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
WHAT IS A SPANISH RESIDENCY?
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).
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WHERE DO I GET THE SPANISH RESIDENCY?
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).
WHAT CAN I USE IT FOR?
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).
ASK FIRST… HAVE I SAID THIS BEFORE?
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)
BASIC REQUIREMENTS ON SPANISH RESIDENCY
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:
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.
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”.
2. EMPLOYEES (IN SPAIN)
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.
3. SELF-EMPLOYED PEOPLE (IN SPAIN)
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).
4. UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE (IN SPAIN)
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.
5. NEITHER OF THE ABOVE
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.
MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BECOME A RESIDENT IN SPAIN
- 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.
ARE YOU AN EU OR BRITISH PENSIONER ARE MOVING TO SPAIN?
You are on the right Website
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