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How to Get Residence Permits for Ukrainian Refugees in Spain?

December 10, 2022

The Spanish Government published on the 10 March the long expected information on how displaced persons from Ukraine can get a temporary protection status in Spain (Orden PCM/169/2022, de 9 de marzo, por la que se desarrolla el procedimiento para el reconocimiento de la protección temporal a personas afectadas por el conflicto en Ucrania).

Starting from 10 March 2022 Ukrainian citizens can apply for a temporary protection status, which includes residence and work permit. Spain initially announced it to be for 1 year, however currently the protection status cards are given for 2 years. Spain committed to renew the cards as long as the conflict situation persists.

This way Spain has implemented the EU Council Directive 2001/55/CE on the protection of displaced persons activated in March 2022. Displaced Ukrainians will be able to reside, work, or study in the EU for one year, with the possibility of extending their stay for up to 3 years, without having to apply for asylum (which is a very long procedure).

Who can apply for temporary protection in Spain?

  • Ukrainian nationals.
  • Ukrainian long-term residents. Spain specifically extended it to temporary residents too, including students.
  • Refugees from other countries who have previously been granted international protection in Ukraine.
  • Immediate family members of the above.

The Council Directive 2001/55/CE gave the temporary protection status to the Ukrainian nationals, and allowed the Member States to extend the status to others if they chose so.

The Spanish Government, recognising the extraordinary impacts of the war, have chosen to approve the temporary protection status to the above mentioned categories.

Can Ukranians living in Spain before February 24th apply?

Yes, Ukrainians living in Spain before the invasion began on the 24th of February can also apply for the temporary protection status.

This includes Ukrainian students, tourists, and those on business trips abroad.

It also includes people who overstayed in Spain after entering as tourists without getting any resident permit before or could not renew a regular residence permit.

Where to go to get a temporary protection in Spain?

The Spanish Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) announced on the 9 March that Ukrainians can apply for the temporary protection status in “specific Police Stations of the Spanish National Police” or in “specially adapted Reception Centres”.

The Spanish MIA published the list of offices where you can go to get the temporary protection status.

What is the procedure to get a temporary protection status in Spain?

  • Applications must be submitted in person.
  • The Police will create an application file and assign a NIE number for each applicant.
  • All applicants will be fingerprinted.
  • The application file will be sent to the Office of Asylum and Refuge of the Spanish MIA.
  • The applications shall be resolved in the term of 24 hours.
  • Exceptionally, applicants may be called to a personal interview.
  • The resolution will be notified to the applicant electronically (if possible), or by regular mail, or in person in a Police Office or an Immigration Office.
  • The applications can be denied if the Spanish Police determine that the applicant may cause danger to the national security of Spain.
  • Ukrainians already residing in Spain and had other immigration applications under way, will have priority to renew their ongoing applications quickly.

What documents are required to apply for temporary protection?

It appears it is only necessary to provide documents that prove that you belong to any of the categories listed above (e.g. your original passport or residence permit and proof of address in Ukraine).

Is it necessary to get a TIE card?

Yes, since the temporary protection status is granted for 2 years you will need to get the TIE residence card (read this article to understand what is a TIE and know the difference with a NIE).

It means you have to go in person to one of the specialized Immigration police centres and apply for it.

The Spanish government published very detailed instructions on how to book an appointment.

What rights does temporary protection provide?

Ukrainians will be granted both a residence and work permit (in case of adults), which will remain valid for the entire duration of the protection.

Under temporary protection, Ukrainians will receive the right to:

  • Work as an employee or self-employed person.
  • Access the benefits provided for in the foster care system.
  • Medical care.
  • Minors under eighteen years of age will also have the right to access education under the same conditions as nationals of the host EU country.

How will the reception of Ukrainians be managed?

The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration established three reception and referral centres in the provinces with the largest Ukrainian population: Barcelona, Madrid, and Alicante. Between the reception locations in autonomous communities and reinforcement from the ministry itself, there are already approximately 12.000 beds and up to 5.000 hospital beds available.

How many Ukrainians have left Ukraine?

The UN Refugee Agency expects that over 2 million have left Ukraine thus far, with the expectation that 2.5 to 6.5 million could be displaced by the end of the conflict, depending on its continuing developments. It is likely that at least half of those displaced, will seek international protection in the participating host countries.

According to the Spanish MIA, by the 3rd of November 2022 there were already 151,620 people with the Ukrainian temporary protection status in Spain, the vast majority of them in Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, and Málaga.

[Updated article of the one originally published on the 10th of March 2022]


Anna Klevtsova

Anna holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and is a Certified Lawyer with the Bar Association of Barcelona. With more than 20 years of legal practice in International Law, Anna specialises in business set-up, investment transactions, and immigration strategies.

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