The Definitive Guide to Spanish Residency Permit, Visa Rules and Application Form

Spanish residency card

Are you thinking about applying for Spanish residency? Stay around, I’m going to unveil the mystery in my own words 😉

Before you start reading the article…

Are you from the United Kingdom? Please keep reading, I have got a full section here about moving to Spain from the UK, visas and Brexit.

Regarding Spanish residency for non-European Union citizens, please click on the options below:

Or perhaps you would like to know more about:

The 2022 definitive Spain visa guide and types of Spanish visas for non-European Union citizens

Spanish residency for non-European Union citizens married/family members of European Union citizens

Are you ready to become a citizen of Spain? Please read my article Spanish citizenship


Before we start… Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:


NOTE: Article updated on 26 January 2023

What is the Spanish residency permit?

It is the most important document you should plan if you are thinking about moving to Spain for more than three months.

Your Spanish residency card can be:

  • Short term
  • Long term
  • Permanent

There are two different versions:

  1. European Union citizens – it is a green card with your personal details and no photo.
  2. Non-European Union citizens – it is a blue / pink card with your personal details as well as a passport photo on it.

The procedure to apply for Spanish residency varies between European Union and non-European Union citizens.

Countries within the European Economic Area apply through the same procedure.

As a reminder, the European Economic Area are:

  1. Member states of the European Union
  2. The three countries of the European Free Trade Association: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (excluding Switzerland).

However, Switzerland will apply for residency in the same way as any other European Economic Area member state.

In short, no matter where you are from, if you are thinking about retiring in Spain, you will need your residence card in Spain.


Where do you get the Spanish residency card?

There are three possibilities if you are thinking about applying for residency:

  • Spanish National Police stations with foreign affairs division
  • Immigration offices with foreign affairs division
  • A branch of the previous offices

It is not possible to apply for Spanish residency using power of attorney. You must be present the day of the appointment.

Furthermore, the residency application cannot be done at the Spanish Consulate/embassy, unlike the NIE number application.

You will need to apply in the province where you live, which is shown on the padron certificate.

Remember, the padron is generally produced at the town hall. I will put a link at the end of this article to learn more about the padron certificate :-)


What can I use the Spanish residency for?

There are some common activities/procedures you can carry out on residency:

  • Register at the Spanish social security to have healthcare
  • Pay tax
  • Get employed
  • Register a business
  • Buy / sell a car
  • Buy / sell property
  • Other legal economic activities

In addition, some of the Spanish residency 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 Spanish social security (you can get it on an NIE if you’re employed in Spain though).
  • Permanent residency.
  • Get on the padron at your town hall (permanent status)
  • A possible tax reduction on properties when you sell / buy (get in touch with an legal adviser 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 legal adviser for more information).


Moving to Spain from the UK

If you are not from the United Kingdom, please skip this section.

If you are in the first steps of the big move, you can start with this huge guide:

Moving to Spain from UK

Or if you would like to read about the different visas available:

The 2022 definitive Spain visa guide and types of Spanish visas for non-European Union citizens

About Brexit

Here are other articles I wrote about Brexit over the last several years:

Warning: About Brexit and the new Spanish residency for British citizens 

About analysis paralysis and moving to Spain after Brexit in 2021

Spanish residency after Brexit: The aftermath

Attention: not having permanent Spanish residency card could make a difference

On Spanish residency, Brexit and Parachuting

Spanish residency card: your final chance to obtain it


The three variables to successfully obtain your Spanish residency

In the following sections I’m going to give you some of the basic requirements required to obtain your residency card.


If you don’t know how to get residency in Spain, these are the three variables you must keep into consideration before you go ahead:

  1. Your group (pensioners, workers, business, self-employed, own resources)
  2. The requirements for your group (different paperwork required depending on the group)
  3. The location where you will apply (17 Spanish regions + Ceuta and Melilla, 50 provinces, lots of cities and towns within)

Trust me, there isn’t one way to apply for residency. I have clients all over Spain. I see the three variables all the time.

These are the usual scenarios you will come across on the Internet:

  • “Free advisers” on Facebook giving you 574 different answers
  • Forums full of confusing advice (and fights amongst the users)
  • Incomplete information on the official websites of your country of origin

But nobody mentions anything about three variables that will change your application completely.

My recommendation?

Stop reading conflicting and misleading information on the Internet and plan your Spanish residency using my three variables.

If you would like me to assist you, there is a contact form at the end of the article, but please keep reading. I would like you to find out the exact group you belong in the next section :-)

lign: center;”>(But always keep in mind “the three variables”)


How to apply for Spanish residence in Spain

Remember, if you are from a non-European Union country and are not married to a European Union citizen, you will need a visa before you get the Spanish residency card (one of the most common visas is the Spanish non-lucrative visa).

To obtain your residency card, you will need to get on the padron.

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

These are the most commons scenarios:


– Financial Means

Every police station is different.

It is impossible to confirm how it will be because there are many police stations all over Spain.

The formula might be:

Spanish bank account and/or foreign bank accounts and/or savings and/or regular income.

Your relevant police station will confirm the exact formula.

– Healthcare

Public insurance if you are on a state pension.

People on private pensions may have to take private insurance.

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

After you obtain your Spanish residency card, you can register at the Spanish social security to finally have a Spanish health card.


This applies to those legally working in Spain. You will need a Spanish working records.

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


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

  • Working records
  • Proof of self-employment registration
  • Financial means (same as in the “pensioners” section before).


Being unemployed in a different country will not be enough to obtain the residency card.

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.


More information on how to become a resident in Spain

  • The way to proof your address for the Spanish residency procedure is done through the padron certificate.
  • Becoming a resident in Spain may cause changes to your fiscal status. Find out through a professional fiscal adviser.
  • Obtaining the Spanish residence permit does not mean that you lose your original citizenship.
  • Your Spanish permanent residency will become permanent after five years, but it’s not automatic; you will have to re-apply for it.
  • 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 your European Union residency card gets lost or stolen, you will have to re-apply for it.
  • If you are a pensioner, and have no private medical insurance, you will need to become a resident to register at the Spanish social security, the previous step to having a Spanish health card.
  • You can’t exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without being a resident.
  • As mentioned earlier, nobody can apply for your residencia on your behalf using power of attorney. There are many other procedures where you can use power of attorney, such as resident tax, non-resident tax, Spanish wills, etc.
  • If you are from a non-European Union country and are married to an European Union citizen, you can apply for Spanish residency without going through a long-term visa.
  • Those from a non-European Union country will  have to renew their residency periodically until they get a permanent residency Spain.
  • Remember, you must apply for residency if you are spending more than three months in Spain.


Some other interesting articles about Spanish residency

Here we go!

Stop reading nonsense on the Internet: NIE number vs Spanish residency

Spanish residency rules: the one thing nobody will tell you

Spanish residency card renewal: Band news

Spanish residency requirements: The 3 key elements


Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:


Coverage areas

Alicante Province

Costa Blanca: These are my usual in-person coverage areas in Costa Blanca Spain,  Altea,  Calpe, Orihuela Costa,  Benissa, Guadalest,  GuardamarJavea, MorairaAlicante, La Marina, Denia, Villajoyosa, Pilar de la Horadada, Benidorm, El Campello, Santa Pola, and, of course, Torrevieja; as well as other towns near Alicante.

Inland Alicante province: OrihuelaElche, Pinoso, Almoradi, Alcoy, Orba, Rojales, Biar, Crevillente, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas, Benijofar, Algorfa.

Murcia Province

Costa Cálida: including Costa Calida Spain: San Pedro del PinatarLos Alcazares, Santiago de la  Rivera, Mar Menor , San Javier, MazarronAguilas.

Cities and towns in Murcia province: 

CartagenaYecla, Sucina, Totana, Alhama, Molina de Segura, Fortuna, Murcia city.

Other areas in Spain

I have collaborators almost everywhere all over Spain, so no worries, I can assist you anywhere you are in Spain, in cities such as: Zaragoza, Vitoria, Bilbao, Albacete, Almería, Logroño, Avila, Badajoz, Caceres, Majorca, Zamora, Barcelona, Burgos, Oviedo, Cadiz, Santander, Castellon, Pontevedra, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Cuenca, Gerona, Granada, Guadalajara, San Sebastian, Huelva, Huesca, Jaen, Navarra, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gijon, Leon, Lleida, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Orense, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Sevilla, Soria, Tarragona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Teruel, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid.

Credit image: R. Reynolds



  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,


      • amna says

        Hello david. i have a second red card and i have permission to work. itsfinishing in may. i am no Eu. from asia. i waiit they give renewl my card. if i get job what r my chances to stay legal in spain. Some peole get 4 cards and some get refusal after third card. if i get a job what kindof job should i get and for how many hours. i appreciate your efort. pz help nedded. give me some valueable suggestions..

        • David Ruiz says

          hi Amna,

          I’m really sorry, but I’m not familiar with that type of card :-(

          Sorry I can’t help.

  2. Jim says

    Thanks for another useful article David

    • David Ruiz says

      Thanks for reading my blog Jim :-)

  3. 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,


  4. 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 :-)

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Liz,

      I would deregister my Spanish residency if I went back to my country of origin.

      To do so, take a copy of the EX18 form, original passport, original residency, and all set :-)

      I hope this helps.

      • Loren says

        Where do you get an EX18 form from? I have a property in Spain and have a residency form. However I no longer live in Spain and haven’t done for the last 6 years. I go over twice a year to put money in the bank to cover the bills on the house. I consider myself non resident but do I gave to declare myself non resident.

  8. 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

        • David Ruiz says

          You’re welcome, anytime :-)

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. norman alexander says

    Hi David

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

    Many Thanks

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Norman,

      At least, in this area, if you lost the cards, you have to apply for them as if it was the first time.

      I hope this helps.

      • norman alexander says

        Hi David
        Many thanks for your reply

        • David Ruiz says

          Cheers :-)

  12. 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.


  13. 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

      Hi Terry,

      Sorry, I can’t answer that question, as each national police station will have different approaches (I know, it should be the same everywhere all over Spain, but it’s not). I would go in person to the nearest one to find out, here are all the stations in Spain:

      Best wishes

    • tanya cranston says

      5000 euros

      • David Ruiz says

        Where at?

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

        • Simon Barr says

          Hi, which office is that David?

          • 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 😉

  14. 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 .


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the feedback :-)

      I don’t understad that, could you explain what you mean by “will the procedure for us be same as to apply for the card through the Local Police station”? The residency card is never processed at the local police, but national police (check this link to find the nearest one:

      I hope this helps!

  15. 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 :-)

  16. 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!


      • Jon McKenna says

        thanks David your feedback is much appreciated. Look forward to reading your further articles.

        Jon Mckenna

        • David Ruiz says

          De nada Jon.

          Muchas gracias y un saludo :-)

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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 ?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Paula,

      Let’s discuss your case via email and phone :-)

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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 :-)

  36. 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 :-)

  37. 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?


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Manoj,

      What part of Spain are you in?

      Thanks :-)

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. ali says

    Hi David

    we are 4 people me and my brother (25,23 years old ) and our parents (over 50 years old)

    can we get Spain residency with rent a house ?

    can we get residency together cause we are over 18 years old?( we are not employment cause we are student in university yet)

    how time this process it will be long for get 1 years residency?

    Thank you and best regards

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Ali,

      You can get your Spanish residency as long as you provide the police with the requirements I mentioned on the article, it has nothing to do with renting/buying property.

      Regarding the other questions, the best way to find out would be at your revelant office, by going in person.

      I hope this helps.

  42. Jesse says

    Hi David,

    What exactly is the difference between NIE and residency?

    I am a U.K. citizen living in Spain. I have had an NIE card since Nov. 2015. I had to demonstrate financial information and health insurance to obtain the NIE. Will I have to show financials and insurance again to apply for residence? It seems like residence and NIE should be the same thing.


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Jesse,

      Here it goes:

      • The NIE number is just an identification and fiscal number to carry out legal activities in Spain (white A4 sheet).

      • The Spanish residency is a staying permit (small green card with no photo).

      I hope this helps!

  43. Marcella says

    I’m an American citizen with no family ties to Spain .. can I still move there and get residency?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I’m not really sure, I would query at the corresponding Spanish Embassy in the area where you live in the USA.

      Best wishes.

  44. Drew says

    I live in La Villa & went on 09/05/2017 to Trafico in Alicante to renew my UK licence for a Spanish one.

    Whilst in Alicante I lost my British Passport (expiring 21/07/2021) inside which was my green Residencia issued in Benidorm on 11/07/2016 & Counterpart UK Driving Licence (endorsement free).

    I notified the British Consulate & completed/signed a Denuncia at National Police Alicante today (11/05/2017).

    The Tramites De Conductores application was approved subject to my providing an original Passport & Certificado De Residencia.

    Online application for a new UK passport will take some 6 weeks.

    I have copies of the lost documents and my original A4 NIE Certifica & SIPP card.

    Do I need to re-apply for a new green Certificado De Residencia, if so how do I do that & can I do so without having a new passport?

    Yes …. don’t say it **********!

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Drew,

      If you’ve already started the process, the traffic office may not require your residency card again (or may do it, we don’t know). However, you will need to renew the card, as it’s a legal document you should have. How to renew it? My article should help you out, but I would speak with the police first, at the town you apply for it, so that you can make sure the requirements are the same.

      I hope this helps.

  45. Katrina Darcy says


    I am self employed and live in Rojales, but I don’t know which office to go to for Residencia, Elche or Alicante as I keep getting different answers from people and I don’t want to drive all the way to one office and find its another. Can you advise?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I’ve always done it in Orihuela town for those living in rojales.

      Best wishes.

  46. Iryna says

    Hi. Me and my husband lived in Spain for 1 year. And we’re moving to Balearic Islands. Do we need to de-register our Padrón ? Or will it be automatically handled by city hall once we re-register in Mallorca ?

    Thanks in advance

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      It should be done automatically once you register at the new place. At least in this area, when you move from one town to another you don’t have to de-register from the previous town hall. So my guess is that it should be the same in Mallorca.

      I hope this helps.

  47. Nino says

    I’ll be doing an internship in Barcelona in July and August but I’m in San Sebastian at the moment and was wondering if I can apply for the NIE here instead of in Barcelona?
    Thank you so much!

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Well, based on the description you’ve provided, I don’t see a reason why you should not be able to do so, as long as you meet with the requirements the police asks for.

      I hope this helps.

  48. Michaeal says

    What are the basic requirement to renew a 10 year permanent resident in Guadalajara and more so, am due for the Spanish nationality, used to be married to a Spaniard, but we currently divorced, the problem is that i don’t speak Spanish after all my years in Spain. Is there anyway to still apply and get the nationality.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Michael,

      To renew the 10 year residency, I would go to the nearest foreigners’ office, as I may give you the wrong requierements as these things tend to change from one region to another.

      Regarding the residency, it would be a matter of studying your legal situation. Send me an email please if you’d like me to help you out here.

      Best wishes.

  49. K. Maddebas says

    This question may be too obscure, but I am an EU citizen who has always lived in the US and does *not* have health insurance coverage that qualifies me for an EHIC. I can work in Spain and receive health insurance while I am working, but is there a minimum number of years of work required to qualify for coverage as a pensioner? For example, here in the States you generally need 10 years of past taxable work in the country to receive Medicare. Thanks in advance for any help you can give with this question.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      That’s a good question… and I’m not sure.

      My recommendation is that you speak with the Spanish Social Security department to find out. Here’s the official website, up on top you can select other the languages including English:

      I hope this helps.

  50. Umar says

    Hi David, hope you are doing well I need to ask you couple of questions that my mother currently resides in Barcelona, she is living there alone holding a valid padro over two and half year my first question pops up here is she eligible to apply for her residency remember she has no social means like no job.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      As long as she meets with the main requirements (financial means and health coverage) there should not be a problem, although I’m not sure how the police does it in Barcelona. My guess is that it should be done in a similar way, but I would go in person to find out if I were you.

      Best wishes

  51. Tina says

    Hi David,

    I am non-EU and will be going to Spain and staying for more than 180 days so yes, I believe I need an NIE. I will be initiatlly in Madrid, then moving to Barcelona after 3 months. From what I understand I will need to apply for my NIE in Madrid within 1 month of arrival, right? But when I transfer later from Madrid to Barcelona do need to re-apply for an NIE in Barcelona or something? Thank you!

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Tina,

      You won’t need to reapply like in Madrid, but you must tell the police you’ve changed your address through some form of official application. Big fine for non-EU citizens if you don’t tell them, according to what a police officer told me. Just go to your relevant station as soon as you get to Barcelona to find out.

      I hope this helps.

  52. Cathi says

    Hi David,

    Great website! I have a pretty remedial question but I can’t find a straight answer on line.
    I’m Irish and my common law partner is Canadian. We’re moving to Taragona in September, myself as an EU citizen and my partner as my non EU dependent. We’re planning to teach english but if we don’t have job offers by then we can prove that we have sufficient funds and health insurance to sustain us.

    As a Canadian my partner is allowed to stay 3 months without a visa. He will apply for an NIE before we go. Once we arrive we’ll try to apply immediately for a residency card. I realise that this process could take up to 6 months. Am I right in believing that this residency card entitles him to work legally in Spain? I read this previously but now I have read something to the contrary and I’m doubting my original info!

    Thanks for any info you can provide

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Cathi,

      At least, everytime I’ve helped somebody in a similar situation as yours, the non-EU citizen has been able to legally work. However, I have not done anybody from Canada yet, so I could be wrong…

      I hope this helps.

  53. Tracy & Della says

    Hi David,
    Very helpful website, thank you.
    We have just purchased a house in Andalusia and we are considering becoming residents as opposed to only using the house for a few months of the year.
    Currently, we are self employed in the UK. Will it be possible to obtain residency with our current employment status? We plan to travel back and forth to the UK for our work but base ourselves at our house in Spain.
    Furthermore, our annual Income should easily satisfy the income requirements and we also have significant savings. Can you tell us does the proof of income need to be a regular monthly amount or, can it be a lump sum equivalent to the minimum amount required?
    Finally, is it the case that the income needed is much more if you are a non EU resident? Thinking ahead to post Brexit!
    Thanks in advance.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I’m afraid I cannot answer any of the questions, as I’m not familiar what the requirements are in Andalusia, which is a huge region and must have dozens of police stations with foreign departments.

      Sorry I cant help :-(

  54. Lynda Povey says

    Hi we are thinking of buying a property in the Pinoso area of Spain, but are confused by the amount you need as the financial requirements. My husband has taken early retirement so we have a personal pension. I will have no income, but we will have savings to live on. We are also planning to get private health insurance
    Will we still be able to live there on a permanent bases

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Very easy: find out at the corresponding national police station that covers Pinoso area. They’ll let you know the exact amount of money you must provide for financial means, as well as the medical coverage requirement.

      I hope this helps.

  55. Schanen says

    Hi David,

    US resident residing in Spain with the pink photo card. Planning a move to Australia in a year, but can’t move my horses directly from Spain to Australia.. looks like I need to do that from the UK, which means moving my horses to UK for about 3-6 months prior to shipment to Australia. Question.. as a Spanish resident, do I need to get a UK visa? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t figure it out.

    Thanks in advance.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Good question, I’m not sure. If you have a chance, go in person to the office where you got your residency card from and ask them… and let me know please! I’m sure I’ll be able to help somebody else in a similar situation in the future :-)

      Best wishes

  56. Silvia says

    Hello David,
    Im EU citizen living and working in Barcelona for more than 5 years. I have the small green NIE card from the beginning. Am I resident? Is this my residency card? I saw the option of permanent residency in internet and went to ask how to get it in Comisaria de Policia- no info there, Than in Extranjeria and I was told that NIE means the same like permanent residency´. Im confused does exist some kind of permanent residence card apart of NIE?
    Thank you very much

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Silvia,

      The small green card is the only kind of residency card (which has the NIE number printed on the front side) for EU citizens :-)

      Best wishes

  57. Alex says

    Hi David,

    I am an American finishing a PhD in the Basque Country. I have a residence card that says RENOVADA INVESTIGADOR (Ley 14/2013) AMBITO NACIONAL. Can I find work in another EU country (France)?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Alex,

      Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t answer that question as I’ve never had any clients in a similar situation. I would find out at the police station where you got the residency card.

      I hope this helps.

  58. Peter Fitzsimmons says

    Hi David, my wife and I became residents in Alicante in the year 2000, we moved back to the UK the following year but returned in 2015. We have lost our residencia cards during one of our moves, we both have NIE numbers so the question is, are we still residents or not. If so how do we get a copy of our card/certificate or at least find out if we have to reaply?

    Thanking you, Peter

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I would go in person to the relevant office in your area to find out whether you’re still a resident or not. If yes, to get a copy, ask them how to proceed, as each station has different approaches.

      I hope this helps.

  59. Tim says

    Hello ,
    I took out Residencia in 2009, (Orihuela) as I believe I had to because I spend more than 90 days in Spain. However I am Non Fiscal resident and pay my Non Resident taxes, as spend less than 183 days a year. I have the old A4 paper with green stripe. Is this correct ? There doent appear to be any expiry date on it. Is it simple to get renewed , or do I need to apply all over again ?
    Thank you in advace/

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      To get the new version (credit card size), in all the stations I know you to apply all over again, but these things can change overnight, so my suggestion is that you query in person.

      I hope this helps.

  60. Roy says


    Do I need two separate appointments for my wife and I to apply for Residencia or can I make one appointment in my name and hand in the two at the same. Your help would be appreciated as there is no info anywhere online regarding this and of course no two appointments available on the same day at Denia



    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Roy,

      Two separate appointments always, even though you’re married and applying at the same time.

      Best wishes!

  61. Mradul Yadav says

    Hi David,

    I am from India
    My Girlfriend is from Madrid
    We have decided to live together and marry.
    How I can go there?
    What visa is there for it?
    How can I get residence and work permit?
    Can you please guide me
    Thank You

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Mradul,

      It’s simple: go to the town hall you’ll get married in and they’ll give you the list of requirements you’ll need to start with. After that, if you’d like to become resident etc, that would be done at the National Police.

      All the best!

  62. Chris says

    Hi David, My husband is Irish, as are my 2 children. I am from the U. S. and we will be in Valencia for one year. Do we all need separate residency appointments? Or is it one appointment for residency (certificados UE or certificado residente or no residente?) for all of us together? Confused on how to make appointments online. Thank you!

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Yes, in my area, generally, the appointment for EU and non-EU citizens is different (since they are different procedures). I’m not sure how it’s done in Valencia, but it might be with two different appointments.

      I hope this helps!

  63. Michiel says

    Hi David,

    Thank your for your informative website. It helped us a lot. Currently we are living in Spain since 02-2017 and we would like to apply for residency. We have been browsing over the internet a lot to get more information and between everything we have found online and your website there is one big difference (or not mentioned). In this case I am wondering if it is needed.

    We have the NIE card but for a document we need we have to have the DNI card. For this you need to be a Spanish resident. Everywhere we looked online you have the be living in Spain (uninterrupted) for 5 years for a temporary and 10 years for the permanent.

    We cannot find a mention in your blog about the 5/10 yrs. Was this mentioned on the other websites to scare people of or is it possible to obtain the DNI card within the year as you started living in Spain?

    As you mentioned before…, We still have to ask at the Policia National…

    Thank for your time and information!!


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      To get the DNI (Spanish ID), to my knowledge, you must become a citizen, a procedure is not part of my area of expertise yet.

      Best way to find out would be either at the nearest foreign affairs police station, or official websites. Or if you wish, I can go ahead through a research service to find out. If yes, send me an email here.


  64. Al says

    Hi .. I renewed my residencia certificate in March for residencia permanente . On the EX 18 there was no option for pareja de hecho . When I asked the funcionario what to do he crossed the box soltero and said it didn’t matter anyway . Now people are telling me I screwed up and should’ve insisted that they put me in the system as pareja de hecho as it could create problems after brexit .. What should I do and what could be the possible consequences if they are not happy that I’m not in their system as a pareja de hecho ? Thanks in advance .

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      I would go back to that same police station with my pareja de hecho document and would speak with them in person, to see how to proceed. It’s the best way to start with.

      I hope this helps

  65. Annette Collings says

    Hi David,

    I have had residencia in one region in Spain where I have owned a property since 2005. I am registered with a doctor and have my prescription to obtain important medication in that region.

    I am currently living (renting) with my partner in another region …. can I be “domiciliado” in this region whilst retaining my residencia where my property. is …?

    I basically am not too sure of the difference between being a resident (and owning property) and being domiciliado and whether I can be both at the same time in 2 different regions!

    Gracias very mucho in advance David for your help!


    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Annette,

      I’m not sure if you mean by ‘domiciliado’ registered on the ‘padron’. Usually, when you get registered on the padron of another region, the system gets you de-registered from the other region. That could impact your health card, as you’d not be registered in the region where you have your doctor anymore.

      My suggestion is that you find out first before you get registered in the new region, to make sure about the health card.

      I hope this helps :-)

  66. kathleen thomson says

    Hi name is Kathleen and I was born in Kent England in 1966 and my parents moved us to new Zealand in 1968.i am a permanent resident of new Zealand.i am married to a new zealander and we are looking to live in estepona.spain. I have a British passport and my husband has a new Zealand passport. My question is if we lived in Spain do we have to apply for residency in Spain and would that mean I will loose my permanent residency in new Zealand if I ever wanted to move back to new Zealand. Thankyou for any advice you may have

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Kathleen,

      Here’s the answer to your question:

      – Yes, you will lose the residency status from New Zealand, but that’s not a big deal, because you can get it back the minute you return to New Zealand and apply for the relevant residency there.

      Now, the fact of getting your residency here will change your fiscal status and fiscal obligations. But this is another story :-)


  67. Jelena says

    Hello David,
    Since I decided to move to Spain (a non EU citizen) I have been reading articles and more I read more I am confused on the way how can I live LEGALLY in Spain for one year. Honestly, my plan is to come with enough money for one year, explore the area, enroll my kid in school so he can learn Spanish, and who know maybe I land some job in the mean time or maybe I open my own shop, I don’t know yet what I will be doing, but I know that I want to stay for a year at least and my main question is HOW? I read somethings about self-employed but that kind of visa (as I understood) requires me going back to my home country. So please tell me, can I just walk into police station and apply for tarjeta de residencia after I entered the Spain :) I mean always there is a option of getting married for papers but I reather not do that, also on the end there is an option satying illegaly and take a chance when I get ready to leave to be banned from EU…but that’s the last thing I am taking as an option. I choose a Malaga coast region to settle down. I would appriciate you advice. Thank you in advance. All best, Jelena

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Jelena,

      Well, what I can confirm is that becoming a resident is not that difficult, as long as you take all the requirements with you, the right way (which means: the way it’s required at the relevant office). You’ll need an appointment though. Send me an email to study your personal situation to see how I can help you.


  68. Ayaz Biswas says

    HI David

    I am Non EU citizen and from Asia. I am Employed by a Spanish Company and posted outside Europe for Project Work. I have a NIE whcih reads “Altamente cualificado (LEY 14/2013) Ambito Nacional, Autoriza a trabajar”.

    Now I am chnaging job and moving to Middle East Country to a local company there.
    Is it possible to keep my Spanish Residency alive some how. With my current NIE I am allowed to stay outside Spain indefinately without loosing my residency. I only need to come to renew my residency once in 2 years. At the moment it is possible because I am employed by spanish company who pay my salary in spain and I pay social security and taxes in spain.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there Ayaz,

      Well, to my knowledge, the number is yours forever. However, the most important thing here is not the number, but the residency status, which you would probably lose if you spend more than 6 months outside Spain.

      Send me a email please if you’d like me to find the exact answer (or any others you’d like to know), I can go through a research at the central foreign affairs office for you.


  69. Brijesh says

    Hi there,

    I have been in Spain till Sep 2017. I returned to India after that. My NIE card (Permeso de Residencia) is valid till Jun 2018. Can I return to Spain to work for same company? Can I enter Spain to work for another company? Can I my wife (my dependent) enter alone for seeing friends?

  70. Sudeep says

    Its me sudeep i am in spain . I have been in spain about 15 months. I am not from eu country. I dont have visa. And i just have padranamiento and passport of my country. Can i apply for residency if yes how?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Sudeep,

      I don’t personally know any way to apply for the Spanish residency card without getting a visa first of all at your country of origin’s Spanish embassy. There might be a way, but I just know the traditional one.

      I hope this helps.

  71. SJ says


    I wish to permanently live in Barcelona. I’ve got the green credit -card sized paper that says I’m a resident since 2011…

    A.) Is this card proof that I’m can stay indefinitely in Spain, having the same rights as citizens? Bear in mind I’m British (and still can’t believe the whole Brexit BS)
    B.) I want to secure my future living status in Spain, therefore do I have to apply for DNI, because I was told to be legally permitted to live and work here, I need the ID card.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi there,

      Here we go:

      A) Yes, it’s a permanent card and will grant the same rights as any other EU citizen.

      B) You can work using the EU card, no worries. To get the Spanish DNI you’ll have to apply for citizenship. Let me know if you’d like me to help you here.


  72. Pauline Scott says

    I am a British pensioner living now in Spain & will be going to Denia Police station to apply for my Residencia next month. I have engaged a firm to help me as my Spanish is not adequate & to ensure I get all the necessary documents.. Having read broadly on the subject I am surprised that the firm insist the only acceptable financial requirement is to have 14,000euros in a Spanish bank, could this really be the case? I have UK retirement pensions, but only paid into my English bank, I jointly own a large villa & indepedantly own a town house all mortgage free. My partner has been Resident for 4 years, he only had to provide proof of an adequate income. & it’s possible I can add my name to his bank account to show an adequate monthly income. Would there be any information on line for Denia Polices requirements because you say ‘ask first’ but it’s never easy to phone these establishments & language difficulties make any discussion on the phone or otherwise to establish the facts is not really possible. So much easier & makes it less likely for staffs time to be wasted to publish this information & make it available online for anyone to see that needs it.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for your post. The best way to find out is always at the relevant office, in person; in this case, at Denia police station.

      I hope this helps.

  73. David says

    Hi David,

    Of all the sites I have been advised to read, I found yours to be more informative and very helpful, thank you. I am currently looking into getting residency for my wife and I. We both stopped work and moved over from the UK lock, stock and barrel 3 years ago. We are both under state pension age. We moved over here for health reasons, namely to get more sun….since arriving we have obtained our NIE’s, registered with the padron, pay non resident tax and changed the registration on the car. We have also bought a villa in the Almeria area. I am in receipt of a pension which is in excess of £10,000 per year. Neither my wife or I work. Everybody I seem to talk too has a different take on what or how I should go about getting our residencies (including 3 different legal offices). It is extremely difficult o find out once and for all exactly what I need and how to go about it. I understand the rules change per region and depending on whether its’s raining that day or not has an influence on the outcome. What I do know is we most probably should get our residencies as we have stayed over the period allowed. I also know we need to arrange for private heath insurance which is becoming more important now as we creep towards our state pension age…still a few years away yet though…..
    My question is sir, can you throw some light on this for me, I would be happy to discuss personal details by private email or telephone. I’m sure we are not the only ones in this position and I think your answer would benefit a lot of people.
    Thank you for your time,

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your email, I appreciate the feedback :-)

      I wrote a guide to help people with the process. Years ago I realised there was a lot of contradictions on the internet, even on official sites, so I decided to put all my experienced in a book. Here we go!

  74. Paul says

    Hi David

    My Permanet Residency Card has my old address. After 7 years, we have moved to a new address.
    Do I need to go to the Police station and have the address changed?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Paul,

      I have always been told by the police that it should be updated.

      I hope this helps!