How can I get legal documents if I am illegally in Spain?

If you are in Spain without any type of permission, you could obtain it through ‘Arraigo’ permits based on extraordinary circumstances without going out of Spain.

It is a benefit offered by our legislation to foreigners who meet certain conditions in order to acquire a residence and work permit, among them, the most important reasons are the following:

1. Social ties
2. Economic ties
3. Family ties
4. International protection and humanitarian reasons


According to Spanish legislation any foreigner illegally established as a resident in Spain, can apply for a residence and work permit. The required periods of time are different according to the situation, or other personal circumstances. The means is that during their time in Spain they are sufficiently integrated into the life and culture of Spain and have formed community. Therefore, it implies the permission to temporarily live in Spain, which could be given to foreigners already living in Spain for 3 years as long as either they have family ties in the country or they are socially integrated. It is the most usual one.


1. Having lived continuously in Spain for a minimum of 3 years. If he/she went out of Spain sometime in that period, the total days abroad cannot be more than 120 to be eligible.
2. Not having a criminal record in your home country (for crimes or offences defined and sanctioned in the Spanish law).
3. Having a job offer in Spain with a legal work contract for a year (40 hours a week) or different contracts which sum up for at least 30 hours a week, the contract must be signed by both the employee and the employer for at least one year. One of them at least has to be registered in the Social Security with no pending debts with the Social Security or the Treasury. The company must guarantee a continuous activity, sufficient economic, human or material resources to develop its mission and to fulfill the commitments assumed in the contract.

Or alternatively:

3.1 Having a project describing the establishment or activity to be realised like self-employed or
3.2 Having sufficient economic resources

4. Having family ties in Spain (spouse, civil registered couple, ancestors or descendants in direct line and first grade, those being Spanish or foreign residents in Spain)


4.1 Having the “Informe social de Arraigo” (Social Integration Report) which proves his/her social integration in Spain, approved by the “Comunidad Autónoma” (Regional Government).
5. Not being a citizen of one of the countries belonging to the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland; and not having relatives of these countries, for whom is applicable the EU regulation.
6. Not being under a restriction/prohibition of entering Spain and not appearing as “rejectable” in the Member States of Schengen Area.
7. If you assumed the commitment of not coming back to Spain in case of being part of a voluntary return proceeding, the period of time for which the Spanish law establishes the prohibition of entering Spain must be over.


If the applicant can prove a continuous permanence in Spain for a minimum period of 2 years, not having a criminal record in his/her home country; not being barred from entering Spain or another Schengen country; having illegally worked for an employer in Spain for at least six months and if he/she is willing to report her/his employer to the authorities and cooperate with the authorities while they take legal action against his/her employer.

The meaning is to allow those who work illegally the opportunity to legalise their situation (as well as to punish employers who illegally hire workers and contribute to the underground economy). Also the applicant will need a favorable judge sentence or administrative decision condemning the employer.


This process will give the faculty to ask for a residence or work permission if the applicant prove being the father or mother of a minor with Spanish nationality or E.U nationality country, as long as he/she lives with him/her and she/he is up to date with his/her duties as father/mother.


Humanitarian reasons:

a) Having been victim of illegal immigration.
b) In the following cases providing that he/she has a final favourable judgement: if they were discriminated against because of his/her ideology, religion, ethnic group, race or nation, sexual option, family situation, illness or disability.
c) Having been victim of crimes in the event of aggravating circumstances such as racist or discriminatory issues.
d) Having been victim of violence within the family bosom.
e) Proving been suffering an illness acquired while being in Spain which is impossible to be treated properly in the country of origin, and
f) If he/she prove that being deported to his/her country will entail a serious danger for both them and his/her family’s safety.

International Protection Reasons

It is granted to foreigners for whom the Home Ministry authorised the permanence in Spain according to the regulatory framework of Asylum Law and Refugees Status.


About Fairway Lawyers

English, German and Spanish speaking lawyers/abogados serving Spain's Marbella, the Costa del Sol, Granada, Antequera and inland Andalucia. Tel: Telephone +34 952 77 11 50 or email: If you have a matter that requires immediate attention please contact Diego Echavarria +34 606 307 885 (mobile)