International protection

In Spain, international protection is regulated by Law 12/2009, of 30 October, allowing the right to asylum and subsidiary protection. This law regulates the different types of protection that the Spanish state offers to all those foreigners who flee their country seeking protection in Spain.

Types of International Protection offered by Spain

These are the cases of protection that the Spanish state offers through Law 12/2009:

1- Political asylum

It is the most complex case to grant, and it is intended for applicants who face persecution in their country due to political, ethnic, religious, or other reasons. This category is designed for individuals who are targeted for their prominent position in their country and whose fundamental rights, such as freedom of religion, opinion, ideology, etc., are violated.

2- Subsidiary Protection

Subsidiary Protection is granted to those individuals who are persecuted in the country of origin or habitual residence due to same reasons mentioned above but mainly on a collective base and the government is unable or unwilling to protect them or is a prosecutor itself. It is essential to note that not all individuals who have faced threats in their country are eligible for this form of protection, there must be a risk of serious harm.

3- Humanitarian reasons

This case may be considered a subsidiary of the previous one. It is applied when there is an objectively verified situation of shortages of all kinds in the applicant’s country of origin, which, although not resulting in persecution per se, necessitates the foreigner’s admission. This assumption has been subject to controversy, and presently, it applies exclusively to Venezuelan citizens due to the dire circumstances they face in their home country.

What is the procedure for International Protection application?

The application process for international protection entails applying while on Spanish soil, typically after entering the country as a tourist or through other conventional means. Applicants have a maximum of one month from their arrival date to apply for protection. The application is submitted to the border police or the police station in the province where the applicant is registered. To begin the process, applicants must participate in an interview with the police. It is advisable to have legal representation during this interview.

Applicants should use this opportunity to explain the reasons for their flight from their country of origin and provide documents that prove the danger and lack of protection ,such as unhandled complaints by authorities. 

After the interview, applicants will receive a white sheet (Tarjeta Blanca) certifying that they have applied for international protection. It is important to note that this document allows applicants to remain in Spain but does not permit them to work. The Ministry of the Interior is supposed to resolve requests for international protection within six months, but in practice, this deadline is often not met. After six months of receiving the white sheet, applicants will receive a red card that authorizes them to work. Therefore, asylum seekers are not allowed to work until six months after their application. However, in exceptional cases, precarious applicants for international protection can be housed in Refugee Reception Centers (C.A.R.), which are authorized facilities such as the Red Cross, where refugee camps are established to provide food and shelter for up to six months until the applicant is authorized to work..

What happens if my request for international protection is rejected?

Regrettably, the denial of international protection is the most frequent outcome of this type of case, and it often comes as a shock to many foreigners who had already settled into routine life, paying Social Security contributions and holding an NIE number that allowed them to perform numerous formalities such as opening a bank account. If your request is rejected, we suggest appealing the decision since the appeal process authorities cannot initiate expulsion proceedings against you.

If I appeal, am I allowed to continue working?

As per Article 15.3 of Directive 2013/33/EU, asylum seekers cannot be deprived of their right to work if they have lodged an appeal that remains unresolved. Given that European legislation takes precedence over Spanish national legislation, it is clear that filing an appeal against the rejection of asylum would permit an individual to continue working. However, the reality is that companies require a document that explicitly states that the foreigner is authorized to work, and in the absence of such a document, they may terminate the individual’s employment. Nonetheless, Extranjeristas have contacted several employers who, after being presented with the aforementioned legal arguments, have chosen to retain the foreigner’s employment.

If you are contemplating coming to Spain to apply for international protection, please do not hesitate to contact us so that we may advise you on all of the necessary procedures.