Entry into Europe
Updated 12 January 2023
EU Directive 2001/55/EG
Text EU Directive: Proposal done in Brussel on 2 March 2022 for the implementation of a decision with effect of temporary protection of the Ukrainian in Europe. The temporary protection under the directive will be extended to 4 March 2024.
Coverage EU Directive 2001/55/EG in Spain
The EU Directive reflects various categories of persons who will be covered by the Directive. For Spain, the following category of persons are protected by the EU Directive:
- Ukrainian nationals who were residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 ( the start date of the war)
- Foreigners or stateless persons who were legally residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 with a valid Ukrainian residence permit (either permanent or “other”, such as students) and who are unable to return either to Ukraine or their country of origin
- Ukrainian nationals, foreigners, or stateless persons with a valid Ukrainian residence permit who were in Spain as of 24 February 2022, regardless their immigration status in Spain (e.g. tourists, business travellers, employees, persons with an irregular immigration status) and who are unable to return to Ukraine or their country of origin because of the war
- Family members of the above groups who were residing in Ukraine or staying in Spain on or after 24 February 2022
Definition of family members
When implementing the EU Directive, each EU member state must determine the application in national law. Spain chooses to protect the following group of family members:
- Spouses and unmarried partners of Ukrainian nationals who were residing in Ukraine or staying in Spain before 24 February 2022
- Unmarried minor children or children of their spouse until the age of 21 years
- Other dependent family members who were living together as part of the family unit
Public transport after arrival in Spain
Within Spain, the public train operator RENFE offers free transportation to Ukrainian nationals who arrive in Spain, who wish to continue their journey to other parts in Spain, or go to France. Ukrainian nationals need to show their passport or identification document at the ticket office or at a service point to travel for free. RENFE offered free transportation for certain routes between 1 September 2022 and 31 December 2022.
Travel to and entry into Spain are allowed for biometric passport holders. Biometric passport holders can stay for a maximum of 90 days. If Ukrainian nationals do not have a biometric passport or in case they do not possess any identification document, it is recommended to contact a Consular office in neighbouring countries (e.g. Poland, Romania, Hungary). Please show alternative identification documents, like a birth certificate, and a document demonstrating residency in Ukraine prior to 24 February 2022.
Residence and work permit application
Residence permit applications should be processed within 24 hours of filing at designated Spanish police offices and official reception centres for Ukrainian refugees. Large reception centres (called CREADE) opened in Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and Malaga. Appointments need to be scheduled for filing of the applications in person. To verify details per region and schedule appointments, please call + 34 910 474444. Applicants will be required to provide biometric data and present their original passport and a passport-sized photo.
Please call +34 91 399 0009 for any doubt about applying for the work and residence permit application.
Outcome of temporary protection permit application
The outcome of the application can be found online on the website of the Ministry of Interior, or can be received by mail. At the time of application, the applicant can indicate the preferred way of communication of the outcome.
Ministry of Interior
Application of actual residence permit card
The approval letter contains a NIE number. This is a “Foreigner’s Identification Number”. Once the temporary protection application has been approved and obtained, a physical Spanish foreigners ID card must be picked up from the Spanish Police. This is called TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero). An appointment is needed and must be scheduled online in advance.
FAQ Ministry of Inclusion
Support of Ukrainian Consulate in Spain
If you have arrived in Spain without a valid passport, please contact the Ukrainian Consulate and /or Embassy in Spain to obtain a special identification document.
Temporary housing, municipality registration, school admittance, health care sign up and search of work
The Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Affairs and Migration guides Ukrainian refugees on topics such as health care, finding work, school admittance,, administrative tasks, children and protection of women.
In addition, each region has local procedures to follow.
Generally, the reception centres CREADE where residence and work permit applications are filed also take care of the initial housing needs and inform the refugees on all other post-arrival topics and their rights.
After the Spanish authorities issue the temporary protection permit, a copy must be submitted to the health centers when applying to be included in the health care system.
Opening a bank account
Check out the special conditions that banks have for Ukrainian refugees to open a bank account.
Most common banks are:
As an exception, Ukrainian refugees do not need to apply for any permits when bringing their pets. Pets do need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
In the CREADE reception centres in Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante and Málaga, veterinary services are available
Looking For a Job
The Spanish employment offices guide on the job search. They also provide Spanish language courses and help to recognise foreign diploma’s.
In Catalonia, there are 69 employment offices, called SOC (Servicio de Ocupaciób de Catalonia). Appointment to be scheduled via Tel 900-800-046
Ukrainian refugees who fall under the temporary protection directive are exempted from any change of driver’s licence. Their Ukrainian driver’s licence will be accepted as an exception and no international version is required nor translation is needed as long as the directive remains applicable.
Ministry of Interior
Homologation of Foreign Diplomas
To be able to work in regulated professions in Spain, homologation of foreign higher education degrees is needed. Homologation is the process to recognise the value of the foreign diplomas and link them with the Spanish education system to understand the Spanish equivalent diploma. An application form needs to be completed and documents must be collected. Generally, a copy of passport, translated diploma into Spanish from a sworn translator, and proof of knowledge of the Spanish language are needed. At least level B2 of Spanish language is required. Proof of Spanish language level can consist of a certificate or a diploma, depending on the background of each case. The application can be completed in-person or online. Upon approval of the application, employment in the regulated profession can proceed. Doctors, nurses, architects, engineers, lawyers, and teachers can be considered regulated professions in Spain.
Overview of most active non-profit organisations.
An initiative was discussed between the Consulate and the Official College for Psychologists in Spain to provide psychological support
Consejo General de la Psicologia de España
A pilot launched for hosting families to provide temporary housing solutions in Barcelona, Madrid, Murcia and Málaga. Further information on this pilot can be found via the website. Or call 900 67 09 09. This number is daily available from 9 am to 10.30 pm
The platform Refugees Welcome existed prior to the start of the war. Sign up if you are a local wanting to offer temporary housing in your home, or if you are a refugee seeking temporary accommodation. This platform was not designed for Ukrainian nationals, but Ukrainian nationals can also participate.
Helpful Websites to Consult
Helpful websites to consult when you want to offer help
Websites for citizens, institutes and companies in Spain that want to help. This website also includes guidelines and recommendations to streamline and optimise the help that is being offered to Ukrainian nationals
Helpful websites to consult when you need help
For people covered by the EU Directive and after arrival in Spain. National phone number against human trafficking:
+34 900 10 50 90; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ministry of Interior - Asylum and Refuge Office
For people fleeing the war in Ukraine. This website contains key information about your rights to cross the border into an EU country, travel, and be protected.
Official website of the European Commission