, the Supreme Court declared Article 162.2.e) of Royal Decree 557/2011 null, which previously caused temporary residence to expire after absences of more than six months within a year. Therefore, currently, such absences no longer impact your residence status. You can find more information about this change on our website.


Community Regime:


For Initial Residence Cards for Family Members of EU Citizens, you can be absent from Spain for up to six months within one year. Longer absences may be allowed for specific reasons such as military obligations, pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, studies, professional training, or transfers to other EU Member States or third countries.


For Permanent Community Residence Cards, you can stay outside Spain for up to two years continuously.




As mentioned earlier, traveling outside Spain during the process of your Spanish nationality application shouldn’t affect your application, as long as you maintained legal and continuous residency in Spain prior to submitting your application.


Moreover, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that absences occurring after the application’s submission should not impact the nationality application, similar to unforeseen irregularities.


What is an unforeseen irregularity?


An unforeseen irregularity refers to a situation where irregularity arises while your nationality application is in process. It may occur if you unintentionally become an irregular resident in Spain after submitting your nationality application.


Currently, this situation is not a cause for denial of nationality, provided you had legal residency in Spain at the time of submitting your Spanish nationality application.




This doesn’t mean you can neglect renewing your residence card or let your authorization expire while your Spanish nationality application is being processed. It is crucial to maintain legal residency both before and during your nationality application process, even after receiving approval.


Furthermore, keep in mind that Spanish nationality applications can be denied. If you allowed your residency to expire or became irregular while your Spanish nationality application was underway, you might have to start over, which can lead to significant complications.


Get in touch with us directly for more information.

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