Spain surpasses 200,000 Ukrainian protections

Spanish - Ukrainian generosity

Flags of Spain and Ukraine. Credit: Maksym Kapliuk/

In times of crisis, such as the war in Ukraine, Spain has shown itself more than willing to step up and offer a helping hand.

Since activating its extraordinary protection mechanism on March 9, 2022, Spain has welcomed over 200,000 Ukrainian citizens, offering them sanctuary from the turmoil brought about by the Russian invasion.

A Beacon of hope

This initiative, which provides immediate residence and work permits, has seen the Spanish Ministry of the Interior and the National Police process and grant 200,154 protections as of February 26.

Notably, 61.1 per cent of the beneficiaries are women, totalling 122,400, while men make up 38.9 per cent, equating to 77,754 individuals.

The demographics further break down into 31.3 per cent under 18 years, 26.6 per cent between 19 and 35 years, 35.4 per cent between 36 and 64 years, and 6.7 per cent aged over 65.

Widespread support across communities

The Valencian Community (55,835), Catalonia (45,150), Andalucia (29,588) and Madrid (28,087) emerge as the leading autonomous communities in processing and granting these protections.

A staggering 98 per cent of the recipients are Ukrainian nationals, with the remaining 2 per cent comprising individuals of other nationalities who were residing legally in Ukraine at the war’s onset.

Extending a helping hand

In a significant move, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior announced an extension of the foreigner identity cards (TIE) for another year, until March 4, 2025.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the Minister of the Interior, confirmed this extension through an order published in the Official State Gazette (BOE).

This measure, aimed at boosting efficiency and effectiveness, means that the current TIE holders need not apply for a new document. This decision aligns with the EU Council of Interior Ministers’ agreement to extend temporary protection until the same date.

A historic activation

The activation of the European Temporary Protection Directive on March 9, 2022, marked a historic moment, as Spain and the EU sought to offer swift aid to those fleeing Ukraine.

This procedure, facilitated by the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR), ensures quick and straightforward granting of temporary protection.

Implemented across various National Police stations and authorised reception centres, the process is supported by interpreters to assist in data collection.

These protections not only confer a residence permit but also, for adults, a work permit. Furthermore, the General Directorate of Traffic has made provisions for displaced persons to use their driving licenses legally within Spain.

This concerted effort by Spain underscores its commitment to providing refuge and support to those in dire need, reflecting a broader European solidarity in the face of geopolitical crises.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.