In these times, Spain has positioned itself as the nation with the highest number of requests for political asylum from the European Union (EU) by Latin Americans. Colombia and Venezuela lead the list, with approximately 3,500 requests per week; which is attributed to the political and economic crises that these countries have experienced for several decades. Although it is a new record in this area of the world.
The reason that Spain is so sought after by Latinos is due, in principle, to the language, cultural ties and strategic location ; however, it is not a simple migration process . And it is that, according to the European Asylum Support Office , only 5% of all these procedures are carried out satisfactorily.
Now, if you need political asylum, regardless of your country of origin , continue reading. Here you’ll find out why despite these low numbers and long wait times , people continue to apply. There are many cases of people asking for refuge, and one of them could be similar to yours.
First considerations to apply for political asylum in Spain
To begin with, you should know that the most advisable thing to do is to apply for asylum while inside Spanish territory and after a maximum period of one month has elapsed from the moment of entry. Once the process begins, you will receive what is known as “temporary refuge”; since, the immigration laws establish that during the management of the files people cannot be deported.
For this reason, people, even though they have no hope of obtaining asylum, continue to go to Spain to apply for it. Additionally, after a period of 6 months, immigrants can opt for a work permit. So it is undeniable the hospitality and attention that this nation offers to expatriates despite the strong pressure that their procedures demand.
On the other hand, if you wish to go to Spain and apply for humanitarian asylum, you must be constantly aware of the news and new updates on the subject. The government is working hard to improve the management of asylum through the action of robust laws, where it stands out:
- Definition of the type of immigrant.
- Optimization of response times on the protection requested.
- Reform of the deportation system, especially for so-called economic immigrants.
- Humanitarian aid.
Asylum application outside Spanish territory
Thanks to the latest reform of the Spanish immigration law , it is now possible to apply for political asylum at the country’s embassies or consulates abroad. To go to these places, the applicant has to be outside his country of origin where he runs the risks he alleges. If the case meets the established conditions, the diplomats will be obliged to make the transfer to Spain to follow the corresponding procedure.
Procedure for processing an asylum request in Spain
To start the application, the first step is to make a personal appearance ; which means that the interested party must address the bodies established for this type of request. In case of presenting physical or legal limitations to move to said places, you can send an authorized representative .
Those who wish to take refuge can visit any of these dependencies:
- Office of Asylum and Refuge .
- Foreign Offices . Check which one corresponds to you, according to the locality, by clicking here (use VPN from Spain if you are outside the territory).
- Foreign Detention Centers . Announce to the management office that you want to make the request so that they manage the transfer.
- Provincial or district police stations (authorized by the Ministry of the Interior), according to where the applicant lives. See which one you should opt for, depending on the location, by clicking here (use VPN from Spain if you are outside the territory).
- Border posts at the entrance to Spain . This includes airports, land points, or seaports. Ask to contact the national police or the civil guard.
- Diplomatic Missions . Only exceptional cases are attended.
The maximum delay allowed, to go to the aforementioned places, is one month from the day you enter Spanish territory. However, if the persecution, act of violence or personal injury is extremely serious , there are exemptions from this time, as well as from the penalties for illegal entry into Spain.
On the day of the appearance you will have to do the following:
- Personal interview . At which time you must explain the reasons why you consider that you require political asylum in Spain. Do not forget any details, since depending on the information provided, the police officer will determine whether or not the request will be evaluated. In some cases, family witness testimony may be required.
- Consignment of identity documents . These are two ID-type photos with a white background and evidence to request protection. Original and photocopy of the passport is ideal, as well as a ticket or proof of travel and criminal record. If relatives have had to come as witnesses, then their legal papers must also be consigned.
After this process, the information will be sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) . And it will be with said body where the progress of the case and the files can be requested.
How to request the appointment?
- In this sense, it is essential that once you arrive in Spanish territory, you request a prior appointment to formalize the asylum request; which is done online . Each province has a web portal where you can start the process, to do so click here (use VPN from Spain if you are outside the territory). But if you are in Madrid , go directly to this link , and if you are in Barcelona go here .
Steps to request the appointment:
- Go to the electronic headquarters public administration website ( https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html )
- Select the province of your residence.
- Look for the office where you will go on the day of the appointment, which must be the closest to your residence.
- In the section “PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRATION OFFICES” look for the option “Display to see procedures available in this province”.
- If the selected office is in a police station, then go to “NATIONAL POLICE CORPS PROCEDURES”, and choose the one related to asylum. If it is in Madrid, it is called “ASYLUM- FIRST APPOINTMENT- province of Madrid” and if it is in Barcelona it is “POLICE- ASYLUM REQUEST”.
- Important information will be displayed there, which you should read before continuing. Once this is done, press “Enter”.
- Now it’s time to enter personal data: passport number, names, surnames, year of birth and country of nationality. Then click “OK”.
- In the next section press “Request Appointment”.
It is important to note that there are defined schedules for requesting appointments. Some of them are defined on the immigration page while others are not; For more information, call the telephone numbers found on the portal. ( https://www.mptfp.gob.es/portal/delegaciones_gobierno/delegaciones/madrid/servicios/extranjeria.html ).
NOTE: use VPN from Spain if you cannot access the aforementioned link.
If even with the indicated times you cannot make the appointment, then use the email . Search this website for the Autonomous Community to which your address belongs and press the “Services, Electronic Services and Immigration Directory” button where you can download the ” Previous Appointment Form “. Follow all the instructions, attach the documents and then by email or text messaging they will tell you the day on which you must appear.
Have an appointment to formalize a protection request
Consider that having the appointment does not mean that you have started the request for international protection . But what is a fact is that you cannot be expelled to your country for any reason and this is what we already mentioned, which is known as temporary refuge .
Now, in reality, the day of the appointment is when you formalize the asylum application, through the delivery of the documents and the interview. It is a simple process, since you only have to give your identification data and clearly explain the reasons why you have decided to come to Spain, with no option to return to your country of origin. It is recommended that you present evidence such as photographs and videos.
The family situation is significant, in the same way, to request these protection processes. In this sense, there are questions associated with parents, children and partners ; what you have to indicate precisely, because if the asylum is approved then you will be able to opt for reunification with the loved ones who apply.
The entire process, from the appointment request to the end, is free and, in addition, confidential . So you can feel calm about all the information you provide, no matter how compromising it may be. The government will not be able to reveal any data .
Once the interview is over, the agency will have a period of one month to decide whether to continue the process or deny it. It should be noted that the fact that it continues after this period does not guarantee final approval either , it only goes to a deeper stage.
Asylum application certificate
After completing the interview, the applicant is issued a temporary identification document called a “ blank sheet ”. This is a filing receipt for the international protection application; that is, a voucher, which is valid throughout Spain . There you will have assigned a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE) , which has a letter and seven digits; as well as a control code for migration statistics and two expiration dates:
- Date 1 . This is one month, from the interview to make the request, which corresponds to the term that the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR) has to indicate if the process passes to a second stage of evaluation. Therefore, if the decision is negative, said document loses validity.
- Date 2 . If you do not receive a notification of “NO ADMISSION FOR PROCESSING” within 30 days, then the second expiration of the white sheet becomes effective. Here 5 more months are added, for a total of 6 months of use of this document.
Expired White Sheet
Waiting times for asylum applications in Spain are getting longer and longer, and the State is working on just this. However, to minimize the expectation of those who want a refuge, once the white sheet expires, you will have the option to request a renewal , by clicking here .
This is the same system used to request an asylum appointment, but this time after indicating the province, you must select “ POLICE- ISSUANCE/RENEWAL OF DOCUMENTS FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS ”. Although there are places in the country that do not have this online option and, therefore, you would have to resort to legal assistance with the organizations in the area.
To request this appointment , it will not be necessary to wait for the expiration of the 6 months of the white sheet, but you can do it before and locate a date that corresponds to one or several days after its expiration . In this way, headaches are avoided and there is a guarantee of having the work permit as soon as possible.
And it is that, after 6 months, you can opt for the renewal by the so-called “ red card ”, with which you obtain a work permit . This has a NIE, a single expiration date of 6 months, personal data, a fingerprint and an explicit message “ authorizes to work ”. If at the expiration of these 180 days there is still no response to the request, then you must update it for another period of the same range.
Rights and duties as an asylum seeker
The so-called temporary refuge is one of the most valued by those seeking international protection, after the situation to which they were subjected in their countries. While the approval or denial process is defined , there is a set of rights and duties that applicants must know and respect:
|Free legal assistance, from professionals attached to NGOs||Provide the country’s authorities with the necessary information to continue with the international protection process.|
|Interpreter at the interview, in case you don’t speak Spanish||Present yourself as soon as possible at the corresponding offices to register fingerprints, photographs and statements (which can be recorded).|
|Communication with UNHCR for status of files||Notify everything related to your address, even any minimal change.|
|No deportation or expulsion to the country of origin, due to the risk that your integrity would run.||Renew identification documents|
|With the Red Card, jobs generate social benefits, so you can open a bank account, enroll in courses and apply for a driver’s license.|
|Have an identification as a foreigner.|
|Opt for entry into the reception system, if you do not have the financial resources to be in the country. This includes accommodation, social, psychological, educational care and job search within the authorized period.|
Responses to the request for protection
In Spain, various amparos apply for those who request protection , which in effect will depend on each case. And that is why absolute sincerity and the delivery of evidence is necessary . As we already mentioned, the response time is long; but, in positive and negative cases the options are:
- Granting of refugee status. Here the State adheres to the Geneva Convention of 1951, in relation to the individual persecution of persons. Being a victim of violence (sexual, domestic, mutilation, other causes), kidnappings, racial, sexual, religious, nationality discrimination, and threats due to differences in political ideologies are the most common reasons for obtaining this protection.
- Granting of subsidiary protection. In this case there is no direct aggression against the applicant, but the situation in his country of origin puts his integrity and even his life at risk. This is the most common protection obtained by people coming from nations at war or social and political conflicts. Although there are also those who enjoy this asylum if they have been condemned to death penalty.
- Granting of humanitarian reasons. Although it is not a protection per se, it is still a positive response for refugees, since they obtain temporary residence. Having authorization to work and move within Spanish territory. These humanitarian actions prevent, for example, people from facing shortages of medicine and food, or high levels of insecurity in their country of origin.
- Denial of International Protection. This, although it is the one no one wants, is the most common. It means that the State does not consider international protection necessary, so the applicant must leave Spain within a period of no more than 15 days, either to his or her country of origin or to another nation according to the Dublin Convention. In case you want to appeal legally, you should immediately contact a lawyer.
- File. This occurs when the applicant, for some reason, withdraws his or her asylum application. The most frequent reason is that the person has not delivered what the State has requested within the 30-day period, i.e., lack of evidence. But, it could also be the non-attendance to personal hearings requested or the non-renewal of identification documents. Although you will have to show why you did not comply; otherwise, you could face legal charges.
- Identity of foreigners
If the answer is positive, you just have to wait for your red card to expire and go to immigration, personally, with the resolution of the protection. Then, they will process the Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) . Keep in mind that for this process you will have to request an appointment electronically and make a payment of 15.76 euros.
Humanitarian aid for Venezuelans in Spain
Due to the situation Venezuela is going through, the Spanish government has decided to approve temporary residency for 2 years with a work permit to those coming from this nation. By the beginning of 2021, more than 40,500 people from this country received this benefit. To access it, they must have formalized the request for international protection, and have obtained a negative result.
That is to say, the first step is to request asylum, the second is to have a denial and the third is to go to the immigration office and request the benefit for humanitarian reasons. You will be granted a residence card valid for one year, with an extension for 12 more months (total 2 years). This procedure came into force in 2019 and applies to the processes carried out until 2014.
The decision to do this with Venezuelans, is attributed to the fact that each time the percentage of requests increases and although the causes of refuge are evaluated, there is a lack of information that has been suppressed by the same Venezuelan government system. The political problems experienced by this nation are not a secret to the world; and, therefore, the Spanish government has taken this sensitive decision.