Living in Spain: The Spanish Triumvirate

spanish paperwork
  • Are you living in Spain?
  • Or perhaps you are thinking about moving to Spain?
  • Do you know the “Spanish Triumvirate”?

In ancient Roma, a “triumvirate” was a form of committee composed of three people.

The Free Dictionary states that:

The First Triumvirate was formed in 60 bc by “Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey”.

The Second Triumvirate was established in 43 bc by “Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian”.

Fortunately, I’m not going to go any further with boring dates and weird names.

Keep reading please!



If you look in the Cambridge Dictionary it describes “triumvirate” as:

A group of three people who are in control of an activity or organization

The Spanish Triumvirate is a concept I have made up, which I define as:

A group of three essential documents that will control three important areas of your life in Spain

I know, it sounds like the George Orwell’s 1984: “Big Brother controlling everything”, doesn’t?

living in Spain(It could be real, but life goes on)

Well, don’t get scared… it’s not that bad. Anyhow, you’ll need the documents!



All right, let’s get serious :-). No need to extend the mystery for any longer.

Here’s my Spanish Triumvirate: (expected publication date next to the name):


Foreigners’ Documentation


    Spanish Residency

    – Visas

Spanish Health Card

spnanish-government(Spanish Government official logo)

The three areas that the Spanish Triumvirate will control are:



Health care

I will speak in depth of each of them in the following weeks, as this is the first article of a series of six articles.



I have written these articles thinking on three possible sets of readers (European Union citizens or non):

Residents – people who live in Spain all year long or for a big part of it. These articles will refresh what they know already or will give them more knowledge about the topics I will cover.

Non-residents – by this I mean those who have properties (or not) in Spain but don’t live here permanently. It’ll definitely be a good guide in case they decide to move to Spain.

Newcomers – those thinking of moving to Spain with little or no knowledge of the basic legal documents they will need once they are here. Newcomers have not visited Spain yet as a tourist, or perhaps have been here a few times.

ciceron-spanish-paperwork(“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind” – Cicero)



Whether you have already lived already in Spain or not, this set of articles will give you an insight of the three procedures (covered in 5 articles).

Anyway, I consider them “essential procedures” to reside legally in Spain and be covered by the health system (or even work or do business).

The following list is a little advance on what I’ll be talking about:

PadronIt s an official certificate that states the address and city where you live in Spain.

NIE numberIt is a fiscal number to carry out legal activities (purchase properties, pay tax, get employed, register a business, etc).

Spanish ResidencyIt is a card stating your name, surname, address, nationality, as well as a NIE number. You must apply for it if you are going to live in Spain for more than 3 months (for both European citizens and Non Europeans. This article will give you some good background).

Spanish VisasIt is a legal permission to stay in Spain for a determined amount of time (non-EU citizens). There are three types detailed on the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website.

Spanish Health CardIt is a card used to access health care services at Spanish medical centres and hospitals.



Unless we live on the mountains away from cities, towns, or any other form of concentration of human beings, our lives will always be ruled by “paperwork”, one way or another.

Life in Spain is not different in that sense.

Yeah, it can be a bit annoying when it comes to collecting this and that for whatever procedure in Spain (including how long it will take to have the final document).

But I can tell you that I really doubt there’s a single country on earth where you get everything at no time or economical cost.

I know that certain processes are faster in other countries than Spain; as in Spain there are things that cannot be found / done in those countries.

There is no perfect country and there will never be a perfect country.

I see it as “how good / bad things are in general”, rather than “how long it takes”.


Credit Image: Urban Snaps, sd, Wikimedia


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