So, your papers have expired and are currently in the process of renewing. Maybe you’ve got some time off work, or the school semester is finished and you want to travel outside of Spain to explore the many beautiful countries of Europe. Maybe you want to leave Europe altogether for a few weeks. Whatever the case, you desire to travel while your papers are expired. Even if your papers are going through the renewal process travelling can be tricky – unless you have what is called an Autorización de Regreso.

What is it?

An Autorización de Regreso is a piece of paper that essentially allows you to travel and return to Spain while your papers are still renewing. The document is only valid for 1 return to Spain. So, if you plan to travel back and forth multiple times (outside of Spain) while you are waiting for your papers to renew, you will need to apply multiple times for the Autorización de Regreso. In addition, this document is only valid for a period of 90 days from the date in which it was issued. Meaning, if you still haven’t received your new NIE/TIE within 3 months and you have plans to travel, you will need to re-apply for another Autorización de Regreso.

Do I need it when travelling within Europe?

r-BOARDING-PASS-CHECK-large570This is where things get hazy. Most people will tell you no, that this document is only necessary if you plan on leaving the Shengen Zone. This is ill advice. Some more strict EU countries might want to check your passport and NIE and might not approve of you entering their countries on expired papers. This means that they might want to see additional proof that you are here legally and that you have permission to leave and travel outside of Spain in your current legal status – this is where the Regreso will help you. If you are leaving the EU you will absolutely need this document!

In most cases border controls and airport security between European nations won’t ask you to present the Regreso, but please, don’t take the risk! Take it from me – I was stopped 3 times while travelling through Austria, Hungary and Croatia this year and would not have been able to continue my vacation if it weren’t for the Regreso!

How do I get it?

As I like to say, take a deep breath and find your inner patience! Follow the steps below and you should have your Regreso in no time!

1) Make an appointment at los Poblados, Madrid – The same locaton where you originally applied for your NIE.

  • Select ‘Madrid’ & ‘Autorizaciones de Regreso’
  • Fill in all required information
  • Click ‘Solicitar Cita’ to choose an appointment date
  • if the only available dates for an appointment are AFTER your departure date, dont freak out! Make the appointment anyway and go to los Poblados 3 days prior to your flight with the appointment sheet and proof that your flight leaves before the date of your appointment. They will let you in!
  • Print out the appointment sheet

2) Complete the EX-13 form

3) Pay the tax

  • This form will not be accepted if you download it from the internet. Pick up the 012 (790) tax form at the police station – the most reliable police stations are the largers ones like Sol Metro and Atocha.

CAT-application-Form4) Bring passport & copies of photo pages, original & copies of your NIE/TIE, Original and copy of your renewal receipt, tax form, appointment sheet and original and copies of the EX-13 form.

*If they dont stamp your Regreso upon your return to Spain then you can use it again as it technically has not been used!* 


Please keep in mind that rules and regulations of the Autorización de Regreso are subject to change. This post has been written from my personal experience. It is important to thoroughly look into this topic as it applies to you!

Your friendly neighbourhood travel guide,

– Leahxx


9 comments. Leave new

maria paulina ignacio
06/10/2015 17:20

I have already obtained an ADR while my NIE is currently under renewal. I have travel to Norway in November. My itinerary is Madrid-Zurich-Norway-Zurich-Madrid. I will only stay in the Zurich airport for a few hours as it is just a stopover en route to Norway. My question is if I will be permitted to enter Norway since I know that the Authorizacion de Regreso is a paper permitting my return to Spain.

Joachim Wolf
06/10/2015 19:42

Hi Maria, to be on the safe side you should investigate this in detail. Take in any case all your papers with you (NIE, Passport, Regreso Paper). Also check that the paper is still valid till the time you travel back. Schengen countries should be ok with that. Enjoy your travel

I will go to Belgium in December, but my NIE is renewing,if I fly to Brussels directly, will I have problem?

Joachim Wolf
29/10/2015 13:51

You shouldn’t have an issue. However, please keep in mind that these situations are often a very circumstantial! Brussels may take your not having a current “status” here seriously or they might not! If you have the time and want to be 100% secure during your travels just go and get the regeso.

Hello, I live in Madrid and have planned a wonderful trip (Copenhagen_Norway_Stockholm_Finnar_Madrid) at the end of this year, when my N.I.E card is under renewal. But I have heard from my friends and the Internet that the regreso cannot be used in other European countries even schgen countries. Someone als warned me tha the regreso is valid in the route like spain to one schengen countr back to spain, in which way I cannot finish my dreamable trip and have to go back at he very beginning though I have got one regreso. For example , I could not get the boarding pass when I want to check in if the regreso cannotcanno be used between Copenhagen and Bergen Ihave gotten totally confused. Looking forward for your reply. Thank you!

Joachim Wolf
01/12/2015 01:46

Hey Chuan!

The regreso simply tells authorities that your papers are expired, but in process of renewal and that you are legally allowed to return to Spain. Whether you are travelling within the Shengen, to the UK or across the world to North America you are travelling legally because your papers are in process and the regreso is proof of that. I is only meant for one trip and you can only return to Spain once, you can;t travel back and fourth. As long as your travelling within Europe just present your Passport, expired NIE and your regreso paper and no one should have problems with it at all! I travelled through Germany, Austria, Hungary and Croatia this summer with my regreso, but it was one continuous trip.

Remember, this is only information from my personal experience, for official information please contact the respective government offices!

I’m in Spain on a freelance work visa (Residencia Temporal y Trabajo Cuenta Propia Inicial – 1 Year).
Due to the nature of my visa, I was given 3 months from my arrival to “darme el alta” and then a further month from getting el alta to get my TIE “cita toma de huellas”.

My problem is that, as part of this project I need to travel to London on Jan 10, for which I would need an autorización de regreso. The earliest appointment available when I went to book (on Nov 30) was Jan 13. I had heard from various people that you could go to the Policia Nacional 4-5 days prior to your trip (with all the accompanying documentation, including proof that you had booked an appoinment) and they could give it to you on the spot.

After lining up do to this yesterday (in Madrid) I was told to come back 2 work days (or less) prior to my travel date (effectively Thursday or Friday this week). The problem is that the appointment time I was given for my toma de huella is this Friday at 4pm (by which time it will be too late get the autorización de regreso).
I have the booking sheet/justificante for my TIE appointment but obviously not comprobante de toma de huellas.

Does anyone have any experience in getting an autorización de regreso during the inicial stages of a visa stay like this? (Pretty specific question but you never know!)

Hello! I’m hoping you can help me…
I understand that if the only available regreso appts are for after your departure date you can still go 3 days prior to leaving and they will help you. What if there is an appointment available 4 days before your departure date, so you can go to the appt but you won’t be able to go back to pick it up because it usually takes 10 days to get? Will they expedite it if I show them my itinerary? Please and thank you!

If you bring your flight information and show them how soon you are leaving they will give you the regreso right away!

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