To request international protection in Spain, a person must formally apply to the competent authorities. Asylum can be applied for within Spain or at border controls. Until 2020, applications couldn’t practically be made at embassies or consulates outside Spain, despite being legally possible. No reports suggest this has changed post a significant Supreme Court judgement.
Asylum seekers outside Spain must apply at border control, specifically to the Border Police. Within Spain, applications can be made at the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR), any Aliens’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros), Detention Centre for Foreigners (CIE), or a police station.
To request international protection in Spain, formally apply to the authorities as soon as possible, ideally within a month of being in the country. You can still apply if you realize later that it’s unsafe to return to your home country.
For asylum, apply at a border checkpoint, immigration office, police station, Immigration Detention Facility (CIE), penitentiary, diplomatic mission, or Spanish consular office abroad. Attend an interview with the national police, requesting an interpreter if needed. You may use a private or NGO lawyer, or a public defender, though this may delay the interview. If you apply at border control, remain there until your case is processed and you receive a Red Card.
The Red Card is crucial for those seeking international protection in Spain, allowing you to receive protection while your application is processed. It grants the right to work after six months, open a bank account, enroll in education, and get married.
You can hold a Red Card throughout the asylum application process, which may take up to two years. Although initially valid for six months, it can be renewed every six months as needed.
While in Spain with a Red Card, the authorities assess whether to grant you refugee status. The Inter-Ministry Commission for Asylum and Refuge drafts a proposal, reviewed by the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR), with the Ministry of the Interior making the final decision.
Possible outcomes include:
Gaining asylum and a Red Card in Spain grants various rights for protection and comfortable living. During your application, you’re entitled to free legal assistance and an interpreter provided by the state, although private options are available if affordable.
You’re protected from deportation during and after the asylum process, and your status is reported to the UN Human Rights Council.
In Spain, you have rights to medical aid, social and housing services, and employment after six months.
As a refugee, you must comply with certain obligations. This includes fully cooperating with Spanish immigration authorities, providing accurate information, attending interviews, obeying Spanish laws, and avoiding legal issues.
For assistance or advice on obtaining political asylum in Spain, contact our asylum lawyers for a consultation via messenger or by mail or our contact form. We offer comprehensive support, including accompanying you to all authorities and providing expert advice throughout the procedure.