Ayslum/international protection. People who enjoy asylum rights in Spain will not be sent back. Spanish legislation acknowledges the refugee condition for all people who find themselves outside their country and who do not wish to or who cannot return to their country due to well-funded fears of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinions, belonging to a certain social group, gender or sexual orientation. Refugees are granted the right to asylum.

Foreigners who are not refugees but face a real risk of death penalty, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, serious life or integrity threats as a result of indiscriminated violence should they decide to return to their countries will receive subsidiary protection.  

For all these cases, an international protection request must be filed. Authorities will decide whether to grant the right to asylum  or the subsidiary protection.

Where can I file an asylum of refuge request in Spain?

Outside Spain

If you are in Spain

When is the right to asylum granted?

Persecution acts carried out in the countries of origin must be severe enough to constitute a serious violation of the Human Righst and Fundamental Freedoms.

When is international protection requested?

The request of asylum must be filed within a month since the entry in Spain, if you are already in Spain or since the date on which the events that support your request took place.

How is international protection requested?

The request of asylum must be filed in person. If this is not possible for you due to physical or legal impediment you will be able to authorise a person to do it on your behalf.

You will be interviewed on your personal data and on the reasons that made you request international protection as well as how you arrived in Spain. A person will help you fill in your request and clarify the facts that make you request it. They need to know what has happened if your country for them to be able to help you. Try to be honest since the very beginning because all the information you provide is CONFIDENTIAL. The government in your country will never be informed of your request of asylum or of what you tell them.

Refugee Rights in Spain while the request is being processed.
  1. You have a right to stay in Spain until the request is decided, except if you are requested by another EU country or by an International Criminal Court.
  2. You have a right to be assisted by a lawyer, for free if you cannot afford to pay for their services. The lawyer can belong to the Bar or to the NGO you have contacted.
  3. You have a right to an interpreter in a language in which you can express yourself fluently.
  4. You have a right that your request be communicated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  5. To learn about the content of your file at all times.
  6. To have documentation as an international protection seeker.
Your obligations as an asylum seeker in Spain
  1. To cooperate with the Spanish authorities, saying the truth about your identity and submitting the identity documents you have. To explain the reasons for your asylum request in detail.
  2. If you do not state the real reasons from the very beginning or if you present documentation that is not authentic they will find it harder to believe you if afterwards you tell them the real version.
  3. Under Spanish legislation, the Police, the civil service or interpreters that assist you must keep everything you say secret. Trust in them because they are used to deal with people who need protection. .
  4. You can have a lawyer for free if you cannot afford to pay for their services. You can also contact the UNHCR or the NGO who has previously helped you to submit your request at any time.
  5. You have the obligation to inform and to appear before the authorities should they request it.
  6. You must also inform them if you have a change of address so that they do not decide to close your case just because are unable to send you notifications regarding your request.
  7. You must allow them to take your fingerprints.
How does the process of international protection work in Spain?

Admission phase

In this phase requests that are a reiteration of prior requests or requests submitted by EU citizens are discarded.

If you have submitted your request within the Spanish territory

  1. You will be notified within one month about whether your request has been admitted and about whether you need to follow an urgent process.
  2. If your request is not admitted for its processing you must leave Spain, except if you have an authorisation to stay. You can contest this decision rejecting your admission before a judge. 

If you submit your request at a border post: 

You must stay at the post until they decide if they admit your request. Authorities have four days to reach a decision.

  1. If the request is admitted, you will enter Spain.
  2. If the request is not admitted or if it is rejected you can submit an appeal or request a reassessment within two days and you will be given an answer in two days. If this last decision is negative you must leave Spain. You can contest this decision before a judge.
What is the eligibility phase?

If your request is admitted for its processing, whether at the front post or inside the Spanish territory will be examined in depth.

  • Authorities have a maximum of six months to reach a decision and a maximum of three months if your case is declared urgent. If the decision is delayed you will be notified.
  • You may be summoned for a second interview.
  • If you are not authorised, you must leave Spain, except if you have another residence permit.
  • If the decision is favourable, you will be recognised as a refugee or as a person under subsidiary protection
  • You can have a lawyer for free if you cannot afford to pay for their services.
  • All requests, regardless of where they were submitted, are examined at the Asylum and Refugee Office.
  • The Ministry of Domestic Affairs is the one that reaches a decision.
Refugee rights in Spain once the international protection is authorised.
  1. A right to not be sent back to your country.
  2. Residence and work authorisation.
  3. a right to obtain an identity card.
  4. A right to direct family members reunification.
  5. Access to public services for employment, education, health, housing, assistance and social services, assistance for violence against women and academic titles processing.

You can obtain leaflets on the NGOs that provide help for refugees at the offices where you can request international protection.

Associations and NGOs that will help you request political asylum in Spain
  • ASOCIACIONES DE AYUDA PARA ASILADOS Y REFUGIADOS ACNUR (Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados) Avda. General Perón, 32 – 2º Izq. (28020 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 556 36 49 / 35 03
  • ACCEM (Asociación Comisión Católica Española de Migración) Plaza Santa Mª Soledad Torres Acosta, 2 – 3º (28004 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 532 74 78 / 79 Fax: 91 532 20 59
  • CEAR (Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado) C/ Noviciado, 5 (28005 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 555 06 98 / 29 08
  • COMRADE (Comité de Defensa de los Refugiados y Asilados de España) C/ Canillas, 6 (28002 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 446 46 08
  • CRUZ ROJA ESPAÑOLA C/ Pozas, 14 (28005 – MADRID) C/ Muguet, 7 (28044 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 532 55 55
  • KARIBU (Amigos del Pueblo Africano) C/ Santa Engracia, 140 (28003 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 553 18 73
  • RESCATE INTERNACIONAL C/ Luchana, 36 – 4º Dcha (28010 – MADRID) Teléfono: 91 447 28 72 / 29 60

“Las autoridades competentes te harán una entrevista en la que debes ser sincero sobre tu situación y aportar documentos reales y no falsificados para que te crean “

“Se concede el asilo a las personas que no pueden volver a su país por tener temores fundados de que puede ser perseguidas por motivos de raza, religión, nacionalidad, opiniones políticas, pertenencia a determinado grupo social, de género u orientación sexual

“La autorización de asilo da derecho a no ser devuelto a tu país;residencia y trabajo; obtener documento de identidad; reagrupamiento de familiares directos; y acceso a los servicios públicos de empleo, a la educación, sanidad, vivienda, asistencia y servicios sociales”


The Aliens Act acknowledges certain rights, some are limited to be enjoyed only by people with a residence permit in Spain, some are detached from the foreigner's administrative situation. Some of the most important rights are the following:
  • Education. All foreigners under 18 years old have the right and the obligation to an education on the same terms as Spaniards. This right includes access to compulsory education, obtainment of academic qualifications and access to a public system of grants and scholarships. They will also have a right to access non-compulsory secondary education regardless of their administrative situation. 
  • Free legal assitance. Should you need legal assistance to attend a trial, you can request a public defender and benefit from a free justice if you previously justify you lack the economic resources to pay for a private one. 
  • City registration. It is an administrative record where all neighbours belonging to a certain district or council are registered. Non-Community foreigners must renew it every two years, unless they are holders of a long-term residence permit.
  • Health. You must have a resident permit or work and residence permit to be granted this service. If you are staying irregularly this right extends only to assistance in emergency units. Minors and pregnant women also have this right granted until medical discharge.  
  • Translator. If you do not understand or speak Spanish, you are entitled by law to ask for an interpreter that translates into a language you can understand for the spanish legal services.


Information on the documentation needed to access the Spanish territory

I want to go to Spain

Find information on the documentation needed to enter in Spain.