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What you should know about social roots in Spain

social roots

Social roots is a fundamental concept in the field of immigration. If you are in Spain or planning to come, it is essential to understand what it is and how it can affect your situation. In this article, we will provide you with the relevant information about social roots in the country. From its requirements to its importance once you start your life in the Iberian country, are you ready to learn more? Continue reading.

What does social rooting consist of?

Social roots is one of the three exceptional cases to obtain the temporary residence authorization due to roots. It is found together with labor and family roots.

In the Spanish legal framework, it is regulated by several laws. The main ones are Organic Law 4/2000, of January 11. This law deals with the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration. 

And the Alien Regulation, specifically Royal Decree 557/2011, of April 20. This approves the Regulation of the Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration.

This modality is widely used by foreigners who wish to regularize their residency status in Spain. It is different from labor and family roots, which are focused on labor and family relations, respectively. Social roots are based on the existence of solid and significant connections with the community in which the individual resides.

If you are a foreigner and want to apply for residency due to social roots, you must show a period of residence in the country. This implies having resided continuously in Spain for an established period of time. 

In addition, the existence of relevant social relations, collaboration with organizations and institutions must be accredited. As well as active participation in social, cultural, sports or educational activities in the local community.

You may also be interested in: Can a foreigner drive in Spain?

Criteria required to qualify for social roots

Residency based on social roots in Spain is a possibility for those who wish to settle legally in the country. However, accessing this status implies meeting specific criteria that demonstrate real roots in society.

To apply for residency based on social roots, it is necessary to meet the following requirements:

  • Not having family ties with countries of the EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland.
  • No criminal record in Spain and countries of previous residence.
  • Not be banned from entering Spain or be on a rejection list.
  • Not to be under commitment not to return to Spain in the last three years. 
  • Continuous residence in Spain for three years, with absences not exceeding 120 days.
  • Maintain family ties in the country or present a social insertion report issued by the City Hall or Autonomous Community.
  • Have a valid employment contract or a commitment to a registered employment contract for at least one year. In this case, the employer must guarantee sustained economic activity.

It is also possible to demonstrate self-employment or sufficient financial resources.

  • If the employer is an individual, he/she must prove an income. From this must be deducted the agreed salary, equivalent to 100% of the IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples).

In case the family unit includes two members, 200% of the IPREM is required. If there are more than two members, 50% must be added for each additional person above this amount.

You can see the summary below:

social roots

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Employment options for applying for social roots

As mentioned above, you must have an employment contract with a minimum duration of one year.

However, you also have the following possibilities to apply for residency due to social roots:

  • If the employment is in the agricultural sector, you may present two contracts from different employers. These must have a minimum duration of 6 months each, in concatenated form.
  • In addition, it is acceptable to have multiple contracts with different contractors for the same occupation. That is, representative of simultaneous work for more than one employer. Each contract must have a minimum duration of one year. The sum of these durations must reach a weekly working time of not less than 30 hours.

In case of not having a contract to request social roots:

  • If it is not possible to present an employment contract, it is necessary to prove that you have sufficient means to support yourself. You can also present a project to undertake a self-employed activity.

In fact, this situation is becoming increasingly common. It presents the following elements to apply for social roots:

  • Responsible declaration and payment of the corresponding tax for commercial or service activities. They must be listed in the Annex of Royal Decree Law 19/2012. In addition, they must have been carried out in permanent establishments with a surface area of no more than 300 square meters.

This decree includes a wide range of activities within the footwear, apparel and textile industries. As well as in retail food or non-food products and domestic repair services. Also, other personal services and jobs in travel agencies or real estate development.

To request social roots based on other work activities you will need: 

  • Authorizations or licenses required.
  • Certification of professional qualification.
  • Accreditation of bank loans.
  • Have sufficient funds to start the business and a business project.
  • In addition to other means of justification, you can submit reports issued by professional or business associations. Either the Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Workers or the National Association of Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Professionals.

What documentation do you need to provide evidence of social integration? 

To determine your social ties to Spain (in addition to what we have explained) you need to make your case specific. The process can be complex, as the concept of social roots is inherently abstract.

However, you may submit certain requirements and documents such as:

social roots

You may also be interested in: Requirements for requesting a letter of invitation to Spain

Now that you know the requirements and essential steps, you are one step closer to making the most of this opportunity. If you would like to explore further how social roots can benefit you or need legal advice specific to your situation, feel free to contact us at or +34 93 737 7525!

Our experts are ready to help you navigate this process and ensure a successful path to life in Spain. Request a legal consultation today!

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