What is the Temporary Protection Directive and why has it been activated?
On 4 March 2022, the Member States of the European Union decided to activate Council Directive 2001/55/EC on displaced persons, to provide an immediate response to the mass displacement of people because of the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia which began on 24 February 2022. The directive enables immediate and temporary refuge in the European Union and facilitates the sharing of responsibility for people fleeing Ukraine between Member States.
What rights does it involve in Spain and for how long?
Temporary protection automatically enables persons displaced by the conflict to live, this work or study in the European Union for the period of one year, and this can be extended up to a maximum of three years, without the need to seek asylum.
Temporary protection carries with it the following rights:
- Residence permit
- Work permit (self-employed and employed)
- Access to social benefits (accommodation, legal and psychological assistance, social support, language learning, etc.)
- Access to healthcare
- Access to education for minors under 18 under the same conditions as nationals.
Who can benefit from temporary protection?
In Spain, the following people can access temporary:
- Ukrainian nationals who were living in Ukraine before 24 February 2022
- Stateless persons and third-country nationals who were living in Ukraine with a valid legal residence permit (permanent or of another type such as students, persons with refugee status, etc.) and who cannot return to their country or region
- Ukrainian nationals who were staying in Spain before 24 February 2022 and as a consequence of the conflict cannot return to Ukraine
- Family members of persons coming under the above points, and
- Ukraine nationals who were unlawfully staying in Spain before 24 February 2022 and as a consequence of the conflict cannot return to Ukraine.
Note that Spain has decided to extend the scope of application of the Temporary Protection Directive and so the information provided may be different in other EU countries.
Where and how to apply for Temporary Protection?
In order to access temporary protection, the person concerned should preferably apply for it at the Reception, Attention and Referral Centres (CREADE) located in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Alicante and, failing that, at the police stations in the provincial capitals, which you can find at this link.
AN APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY: Information and appointment request number provided by the government:
(+34) 91 047 44 44
Attention 24 hours a day (in Spanish and Ukrainian)
- NGO: ACCEM
- Centre: Centro de Formación de la Seguridad Social
- Address: Carretera de Carabanchel a Aravaca, 91. 20223 Pozuelo de Alarcón
- NGO: Red Cross
- Centre: Pavilion 7 of Fira de Montjuic
- Address: Avenida de la Reina María Cristina (Plaza España)
- NGO: Red Cross
- Centre: Ciudad de la Luz
- Address: Avenida Jean Claude Combaldieu s/n zona altillo
- NGO: CEAR
- Centre: Palacio de Ferias y Congresos
- Address: Avenida Ortega y Gasset 201, Málaga
The intention is for the stay in these centres to be only as long as is required to carry out identification and process documents, identify needs and refer to accommodation resources.
The centres in these cities will be responsible for registering and processing applications for temporary protection.
UNHCR will have access to the accommodation, reception and referral centres with the aim of ensuring access to the temporary protection procedure and providing the authorities with technical support in coordination and the identification of protection needs and ensuring the provision of relevant information and access to confidential mechanisms for complaining about and reporting the infringement of basic rights. UNHCR will also work to provide displaced persons with participation mechanisms in order to record and take into account the experience and opinions of the persons who are temporarily hosted in these centres.
There are also specialist NGOs funded by the Spanish authorities that form part of the State Host Network, deployed throughout the territory and available 24 hours a day to respond to any need for information or accommodation for refugees. See a list of organizations and contact details here.
To apply for temporary protection, you must provide:
- Documentation that proves you belong to one of the groups which the temporary protection arrangements apply to (see previous section)
- Provide an address in Spain which will be considered to be your usual residence for notification purposes
- Where possible a telephone number and an email address for notification purposes
The police will take applicants’ fingerprints, and at the time of the application they will issue a receipt with a Foreign Resident Number (NIE). This receipt authorizes the person concerned to remain in Spanish territory and receive social welfare assistance.
Within 24 hours of your requesting temporary protection, the Spanish authorities will grant or refuse protection. If protection is granted, the person concerned will receive authorization to live and work in Spain for one year, which can be automatically extended for a further year up to a maximum of three years.
Wherever possible, the person concerned will be notified electronically of the granting or refusal of temporary protection.
Applications for temporary protection for children under 18 who are accompanied by an adult must be submitted by the person responsible (father, mother or guardian).
Does it cost anything to apply for temporary protection?
Applications for temporary protection, as well as access to accommodation centres for displaced Ukrainians and to the reception system and all the resources and services stemming from it (legal, psychological and social welfare assistance, healthcare, language learning, etc.) are free of charge.
The services provided by UNHCR are free of charge, whether they are provided by UNHCR directly or through its implementing partners. If anyone, including an employee of UNHCR or any other organization claims they can help you to receive a service in exchange for money or any other type of favours, please notify the UNHCR Representative in Spain immediately by following this link or email [email protected]: Complaints will be dealt with confidentially.
If I am given temporary protection, can I seek asylum?
Receiving temporary protection does not prevent you from seeking asylum. However, the aim of temporary protection is to provide immediate protection for people fleeing from Ukraine, minimizing formalities because of the urgency of the situation, without the need to seek asylum.
What happens if I arrived in Spain before 24 February 2022?
If you have been in Spain for fewer than 90 days, your situation is still lawful. In the Schengen area, you will be in a lawful situation for 90 days from when you entered the country.
The temporary protection arrangements will take into account the situation of people who were in Spain before 24 February and are unable to return to Ukraine. The following people may apply for temporary protection:
- Ukrainian nationals who were staying in Spain before 24 February 2022 and as a consequence of the conflict cannot return to Ukraine, as well as their family members; and
- Ukrainian nationals who were unlawfully staying in Spain before 24 February 2022 and as a consequence of the conflict cannot return to Ukraine.
If your foreign resident application was being processed or is valid and the situation in Ukraine has made it impossible for you to obtain some of the documents required to process your authorization to live and work in Spain, please go to the Office for Foreigners (Oficina de Extranjería) in the province where you live.
Does the Temporary Protection Directive apply in the same way in all EU countries?
The Directive lays down a minimum protection framework which Member States must guarantee. However, European Union countries may establish different arrangements, adopting or maintaining more favourable conditions The Spanish state has decided to extend the scope of application of the Directive.
What do I need in order to enter Spain? Does the Dublin Regulation apply?
Ukrainian nationals do not need to apply for a visa to enter Spain, and they are entitled to move freely within the EU for a period of 90 days. This allows them to choose the Member State where they want to enjoy their temporary protection rights and to join their relatives and friends who are resident in the European Union.
If you are Ukrainian and you want to enter Spain but you do not have biometric passports or travel documents, you can go to a consular office in a country bordering Ukraine (e.g. Poland, Romania, Hungary, etc.) so your situation can be considered.
Can I ask for temporary protection in Spain if I do not have documentation?
People who want temporary protection must be able to show they meet all the admission criteria by presenting the relevant documentation to the competent authorities.
If you do not have a passport or any travel document, present your birth certificate or a document that shows your identity and, if you have it, any document that proves your residence in Ukraine before 24 February 2022.
In the case of minors: the minor’s birth certificate, certificate proving the family link or relationship with any guardians or persons accompanying the minor who are responsible for them.
If I am granted temporary protection, can I travel to other countries?
The temporary residence authorisation is not a travel document, but only a document of residence in Spain, however, you will still be able to travel with your passport, according to the requirements of the destination country.
In any case, the temporary residence authorisation constitutes a residence permit in Spain for all legal purposes, which means that it will allow you to return to Spain at any time during its validity and that it will allow you to travel (not reside) to other EU countries for short stays.
Ukrainian Nationals in Spain who want to move to a third country
Ukrainians or citizens of other countries without a visa can continue to travel to other EU/Schengen countries.
However, if you want to move to a third country you must contact the consulate or embassy of the country in question, directly or through a legal representative, to request information about that country’s requirements in your particular situation.
Foreigner Identification Card ("TIE")
The Foreigner Identification Card (TIE) is the identification and accreditation document of the legal and administrative status of foreigners within Spain.
It is necessary to apply for it after obtaining a residence permit in Spain, regardless of its type (for Temporary Protection or International Protection, work residence, due to exceptional circumstances, family members of EU citizens, etc.). To apply for the TIE, you must make an appointment at a police station through this link. You can consult the detailed instructions on how to process the TIE by clicking here.
The TIE will serve to prove your residence authorization before the authorities or before private entities such as banks, shops, etc. However, the TIE is not, in itself, a residence or a work permit, but only a document that proves it.
It does not constitute a travel document nor does it replace the national passport or the travel document that may be issued by the Spanish authorities in some cases. However, it does constitute a document that demonstrates the right of the foreign person to enter the Spanish territory.