The General Directorate for Immigration has issued a statement on the scope and measures involving the suspension of administrative periods stipulated in the Additional Third Provision of Royal Decree 463/2020, dated 17 March, whereby the Spanish Government declared a State of Emergency, to manage the health crisis caused by COVID-19.
The most significant measures affecting immigration procedures are the following:
1. Status of foreign visitors that entered Spain, with or without a visa: Schengen visas will not expire during the State of Emergency and visitor status is extended in the case of citizens that are not required to hold a visa. Thus, during the State of Emergency, foreigners may remain in Spain irrespective of the date on which their visas expire or the date on which the permitted period stipulated under the Schengen Agreement has elapsed, provided that they can justify the fact that it is impossible for them to return to their home countries due to the health emergency.
2. Documents issued required in Immigration procedures: Documents required for immigration procedures that may expire during the State of Emergency will be accepted by the immigration authorities once the State of Emergency ends.
3. Residence permit applications that are underway and which were filed before the State of Emergency.
In such case, there are two scenarios:
a) Processes that are underway and which meet the conditions for approval or that have been automatically approved because the legal period to adjudicate/examine them has elapsed: The immigration authority has stated it intends to issue approval notices as soon as possible, despite the State of Emergency.
b) Processes that do not meet the conditions for approval and which should be refused or cancelled: These applications have been put on hold and the legal period for appealing them is suspended.
4. New initial or renewal applications filed after the State of Emergency was declared.
To the extent possible, the authorities aim to process these applications but will apply a suspension to the administrative periods stipulated for each stage. Thus, there will be no negative impact for the applicant but the immigration authority will not have to observe the legally established time periods either.
To such end, the immigration authority aims to encourage and continue electronic filing channels. Some processes where personal attendance is normally required will exceptionally allow electronic filing. However, the relevant immigration authority may request personal attendance, in which case it would take place once the State of Emergency ends.
5. Possible extension of legal terms and time periods once the State of Emergency.
Considering the foreseeable backlog of applications that will occur and the impossibility of examining them within the legally established periods, it is possible the authorities will extend the relevant legal terms and time periods of adjudication/examination.
Depending on the evolution of the health emergency, new measures may be adopted for immigration. We shall keep you abreast of any changes in this regard.