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Spain: Information on whether police officers at a police station could extend a visitor's visa, and to whom a tourist would report in order to initiate a refugee claim, 1986-87

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 November 1994
Citation / Document Symbol ESP18644.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Spain: Information on whether police officers at a police station could extend a visitor's visa, and to whom a tourist would report in order to initiate a refugee claim, 1986-87, 1 November 1994, ESP18644.E, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The information that follows was provided by a representative of the consular section of the Embassy of Spain in Ottawa, and adds to information provided in previous Responses on the subject of asylum procedures and residence rights in Spain (25 Nov. 1994; 30 Nov. 1994). The source stated that although legislative changes have modified some aspects concerning visas and asylum claims, the information given below was true during the period in question and continues to be valid today (30 Nov. 1994).

Tourist visas can only be issued or renewed by consular and diplomatic authorities outside Spain (25 Nov. 1994). A person seeking asylum while in Spain would have to present the claim to civilian provincial government authorities in one of the provincial capitals (ibid.; 30 Nov. 1994). Police officers can only assist the asylum claimant to reach the provincial government authorities by giving indications, or if necessary, by escorting the individual (ibid.).

Provincial governments can issue provisional residence permits to asylum claimants. These permits are valid for short periods, but can be renewed by the same authorities as long as the asylum request is under study and not concluded (ibid.). The individual is entitled to remain only in the province where the provisional residence permit has been issued. If the person enters another province, he or she could be returned to the province where the permit was issued (ibid.). If an asylum seeker holding a provisional residence permit moves to another country, he or she loses all the residence rights associated with the permit (financial assistance roughly equivalent to the minimum legal wage, access to educational, legal and medical services, and other benefits) (ibid.). A person whose request is found to have valid grounds and who is granted asylum can be granted permanent residence. Any document issued by Spanish authorities to a provisional resident or asylum seeker whose claim has not been decided will indicate the claimant's status in writing (ibid.).

The source added that asylum requests normally undergo a period of investigation or evaluation and decision that lasts between one and three months (ibid.). However, some cases are found to be more complex and take more than three months to investigate and decide. Despite the financial and other forms of assistance and the renewal of provisional residence permits, some foreigners may become impatient or feel psychological pressure because of the uncertainty of their situation during the claim evaluation period, and leave for another country where a faster decision is expected (ibid.). By leaving Spain the person loses all rights inherent to residents of Spain (ibid.).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Embassy of Spain, Ottawa. 30 November 1994. Telephone interview with representative.

. 25 November 1994. Letter received by DIRB.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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