Sterna Abogados: especialistas en derecho de extranjería. En Madrid.

  • Abogados expertos en Derecho de Extranjería en Madrid
  • Homologación de documentos y tarjetas de estudiantes

    Permiso de residencia por arraigo

  • Derecho de extranjería y casos de residencia de larga duración

    Obtención de la nacionalidad

  • Derechos de los inmigrantes en España

    Ven a España con permiso de trabajo

Sterna Abogados: servicios legales especializados en la movilidad internacional

Sterna Abogados: expertos en extranjería




Which category do you fall under?

Are you working as an auxiliar de conversación de inglés in a private or public school in Spain?

If so, are you looking to continue teaching in a different autonomous community but you don´t know how that will affect your visa situation?

Are you working for either Beda, Ucetam or the Ministerio de Educación and are looking to switch programs and renew your current student residence card but don´t know if you will need to request a new student visa in your home country to do so?

Are you wondering if switching from a private to a public organization, or vice versa, will affect your visa situation?

Are you in possession of a student visa allowing you to study at a specific institution but are looking to continue your studies in a different institution?

Are you looking to continue or further your studies in Spain or another European Union country?

Are you looking to change your area of studies when you renew your student residence card?

Are you interested in becoming an au pair but don´t know how to go about getting the proper documentation to do so?  

Are you thinking about switching from your current auxiliar de inglés teaching position to an au pair position?

Are you looking to modify your student residence card to a residence and work permit?

If you fall under one or more of the aforementioned categories, don´t fret!  There is a solution to every one of these requests. These procedures can be tricky as they require specific documentation to see them through. Please don´t hesitate to contact us to request an appointment with one of our immigation lawyers specializing in these topics. 

Contact Information:

Calle Juan de Olías 1, planta principal, Oficina 3.
Metro: Estrecho
T. 91 127 09 20 / 674339827
Reglas de competencia: ámbito matrimonial

Reglas de competencia: ámbito matrimonial

La competencia judicial internacional puede resultar compleja de aplicar. El primer paso es determinar las reglas de competencia, ya que con esas pautas, sabremos ante qué Tribunal de qué Estado deberemos dirigir nuestra demanda.

En el ámbito matrimonial, la legislación establece las reglas en materia de divorcio, separación y nulidad. Allí, se recogen todos los supuestos que se pueden plantear. Así, si lo que buscamos es plantear una demanda de divorcio, lo primero que hará su abogado será acudir a la ley pertinente y determinar ante qué Tribunales deberemos dirigir nuestra demanda. En resumidas cuentas, su abogado estudiará cuál fue el lugar de la residencia habitual común de los cónyuges; el último lugar de residencia habitual de los cónyuges siempre que uno de ellos aún resida ahí o la residencia habitual del demandado. En caso de divorcio por mutuo acuerdo, se centrará en la residencia habitual de uno de los cónyuges; la residencia habitual del demandante, si ha residido allí durante al menos un año anterior a la presentación de la demanda o la residencia habitual del demandante los seis meses anteriores a la demanda, y siendo nacional de ese Estado.

Con estos datos podrá, dadas las circunstancias, indicarnos en qué país y a qué jurisdicción vamos a dirigir la demanda. En Derecho de extranjería, determinar correctamente la competencia judicial es el paso esencial para conseguir nuestro objetivo.


Due to increased immigration in our country since 1995, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries received an overflow of nationality applications.

By December 2014, immigration officials were two years behind in processing nationality applications.

Due to this, the ¨plan intensivo¨ was launched, putting into effect two new developments that have sped up the application processing time.

First, more than 1,000 registrars throughout the country have committed to using their human and material resources to process nationality applications to put right this delay.

Second, it was agreed that applicants who had been granted Spanish nationality for residency could take their oath of citizenship before a notary.  It is important to note that most of the notaries, such as property registrars, agreed to collaborate with the ¨plan intensivo¨ free of charge.  Not only did they agree to help speed up the process by putting in their time and effort to review applications but they do so at no additional cost to the applicants.

Over the last year, more than 270,000 people have acquired Spanish nationality, which proves that the ¨plan intensivo¨ for processing nationality applications has been a success.

However, we must not repeat the same mistakes as last time, causing the system to collapse completely.  Public Administration will continue to keep the system it has now to process future nationality requests.

So what was the goal?  The goal was to process nationality applications in the least amount of time possible. In the near future we would like to resolve all requests in a maximum of one year.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal



Do you want to live in the United States?

It may seem too good to be true but every year the USA does a lottery and grants 50,000 Green Cards (residency permits) to registered applicants.

The United States government offers 50,000 visas to foreigners so that they can become legal permanent residents of the country.

This visa lottery, known as the Diversity Immigration Visa Program (DV-2015) is open from October to November.  The first year it was open from October 1st 2013-November 2nd 2013.  During this time the government accepts applications from any country except:

  • CHINA (continental)
  • PERU
  • THE UK (and its dependent territories except Northern Ireland)

* Foreigners born in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao may apply.

Citizens from excluded countries may apply if they have dual nationality in a country that does not appear on the list or if they are married to a citizen of a country that does not appear on the exclusion list above.

Also, if any of you are originally from countries that appear on the exclusion list but have obtained Spanish nationality, then you may apply as well!


You must have a high school education or its equivalent.  This means that you have completed a 12-year course of both elementary and secondary education.

You must have worked for at least two years in the last five years in a job that requires at least two years of previous experience or training.

Applicants who have a previous criminal record or who have resided in the USA illegally could be disqualified depending on the nature of the crime or the amount of time they´ve spent illegally in the country.

Last years applicants were randomly selected on May 10th 2014.  Those who were selected then proceeded to request the corresponding long-stay residence permit/ Green Card application after October 1st 2014.  

Along with the application you must submit a letter with a job offer from a North American company. The position must be in accordance with your previous professional experience.

Now´s your chance!  Don´t let it slip away! Call us at 911270920 or e-mail us at so we can prepare you for the application process!

Translated by: Katherine Pascal



More than fifty-nine million tourists come to Spain every year.  Who wouldn´t want to come see our beautiful warm beaches or visit our iconic buildings like the Sagrada Familia or the Museo del Prado? However, if you are not a member of the European Union, then you must be prepared and plan ahead before embarking on your journey to Spain.

What is meant by travelling as a tourist? First and foremost, travelling as a tourist means that you are coming to Spain for no more than ninety days within a period of 180 days.

Before leaving for Spain you must have a valid passport that will not expire within the next four months.  On the other hand, you must have the appropriate corresponding visa depending on your nationality and the international agreements between Spain and your country of origin.  If you need a tourist visa, then you must request it at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in your home country.

As a tourist you must have sufficient economic means to cover both your living expenses while in Spain and your return expenses back to your home country.  The purpose of this to try to control the illegal entry of immigrants into our country who are coming to visit family members.

From our website we advise you to visit where you can find relevant information regarding all the immigrant procedures that may be necessary before travelling to our country. This site will give you insight into Spanish currency, where you can exchange money, and into what the average cost of living here is during your stay.  You will also find information regarding health and safety, medical assistance and where to go in case of an energency.  This website is designed to make your trip and travel preparation as easy as possible.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


The Council of Ministers has agreed that the next Regulatory Law of Notarial Procedures in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction will include the option to marry or divorce before a notary.

The option to contract a marriage before a notary will be in addition to all other options such as: before a judge in the Civil Registry, before the Mayor or Councillor, or a religious ceremony where the marriage will be registered afterwards.

In cities like Madrid there is a waiting list of up to four months to initiate the marriage procedure and the same goes for divorce procedures in municipal courts.  Being able to marry or divorce before a notary will speed up the process, especially for the Civil Registry.

To marry before a notary will cost 95€.  You may only divorce before a notary if a mutual agreement exists a  between both spouses and if there are no children under the age of 18 involved.

This is great news for us as we have seen families suffer while waiting their turn to get married since in most of our cases, our client´s residency in Spain depends on this.

We would like to remind you that marrying a Spaniard will give you the right to an EU citizen family member residence card, valid for 5 years, and easily renewable by providing proof of maintained marriage.

On the other hand, if your spouse if not Spanish but he has a valid residence permit you may apply for a Social Integration Residence Card (residencia por arraigo) if you have been in Spain for at least three years.

As always, please don´t hestitate to contact us with any doubts or questions that you may have going through this process.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


Awhile ago we announced that the New Law for Entrepreneurs was going to allow investors to acquire residency in Spain by purchasing real estate.

The new law states that all foreigners who acquire property in Spain for 500,000 € free of charges and encumbrances, may request residency in Spain for himself, his spouse and his children under the age of 18.

This biggest difference between the old law and the new law is that the new law allows investors in Spain who have acquired property to renew their residency, no permanent residence period required.

Up until now, any residency renewal procedure to be carried out in Spain required foreigners to have lived in the country for at least six months.

You may also acquire residency in Spain in the following ways:

  • Through an initial investment of 2,000,000 € in public debt securities
  • Through an inviestment of 1,000,000 € in corporate shares and participations/holdings
  • Through a bank deposit of 1,000,000 €
  • Through property acquisition of 500,000 €


Who is granted residency?

  • The investor, his spouse and his children under the age of 18.

For how long are they granted residency?

  • They will be granted a visa with a validity of one year.  The investor and his family may remain in Spain for as long as they want during that year but are not obligated to stay for any specific period of time.
  • After the first year the investor may renew his visa as long as he has travelled to Spain at least one time over the last year.  This new residency visa will be valid for two years as long as he has maintained the investment.

How long does it take to be issued the residency visa?

  • Due to the newly designed process, the residency visa will be granted in just 20 days.

For more information please email us at or call us at 911270920.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


The Spanish Immigration Law Reform has modified the process by which individuals who are not of Spanish origin may obtain Spanish nationality. Applicants must pass a state examination which will assess the immigrant´s basic knowledge of the Spanish language and his integration into Spanish society.

The result of the exam along with all other required documentation will be included in a notarial act. This in turn will prove who passed and who didnt.

However, this new exam should not scare you away from applying for Spanish nationality, as long as you have some knowledge of our language.

Although this exam presents us with a barrier when requesting Spanish nationality, there are numerous companies and websites that offer test prep.  They prepare applicants by reviewing a series of questions very similar to the ones that may appear on the actual exam.  If applicants seek out such guidance, they will better their chances of passing.

To give you an idea about the exam that you will face, we can tell you that the exam is made up of a series of short answer questions covering various topics.  These qustions may refer to Spanish current events, such as asking who the current president of the government of Spain is.  The exam may also test your knowledge about Spain´s geographical situation by asking you to name all of the autonomous communities.  Some questions may cover Spain´s history by asking you details about the Spanish Civil War.  Finally, you could be asked more art/culture related questions such as; ¨What is Miguel de Cervantes most famous piece of work?¨

This exam, which has existed for years in other countries such as the United States, has been very controversial.  People have spoken out against it, critizing how it now deprives people of Spanish nationality if they cannot answer the questions correctly.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


Immigrants may carry out a business activity in Spain as registered independent workers as long as they have the corresponding work permits, temporary or permanent. First, we must understand the regulations stated in the law regarding self-employment.

According to the General Social Security Law it is understood that self-employed individuals engage in profitable economic or professional activity on a regular basis without an employment contract.  It may be an individual or family run business which may require the employment of other paid employees.

Keeping in mind this definition, we must differenciate between immigrants who come from the European Union and those who do not; those who therefore apply to the general regime.

For EU member citizens, the procedure for self-employment is quite simple.  Due to the right of all EU members to free movement throughout the member states, EU nationals may carry out a business activity under the same conditions as nationals of the host country.  In regards to non EU citizens, they must first go to the Spanish Consular Office in the country where they reside and request a temporary residence and work permit for self-employment.

Once they have this work authorization, they must request the residence visa within one month of being issued the work authorization.  This must be done at the same office.  Finally, once notified that their residence visa has been granted, they must collect it within one month.

Once they have completed these steps, then they will only need to request their foreigner identification card at the police station in Spain.

However, if the immigrant already resides in Spain and has a valid residence permit, he simply needs to change his work permit from paid employment to self-employment if both are found compatible.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


Have you just completed your university degree in your country of origin? Would you like to legally certify it so that it is valid in Spain?

Once you have completed a university degree in your home country, you may have it certified so that it is valid in Spain.

In order to this, you must submit all required documentation in the corresponding Autonomous Community or at the corresponding Registrar Office of the General State of Administration.  The following documentation must be submitted:

-Certified copy of passport stating your name and nationality
-Certified copy of the degree along with an academic certificate highlighting fields and hours of study
-Administrative bank fee (tasa)

You may also officially certify other non-university degrees that you have obtained in your home country.  You must follow all previosuly mentioned steps and submit all official documentation issued by competent authorities.

Please don´t hesitate to contact us at our Madrid office for more information.

Translated by: Katherine Pascal


Residence and Work Permit for Paid Employment

  • The employer or the company must request this permit on behalf of the foreigner they are looking to hire.
  • The employment contract must have a duration of at least one year.
  • The application is subject to the national employment situation.
  • This initial residence and work contract is limited to a certain territory and occupation unless otherwise specified.
  • The applicant and the employer/ company must fulfil all regulated requirements covered in existing legislation regarding the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain.

Residence and Work Permit for Highly Qualified Personnel

  • Companies that require the incorporation of highly qualified workers for professional and employment development may request a residence and work permit for foreign workers that is valid throughout national territory.  This procedure may be requested in following scenarios:

A.) Managerial staff or highly qualified personnel in a business or business group when the company meets one of the following: 

  • Average labor force greater than 250 workers in Spain who are also registered in the social security system during the three months immediately before submitting the application. 
  • Net turnover greater than 50 million euros in Spain, and total equity and shareholders equity greater than 43 million euros. 
  • Gross annual investment, no less than 1 million euros in the last three years prior to submitting the application. 
  • Companies with stock investment greater than three million euros in the Exterior Investment Registry of the Ministry of Economy and Competetiveness. 
  • Relation to a strategic sector for small or medium-sized companies established in Spain. 

B.) Managerial staff or highly qualified personnel working on a business project considered to be of general interest. The company must fulfil one of the following:

  • A significant increase in the direct creation of jobs on part of the company submitting the request for recruitment. 
  • Maintenance of employment. 
  • A significant increase in job creation in the activity sector or the geographical area where they are planning to develop the economic activity
  • An extraordinary investment with socioeconomic impact relevant to the geographical area where the economic activity is going to be developed. 
  • The agreement on points of interest on commercial policy and the investment in Spain. 
  • A relevant contribution to scientific innovation and/or technology

 C.) Graduates or postgraduates from universities or business schools of recognized prestige.

Temporary Residence and Work Permit Under the Category of Transnational Provision of Services

This applies to foreign workers who are being transferred from companies in a country outside of the European Union and European Economic Area to a workplace in Spain.

The foreigner may request this temporary employee displacement on his own accord or it may be requested by the company by means of submitting an employment contract for the work that is to be completed in Spain as stated in the fourth additional provision of the law 45/1999 on 29 November regarding the displacement of workers in the framework of transnational provision of services.

This also applies in cases of temporary employee transfer within the same company or the same group of companies to work centers in Spain.  The worker being hired must have a regular position in the company that is transferring him to Spain. He must have participated in the development of the activity to be carried out in Spain for at least one year and must have been employed by the company for at least nine months.

The request will be subject to the national employment situation except in cases where the employer can prove that the activity to be carried out by the foreigner requires direct credible knowledge outlined in the regulations of article 110.1.b) of the Royal Decree 557/2011 of 30 April and in accordance with article 40.2.c) of Organic Law 4/2000 of 11 January.

Translated by:  Katherine Pascal
Homologación de títulos extranjeros: títulos universitarios

Homologación de títulos extranjeros: títulos universitarios

¿Ha finalizado usted algún tipo de formación de carácter universitario en su país de origen? ¿Quiere que su título universitario goce de validez en España?

Puede hacerlo homologando su título, ¿cómo tramitar dicha homologación?

Es necesario que presente la documentación necesaria a efectos de acreditar el título expedido por una Universidad extranjera en el correspondiente Registro de la Administración General del Estado o la Comunidad autónoma. Dicha documentación es la siguiente: copia compulsada que demuestre tanto su identidad como su nacionalidad, copia compulsada del título que pretende que sea homologado así como una certificación académica en la que se haga constar cierta información relacionada con el título que ha obtenido así como hacer constar las diferentes especialidades (si las hubiere) u horas lectivas.

Una vez presentada la documentación, deberá efectuar el pago de las tasas administrativas correspondientes.

Del mismo modo que es posible la convalidación de titulaciones universitarias obtenidas en el extranjero, cabe también que se homologuen otro tipo de títulos que no tengan carácter universitario y que se hayan obtenidos en el extranjero. Para ello, de nuevo, se deberá presentar los documentos con carácter oficial expedidos por autoridad competente.

Si tiene alguna duda puede contactar con nuestro despacho en Madrid.

Madrid, Móstoles, Alcalá de Henares, Fuenlabrada, Leganés, Getafe, Alcorcón, Parla, Torrejón de Ardoz, Alcobendas, Coslada, Las Rozas de Madrid, Pozuelo de Alarcón, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Majadahonda, Collado Villalba, Valdemoro, Aranjuez, Arganda del Rey, Boadilla del Monte, Colmenar Viejo, Pinto, Zaragoza, San Fernando de Henares, Abogado extranjería marbella,Tres Cantos, Galapagar, Villaviciosa de Odón, Ciempozuelos, Mejorada del Campo, Torrelodones, Algete, Navalcarnero, Arroyomolinos, Humanes de Madrid, San Martín de la Vega, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Villanueva de la Cañada, El Escorial, Villanueva del Pardillo, Guadarrama, Alpedrete, Meco ,Moralzarzal, Paracuellos de Jarama, Barcelona,Velilla de San Antonio, Valdemorillo , San Agustín del Guadalix, Brunete, Daganzo de Arriba, Griñón,Colmenarejo, Villalbilla , El Álamo, Colmenar de Oreja, Soto del Real, San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Sevilla la Nueva, Torres de la Alameda etc. Cuidado de personas mayores y enfermos en Madrid

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