You might have heard some of your fellow expats talking about an “autorización de regreso” and told that you should get one. So what is it exactly? (NOTE: I am not a lawyer! This advice is from my own personal experience.

The autorización de regreso is a form you need to travel in and out of Spain if:

a. Your TIE has expired and you’ve submitted documents to renew it

b. You haven’t yet received a TIE because you are new to Spain, but have documents showing that you’ve submitted all of the paperwork, or

c. You will be traveling outside of Spain when your TIE expires.

If you TIE expires and you aren’t planning to renew, I don’t know what to tell you. You will have to ask about this at the information desk of the address I give below. (This is for the office in Madrid. Information desk hours are 9-13.)

First, you need to make an appointment online. Select the province you live in and “autorizaciones de regreso.” From there you will be asked to fill in some of your personal information. Once you select a time and confirm it, I highly recommend printing off the confirmation with the justificante number. Note: If the only appointments available are for after you trip, you can still obtain a regreso. Make the appointment online for whatever date is available and go before your trip with copies of your boarding passes to justify why you had to come early. Normal office hours in Madrid are 9-14 and 16-19. They will not issue you a regreso if you have not made an appointment, even if the appointment is for a different day.

For the actual appointment you will need:

1. To fill out and make a copy of the EX-13 application.*

2. To pay the tasa (currently at 10.20 Euros, but double-check on that before you pay)*

3. Your passport and a copy.

4. Your TIE and a copy of both sides.

5. Any other paperwork to show that you are waiting for your TIE to be renewed and a copy (renewal application you submitted, an official letter saying when your fingerprint appointment is, etc.)

6. Sometimes an empadronamiento form will be asked. It must be dated within 90 days of your regreso appointment.

* = With these documents, although it appears that they are available online, these are not the correct forms for Madrid. They haven’t been the correct forms for the past few years but for some reason haven’t been updated yet. You will need to get the forms from the office where the appointment is at (also where the information desk is). It’s possible that the program where you obtained your grant has some extra forms so you don’t have to make the trip out to this office. The address is Avenida de los Poblados s/n. You can take the metro or Cercanias to Aluche. From either exit you will see a large red Cespa gas station across the street and a shopping mall across the street and toward the right. Turn left and follow the Avenida for about five minutes (don’t cross the street toward the gas station). There’s not much along the walk, but you’ll start to see other expats with file folders. There will be a huge yellow building on your left – you can’t miss it! If there is a line to get in, always go to the main entrance and ask, show your confirmation if necessary. Most of those people are waiting for other services. The regreso desk is upstairs.

I’ve obtained at least four regresos in my time here, all in Madrid.

You should get the regreso on the spot. Now, the document is valid for 90 days. If you still don’t have your TIE and will be traveling outside of Spain after those 90 days, you can pay for another one. Also, if any officials at the airport/immigration write or stamp on the document, it becomes invalid and you’ll have to pay for another. I’ve had airport officials look at mine but never write on it thankfully.

Again, I’m NOT a lawyer, but it helps hearing from someone who’s been through the process. Good luck and safe travels!