Criminal records of foreigners in Spain

posted in: Crimminal law, Immigration | 0

When we apply for Spanish nationality, initial residence permit, or its renewal, it is very important not to have a criminal or police record. Having them would mean the denial of your application.

On the one hand, the certificate issued  by the Ministry of Justice reflects the situation of those convicted by a final judgment.

On the other hand, if the criminal proceedings are ongoing,and there are no data in the Central Register of Convicted Persons: there is a record in the investigating body (police records).

Cancellation of criminal record:

The  cancellation  of  criminal records before the Ministry of Justice, after not having committed a crime again during the following periods, is due to the following periods:

  • 6 MONTHS: for light penalties.
  • 2 YEARS: for penalties not exceeding twelve months and those imposed for reckless crimes.
  • 3 YEARS: For the remaining less severe penalties of less than three years.
  • 5 YEARS: For the remaining less severe penalties equal to or greater than three years.
  • 10 YEARS: For severe penalties (over 5 years).

Although Law 4/2000  does not make special mention of police records, in practice they are taken into account when refusing residence authorization or renewal.

How do I cancel the background?

Criminal record:

After the corresponding time for each type of penalty, before the Ministry of Justice.

The resolution period is 3 months. More details about the procedure here: Ministry of Justice

Police background:

By requesting access to personal data-police records that appear in the files of the General Directorate of the Police and the General Directorate of the Civil Guard, its rectification and deletion.

More details about the procedure here: Ministry of the Interior

What do I do if I have been denied a residence permit or renewal because of a criminal record?

File a corresponding administrative appeal.

On the one hand, if the records can be cancelled,the corresponding resolution would be provided.  And on the other hand, although  Organic Law 4/2000  is strict when it comes to assessing the background, each case has to be evaluated individually  and, if possible, submitted to judicial control.


If you need help with the criminal record cancellation process, or if you have been denied a proper authorization, application, or permit renewal, please contact us to defend your rights.

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