How to Become a Resident of Spain

How to start a business in Spain
How to start a business in Spain


All citizens from countries outside the EU or EEA are required to apply for a Residence Permit which is initially for one year, renewable to for 5 years.

Temporary Residence is required if you are a non-EU citizen and wish to remain in Spain for longer than 3 months but not more than 1 year.

Why should you register?

Spain does not have a centralised government and therefore each province is responsible for its own budget, which means that it is important for each province to know the number of people living in their region.  The more people living in a province the more likely the province is to benefit from government funding for infrastructure improvements and roads. So it is important for the region to track the population, and by registering you become visible and therefore count in a government census.

Where to register

Before you leave for Spain:

If you wish to register from your home country before residing in Spain then you can apply for an appointment at your nearest Spanish Consulate or Embassy.  The same documentation is required as those applying from within Spain.

Applying within Spain:

You need to complete an application form which is available at your local Police station’s Foreigner’s Office or you can download the form here EX -18. Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria

If you are worried about filling in the form yourself, you can engage the services of a Gestor (person who knows his way around all the intricacies of Spanish administration and bureaucracy), but of course, a Gestor will charge a fee.

Required documents

  • Current passport and a photocopy of the front page plus photo page
  • 2 recent passport photographs (write your name as shown in your passport, on the back)
  • EX-18 application form plus 3 photocopies of the completed and signed form
  • A form 790 completed and signed by your bank – this is to confirm that you have a Spanish bank account and that you have the required amount of money in your account. The form is available at your local Police station.  Cost €10.60 (2016)
  • A Padrón certificate (Expadronamiento) no older than 3 months – this is issued when you register on the Padrón at your local Town Hall, which you should have done immediately you moved to the area.
  • A medical certificate to show that you are in good health (physical and mental).

If a member of your family has residency:

  • Your Libro de Familia and residency card of the family member
  • Expadronamiento ( Padrón certificate) of the family member
  • Proof of medical insurance

If you are employed in Spain:

  • A Vida Laboral plus photocopy (these are your work records)

If you are self-employed in Spain:

  • All the documents you received when you registered for self-employment plus your Vida Laboral (plus photocopy)
  • A bank statement in which you pension is mentioned

If you are self-supporting:

  • Proof of adequate finances
  • Proof of medical insurance with a company licenced to operate in Spain OR proof of medical cover in your home country.


Your application – Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Once you have moved into a property in Spain you need to register on the Padrón at your local Town Hall – This is the registry of those living in a particular municipal area.  You will need your passport and, if you have it your NIE number.  You will receive a Certificado de Empadronamiento.

Step 2

Healthcare – You need to ensure that you have the correct healthcare documents:

To apply for your residence card you need to show that you have healthcare cover i.e. if you are from the UK you will need a stamped copy of the INSS form S1.


Proof of a valid health insurance with a company licenced to operate in Spain and proof that you have committed to paying premiums for the next 12 months.

Note:  An EHIC is not accepted in Spain

Step 3

Check that your passport is valid for the next 5 years, or that you have proof that renewal is in progress.

Step 4

Your Bank – get a statement Certificado Bancario from your bank certifying that the amount required for residency is, and has been, in your bank account for the past 3 months.

Step 5

If you do not yet have an NIE number then you will need a proof of address. This can be your rental contract, Copia Simple (proof of offer to purchase a property) or Escritura (copy of the purchase agreement)

Step 6

Make copies of your passport both front page and photo page.

Make photocopies of all your documents

Step 7

Download the EX-18 form and complete and sign it.

Step 8

Make an appointment with the Police Station’s Foreigner’s Office (Oficina Extranjeros) to submit your documents.  An official at the Foreigner’s Office will be issue you with another form which you need to take to a local bank.  You will need Euros as the bank will charge between 15 and 20€ to complete and sign the form.

Step 9

Return to the Police Station’ Oficina Extranjeros with the stamped form plus all your documentation and photocopies.  Once these are submitted to the official on duty you will be issued with your Residence Card on the spot – Your Residence Card will also include your NIE number.


Non-EU citizens

Non – EU citizens must renew their Residence Permit every 5 years.  You should make a note of the expiry date to ensure that you apply for your renewal around 3 months prior to expiry.

Renewing your Residence Permit

To renew your residencia you will need the following documents

  • 2 passport photos (recent)
  • Original tarjeta de residencia and one photocopy
  • Passport plus a photocopy of the front page and photo page
  • Relevant completed application form with three photocopies
  • Proof that your address/ job has not changed
  • A medical certificate

As requirements can differ according to region, and because they may have changed during the past 5 years it is a good idea to check with your local oficina de extranjeros as to documentation required and the procedure.

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