As a foreigner, you have the rights and freedoms guaranteed under heading I of the Spanish Constitution (Constitució espanyola), in accordance with the provisions of international treaties and laws. The rights and freedoms of foreign citizens are specified in articles 3 to 15 of Constitutional Law 4/2000, incorporating the principle of foreigners exercising their rights under the same conditions as Spaniards:

1. Regardless of their administrative status, foreigners in Spain have the RIGHT AND DUTY TO RETAIN DOCUMENTATION that accredits their identity, whether issued by the Spanish authorities or the authorities in their country of origin. In certain cases, foreigners who can prove that their country of origin does not issue them with documentation may ask the Spanish authorities for a registration document (cèdula d'inscripció), which serves the same purpose as a passport and can thus be used for signing up for inclusion on the population register.

2. Foreigners who have obtained a visa or a permit to spend more than 6 months in Spain have the DUTY TO APPLY FOR THE CORRESPONDING FOREIGNER IDENTITY CARD (TARGETA D'IDENTITAT D'ESTRANGER, TIE) within a month of their arrival in Spain or of receiving such authorisation.

3. Foreigners who are legally present in Spain have the RIGHT TO FREE MOVEMENT throughout Spanish territory and to freely choose their place of residence in the country. In that respect, it should be noted that foreigners with a foreigner identity card do not need a visa to be able to travel around Schengen territory (Territori Schengen), provided that they have a valid passport.

4. Foreigners resident in Spain have the RIGHT TO VOTE in municipal elections if reciprocal arrangements (criteris de reciprocitat) have been made (i.e. if Spanish citizens have the same right in the country of origin of such foreigners).

Community nationals may vote and be voted for in local and European elections.

5. Foreigners resident in Spain who are included on a population register in the country have all the rights specified in basic local legislation.

6. The RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY can be exercised regardless of our administrative status.

7. Foreign citizens aged under 18 in Spain have the RIGHT AND DUTY TO RECEIVE EDUCATION, i.e. free compulsory education (educació obligatòria), regardless of their administrative status and under the same conditions as Spaniards. Foreign residents are also entitled to receive non-compulsory education (educació no obligatòria) under the same conditions as Spaniards.

8. Foreigners with a permit for self-employment or employment by somebody else (see section 3.6 Work and residency permit) may exercise THE RIGHT TO WORK. Foreigners are entitled to join unions (sindicació) and to strike (vaga), provided that they have been authorised to reside or stay in Spain. See

9. All foreigners included on a Spanish population register have the RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE. Emergency healthcare (assistència sanitària d'urgència) is available to all foreigners in Spain, regardless of whether or not they are included on a population register. Foreign minors and pregnant women are entitled to use public healthcare services even if they are not included on a population register.

10. Foreigners resident in Spain have the RIGHT TO HOUSING-RELATED AID. See

11. Foreigners resident in Spain have the RIGHT TO ACCESS TO SOCIAL SECURITY (SEGURETAT SOCIAL) SERVICES AND BENEFITS under the same conditions as Spaniards. Foreigners illegally present in Spain are entitled to basic social services. See

12. Foreigners have the RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE LEGAL PROTECTION (TUTELA JUDICIAL), meaning that they may seek the help of judges and the courts to protect their rights and freedoms. Foreigners are also entitled to appeal against administrative decisions related to matters involving their status.

Foreigners in Spain who cannot afford to pay for administrative or judicial proceedings related to their entry to the country, to applications for asylum or to their return or deportation are guaranteed free legal aid (assistència jurídica gratuïta).

Foreigners resident in Spain have the right to free legal aid under the same conditions as Spaniards for any proceedings in which they may be involved, provided that they are able to show that they cannot afford to pay for such services.

Free legal aid consists of free legal advice and guidance, free defence and representation, assistance if detained or arrested by the police, exemption from the deposits required to lodge appeals, etc. Foreigners who do not understand or speak the official language used also have the RIGHT TO THE SERVICES OF AN INTERPRETER.

13. Spain has signed the Geneva Convention and its Constitution thus includes the RIGHT TO ASYLUM AND REFUGE. Asylum (asil) is the protection or refuge offered to foreigners who are recognised as refugees. Asylum is granted to people who have reason to fear persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinions, who are outside their own country and who are unable to or do not wish to return or seek protection there. See http://www.eacnur.org/ to find out about the requisites for applying for refugee status (estatut de refugiat) in Spain and http://www.cear.es for information on services for refugees in Catalonia.