Residence and work card while being in an irregular situation (without papers) in Spain.  The law envisages several situations so that you can obtain a residence and a work permit while being in an irregular situation. The main way that is currently being used in Spain is that of social ties (Arraigo Social) which can be found on a section named AUTORIZACIÓN DE RESIDENCIA POR CIRCUNSTANCIAS EXCEPCIONALES (RESIDENCE AUTHORISATION FOR EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES). The other options that you will be introduced to on this website in order to obtain a residence and a work permit are also included within the section Exceptional Circumstances.

What are the requirements in order to obtain a residence permit for social ties (Arraigo social)?

Social ties (Arraigo social), the most extended authorisation so that people ‘without papers’ that live in the Spanish territory obtain a residence and work permit in Spain.

You can obtain a residence and work authorisation for social ties if you certify ongoing permanence in Spain for aminimum period of three years. If you can do it, you must also meet other requirements and submit documentation that certifies it.

  1. You must lack a criminal record in Spain and in your country of origin or country/ies you have resided in for the last five years (Criminal Records Report must be submitted).
  2. Having a work contract signed by yourself and the entrepreneur who wishes to hire you at the moment of the request for a period supeior to one year. Hiring must come from a sole company but there are some exceptions for the following scenarios:
    1. If you are going to work in the agricultural sector two contracts can be submitted, with different employers, each of them with a minimum duration of six months.
    2. If you work part-time for two or more different enterprises, but doing the same work. The sum of the hours you work weekly must not be inferior to 30.
  3.  PSubmit a report for social ties that certifies your social integration, issued by the Autonomous Community where you normally reside or having family bonds with other resident foreigners. It is only for family members with a spouse or a registered domestic partner, your parents or your children.
Obtaining a work and a residence permit for social ties (Arraigo social)


  • Request form in official form (EX-10) in duplicate, duly filled and signed by the foreigner. You can obtain it at
  • Complete copy of the passport with a minimum validity of four months.
  • Supporting documentation of ongoing permanence in Spain for a minimum period of three years.
  • Criminal Records Certificate of the last five years before entering in Spain.
  • Supporting documentation of the required family bonds (marriage certificate or or registered partnershi, birth certificate or other documents), or, social insertion report issued by the Autonomous Community in which the solicitor normally resides.


  • Work contract with the requested characteristics, signed by the employer and the employee. The following documents must be attached too:
    • Identity card (N.I.F) copy 
    • Training copy, and, if relevant, the professional qualification legally requested to perform your profession.
  • Certification that the company guarantees the necessary solvency through the IRPF return (Income Tax Return), or the VAT, or the Corporate or the  Tax Acreditación or the company life report (Informe de Vida de la Empresa-VILE). Likewise, a descriptive report on the work that will be performed.
What are the steps I must take to request residence in Spain on the grounds of social ties?


What papers are valid to ask for a residence permit on the grounds of social ties and what papers are NOT valid?


The importance of census certificate to obtain residence and a work contract on the grounds of Exceptional Circumstances (Social Ties-Arraigo Social) 

In order to process the residence and work authorisation on the grounds of exceptional circumstances, in which Social Ties are included, regulations request that you certify your ongoing residence in Spain for the last three years, regardless of the council census on which you have registered.

CENSUS REGISTRATION. Census registration is a right for all immigrants in Spain. You can register at any council provided you submit documentation regarding the house where you live or the rent agreement. It is important that you have registered Lo importante es que durante toda tu estancia en España te hayas ido empadronando porque estos documentos se admiten como una prueba válida de tu permanencia en España, sin necesidad de que presentes otros certificados oficiales. En el caso de que hayas estado en varios domicilios a lo largo de los tres últimos años, debes solicitar en cada Ayuntamiento, el certificado que corrobore el tiempo que has estado empadronado.

DOCUMENTOS PÚBLICOS: Si por alguna razón existe un lapso de tiempo durante el cual no has estado empadronado o nunca te has empadronado deberás justificar que has estado en España durante ese período de tiempo, aportando documentos que justifiquen tu permanencia en España, preferentemente emitidos por entidades públicas

  • Informes de hospitalizaciones o informes de médicos de la Seguridad Social
  • Denuncias policiales o judiciales.
  • Informes emitidos por Ayuntamientos, Comunidades Autónomas o el Estado Español en el que se especifiquen tus datos y el lugar donde vives en España.

DOCUMENTOS NO VALIDOS: No se aceptan como prueba certificados de envío de dinero desde España o pruebas bancarias y otros documentos que no emitan entidades públicas.

How much time must pass until my request on the grounds of social ties (arraigo social) gets answered?
  • Time limit for decisions on application:Plazo de resolución de la solicitud: 3 months. If after that period you have not received an answer it will mean you have not been granted the permit.
What financial requirements will be asked from my company or my employer?

If a company is hiring, they must guarantee ongoing activity, availability of financial, material or personal means to face their entrepreneurial project and the financial obligations derived from the contract.

If a person is hiring, Si es una persona la que te contrata then they must certify they can pay you the minimum inter-professional salary as well as the social security contributions, fixed at 655 monthly euros in 2016 (that will be your salary) and 171€ for the Social Security, that is, some 826 monthly euros, keeping in mind that there must be 14 pays, which means 9172 euros per year plus 2052 euros per year to be paid to the Social Security, some 11250 euros per year, approximately. The person hiring you must have a gross monthly income of 826 monthly euros to pay your contract plus the 536 euros (IPREM) that the person hiring you is requested to have to live on according to 2016 data. If, for example, the person who wishes to hire you is an employed person, they must be paid some 1400 monthly euros gross if they are not in charge of anybody.

Calculation for this is made on the income return belonging to the person or people who wish to hire you (that is, on the overall income). 

If the person wishing to hire you has a person in charge (spouse or child) they must have 1065 of minimum income for their living, apart from 826 monthly euros for your contract. If the family unit has more than two people the sum uf 226 euros per each additional person under their charge must be added to the previous sum.

If two family members work, then calculations must be made by joining both the spouses’ income return.


What steps must I take if my request on the grounds of social ties is accepted?

If you have been granted a residence authorisation you must know a work authorisation is included. Therefore you must keep on following other steps:

  • In one month time, if relevant, affiliation to the Social Security and or registration at the Social Security on the part of the enterprise must take place.
  • The foreigner must request the Identity Card for Foreigners in person within a month time since they are notified they have been granted residence authorisation for exceptional circumstances and they must do so at an Aliens Office or Police Station at the province where they have requested authorsiation. In order to learn where to go, the opening times and whether prior appointment is needed you can visit.

“Para conseguir la residencia por arraigo social sin tener papeles en España debes probar que has estado en España de forma continuada tres años y por eso es tan importante el empadronamiento en cuanto llegas a España porque el volante de empadronamiento será el documento más válido y no necesitarás otros”

“Si el que te va a contratar es una persona deberá justificar que puede pagar el Salario Minimo Interprofesional y tu cotización a la Seguridad Social española y además un mínimo de 532 euros para sobrevivir él”

“El contrato que te hagan deberá tener una duración de un año y el permiso de residencia también será de un máximo de un año que luego puedes renovar”

How to obtain a work and residence permit on the grounds of Work Ties (Arraigo Laboral)?

Work ties-Arraigo laboral. You can obtain this authorisation if you certify ongoing permanence in Spain for a minimum period of two years. You must lack a criminal record as for the last five years (a certificate must be submitted) and you must submit the contract that shows there are work relations that cannot last less than six months after thre request is submitted.

How to obtain a residence permit on the grounds of Family Ties-Arraigo familiar

Family ties. Both the mother and the father of a Spanish minor can request it, provided that the person requesting it has the minor under their charge and lives with them. Also, children whose parent was originally Spanish.

Obtaining the residence on the grounds of International Protection

People benefitting from a refugee status in Spain. You will find all the information on the ‘I am a refugee’ section.

How o obtain residence on the grounds of Humanitarian Reasons
    • Victims of crimes involving the rights of workers

    Victims of crimes where there is racism or xenophobia aggravation.

    If you are refused a benefit you are entitled to on the grounds of your ideology, religion, beliefs, membership of an ethnic group or race, nationalitu, sex, sexual orientation, illness or disability or

    Victims of crimes as a result of violent acts carried out within the family.

    • SERIOUS illness requiring a medical assistance that does not exist in the country of origin for cases when interrupting this assistance entails a great danger for the patient’s health.
    • Foreigners certifying return to their country of origin (for the purposes of requesting a visa) would entail a danger for their security or their family’s and who also meet the other requirements to obtain temporary residence authorisation or temporary residence and work authorisation.
How to obtain residence in Spain on the grounds of Cooperation with the authorities
  1. A residence permit can be granted to those who cooperate with administrative, police, prosecuting or judicial authorities in points outside the scope of the fight against organised networks or when public interest reasons or national security reasons justify the need to authorise their residency in Spain.
Residence for women who are victims of gender violence

A foreign woman reporting a situation of gender violence will be allowed to request residence and work authorisation on the grounds of exceptional circumstances from the moment a protective court order or a report by the prosecuting authority certifying the presence of signs of gender violence has been issued in her favor. The competent authority to grant authorisation will grant provisional residence and work authorisation in the foreign woman’s favor.

Cuando el procedimiento penal contra violencia de género concluye con una sentencia que conde al agresor, se notificará a la interesada la concesión de la residencia temporal y de trabajo solicitada. En el supuesto de que no se hubiere solicitado, se le informará de la posibilidad de conceder a su favor una autorización de residencia y trabajo por circunstancias excepcionales, otorgándole un plazo para su solicitud.

Residence for victims of labor exploitation networks, human traficking or prostitution.


The authorities may ask for a residence and work authorisation for people who are victims of, aggrieved by or witnesses of ilicit human traficking, ilegal immigration, labor exploitation, illicit Las autoridades podrán pedir una autorización de residencia y trabajo para las personas que sean víctimas, perjudicadas o testigo de tráfico ilícito de seres humanos, inmigración ilegal, explotación laboral, illegal trafficking in labour and exploitation through prostitution who is cooperating with the authorities regarding theses crimes.


Las personas que han sido víctimas de trata de seres humanos pueden obtener el permiso de residencia y trabajo después de un proceso de identificación de la persona como víctima y si decide colaborar con las autoridades. Posteriormente la autoridad con la que la víctima estuviera colaborando podrá solicitar la exención de responsabilidad por encontrarse en España en situación irregular y si esta es concedida, el/la solicitante estará en condiciones de pedir su autorización de residencia y trabajo.

Refugee rights in Spain once the international protection has been granted
Entities 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


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.