Political Asylum in Spain: Process, Rights, and Obligations

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Obtaining Asylum in Spain

In a world marked by forced displacements and situations of persecution, seeking political asylum becomes a vital option for those fleeing oppression and seeking safety in foreign lands. Spain, as a committed member of the international community, offers a rigorous yet accessible process for requesting political asylum in Spain. This article delves into crucial details, guiding you through the essential steps and providing key information for those wishing to apply for asylum in this welcoming country.

Advantages of Political Asylum in Spain

Asylum seekers in Spain can enjoy several advantages of political asylum in Spain, even if the resolution has not yet been granted. Specifically, these are the top 5 advantages of political asylum in Spain:

  1. The extradition or expulsion process in Spain is immediately suspended upon requesting asylum.
  2. Upon making your political asylum application, you automatically achieve legal status in the country.
  3. During the first 6 months in Spain with asylum, you may not work. However, after 6 months from the date of the police interview, you will receive your red card, allowing you to work legally in the country, either as an employee or self-employed.
  4. It is common for asylum requests to be denied. However, it is possible to file a reconsideration or administrative appeal, granting two benefits. Firstly, you will have the right to access the labor market (you may work, although not legally in Spain in the eyes of Social Security), and secondly, the negative effects of the asylum denial will be suspended.
  5. In the case of Venezuelans, in the vast majority of cases, when their request for political asylum in Spain is denied, they are almost automatically granted a humanitarian residence permit, allowing them to live and work in Spain legally for one year with the possibility of renewal for an additional year.

What Happens When You Apply for Political Asylum in Spain?

Applying for political asylum in Spain grants you a series of rights and obligations with the country.

The rights provided by Spanish legislation for applicants for international protection include the following, which are important to note:

  1. Right to free legal assistance and interpreter.
  2. Right to suspend any process of deportation, expulsion, or extradition that may affect the applicant (Right not to be returned to a place where their life or physical integrity is at risk).
  3. Right to know the contents of the file at any time.
  4. Right to health care.
  5. Right to receive specific social benefits as provided for in the Law.
  6. Right to be documented as an applicant for international protection.

Additionally, applicants for international protection have the following obligations:

  1. To cooperate with the Spanish authorities in the procedure for granting international protection.
  2. To present, as soon as possible, all those elements that, together with their own statement, contribute to substantiate their request. Among others, they may submit documentation available about their identity, age, nationality or nationalities, past — including that of related relatives —, places of previous residence, previous requests for international protection, travel itineraries, travel documents, and reasons for requesting protection.
  3. To provide their fingerprints, allow themselves to be photographed, and, if necessary, consent to their statements being recorded, provided they have been previously informed about it.
  4. To report their address in Spain and any changes that occur in it. (It should be noted that any communication from the authorities will be notified to this address).
  5. To inform, also, the competent authority or appear before it when required with regard to any circumstance of their application. Failure to comply with this obligation, as well as the failure to renew the documentation provided to the applicant, may result in the filing of the application within one month according to current legislation.

How to Apply for Political Asylum in Spain?

To formalize your asylum application in Spain, you must first request an appointment for political asylum in Spain. We recommend that you request the appointment for political asylum in Spain for your asylum application as soon as possible after your arrival in Spain. The applicable legislation establishes that the asylum application must be submitted within the first month of arriving in Spain, although if your application is submitted after this period, it will also be accepted. If this is your case, it is important that you explain the reasons why you have submitted your asylum application after this period has elapsed.

If you have arrived in Spain with other members of your family, please note that each family member over 18 years of age must submit their own application for political asylum in Spain and must request their own appointment for political asylum. However, if you are accompanied by a dependent minor under 18 years of age, you may include said family member as an extension of your application. However, in the event that the minor has directly suffered any violation of their human rights, the option of submitting a separate asylum application should be considered and consequently the minor will be interviewed individually. To make this decision, it will be necessary to assess the age, capacity, and specific circumstances of the child.

The applicant will be documented with a provisional red card, so that they can legally remain in Spain while their application is being processed; as this can take up to 2 years.

This red card is not a residence permit. Although it allows residence and work, it has certain limitations, such as not allowing leaving Spain.

After that resolution time, finally, the status of asylum or refuge is granted; now yes delivering the foreigner a residence card (different from the red one), with the nomenclature added of political asylum.

However, it can also be done in the Asylum and Refugee Offices (OAR), or in Foreign Internment Centers.

On the other hand, if for any reason we cannot enter Spain and we are detained at the border, it will be at the border post itself where we start the application.

How to Apply for Political Asylum in Spain

Requirements for Political Asylum in Spain

On the day of your appointment, you will need to provide:

  1. Fill out the application for asylum and expulsion retention (I-589).
  2. Complete passport and copy of the one that will be delivered if your application is accepted for processing.
  3. Certificate of criminal record.
  4. Any documents you consider convenient and relevant in support of the application (for example: letters of serious threats to you and your family, newspaper clippings with communications of persecution or acts committed against you or your family, etc.).
  5. As in any procedure, all foreign documents must be translated into Spanish and duly legalized.

How Long Does Political Asylum Last in Spain?

Once you go to the police station to initiate your asylum application, you will be given a red card valid for 6 months. This card is granted so that you can legally reside in Spain while the administration evaluates and processes your asylum application. However, it is most common that after these first 6 months you still have not received a resolution (neither favorable nor negative); as it is a rather slow procedure. In that case, you can renew your red asylum card for another 6 months.

What is the Red Card for Political Asylum Seekers in Spain?

The red card is the document granted to all those from a region in conflict or who have suffered a natural disaster, authorizing them to reside in Spanish territory.

Thus, a person in a country that has suffered any of these adverse situations can come to Spain and apply for residence for humanitarian reasons, or be a refugee and apply for political asylum. Hence the official name of the red card is the document that accredits the condition of the applicant in the midst of the international protection process. It is called a red card because it is printed on a card of the same color.

However, the red card is not a card that is granted once asylum is approved. It will be issued when the foreigner’s asylum application is admitted for processing.

In conclusion, it is the document that is delivered to those who apply for political asylum, and which allows them to reside in Spain while their application is processed.

Disadvantages of Applying for Political Asylum in Spain

The main disadvantage of applying for political asylum in Spain is that the vast majority of applications for international protection are rejected.

Therefore, foreigners residing in Spanish territory, if they want to obtain residency in the country, will have to wait 2 more years to regularize their situation. And they will do so through the process called root.

That is, you can stay in the country for the 12 months allowed by the red card, but since international protection is usually denied, you will have to remain 2 more years as an illegal citizen until your situation is resolved. Regularize yourself.

On the other hand, we find another disadvantage of applying for political asylum in Spain in the time it can take to apply, usually drastically lengthening the process.

It is very likely that within 8 or 9 months you will have an appointment, which will make it difficult for you to work in the country. This is largely due to the large number of existing applications.

What is Needed to Apply for Political Asylum in Spain?

The foreigner who wishes to obtain asylum or refuge in Spain, or even international protection, due to armed conflict or any other confrontation in their country, will submit their request to any of the next dependencies: Asylum and Refugee Office. Border entry posts to Spanish territory.

Who Can Apply for Political Asylum in a Country?

According to the Law Regulating the right to asylum: “Any person who, due to well-founded fears of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, membership of a particular social group, gender, or sexual orientation, is outside their country of nationality and cannot or, due to such fears, does not want to avail themselves of the protection of that country.”

FAQs About Political Asylum in Spain

What happens if my political asylum is approved in Spain?

If your political asylum is approved in Spain, you will be granted refugee status, allowing you to reside legally in the country. Additionally, you will have the right to work, access healthcare and education services, and enjoy other social benefits. It’s important to note that political asylum is granted to individuals who have demonstrated facing persecution in their country of origin due to reasons such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinions. With asylum, you are protected from being returned to your country of origin and can build a new life in Spain.

How to apply for political asylum in Spain?

The process to apply for political asylum in Spain begins by submitting a request to the Office of Asylum and Refugee (OAR) of the Ministry of the Interior. It’s essential to provide documentary and testimonial evidence that supports your case, demonstrating the existence of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in your country of origin. The application must be submitted in person or through a legal representative, and it’s important to adhere to the established deadlines to avoid complications in the process. After submitting the application, an interview will be conducted to assess the credibility of your story. The process can be complex, so it’s advisable to seek advice from a lawyer specializing in asylum law.

Can I travel from Spain to the United States with political asylum?

Obtaining political asylum in Spain does not automatically guarantee the right to travel to the United States. Each country has its own immigration laws and regulations regarding asylum. To travel to the United States, you must comply with the requirements and processes established by the U.S. authorities. You may need to obtain a specific travel visa or apply for political asylum separately in the United States. Additionally, it’s important to consider any restrictions and conditions that may exist at the time of travel, such as possible limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended to consult with the relevant immigration authorities and, if necessary, seek legal advice to understand and comply with the requirements of both countries.

Consequences of renouncing political asylum in Spain

  • Loss of Refugee Status: Renouncing political asylum results in the loss of refugee status and, therefore, the rights and benefits associated with this status, such as authorization for residence and work in Spain.
  • Risk of Deportation: Renouncing political asylum may subject the individual to ordinary immigration laws. If they do not have another valid immigration status, there is a risk of facing deportation proceedings.
  • Prohibition of Return to the Country of Origin: Depending on individual circumstances and the initial reasons for seeking asylum, renouncing this status may lead to the loss of protection against return to the country of origin. If the situation in the country of origin has not changed, renouncing asylum could expose the individual to the risks that prompted the initial application.
  • Impact on Future Asylum or Residency Applications: Renouncing political asylum in Spain may negatively affect future asylum or other immigration status applications in Spain or other countries. Immigration authorities may consider the previous renunciation when evaluating new applications.
  • Need to Address Immigration Status: After renouncing political asylum, the individual must address their current immigration status. This could involve pursuing other residency or regularization options, such as applying for a work permit, visa, or other available immigration statuses.