The Red Card in Spain

Tarjeta roja en España

The red card in Spain is a document that accredits you as an applicant for international protection. This term encompasses two different terms. On the one hand, we are talking about asylum and refugee rights, and, on the other hand, about subsidiary protection.

Both rights are regulated in Law 12/2009, although the right to asylum is mentioned in the 1978 Constitution. In this article, we will explain what these protection systems consist of and how you can apply for them.

What is the red card?

The red card is a provisional document that shows that you have applied for asylum or subsidiary protection but your file has not been resolved yet. Its official name is “document that accredits the condition of the applicant in the middle of the process of international protection”. One of its characteristics is that it includes a NIE, a document that allows a person to study or work in Spain.

We will explain the two rights that it encompasses below.

What is the right to asylum?

The right to asylum is the protection given to non-EU or stateless foreigners who are recognized as  refugees. Those people have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their countries for gender, sexual orientation, belonging to a particular social group, political or religious ideas, or for race or nationality.

What is subsidiary protection?

Subsidiary protection is the condition provided to people who would be  at real risk if they returned to their countries, but who do not meet the refugee status, such as:

· Being sentenced to death.

· Torture and degrading treatment.

· Serious attacks against his life or integrity due to a situation of indiscriminate violence or war.

What rights does the red card provide?

The most important rights granted by a red card are:

· To remain in Spain legally unless a European country or an International Court of Justice claims the person in the criminal field.

· Free assistance from a lawyer if you cannot afford it.

· Presence of an interpreter.

· The right to have the authorities communicate the request to the UNHCR in Spain.

· Health care if necessary.

· From the sixth month on, you can work for yourself or for someone else.

· Access to training or job boards

What obligations does the red card entail?

Along with the rights granted, there are a series of obligations that the applicant must fulfill:

·         Tell the truth to the authorities about your identity and explain in detail the reasons that justify your request for international protection.

·         Submit all the evidence supporting the story as soon as possible.

·         Go to the authorities whenever they require your presence.

·         Report changes of address.

·         Provide fingerprints.

Where can you apply for international protection in Spain?

Depending on the situation in which you find yourself, you can apply for international protection in one of the two following ways:

·        If you have arrived in Spain and cannot cross the border because you do not have the documentation requested by the authorities, you must ask for it at the border post.

·        If, on the contrary, the person is already in Spain, it can be processed in different entities:

  1. Foreign Detention Centers.
  2. Asylum and Refuge Offices (OAR).
  3. Foreign Offices.
  4. Accredited police stations.

How do you apply for international protection from a border post?

To apply for international protection from a border post, you must wait at that post until the authorities give you a response. The process usually takes about four days. If the application is admitted for processing, it may be transferred to Spanish territory.

On the contrary, if denied, a re-examination of the situation can be requested, and, in approximately two days, the answer will be received. If international protection is still not granted, you can choose to proceed with a judicial process.

How do you apply for international protection from a CIE?

In this case, the procedure is the same as the previous one, but the difference occurs in the application admission instance, since it will be processed through an urgent procedure.

What is the procedure in Spanish territory?

When you start an application, it takes a month to decide if it is admitted for processing. If the answer is negative, you will have no choice but to leave the country unless you have permission to stay in it. You can also appeal to the judge.

What is the eligibility phase?

The eligibility phase is the instance in which the case presented by the applicant is studied in depth after being first admitted for processing.

When should you request an appointment for the red card?

If you are in Spanish territory, you must request it during the first month after entering the country or when circumstances arise that justify this protection. Keep in mind that red card appointments are usually made online.

When does the red card have to be renewed?

The red card must be renewed every six months. The validity period depends on the time granted by the authorities at the time of issuing a resolution of the case. Usually, it is two years.

Can you travel to another country with a red card?

You cannot travel to another country with a red card. On the contrary, you can only move around Spain. With the application, the passport must be handed over until a decision is made, and without it, it is impossible to cross borders.

Good advice will make the process easier.

Do not hesitate to contact a specialized office to carry out this procedure. The documentation must be presented in a rigorous and orderly manner for the application’s success. Exceptional help saves time in the process and ensures proper management.

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