Voluntary return plan

If you are a non-EU citizen and you want to return to your home country, you can apply for the voluntary return plan. There are three models:

  • APRE (advance payment of unemployment benefits): this is the most commonly used. It involves applying for the advance payment of your accumulated unemployment benefits.
  • Productive voluntary return plan: for you to establish a business in your home country.
  • Humanitarian return: if you lack the resources to be able to return.
APRE, or the possibility of receiving unemployment benefits in advance

Unemployed migrants who want to return to their home countries may request the full amount of their unemployment benefits in advance. The most important thing to remember is: this measure applies to those individuals who have generated the right to receive unemployment benefits.


• As said, you must register at the unemployment office and be entitled to receive unemployment benefits. In other words, you must apply for the benefits (where to register at an unemployment office). This involves two administrative formalities: applying for the benefits and requesting the return to your home country, which you can do at the same time. It is also possible to request voluntary return, even if you have already begun to receive your benefits.

• This measure is not offered to all migrants.

– If you are from a European Union country, you cannot apply for these benefits. You have other options to be able to collect the unemployment benefits from your country.

– There must be a bilateral agreement in Social Security matters between Spain and your home country. Such agreements exist with the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, United States, Russia, Philippines, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, El Salvador, South Korea, Cape Verde and China.

• You must agree to return to your home country.

If you have regrouped your family in Spain, they will also have to leave, provided they do not hold an independent residency permit (in other words, if their residency permit is a consequence of family regrouping).

– You must return to your home country within 30 days from the time the first payment is made (see below for the two payments made). Once the 30 days have passed, your residency permit will expire immediately.

– You must agree not to return to Spain in the next three years.

Unemployment benefit payments

Two payments will be made:

1. 40% of the benefits will be paid at the time your application is accepted. You will receive a letter at home informing you that the application has been accepted. Important! Safely keep these documents as you will need them to apply for the second payment in your home country. Remember that you have 30 days from the time the first payment is made to return to your home country.
2. You will be paid the remaining 60% in your home country. You have 90 days from the time the first payment is made to claim the second payment. Request this second payment in the Spanish consulate (or other diplomatic facility) in your country. You will have to show your Spanish residency card and the approval of your application (the letter previously sent to your home).

Returning to Spain

As stated, you must agree not to return to Spain for three years. Once these three years have passed, there is no problem if you want to return, but you must newly apply for a residency and work permit.

– If you had a temporary permit, the time you previously spent in Spain will be taken in account when applying for permanent residency.

– If you had a long-term residency permit, you will be able to recover it.

For more information (including the official application)
Information phone numbers (SEPE):
               ARABA: 945 750 898
               BIZKAIA: 944 500 598
               GIPUZKOA: 943 980 598
               NAFARROA: 948 990 598

Productive voluntary return plan

This financial aid targets migrants wishing to return to their home countries to start some kind of business or entrepreneurial project there. You must show that you are a non-EU migrant, and that you do not have the means necessary to start a company.

This financial aid is managed by a number of different non-governmental organizations. See the list of organizations HERE.

There are two ways to apply for this financial aid:

• Getting in touch directly with one of these organizations.
• Applying for it through governmental institutions, for them to manage it from there. You can contact the Secretariat of State for Immigration and Emigration, but it is much easier to visit the social services department of your local council. Let them know you are interested in the productive voluntary return plan. They will give you more information and assist you in the steps you need to take.

This financial aid includes, among other concepts: money for the trip, financial aid of 400€ for each family member, and some 1,500€ to get the project started.

As stated, the goal of this financial aid is to establish a company in your home country. Therefore, you must thoroughly explain the project. These are not financial aid packages that are awarded directly. Rather, all of the projects presented are examined, and a few are chosen from among them. That is why, the more developed the idea, the more opportunities you will have: Think carefully about what the business will be based on, and what its sources of financing will be. Plan it thoroughly, etc..

Humanitarian return

If you are in a situation of need, want to return to your home country and do not have means enough to do so, you can apply for this assistance. In this case, you must also be a migrant from outside the EU. Nevertheless, if you are a victim of human trafficking or sexual exploitation, you can apply for it even if you are from outside the European Union.

In addition to money for the trip, you can also receive a small financial aid package: 400€ for each family member, 50€ more for the trip, and 100€ if you have to use any other means of transport.

The first thing you must do is go to the local council to be registered with the social services department. They will prepare a report on your situation. You must also show how much time you have been in Spain. To do so the most important documents will be your passport and proof of municipal census registry (where to register in the municipal census), but you can also provide other types of documents (Health Care Service documents, or documents from any administration or non-governmental organization).

You can apply for this humanitarian return in the social services department of the local council, for them to manage it from there.