Autorización de regreso

If you leave the Schengen zone and intend on coming back into Spain with no return flight and with an expired visa/TIE, you will need to prove you have the right to legally be in Spain. If you have no return flight to the U.S., the American authorities will ask you for justification of your legal status in Spain before you are allowed to even check into your flight because they have to pay for your travels back to the U.S. if you are denied entry at border control. And let me tell you, saying you’re in the process of getting residency is not going to cut it. I’ll break this down for you because I was very confused before.

If you’re in the process of renewing a visa or TIE, you can apply for the autorización de regreso with no problem, but if you’re changing the type of TIE you have, say from a student TIE to a resident TIE like I was, that doesn’t count as “renewing” and thus you don’t get to apply for one in the renewing process.

If you’re applying for the tarjeta comunitaria, you don’t just get to apply for the autorización de regreso. You MUST have the resguardo, aka the only thing you don’t have at that moment is the physical card but everything else is done, to apply for the autorización de regreso. The resguardo is not a valid document to come back into Spain, but you’ll need it to apply for the autorización de regreso. Here’s how that all works.

You’ll need to go back to the comisaría de policía and turn in more paperwork. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • EX13 plus a copy
  • Tasa 790 012 paid at a bank (10,30€ and check the box autorización de regreso)
  • Your resguardo plus a copy
  • Your actual passport plus a copy of the main page
  • Your old/now expired TIE (since you are waiting on your new purple TIE)

They will give you the second copy of the EX13 stamped which you will need to pick up the autorización de regreso a week or so later. The document is written in a few languages so that it can be understood anywhere.

My experience with this was that the American authorities asked me for the document and were very keen on reading the entire thing, but when I went through border control in Paris on the way back, they didn’t even ask for it. Go figures. I wouldn’t have been able to board the flight in the states without this document.

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