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Becoming A Resident In Spain

It is now easier to become a resident in Spain. Certain changes in the processes and requirements encouraged more people, particularly EU (European Union) citizens to move to Spain. In fact, approximately four million immigrants now have Spanish properties as well as residence and/or work permits. After all, Spain has so much to offer; especially to those considering retiring in a laid-back kind of country with diverse culture and cuisine, and the weather is pleasant all throughout the year.

It could take some time before you will finally become a legitimate Spanish resident; particularly if you are to live in Spain together with your family. However, there is no need to worry as long as you are knowledgeable about the process and the necessary paperwork. You should spend enough time doing proper research, and seek guidance from professionals. More importantly, you need to ensure that you are driven and prepared enough to go through the process of becoming a resident in Spain.

EU/EEA citizens required a Residence Card long before the new regulation was implemented. As of April 2007, the card has been replaced with a Certificate of Registration or Certificado de Inscripcion en el Registro Central de Extranjeros/Certificado de registro como residente comunitario.

If you are an EU or EEA citizen who aims to move and live in Spain, you ought to apply for a Residence Certificate at the Central Register of Foreign Nationals/National Register of Foreigners ( Registro Central de Extranjeros). This certificate will prove your legitimate residency in Spain also comes with your tax identification number, the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero).

Keep in mind that your Residency Certificate will not function as a valid identification or identity document. It is valid permanently and need not be renewed. You will use such certificate not just to prove your residency but also for various important transactions. Your NIE is your official identification to the Spanish tax authorities. You will need it for fiscal purposes.

On the other hand, Non-EU/EEA citizens should apply for a Residence Card (Tarjeta de Residencia de Familiar de Cuidadano de la Unión). This includes the non-EU/EEA family members of an EU/EEA citizen. Unlike the Residence Certificate, the Residency Card needs to be renewed and it does not come with an NIE. Non-EU/EEA citizens will have to apply for their NIE in a different manner.

It is imperative for Non-EU/EEA citizens to visit the Spanish consulate in their region and ask for proper guidance. They have to fully understand the applicable process and requirements, particularly when it comes to specific visa entry requirements which should be carried out before going to Spain.

The Requirements

For Residence Certificate application:

  • A valid passport or other valid identity document
  • A signed and completed EX18 application form (Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)
  • A proof of payment (a bank-stamped Modelo 790 form)

For application of Residency Card, Non-EU/EEA citizens:

  • Passport or other valid national identification
  • Proof of relationship with the EU citizen such as a marriage certificate
  • Valid identification of the EU resident family member
  • A completed application form (EX18 – Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)
  • Three (coloured) recent passport photographs
  • A bank-stamped payment form (Modelo 790)

The Process

Applications for a Certificate of Residence as well as for a Residence Card must be done within three months upon arrival in Spain. The following steps apply for both:

Make the application at the Foreign Nationals’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or at the nearest local police station (Policia Nacional). Seek guidance before you visit the office as certain changes may have been implemented, this could save you a lot of time and frustration. Apparently, different rules and regulations apply from one region to another.

You may call if you prefer to set an appointment. You may be allowed to secure the proof of payment before going to the Foreign Nationals’ Office to complete the application form and hand over the required documents.

Complete and sign the application form, make your payment at the bank then come back and present your application form along with other necessary documents.

You will need to wait for quite some time. In most cases, applications are processed successfully in just one day or after a couple of hours waiting. If you are not lucky enough, then you may have to return the next day or wait for their confirmation of issuance.

Furthermore, it may be necessary for you to present a proof of sufficient financial means as well as a proof of public or private healthcare insurance. You may also be asked for other proof of Spanish residency such as your utility bills or your accommodation’s rental contract. More importantly, you will need to get a Certificado de Empadronamiento or be registered on the empadronamiento/Padrón Municipal de Habitantes so that you will be listed as one of the local inhabitants of your desired region.

As you can see, the process for becoming a resident in Spain is not that complicated at all. You may have to deal with some paper works and go through a tedious process. But everything will be worth it in the end, especially if you already find yourself enjoying Spain’s sun, sand, culture and cuisine.

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