How to apply for asylum in Spain

How to apply for asylum in Spain? Refugees in Spain

You can apply for asylum at any police station in Spain, or at any Spanish border. You book an appointment to formalize your asylum claim. You can book online in some parts of Spain. After you receive a written “Declaration of intention to request International Protection.” This document prevents authorities to expel you from Spain.

You then have your interview for asylum, where you can explain your case. After you receive a decision. If the decision is positive you get asylum or international protection. If it’s negative you can appeal. The all process can take six months or more.

When you click on any link below, it goes to sources in Spanish or English. If you need it, use Google Translate or any translation service you like.

How to apply for asylum in Spain?

One can apply for asylum in two ways in Spain, inside the Spanish territory or at border controls in Spain. In exceptional circumstances, you can apply abroad at a Spanish embassy or consulate.

If you are already in Spain. You need to go to the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR). You can go also to any police station in Spain, or to any police officer. You can also apply at any immigrant detention center in Spain, CIE. And you can apply from any prison in Spain as well.

You can search for your closest Asylum and Refuge Office (OAR). The Barcelona OAR is at Passeig de Sant Joan 189. It’s close to Metro L4 Joanic on the yellow line.

If you are on the border of Spain. You can apply at any border police station.

If you are outside of Spain. You can make a formal application at your local embassy to the Spanish Border Control Authority. The asylum process from abroad is not clear yet. So talk with an immigration lawyer or a refugees support organization.

You often want to make a formal application in the first month of your stay. But after you arrive in Spain, you can apply for international protection at any moment.

Even if you have been abroad for a long time not in your home country, you can still apply for asylum.
The situation that endangers you in your home country can arise while you are in Spain.

The authorities at the border may decide whether the asylum application is valid or not. Also, the whole process can take four days. You will confirm your identity and how you reached Spain.

Below are some of the main steps of the asylum application process.

Make an appointment to have your asylum application formalized

To formalize your asylum application in Spain, you should first schedule an appointment.

Try to apply for Asylum during the first month of arriving in Spain. Authorities can accept that you apply later but you will have to explain why.

If some of your family have arrived in Spain with you. Each adult in your family will have to submit their own asylum application. And they will schedule their own appointment. You can include each minor under your care in your asylum application.

If a youngster in your care has experienced any human rights violations. You can file a separate asylum claim for the minor. You can decide depending on the child’s age, emotional capacity, and individual circumstances. Of course, you can seek legal advice in Spain before making this kind of decision.

The Dublin convention is an internal EU regulation. It says that you should apply for asylum in the first EU country where you arrive. Thus you might not be able to claim asylum in another country if you have an asylum application in Spain. But it also depends on your circumstances. Talk to a lawyer or to a refugee support organization.

You may also reach out to the UNHCR in Spain to ease the asylum process.

Submit your asylum application

You need to claim asylum with the police in Spain. You get a paper called a “Declaration of intention to request International Protection.” You also book an appointment to formalize your asylum claim the first time you go to the police.

This paper of “Declaration of intention” is valid until you do an asylum application. It allows the Spanish authorities to identify you. It does not mark the start of your asylum application or the start of the appropriate legal periods. You will book an appointment to formalize your asylum claim the first time you go to the police.

In some parts of Spain, you can book your appointment online. The booking system is in Spanish but you can use Google Translate to figure it out.

They ask about your identity, how you managed to get to Spain, and the reasons for your persecution.

Asylum interview

In Spain, you do your asylum claim through an individual interview. A police officer conducts the interview. First, you identify yourself. You explain how you have come to Spain as well. Then you say the reasons for your asylum request. You provide all information you can about your circumstances. 
The interview explains the circumstances that led to your request for refugee status. The reasons for leaving your home country and why you cannot return there. During your interview, go with your supporting documents. Look for new evidence throughout the entire process.
They question your family as well. Information about your family should be in your asylum application. So that you can pursue family reunification if you get asylum in Spain.
They can ask why you left your home country. They can many other questions related to your home country.
The asylum application’s content is private. None sees all things you say in the interview, or all evidence you show. These are not shared with the authorities in your home country. Or with anyone else not involved in the asylum process in Spain.
Anyone in your family over 18, who is in Spain, will have an individual interview.

Asylum application processing

The Inter-Ministerial Committee for Asylum and Refuge receives your application. They then send it to the Ministry of the Interior. This Ministry reviews your application. They determine whether you fit the conditions for any international protection.
The application will take up to three to four months for the final decision from authorities. This processing time for the application may take up to more than a year or two in some parts of the country.

Decision and Appeal

The Ministry grants asylum to you or not. If you receive a positive decision, you get asylum or international protection. If you receive a negative decision, you can appeal. If your application got approved, you get a red card indicating you as an asylum seeker.

How long is the asylum procedure in Spain?

You can expect a decision within six months once your application is complete. The process may take a longer time.

Who can seek asylum in Spain?

Anyone who feels unsafe in their home country and who cannot get protection there. You should apply during the first month you arrived but it is not mandatory.

The right to asylum and subsidiary protection regulates refugee status in Spain.

Refugee Status, or any protection, is for anyone with a justified fear of persecution. Such persecution happens in their own country. Your race, religion, nationality, or political views can cause this persecution. Or you belong to a persecuted social group, gender, or sexual orientation.

The right to asylum recognizes stateless persons. They have no nationality. They live outside of their country. And they do not wish or are unable to return to their country for any of the above reasons.

How much money do refugees receive in Spain?

Asylum seekers in receiving centers receive 40 Euros per month in pocket money. The lodging organization receives around 21 Euros per day in cost compensation.

What if my asylum application is not accepted?

You can also appeal the denial of your asylum application to a court, in which case you should speak with a lawyer.

Source: Help UNHCR Spain

The above cover image is somewhere in Spain. Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on Unsplash