Residencia in Spain All your questions answered
3rd April IMPORTANT UPDATES
Residency and visas
You must register as a Spanish resident if you want to stay in Spain for more than 3 months. You will get a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police.
Residency when the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, any UK national arriving in Spain before 31 December 2020 will be able to register as resident in Spain under the current rules and will have their right to residence in Spain protected for as long as they remain living here.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, any UK national residing in Spain before the date the UK leaves will be considered legally resident for a period of 21 months, irrespective of whether they currently hold a residency document.
In some parts of Spain UK nationals are currently unable to register as a resident as appointments are not available. If you don’t yet have a residence certificate, the is to make sure you have proof you were living here before we leave the EU (eg padrón registration), and to keep checking the online appointment system for new appointments.
After the UK leaves the EU, in any scenario, you will need to change your registration document for a new card. For more information you can:
- read the Spanish government’s guidance for UK nationals in Spain
- sign up for email updates to this guidance on living in Spain
UK nationals arriving in Spain after the UK leaves the EU will have to meet the requirements of the general immigration regime. We will provide further information on this in due course.
General Questions and Answers.
What is it exactly?
“Getting residencia” is when you register as a resident in Spain with the Spanish national police (extranjería or local police station). You will also be given a green credit card size certificate that you will need to have on you at all times while in Spain.
If you have an A4 size green residency certificate, you have already registered as a resident. If you registered over 5 years ago, you can ask for permanent residency status. Permanent residents have more secured rights for the future, such as the right to access healthcare (please see here for information).
Do you already have a NIE, but it’s on a white piece of paper?
Sorry to say but you have not registered as a resident. this is your NIE number. You will need to register as such with the National Police as soon as possible if you are living in Spain.
When do you need to get it?
Spanish law states that you should do it within the first three months of having moved to Spain. If you haven’t done it yet, complete the process as soon as possible.
What do you need to bring?
For EU nationals, it is quite straight forward. You will need to bring proof of healthcare cover ( such an S1 form or confirmation of the convenio especial, or a work contract) and proof of income (e.g. proof of pension). Please go to your nearest extranjería or police office for the complete list of all supporting documents.
Why do you need it?
Having residencia in Spain secures your healthcare for the future. Did you know that when you have been registered as a resident for at least five years, you can then apply for permanent residency? Once you have that, you will always be covered for healthcare in Spain just like a Spanish resident. Please see residency-based healthcare for more information.
Is being on the padron the same or just as good as being registered as a resident?
No. Being registered as a resident means that you have secured your rights as a resident in Spain. You have registered on a national register.
Being registered on the padron means that you have registered with your local town hall and municipality. This means you have secured your rights to access local services. You have also secured funding for your council so they can provide those services.
You need to register on both.
How do I start?
You will need to make an appointment (cita previa) in order to register. In some areas there are month long waiting lists so please start the procedure as soon as possible. You can make an appointment to apply for residency, or to move onto permanent residency here.
Does it seem complicated?
If you are worried about the process you can hire a translator, a gestor or get a Spanish speaker to go along with you. If you live in an area where there are many foreigners or other British nationals the town hall can help you out too.