The Ultimate Guide on Spanish Residency

Spanish residency card

This is the fourth article of my series Living in Spain. Have you heard about the Spanish residency? Stay around, I’m going to unveil the mystery in my own words 😉

My series Living in Spain is made up of 6 articles:


NOTE: Article updated on 21 April 2017


It is a short term or permanent legal permission to stay in Spain.

The Spanish residency has two different versions:

EU citizens – it is a green card with your personal details and no photo.

Non-EU citizens – it is a blue / pink card with your personal details as well as a passport photo on it.

Don’t ask me why the EU one doesn’t have a photo. It makes no sense at all, I know.

By the way, “in theory” you are supposed to become a resident if you spend more than 90 days in Spain.

I said “in theory” because I know some people have been living in Spain for years without it (without enjoying the benefits of being a resident, of course) and I have yet to hear of any legal consequences for not doing it.

However, I might be wrong and you may get fined or something like that. Therefore, do whatever you want to do at your own risk and not just because David gave a such and such piece of advice :-)


NOTE (2/7/2016) – Are you from the United Kingdom? Well, there will be changes on the Spanish residency (as well as other areas like driving licence, NIE numbers, or medical cards, just to name some of them) after the UK’s EU Referendum (Brexit).

Would you like me to keep you posted of everything?

Just enter your email below and click on the red button. I will send you my free ebook on Driving in Spain (and two more free ebooks :-) ) and will let you know about every single update for British citizens as soon as I find out:

driving in Spain

Simply enter your email address and click on the red button below, and you will receive an email shortly!



There are two places where you can obtain a “Spanish residencia”:

  • Spanish National Police stations are properly assigned to issue NIE numbers. However, not every single National Police station will offer this service (click here for your nearest one).
  • Spanish embassy located in your country.

The Spanish Residency can be requested:

  • In person.
  • Through a legally authorised person (power of attorney).



There are some common activities / procedures you can carry out with the Spanish Residency or NIE number:

  • Pay tax
  • Get employed
  • Register a business
  • Buy / sell a car
  • Buy / sell properties
  • Other legal economic activities

In addition, some of the benefits you will obtain are:

  • Renewal of your driving licence into Spanish.
  • Obtain your local pensioner’s card (if you are on a pension).
  • Get your Spanish health card covered by national insurance (you can get it on an NIE if you’re employed in Spain though).
  • A possible tax reduction on properties when you sell / buy (get in touch with an advisor to find out more about this in detail, as tax is not my area of expertise).
  • A tax reduction on inheritance tax may also be applied (contact your advisor for more information).



In the following sections I’m going to give you some of the basic requirements you need to apply for the Spanish residency.


As I do not want you to remember David as “the fella who cheated me with misleading information”, I will remind you once again that you should ask the relevant office first before starting any process.

Do not ask anywhere apart from the actual place where you’ll be delivering your paperwork. And make sure to ask in the right way, or you may end up getting as confused as I did when I was researching whether the Spanish residency expires or not.

Within a radius of 100 km of the area where I live (Torrevieja), I can tell you that 4 National Police stations require “roughly” the same documents, with several minor differences… enough to make a trip for nothing.

How can I possibly know how the National Police do it in other cities in Spain? Exactly, I don’t know without asking.

Use the next section as a compass, as I’m sure it will be “roughly” correct. But don’t forget to ask first at the corresponding National Police station dealing with immigration documents in your area.


(Always do this in Spain)



Remember that if you are from a non-EU country you might have to provide additional information… find out first.

The following information is just some basic requirements you will need to apply for your residencia if you are an EU citizen.

  • Original passport + one photocopy.
  • Two small photos (maybe one, maybe two, but take two just in case)
  • A Padrón certificate less than 3 months old.
  • Ex18 Form which you can download here.
  • 790 Form used to pay a fee of 10.60€ (2016 fee) at any Spanish bank.

You may need official translations for marriage certificates, birth certificates, school diplomas, criminal records, etc. Find out at the relevant office before you apply for you residency. Meanwhile, click here have a look to this article I wrote on official translations.

Regarding the application fee, as I explained in the article about NIE numbers, there is an online version of the 790 Form. In the area where I live they do not accept it; they will only accept the traditional type form which is a carbon copy (an original top copy with two tracing paper copies behind), one of which is for you, one for the bank and one for the police (please read the update below the following picture).

The 790 Form looks like this:

tax 790 form spain

Update 8/6/2016: starting on 1/6/2016 you will need to make an appointment on the internet for the National Police offices located in Torrevieja, Elche, Benidorm, and Alicante.

Click on the following link to make an appointment:

From the drop-down list, select Alicante, then click on the button Aceptar.

On the following page, select CERTIFICADOS UE, click on Aceptar, and finish the process.

To download the tax form (790 form) click on the following link (the online version of the 790 form is accepted now):

At the bottom of the webpage, there is a box (as I show next) to download the 790 form, which you can use from now on to pay your tax in this area. This does not mean that other Spanish offices will do it this way, just ask at the relevant office.

Spanish residency tax form

All right, let’s keep moving forward. Beside the list of basic requirements, let’s dive into some specific cases:


– Financial Means. It is just a bank statement where your pension is reflected.

Some police stations will request the last twelve months… others just a quarterly statement.

In this area they are requiring that the receiving bank be Spanish.

Also, certain police stations will request the official current annual pension certificate, in which should be stated how much money you get on your state pension.

I know two police stations where there’s a minimum amount of money you need to be receiving. (what we call in Spain ‘miminum wage’, which is €655.20 in 2016).

And there is one police station in this are where you have to be living in Spain for at least three months before applying for the residency.

You will probably need your state/private pension certificate too.

Solution: hey, you know it… ask first!

– Health Coverage: Forms E121, S1 or E106 (whichever your country of origin works with for pensioners).

People on private pensions may have to take private insurance.

One way or another, these forms must state that you have health coverage in Spain.

Beforehand, you should find out if your local National Police will accept these forms in your native language. I have done it hundreds of times in English and several times in German. However, in the past I have heard of stations in other regions requesting official translations of the original forms.

Solution: fill the blank… starts with “ask” and ends with “first”.


This applies to those legally working in Spain. You will need:

– Working records (“Vida laboral” in Spanish). Original + one photocopy. This is a document that shows whether you are employed in Spain, by whom, and for how long. You can request it here.

Same here regarding minimun wage and how many months you should be living here before you can apply for the Spanish residency, just find out at the revelant police station.


As in last section, you must be legally self-employed in Spain to request the Spanish residency and will have to bring generally:

  • Working records (Vida Laboral). Original + one photocopy.
  • Proof of self-employment registration – The documents they will give you at the Spanish taxation office (Agencia Tributaria) and Social Security office.
  • Financial means (same as in the “pensioners” section before).


Being unemployed in a different country will not be accepted to obtain the Spanish residency.

Remember, you have to be legally unemployed in Spain. These are the requirements:

  • Either sworn statement with bank certificate or financial means.
  • Private medical insurance policy. Original + one photocopy.


In this situation, you may be able to apply even though you are not employed, self-employed, a pensioner or unemployed.

Talk to the National Police in your area as requirements may vary from one place to another.



  • Becoming a resident in Spain may cause changes to your fiscal status. Find out through a professional adviser.
  • Obtaining the Spanish residency does not mean that you lose your original citizenship.
  • As with the NIE number, the Spanish residency is not a valid identification document, unless it’s the version with the photo. Either way, take your passport with you for official procedures… just in case.
  • If you are a pensioner, and have no private medical insurance, you will need to become a resident to have access to the National Health Service in Spain.
  • You can’t exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without being a resident.
  • If you are married to an EU citizen who has Spanish residency even though you are not from the European Union yourself, you can still apply for the Spanish residency.
  • Those from a non-EU country will probably have to renew their residency periodically until they get a permanent one.



If yes…

You are on the right Website :-)

Click here please to read how I can help you out




If we’ve ever met in person, I’m sure you’ve heard me saying something like: “if you are thinking of staying in Spain for a long time, I recommend that you get things as legally straight as possible”.

Obtaining the Spanish residency is, in my opinion, beneficial when you plan on living in Spain for a long period of time.

As a matter of fact, to me, it is one of those things that give you quite a lot in return by just giving a little bit.

In other words: you become a resident and you get immediate access to those things I have stated above. A simple formula.


Credit image: R. Reynolds


Opt In Image
5 Top Tips You Must Know Before You Move to Spain





  1. Jess says

    HI David,

    Like your new site, look very professional. Keep up the good work, it is obvious you are going from strength to strength.
    Regards Jess

    • David Ruiz says

      Hello Jess!

      Many thanks 😉

      One thing is real: I’m not getting bored with so much work online!

      Best wishes,


  2. Brian says

    Just found your website looking for Spanish residency advice for a neighbour. Very helpful and useful. Just one question. My residency card is not a card, but an A4 sheet of paper – much moaning on expat websites about this. Has it now gone back to being an actual card, do you know? This would be handier if it could be changed.



    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Brian,

      Your A4 is as valid as the new small green card (with no photo). Several years ago they introduced the card format but not with the intention of making the A4 invalid whatsoever.

      In theory, there should not be any problems changing your A4 for a card… at least you can do it in this area if you don’t want the A4 anymore.

      All the best,


  3. Pete says

    “There are some common activities / procedures you can carry out with the Spanish Residency and NIE number:

    Buy / sell a car
    Buy / sell properties”

    When I bought my house in Spain I didn’t need residency and when I bought a car here 3 years ago I didn’t, either. Just an NIE.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Pete,

      Yeah, it still works the same way. I should have said: …with the Spanish Residency or NIE number.


      Thanks Pete :-)

  4. Stephen says

    I have a NIE and Social Security number, but didn’t previously apply for residency as I was working for a UK company online / in the UK, and travelling back and forth between the two countries frequently. I didn’t do the full residency originally as it makes car ownership/driving licences etc complicated – so much for free movement of people!

    I have just been offered a job contract in Spain, but my employer says my NIE certificate is out of date as it was issued in Nov 2014. I heard that the certificate only lasted for 3 months, but the number stayed the same for life, however when I went to get a duplicado from the Comisaria they said I don’t need one. I said my employer says I do, the Police said no. I’m now stuck not being able to get a valid certificate or register the contract as both sides think they’re right.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Stephen,

      In this area, the police always re-issues the NIE number when people apply for it properly. And it’s true that the number is forever, it’s just the certificate what expires after three months.

      I hope you can get your NIE copy soon.

      All the best,


      • Lin says

        I’ve just got my NIE but was told I have to apply online for the residency / card as the paper form is what only last 3 months. I’m trying to find the relevant website to do this do you know where I can look?

        • David Ruiz says

          Hi Lin,

          I don’t know any way to apply online for the residency. I’ve heard that there is a new online system coming soon to make appointments at the relevant office, but not sure yet what URL it is.

          All the best

  5. Jessi says

    Hey, so I’ve been in Spain since last June on a one year youth mobility VISA. I left the EU in December for vacation and came back February to start an official job contract. Before I wasn’t working. So with my NIE I applied in February for a social security number and got my health card. Suddenly it came to my attention that my expat friends all have residency cards also… That I should have applied for when I arrived last June. BUT when I asked my Spanish embassy about all of this last year, they told me there was nothing more I needed to do after arriving into Spain. So far I’ve left and come back countless times and tomorrow I plan to open a bank account.
    BUT in June I plan to go to Africa and then back to Spain to travel around Europe for my 3 tourist months after the visa. I think I need some sort of stamp for that though …is this all going to be a problem because I don’t have a residence card!? Can I still obtain one without getting in trouble? I worry I won’t be able to get one .. Or will I have a problem doing taxes without residence !?
    I’m panicking a bit! Any advice is helpful. I live in extremadura.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Jessi,

      I’m very sorry, I’m only experienced in Spanish residencies for Europeans. In your case, I would double check at the US embassy, or maybe try to find a professional adviser experienced in Spanish visas (and residencies) for US citizens.

      I hope this helps :-)

      All the best

  6. Liz Morgan says

    Hi David I want to return to the uk to live. I have Spanish residential do I have to cancel this and if so how do I do this.
    Liz Morgan

  7. says

    My wife is from outside the EU, once she obtains residency will she be able to leave and enter Spain without any other visas.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I have not heard of any problems in similar cases, but there could be special conditions depending on the non-EU country. Ask the police or civil servants when you apply for your wife’s residency. They should to let you know in detail.

      Best wishes

  8. chrisyndi says

    Good day

    I hope you are you?
    I am from south africa,i would like to asked you something maybe you can help me.For this moment in stay in stay i got married to one spanish citizen,but the problem is i need apply for a residence Card for stay here with him Where can i go or what documents do i need for fixed this..

    I look forward for your answer.
    Thank you so much.
    HAve a nice day

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Just go to your nearest national police office which deals with non-EU procedures. They will let you know all the paperwork you’ll need. Sorry I can’t help much here, I’m only experienced on EU residencies.

      All the best

  9. Lee says


    Is the nie number proof of residency I’m a British citizen have a job offer in Spain but want to bring my wife who is a non eu national. She can apply for a spouse visa once I’m resident in Spain but I was hoping she she join me quickly.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Lee,

      If you mean the A4 white sheet NIE number, sorry, that’s not proof of residency. I don’t think you’ll be able to process your wife’s visa without having Spanish residency for you first (green A4 sheet or green credit card size, both of them for EU citizens), but I’d ask at your nearest Spanish National Police division dealing with this special cases.

      I hope this helps.

  10. norman alexander says

    Hi David

    We have lost our foreign registration cards. Are they easy to replace

    Many Thanks

  11. Allen says

    hi David, i am from England and planning to live in Ibiza in 2018 but now that the UK will be out of the EU would i still be able to get residency.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Allen,

      I will update this article as soon as I know how Spain and Britain will work it out. If you wish, you can register on my list, as I’ll keep all my subscribers informed.


  12. Terry says

    Hi David

    I am a UK citizen resident in UK, but I want to take EU resiency soon in case i loose the rights later.
    What is the minimum amount of funds a single man has to show to be self sufficent for a residency?

      • David Ruiz says

        Where at?

        In this area, only one office allows savings: minimum wage (€655) x 12 months = 7860 Euros

          • David Ruiz says

            Orihuela, but last time I went it was requiered that amount for at least 3 months in a Spanish bank account. There might be other new requirements next time I go. So these words I’m writing right now will probably expire soon. That’s why it’s so important to ask first 😉

  13. Sameer says

    Dear David,
    Nice article .
    Was looking for one of this kind.
    I am from India and we come to Spain every year to train son in the sport of Tennis.
    We have been visiting since last 4 years.
    In view of taking the sport as a career we are planning to move to Spain.
    Will the procedure for us be same as to apply for the card through the Local Police station ,where we stay .


  14. AL says

    Hi can I just ask … Is the tarjeta familiar comunitario a photo card like non EU residentes get or a Green paper like comunitarios get ? Thanks .

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Al,

      I’m not 100% sure, but my guess is that if the family member is from a non-EU country, he/she will get the photo card. Otherwise, if the relative is from the EU, he/she should get the EU green card size residency certificate (no photo).

      I hope this helps :-)

      • AL says

        Thanks for the reply and thanks for the info you have provided here . It is very possible that I will have to apply for that (tarjeta familiar) once the Brexit negotians are done . I am a registered pareja de hecho with a Spanish citizen & we have a daughter with Spanish nationality . My A4 certificate says “con caractar permanente” (lived here since 2008) .. I don’t know if that will count for anything post Brexit .. One immigration lawyer reckons that we will be given the equivelent permits in régimen general , So a permanent Brit will be become tarjeta de larga duración in the none EU regimen .. Or those with family tarjeta familiar comunitaria . I guess its all supposition at the moment but it seems likely we will all fall under Spanish law so this is the avenue I am currently looking into .. One thing that I am pretty concerned about is our economic situation .. I work but only 30 hours a week , my partner is out of work and has no benefit entitlements .. We have savings, but its not clear how much is needed or even if Asturias accepts savings as medios económicos.. but I am pretty sure we would fail the medios económicos part .. Thanks again :-)

        • David Ruiz says

          You’re welcome AL, thanks for letting us know your personal situation. Best way to proceed is always asking first at the relevant office before you start the procedure. I’m very sorry, I had to remove the link at the bottom because I have a “no link policy” with other businesses unless they contact me directly. However, if you know Vicente, let him please know I’ll be glad to speak with him about a possible collaboration. I hope you understand :-)

  15. Jon McKenna says

    Hi David,

    Firstly thanks for your very interesting web site full of valuable information !

    Now for my story ! I am a dual British / South African citizen, currently resident in Johannesburg, S. Africa. For eight years now I am the owner of an apartment in La Quinta, Costa del Sol. I have a Spanish NIE number, pay AEAT Impuesto, IBI etc etc… I do not yet have a tarjeta de residencia as I have never thought this to be necessary, as I rent out our apartment ( already registered with Junta Andalucia). ie only spend about one month year in Spain,

    You mentioned on your web site that post Brexit, the rules for UK citizens obtaining Spanish residency will change. So my questions :

    1. Have these changes been implemented yet ? If so what is going to change while Britain is still in the EU for at least another 2 years.

    2. Do you think it would be in my best interests to take out full Spanish residency to protect my interests in Spain ( post Brexit) ?

    3. Do you think that it may be better ( from now on) to use my South African citizenship in my dealings with the Spanish authorities, bearing in mind the complexities that are now bound to arise in negotiations between Britain and Spain ?

    is life not complicated enough !!

    Jon McKenna

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Jon,

      Thanks for asking those interesting questions. Here we go :-)

      1. No changes officially published yet. This means that UK citizens will go through the EU system until a solid decision is made (I’m sure it’ll be published on national newspapers. I’ll also post it on this article, as well as what the Spanish police requirements are).

      2. Another difficult question to answer, as nobody knows how people interests’ in Spain will be affected by the referendum. I want to believe there will be some bilateral agreements to reduce (or even eliminate) the impact of the exit. I hope so, but it’s just a thought, my personal opinion.

      3. I don’t know if things would be easier using your South African citizenship. Still too early to know. If the bilateral agreements happen with little impact for UK citizens, then I believe it’d be harder using the South African citizenship.

      I hope this helps!


  16. Curious George says

    Hi David!

    Thanks for a detailed article! It has been very helpful!

    I have a hypothetical question that is relating to Spanish residency and citizenship, I will be marrying my fiancé next year, (who is a Spanish citizen, while I am a non-EU national.) I would like to apply for Spanish citizenship after “living/having my residency in Spain” for one year. Yet, I am thinking of going to graduate school in other Schengen countries.

    So here comes the hypothetical question, =]

    My question is, how do I prove that I have been living in Spain, (after getting my residency card as a spouse of a Spanish national,) when I am not actively living in Spain? Is it possible? How? Maybe by renting a flat under my name? Can I go to school within the Schengen area without actually staying in Spain while using that period of time as my residency requirement for Spanish citizenship?

    P.S. I am not saying that I am going to do it. I am just very curious on how the Spanish government proves the one year of residency requirement for Spanish citizenship.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there George,

      Thanks for sharing with us your hypothetical question :-)

      I’m not really familiar with the non-EU rules, to be honest, but just EU. Sorry about that.

      In the past, I have heard of some cases where they were going to be doing some activities in other EU countries while holding Spanish residency, but can’t say exactly how it works.

      This is a question I would ask at the office where you will process your Spanish residency, as they will be familiar with hundreds of different situations for non-EU citizens. Just ask at that office, nowhere else but in that particular office, or chances are you’ll get confused with misleading info.

      I hope this helps!

  17. Niesa says

    I’m headed to the police office to get the residencia process done (hopefully!)

    Think I have all the paperwork required, but was looking for confirmation that the UK form (S1) is sufficient proof of health coverage…

    It quite clearly states my entitlement to the same medical coverage in Spain as a Spanish citizen, so not sure what else could possibly be required. However, now having had a sampling of Spanish bureaucracy one never knows… I haven’t ever been advised that I’d need any additional coverage?

    Am I good to go?

    Many thanks…

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Niesa,

      The S1 form should be enough. I can’t think what else they should ask for…

      However, if that’s the case, the police will let you know :-)

      Best wishes

  18. Paula Barr says

    Hello David,
    We are going to start the process of recidency of my husband first. We are in Pinoso and the place for us to apply for it I’ll be Alicante. My husband is Irish and wanted to apply as self employed abroad as his business is in Britain. Wgich route do you think is best? Working outside Spain or autónomo? PS: any advice on dealing with Alicante ?

  19. Shanaz says

    Hi I have a property I purchased in Spain and so have an NIE this a lifelong residency or do I have to apply again if I decide to live in the property..right now it’s being rented out..

    Secondly my husband is a Pakistani national how do I get residency for him and what’s docs are required and how long dies it take?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Have you got the green A4 sheet or the white A4 sheet?

      Regarding your husband, I would go in person to the office you’re going to apply for the residency to find out. The final asnswer is always at the relevant office.

      I hope this helps.

  20. Marija says


    I am EU citizen (Bulgarian) and i have job offer in Spain. I will start with 1 year work contract and the contract will start from 1st November. My husband who is NON EU citizen want to come to live with me in Spain. I want to ask for how long I will get my residence if my contract start from 1st November and does my husband can also take residence in short time (within three months) starting from 1st November. And what documents he should provide to apply for the residence.

    Thank you in advance

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Marija,

      As a EU citizen, your residency will not expire. However, regarding your husband, ask at the police office when you apply for your residency. Non-EU citizens usually have a different procedure.

      I hope this helps.

  21. Marthe says


    I got issued the EU/EEA green card in April, how long is it valid for? I’ve stayed outside of Spain for 3 months, and wonder if it is still valid when I fly back after 1 1/2 month…


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Marthe,

      According to a conversation I recently had with the Spanish National Police in my area, you should not stay outside Spain for more than six months within one year. I was not able to find it on the National Police website, where here it is in case you’d like to have a look:

      I hope this helps.

  22. Aly says

    Hello David
    I also have a question regarding long term residency of EU. I am non-EU national. I have been living in Spain for about 5 years for studying and later with my Spanish partner.
    I am thinking of applying for permanent residence of EU.
    My first question is, suppose if I get this,
    1) would I be able to work in UK or other EU countries.
    2) I have seen in some websites saying that even with this card, I cannot live outside Spain or EU for more than 6 months, and if so residency would be cancelled. Is this true or are there these kind of restrictions.

    Thank you

  23. Arash says

    Hi David,
    Thanks. Very helpful article.

    HISTORY: I have been studying as PhD student since 2012. At the same time I have been working as teacher assistant and researcher. The type of NIE that I have is RENOVADA INVESTIGADOR (LEY 14/20/2013) AMBITO NACIONAL, AUTORIZA A TRABAJAR.
    SITUATION: I have finished my PhD a few days ago and my NIE will be expired in Sep 30. Today I got a new contract from university to work here as a researcher but they told me you might need to change the type of your NIE. Therefore I need to send my contract to receive the resolution and with that I can get appointment for finger print.
    THE PROBLEM is my appointment for submitting documents to get resolution will be a few days after my NIE expiration day. I know by the fact we have 3 months after expiration to renew the NIE but would it be applied to my case as well?

  24. Edward says

    Hey David,

    Respect to you for taking the time to reply to everyone. I just booked an appointment in Valencia to obtain residency status. I’m a UK national and I have been living here for a year and acquired a NIE in Alicante. Are you absolutely certain that the Ex-18 for is the one that is required? When I booked my appointment online it suggested that I should complete the Ex-15 though I think I accidentally selected an appointment for a ‘certificate of residency’. Also this sounds like it could be the correct form ‘Modelo EX17 Documento en formato PDF – Solicitud de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).’

    Thanks for any help you can offer.


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Richard,

      If you have a look to the top portion of both EX15 and EX18, there is a rectangle which contains the description for each form (EX15 = NIE, EX18 = Residencia ciudadano de la UE). However, I’ve never been to the Valencia office, and I don’t know if they use the EX15 for residency, which I doubt, but who knows.

      Anyway, this is why I remind numerous times on my article to ask first at the relevant office, mainly to avoid taking the wrong requirements and go for nothing :-)

      I hope this helps.

  25. Alessandra Laponzina says

    Hi David,
    We are planning to live permanently in Spain. We are EU citizens. I understand we have to apply for the Spanish residency after 3 months of staying there, but I have a question income-related because our idea is to live from the rent we get from our own Spanish properties. So with this in mind, under what circumstances can we request the Spanish residency (pensioners, self-employed, employed or unemployed)? Can you please clarify? Many thanks.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Alessandra,

      In your case it would not be neither one (Point 5: neither of the above), which I would clarify by going in person to the nearest “oficina de extranjería”, as I mentioned on the article :-)

      Best wishes.

  26. says

    Hi David,

    Thanks for answering everyone’s questions here. Very nice of you. My husband is an EU passport holder and will be applying for his NIE in January. Do you have any idea if with that NIE he would be able to incorporate a Spanish company (a Sociedad Limetada) and be “Administrador” (Director) of the company? Or would he have to wait another 3 months for his residency card so that he can pay social security and then become the Director?


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Priscilla,

      Thank you so much for the feedback, means a lot to me :-)

      Good question. I would say you can legally set up the company and be defined as “administrador” with the NIE number only, as a EU citizen, without having Spanish residency, but I’m not completely sure about it.

      Anyway, I would ask at any “asesor” office, they’ll let you know for free, as it’s a straight forward question.

      I hope this help!

  27. Jim Sowter says

    Hi David,

    First of all I must say that I have found your site to be one of the clearest and honest sites, outlining what to do concerning registering in Spain.

    I do have a couple of questions though, that I haven’t managed to get answered elsewhere, so I hope you can help.

    I am a U.K. national, and I am married to a Spanish national. We were married while living in the U.K. We have a son together, who also has a UK passport. We have both just arrived to live in Spain (although I will be going back to the UK until the end of the year) and have been looking at what I need to register.

    The NIE part looks straight forward enough, and we have all the documentation ready, and just have to book an appointment in Tarragona through their website.

    However, as we are married do I still have to apply for resedencia?

    Some sites say that as an EU citizen both myself and my son can live with my wife as her dependents. However, at this time (as my wife has also just returned) she is out of work and looking for a job. Would this seriously affect applying for resedencia? Is it better to wait for her to find work first, to show that we are ‘not a burden on the state?’

    Finally, as we were married in the U.K. and our son was born in the U.K., do we need to have both the marriage certificate translated and legalised, along with our son’s birth certificate? Plus, does this need to be done before I can apply for resedencia?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Jim,

      Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it :-)

      Regarding your questions, I’m not totally sure, as I’ve never had a similar case. My guess is that, as long as you cover the “financial means” and “health coverage” requirements, either through your job or your wife’s (here you would need the marriage certificate too), you should not have any problems to become a resident, nor your son.

      But… the best way to find out is going in person to your corresponding office. My recommendation is that you do not translate anything in the official format until you are 100% sure that you need to do so, just to avoid spending money for nothing. Some stations will accept them in English, others won’t.

      I hope this helps.

      Best wishes!

  28. Promod painuly says

    Hello friend
    I have a valid Spanish NIE until 29.11.17 but have been outside Spain for 2 years now. I need to travel to Spain again so could I go there on my NIE or I need a new visa?. My country is India.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Well, I’m not sure. I would find out at the embassy. Sorry I’m not helpful.

      Best wishes

  29. Gary Saffron says

    My wife and I are early retirees, both 59, and we would need to access the health system in Spain as residents . Given that we have no income and will be able to live comfortably on our savings , until we receive UK pensions , how do we access health care in Spain?

    Would it be possible to register as Autonomo and pay into the system that way ? what would be the situation re tax as we would not be trading?
    Thanks in advance

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Gary,

      Those questions don’t have a standard answer, as the requirements will likely be different from one office to another all over Spain. My recommendtion is to go in person and find out at the relevant office.

      I hope this helps.

  30. Lynda says

    Hi I am a retired British national who has mainly resided in Benidorm for the last 7 years, i have had a NIE no on a white paper all of this time. I have recently been told that I should have a residencia green card instead and I shouldnt have to provide any income or medical ins. details to transfer. I should just go and complete form ex18. Is this correct?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Lynda,

      I really doubt you’ll be able to get your residency with only the EX18 form, but I don’t know how they do things in Benidorm, as I’ve never done a residendcy there. Just give it a try, nothing to lose :-)

      Best wishes

  31. Bethany says

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your article, and for answering everyone’s questions!

    I am an British citizen, and got my Spanish residency card (the small green one) in 2014.
    Unfortunately I wasn’t aware that I needed to cancel my Spanish residency when I moved back to Australia in 2015.

    I’m planning to go back to Spain in September. I’m not sure how to fix the situation?

    Thanks for your help!


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Bethany,

      Thanks for the feedback :-)

      In theory, if you don’t cancel your residency, the police will do it after 6 months, but I would make sure anyway. What I would do in your case is going to your nearest foreigners office next time you’re around and would query there.

      I hope this helps!

  32. says

    Hi David,

    Wow what a nice read.. great article..

    As I am not from EU countries, will the resident card/permit allows me to visit all European countries or only Schengen Areas?


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Ed,

      Good question… I’m not sure! I’ll try to clarify it next time a do a non-EU residency and will put it in the article :-)

      Best wishes

  33. joseph savitz says

    Do you provide residency services or know of anyone who does for US citizens in the Valencia area.
    Thank you.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Joseph,

      Sorry, Valencia is out of my coverage area and don’t know anybody there :-(

      Best wishes

  34. John says

    Hi there.

    Hoping you can assist. I am British and I work in the UK for a UK company. I work four days in the UK and then go back to Spain for four days. I will be in excess of 90 days soon. Can I apply for Residence even though I work in another country and pay tax in another country?

    Many Thanks

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there John,

      Yes, you can apply for the residency and keep working in the UK four days a week. Your relevant foreigners’ office should give you all the specific requirements you’d need to provide them.

      I hope this helps :-)

  35. steve clarke says

    Hi David

    Interesting website. We have residencia here in Almeria and our friends who have moved here a year ago are going to do the same. They have been told that they will need all P60s translated officially but since all pensions are paid directly to a Spanish bank account for the last year surely a printout of the bank statement and/or some sort of certificate or letter from the bank would suffice to prove income.
    They will have to go to the Oficina de Extranjeros in Almeria and from experience it depends on which desk you get sent to as to how easy it is.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Steve,

      Thanks a lot for sharing with me (and all my readers) how it works in Almeria. It’s always very important to do things the way the relevant office requires, so a preliminary visit is usually a great idea.

      Best wishes :-)

  36. Manoj says

    I am origin from India & I am here since June 2016.
    Want to obtain resident permit, is it possible for me.
    If yes what documents required& how long time it take?


  37. John says

    Hi, here’s a question I’ve not seen thus far…
    My partner and I both have residency but are soon moving to another part of Spain (Andalucia to Galicia). Do we have to get new residency cards and do the whole thing again. I assume the process is national, but the quirks seem to be very local!
    My thanks in advance,

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Correct, it’s a national process but sometimes having different interpretations depending on the office :-)

      Here is the thing. If you move to Andalucia, your card will keep saying you live in Galicia, which is not longer that way. I would change the address, even if I moved a few blocks down the road, as it’s legal documentation.

      I hope this helps.

  38. RNS says

    Hi, I am an EU citizen who has Spanish residency and my wife is not from the European Union. Can i apply for the Spanish residency for her at the Spanish embassy? Many thank, RNS

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I’m not really sure if you’ll be able to apply for the residency at the embassy. I know you can get your NIE number through the embassy, but I’m not 100% about the residency. Best way to find out: at the embassy :-)

      I hope this helps.

  39. emsfeld says


    referring to an older post where you advised to deregister from the foreigner police office when leaving Spain for good – just wondering what the problem is with *not* deregistering? What kind of problems could that cause down the road? Also, when deregistering are you surrendering your tax file number as well?


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      To be honest, I haven’t heard of any problems so far, but this does not mean anything. Deregistering, in my opinion, is the way to do things properly. It’s just a single process. Not a big deal. And, yes, you have to surrender the residency card.

      I hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *