Community Card

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Community Card

The community card is the residence card for a family member of a Spanish citizen or a resident citizen. If you want us to help you or advise you on how to process your community card, you can contact us with the button below:

Community card requirements

It is very important to be clear about the requirements for the community card, as failure to meet any of them may result in the denial of the card itself. The requirements to apply for the family member of a community card are as follows:

1. Accompany or join a European Union Citizen

The first requirement for the community card is to accompany or join a citizen of the European Union or another state that is part of the European Economic Area, who has the right to reside for a period exceeding three months, either as a self-employed or employed worker, with health insurance and sufficient financial means for the family unit, or as a student with health insurance and sufficient resources for the family unit.

2. Meet the following conditions

The second requirement for the community card is for the citizen of the European Union or another state that is part of the European Economic Area, who must meet one of the following conditions (residence card for a family member of a union citizen):

  • Be self-employed or employed in Spain.
  • Have sufficient financial resources to not be a burden on Spanish social services.
  • Have insurance coverage in Spain.
  • Be enrolled in a recognized or government-funded public or private educational institution to pursue studies or vocational training.

    Spouse.

3. Relationship

The third requirement for the community card is to have the following relationship with the citizen of the Union:

  • Spouse.
  • Partner with whom there is a registered partnership.
  • Child of the Union citizen or their spouse or registered partner, provided they are under 21 years of age or over that age and dependent on them, or incapacitated.
  • Any family member who, in the country of origin, is dependent on or living with the Union citizen.
  • Any family member who, due to serious health reasons or disability, it is strictly necessary for the Union citizen to take care of their personal care.
  • Direct ascendant of the Union citizen.
  • Any family member who, in the country of origin, cohabitates with the Union citizen. If they have cohabitated for at least 24 months (with evidence to prove it).

Documentation to apply for a community card

We’ll tell you what documentation you need to present for your community card:

  1. Application for the residence card of a family member of a EU citizen.
  2. Passport of the family member.
  3. Documentation proving the existence of a family bond with the Union citizen or the European Economic Area:
    • If they are a child of a Union citizen and over 21 years old, documentation proving their dependency.
    • If they are a minor child, documentation proving they are the descendant of the Union citizen.
    • If they are a parent of the Union citizen or their spouse, documentation proving their status as a dependent family member.
  4. ID card (D.N.I.) of the Spanish citizen or certificate of registration of the Union citizen they are accompanying or joining.
  5. Means of subsistence available to the Spanish citizen or the EU citizen, proving they will not be a burden on the Spanish welfare service.

Community family card

The European Family Member Card is a residence permit that offers many advantages compared to other residence permits. In this article, we will analyze in depth all its requirements and details.

The first thing to note is that we can apply for this card not only if we are relatives of a Spanish citizen but also if we are relatives of a non-Spanish EU citizen residing in Spain.

The second point is that this procedure has 2 phases.

The first is the arrival in Spain, which depending on the country of origin may require a visa and that we bring with us a series of documents in case they are required upon entering Spain.

The second phase consists of applying for the Community Card once we are already in Spanish territory, within 3 months from entry. However, if you have not done all this and have entered Spain as a tourist, you can also apply for this card.

European Family Member Card: Who Can Apply?

Any person who meets the following requirements for the European Family Member Card can apply:

  1. Be a family member of a Spanish citizen or a citizen of a European Union member state or a state party to the European Economic Area Agreement or Switzerland.
  2. Not have the nationality of any of those states (EU, EEA, or Switzerland).
  3. Reunite with or accompany the family member.
  4. Intend to reside in Spain for a period exceeding 3 months (e.g., a Colombian whose spouse is Spanish could come to Spain and apply for this card if they intend to reside for more than 3 months).

Typically, it is non-EU family members of Spanish citizens who apply for this card, but it can also be requested by non-EU family members of a citizen of the EU who resides in Spain (e.g., the relatives of an Italian residing in Spain). In this case, the citizen of another EU state must meet a series of requirements for the European Family Member Card, which we will see below.

Residence Card for Family Members of a European Union Citizen; Who Can Apply?

Not all relatives can benefit from this regime. Let’s see who is entitled to apply for the residence card for family members of a European Union citizen:

  1. Spouse, provided there is no declaration of nullity of the marital bond, separation, or divorce.

  2. Common-law partner.

  3. A) Registered common-law partner. Here we are talking about a couple with a relationship analogous to marriage and registered in a public registry of a Member State that prevents the possibility of two simultaneous registrations in said State.

In Spain, the responsibility for common-law registries lies with the Autonomous Communities, so it is necessary to consult the legislation of each one to know the requirements for registering the common-law partnership.

  1. B) Unregistered common-law partner. In this case, we refer to the couple with whom the person has a proven stable relationship. To do this, evidence of a lasting bond must be provided.

How is the lasting bond proven? It is understood that this bond exists when marital cohabitation can be proven for a continuous period of one year, except in the case of having common children, in which case proof of stable cohabitation is sufficient.

  1. Direct descendants (children). These descendants can be either those of the EU citizen or those of their spouse or registered partner (provided there is no nullity, separation, or divorce).

The age of the children is also important. Those under 21 do not need to prove anything; however, those over that age must prove that they are dependent on their family member or that they are incapacitated.

  1. Direct ascendants. The same applies as in the previous case; both the ascendants of the EU citizen and those of their spouse or registered partner can be regrouped (provided there is no nullity, separation, or divorce).

In this case, it is always required that they live under their care, regardless of the age of the ascendant.

Unlike family regrouping in the General Regime, where the ascendant must be over 65 years old, in the Community Regime, there is no age limit as long as we can prove that they are dependent.

  1. Extended family. The Royal Decree regulating this matter (240/2007), in its article 2. bis, includes a generic clause, according to which this card could be requested by all relatives of the EU national who can prove the following circumstances:
  • That, in the country of origin, they are under their care or live with them, or
  • That, for serious health or disability reasons, it is strictly necessary for the EU citizen to take personal care of the family member.

Community family card appraisal

The article 2.bis, in its section 4, establishes that «the authorities shall individually assess the personal circumstances of the applicant and shall make reasoned decisions taking into account the following criteria.» In the case of family members, the criteria used are the degree of financial or physical dependence, the degree of kinship with the Union citizen, and, if applicable, the severity of the disability or illness that necessitates personal care or the length of previous cohabitation. Cohabitation is deemed proven when a continuous cohabitation of 24 months in the country of origin is convincingly demonstrated for the application for the family member’s community card.

Community Family Card Application: Required Documentation

The documentation required for the application for a family member’s community card varies depending on whether we belong to a country that requires a visa or not. To determine this, we need to refer to Regulation (EC) 539/2001 of 15 March, which establishes the list of third countries whose nationals are subject to the visa requirement for crossing the external borders and the list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from this requirement.

The Community Reunification Visa is applied for at the Spanish Consular Office in the country of origin, where they will inform us of all the documents we must provide to obtain the visa. According to article 2.bis 2, we must provide:

  • Valid and current passport
  • Documentation proving the dependency, degree of kinship, and, if applicable, the existence of serious health reasons or disability or cohabitation.

In the case of a couple, proof of the stable relationship and length of cohabitation. Regardless of whether a visa is required or not, it is advisable to bring a series of documents when entering Spain in case they are requested at the border control, in order to prove that we are coming to Spain to request a community card and thus avoid entry denial.

These documents include:

  • Declaration document.
  • This is a document made before a Spanish Notary by the Spanish or EU citizen expressing their consent for their family member to come to Spain to reside with them.
  • Copy of the Passport, both theirs and that of the EU citizen.
  • Copy of the EU citizen’s registration certificate.
  • Any documentation proving the existence of the relationship and economic dependency, if applicable.

Requirements for Community Family Card

Family members who come to join or accompany the EU citizen must apply for the «residence card for family members of Union citizens» within 3 months of their entry into Spain in order to reside for a period exceeding 3 months. Do you know what the requirements are to apply for the community card? We’ll tell you the documentation you need to have prepared before applying for your community family card.

The documents required to apply for the community family card are as follows:

  • Valid and current passport.
  • If it has expired, a copy of it and the renewal application.
  • Documentation proving the family relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.).
  • Joint registration. Certificate of Registration of the EU citizen family member (when the reunifier is not Spanish) or Spanish citizen’s ID card.
  • Documentation proving that they are a «dependent» family member (descendants over 21, ascendants).
  • In the case of an unregistered couple, documentation proving that they constitute a stable couple that attests to the existence of a lasting bond, as well as proof of the time of marital cohabitation or, if applicable, a birth certificate of common offspring.
  • If it is another family member (extended family), documentation proving the relationship and dependence, or that they lived with the Union citizen in the country of origin, or the serious health or disability reasons.
  • Three recent color photographs, with a white background and passport size.

Residence card for family members of Union citizens

Although the Royal Decree does not foresee it, the Offices usually require us to provide the contract or means of livelihood of the EU citizen who reunifies us to obtain the residence card for family members of Union citizens:

If the reunifier is an employee, they can provide any of the following documents:

  • Employer’s hiring declaration or employment certificate
  • Employment contract registered with the Public Employment Service (SEPE) If the reunifier is self-employed:

If the applicant is self-employed:

  • Registration in the Economic Activities Census.
  • Proof of establishment through registration in the Mercantile Registry.
  • Document of enrollment or equivalent situation in the corresponding Social Security regime.

If they do not engage in work activity in Spain:

  • Documentation proving they have public or private health insurance.
  • Documentation proving sufficient resources for themselves and their family members during the residency period (e.g., property titles, certified checks, bank accounts, etc.). 

If they are a student:

  • Enrollment in the educational institution.
  • Documentation proving they have public or private health insurance.
  • A responsible declaration stating they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members during the residency period.

With the application for the card, a receipt is provided that serves to prove the legal stay status until the card is issued. The card must be issued within 3 months from the application and will have retroactive effects.

Its initial duration is 5 years or for the intended period of residence.

 

Do you still have any doubts about the process for obtaining your Community Card?

If you don’t understand any of the procedures or need clarification on any of the points regarding the processing of a community card or if you’re unsure if you meet any of the requirements to apply for the community card, you can schedule an appointment with us either in person or remotely, and we’ll address all your concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions about the EU Family Card in Spain

Does the Community Family Card expire in the event of the death of the sponsor?

No, as long as you have resided in Spain as a family member of the EU citizen prior to their death. There is no specific time period established, so as long as you can prove residency prior to the death, the community regime will continue to apply to you.

In this case, you must inform the corresponding Foreigners Office of the death.

Does the Community Family Card expire if the Union citizen leaves Spain?

Article 9.3 of the Royal Decree establishes that leaving «shall not entail the loss of the right of residence for their children or for the parent who has been granted effective custody, regardless of their nationality, provided that these children reside in Spain and are enrolled in an educational institution to pursue studies, until the completion of said studies.»

Therefore, as long as the children reside in Spain and continue their studies, they do not lose their community residence in Spain.

Does the Community Family Card expire in case of divorce, annulment of marriage, or cancellation of registration as a de facto couple?

To maintain the right of residence, one of the following conditions must be met:

  1. The marriage has lasted for 3 years before the start of divorce proceedings, and one of those years has been spent in Spain.
  2. Granting of custody of the children of the EU citizen to the non-EU ex-spouse (by mutual agreement or court decision).
  3. Existence of particularly difficult circumstances such as being a victim of gender-based violence or human trafficking.
  4. Judicial resolution or mutual agreement determining visitation rights for the non-EU ex-spouse to the minor, when the minor resides in Spain and the resolution is in force.

The above is based on the provisions of Consideration 15 of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, which states that «it is appropriate, on the other hand, to provide legal protection to family members in the event of the death of the Union citizen or of divorce or annulment of marriage or termination of a registered partnership. It is therefore necessary to adopt measures to ensure that, in such cases, family members who already reside in the territory of the host Member State retain their right of residence, solely on a personal basis, with due respect for family life and human dignity and under certain conditions to prevent abuse.»

The Community Family Card allows for employment

Indeed, this card comes with authorization to work under the same conditions as Spanish citizens, whether self-employed or employed by others. You can work without any territorial or activity limitations.

Requirements for a non-Spanish EU citizen to reside in Spain (for more than 3 months) include:

  1. Being employed either as a salaried worker or self-employed in Spain, or
  2. Having sufficient economic resources for themselves and their family members to avoid becoming a burden on Spain’s social assistance during their period of residence. They must also provide public or private health insurance that covers Spain during their residence period, equivalent to the coverage provided by the National Health System.
  3. Alternatively, they can be a student enrolled in a recognized or publicly funded private educational institution in Spain for studies or vocational training, along with having comprehensive health insurance and a declaration of sufficient economic resources to avoid becoming a burden on Spain’s social assistance during their residence period.

They can also be a family member of a EU citizen who meets any of the aforementioned conditions.

Regarding the requirement to be employed, there are exceptions:

  • They will not lose their status as an employed worker if they are temporarily incapacitated due to illness or accident.
  • They are involuntarily unemployed (properly documented) after having worked for more than a year and have registered with the employment service to seek employment.
  • They are in the same situation as above but have worked for less than a year. In this case, they maintain the status of an employed worker for a period not less than 6 months.
  • They are undergoing vocational training.

The EU citizen must personally apply for registration in the Central Registry of Foreigners at the Foreigners Office (or Police Station) in the province where they intend to establish their residence within 3 months of entering Spain. The documents required are specified in Article 3.2 of Order PRE/1490/2012.

Therefore, an EU citizen who meets these requirements can reunite with their non-EU family members.

The big question is, do Spanish citizens also have to meet all these requirements to reunite with their non-EU family members?

In principle, there is no legal basis for this, as Article 7 of Royal Decree 240/2007 requires this requirement for non-Spanish EU citizens, but nothing is said about Spanish citizens. Therefore, in principle, it lacks legal coverage to deny a «community reunification» based on the fact that the Spanish citizen does not work or does not prove sufficient means of livelihood.

In case of denial, it would be necessary to appeal.

Can I lose my EU Family Card if I leave Spain?

Yes. Article 14.3 of Royal Decree 240/2007 states that the validity of the card will expire for absences exceeding 6 months within one year.

In cases where absences are due to military obligations, they can exceed 6 months, and in cases of childbirth, postpartum, serious illness, studies, vocational training, or professional transfers, absences can exceed 6 months but cannot extend for more than 12 consecutive months.

What is the Permanent Community Card?

According to article 10 of the Royal Decree, holders of the right to reside permanently are EU citizens and their non-EU family members who have resided in Spain continuously for a period of 5 years.

Article 10.2 provides some cases in which permanent residency can be obtained before the 5-year period (e.g., employed person who, at the time of cessation of activity, reaches the age required in Spain to access retirement pension, etc…)

A practical question arises in the scenario where the EU family member who sponsored us dies before acquiring permanent residency. In that case, can non-EU family members apply for permanent residency? The answer is YES, but with conditions. They must prove one of the following circumstances:

That the holder of the right to reside in Spanish territory had resided continuously in Spain on the date of death for at least two years. That the death occurred due to a work-related accident or occupational disease. That the surviving spouse was a Spanish citizen and lost Spanish nationality as a result of marriage to the deceased.

That’s all for today’s article. We hope to have clarified your doubts.

Which are the European Union member states in which to apply for the EU family residence permit?

These are the countries where you can benefit from the family residence permit of the community, let’s first define which countries are part of the European Union and the European Economic Area. The well-known community regime applies to the following nationals:

  • Alemania
  • Austria
  • Bélgica
  • Bulgaria
  • Chipre
  • Croacia
  • Dinamarca
  • Eslovaquia
  • Eslovenia
  • España
  • Estonia
  • Finlandia
  • Francia
  • Grecia
  • Hungría
  • Irlanda
  • Islandia*
  • Italia
  • Letonia
  • Liechtenstein*
  • Lituania
  • Luxemburgo
  • Malta
  • Noruega*
  • Países Bajos
  • Polonia
  • Portugal
  • R. Checa
  • Rumanía
  • Suecia
  • Suiza**

* States party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

** Agreement of June 21, 1999, between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the free movement of persons.

What are the regulations governing the EU residence card in Spain?

The regulations governing the Community Residence Card in Spain, which we must bear in mind when applying for the community family member, are as follows:

Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. Royal Decree 240/2007 of 16 February on the entry, free movement, and residence in Spain of citizens of the Member States of the European Union and other States party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area. Order PRE/1490/2012 of 9 July establishing rules for the implementation of Article 7 of Royal Decree 240/2007 of 16 February on the entry, free movement, and residence in Spain of citizens of the Member States of the European Union and other States party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

Questions and answers about Community Card

What is the Community Card?

The Community Card is the residency permit for family members of a European Union citizen. The community residency allows you to work legally, with some limitations for dependent family members.

How to obtain the community card?

To obtain the community card, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the official application form for the Foreigner Identity Card (EX–17).
  2. Provide proof of payment for the card fee. The fee you need to pay is code 012 of form 790.
  3. Obtain the appropriate resolution for your Community Card.
  4. Provide three recent color photos with a white background, passport-sized.

How long does the process for the community card take?

This will allow you to reside in Spanish territory indefinitely as a legal resident. In other words, it provides residence for 10 years, with this period being renewable (unless you have applied for nationality before).

Who applies for the community card?

The community card can only be requested by the relatives of a Spanish citizen or a citizen residing in one of the EU member states; this is the essential starting requirement. If there is a bond between the two, the marriage community card will be requested, which offers a series of advantages.

What fee must be paid for the community family card?

The fee for long-term permits and long-term EU permits is higher, at €21.44. For the community family card, the fee is only €12.00. Finally, for the return authorization, you will need to pay a fee of €10.50. It’s essential to note that these fees slightly increase in value each year, so if your procedure spans between one year and the next, you may need to pay a supplementary fee for a few cents to cover the increase.

What documents do I need to apply for the Community Card?

As outlined in the information sheet for the community card, you will need the following documents:

  1. Completed and signed application form in the official format (EX–19), submitted in duplicate by the family member of the Union citizen.
  2. Valid and complete passport of the family member. If it is expired, a copy of it and the renewal application must be provided.
  3. Documentation proving the family relationship.
  4. ID card of the Spanish citizen or registration certificate of the Union citizen they are accompanying or reuniting with.
  5. Proof of means of support available to the Spanish citizen or the Union citizen.
 

What are the advantages of the community card in Spain?

Another positive aspect of the community card is that you will have the possibility to travel out of Spain using it as a travel document, as long as your destination is a country within the Schengen Area. Travel within this territory may have a duration of more than 90 days, meaning for short periods.

Who can apply for the Community Card?

The relatives who can apply for this Residence Card for Family Members of a Union Citizen are:

Spouse Partner with whom a similar union is maintained Direct child of the Union or European Economic Area citizen Direct ascendant of the Union or European Economic Area citizen or their spouse or registered partner Any family member who, in the country of origin, is dependent on the Union citizen. Any family member who, in the country of origin, lives with the Union citizen. Any family member, for whom it is strictly necessary for the Union citizen to take personal care due to serious health reasons or disability Unregistered partner with whom a stable relationship has been duly proven

Where to apply for the family member of the community card?

This kind of approval, as with some of the other permits or privileges in Spain, must be managed at the Foreigners’ Office where you reside.

The application can be made either by the interested party, in this case, the family member of the Spanish or EU citizen. Alternatively, the application can also be made through a lawyer, a legal graduate, or an administrative manager.

How long does the Community Family Card take?

The regulations establish a period of 3 months to resolve and process this social card, but on several occasions, this period is not met and, in practice, you may have to wait for more than 3 months. Additionally, the region to which you apply for this community card also greatly influences the processing time.

The time until you receive a resolution for your community family residence card will depend on the specific workload of the Foreigners’ Office. It’s important to remember that in case of administrative silence, it will be considered negative