Residencia in Spain

Residencia in Spain for EU Members

Residencia in Spain for EU mebers - Any EU citizen intending to stay in Spain for more than three months is obliged to register to be added to the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros) at a Foreigners' Office (Oficina de Extranjero) or local police station (Policia Nacional) if there is no foreigners' office in the area in where you intend to reside. This must be done within three months of arrival.

A Registration Certificate as an EU Resident (Certificado de registro como residente comunitario) is issued, this is a green credit card size certificate.

This document certifies residence in Spain and includes the holders name, address, nationality, and foreigners tax identification number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero - NIE) along with the date of registration.

Please note - It is not an identity document and the certificate should be carried with identification (such as a passport) at all times in order to be considered valid.

Residencia in Spain

When you have been registered as a resident for five years, you can then apply for permanent residency.

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. 

Do you already have a white piece of paper? Sorry to say but you have not registered as a resident. this is your NIE number. 

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.


In order to register as a resident in Spain as an EU National, you must make an appointment online with the Oficina de Extranjeros -cita previa-, which can be done here. Select the province where you live and the option “Policia-Certificados UE” -Trámites Cuerpo Nacional de Policía tab-, and follow the further instructions. Completing this process will arrange an appointment at an Immigration Office or your local Police Station for a specific date and time.

When attending the appointment in the designated office, provide the following documents to support your application.

The following documents are required in order to apply for a Residency Certificate:

  • Valid passport or national identity card
  • Photocopies of a valid passport or national identity card
  • Two passport sized photographs (although these may not be required)
  • Proof of address in Spain (Padron)
  • application form EX18 (PDF) (Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)
  • Proof that payment has been made - a bank-stamped Modelo 790 payment form. If an NIE number has previously been assigned, take the certificate as proof of payment.
  • Proof of valid healthcare insurance (or European Health Insurance Card EHIC) 

The following documents must also be provided depending on your individual circumstances-

Employees / Postings abroad:

  • Valid identity card or passport
  • Certificate of employment or confirmation of recruitment from employer


  • Valid identity card or passport
  • Proof of self-employed status 


  • Valid identity card or passport
  • Proof of comprehensive health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support themselves

*Students must provide proof of registration on an educational institution as well as a valid public or private health cover and a declaration of sufficient means of support.

Residencia in Spain

Proof of Sufficient Financial Means

There are different ways in which an applicant can show proof of sufficient means, each of which depends on the applicant’s status. A person can be self-sufficient through having a pension or an employment contract, or if not in employment, that they have enough personal savings to finance their stay in Spain or by being financially supported as a dependant of another family member.

It is important to note that the Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjería) recommends that all non-Spanish and non-EU documents that are submitted to prove sufficient economic means are officially translated into Spanish and the currency converted to euros, in the case that the amounts are in pounds or other currency. Doing this before you start the process will significantly speed up the process.

If relevant documentation is missing during the application process, there is a 10 day window to provide the correct information before the application process expires. After this period a new application form needs to be submitted.

Family Members of EU Citizens

The rights of the EU citizen are extended to their family members (irrespective of nationality). This includes the spouse by marriage, a partner by civil partnership (or marriage equivalent), dependent children under 21 and dependent grown children and parents.

Application should be made for a Residency Card for EU Citizen Family Members (Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión) within 3 months of arrival at the Foreigner's Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence.

The following documents are required in order to apply for a Residency Card for EU Citizen Family Members (others may also be requested):

  • Valid passport (or a copy of a renewal application)
  • application form EX19 (Solicitud de certificado de registro como residente o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union)
  • Proof of family relationship with the EU citizen (such as a marriage certificate, proof of partnership registration, birth certificates for children)
  • Identification (passport) or DNI (Spanish citizen) of the EU family member
  • Three recent colour passport photographs

If a marriage certificate is used as proof of family relationship, the Spanish authorities may insist that it is only valid if issued within the last 90 days. If the applicant's marriage certificate is older, it may be possible for them to confirm its validity via the embassy or consulate of the issuing country. In this regard, Spain may be acting against EU directives.

Important note for those moving to Spain with children.
EU citizens with children of school age should register at their local town hall on arrival. A valid passport, tenancy agreement or title deeds, utility bill and birth certificates are required. A temporary residence certificate notification will be issued allowing parents to apply for a school place. The documentation required varies. 

A pamphlet outlining the regulations governing EU citizens in Spain is available in English.

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