Registering on the padrón is a simple and straightforward process which comes with lots of benefits for not only you but also your community.

By Spanish law, it is obligatory to register on the padrón at the town hall where you habitually reside. The process which gives the town hall a good idea of how many people live in the area which  in turn determines how much funding the area receives.

Apart from better public services, registering on the padrón can also come with many personal benefits; including potential tax reductions, access to social care as well as discounted travel. Yet many expats do not register, maybe because they are unsure of how to register or even why they should register.

Who should register?

If you habitually reside in Spain you are required to register on the padrón (a process called “empadronarse” in Spanish). You do not have to own or rent the property you are residing in, you just need to have the address of where you habitually live.

Why register on the padrón?

You will find that you are required to have a padrón in order to carry out a number of administrative tasks in Spain. This includes registering for healthcare and changing your car to Spanish number plates. It is also important to register on the padrón in order to enroll a child into public schooling.

How to register

You need to fill in a form at the padrón office of your local town hall and provide some official personal documentation such as a passport and a NIE or residency certificate. You will also need some documentation regarding the property you are living in, such as a recent utility bill, a rental contract or the deeds to the property (it is a good idea to get these documents photocopied before you register). You may find that your town hall has a foreigners department which deals with expats and the padrón registration process, among offering other useful services. The process is very straightforward and the registration is completed the same day. For a couple of euros you can request a printed certificate of the padrón (Certificado de empadronamiento) which is often issued there and then, although some town halls may require you to return to collect it at a later date.

Benefits of registering on the padrón

Improved public services: The amount of money allocated to municipalities by the Spanish central government depends on how many people are registered on the padrón. The more people who are registered on the padrón means more money the area receives to improve public services, such as health centres, police officers, fire fighters and schools.

Access to social care & benefits: In order to access some income-related benefits and social care available through your town hall, you need to have been registered on the padrón for a certain length of time.

Tax reductions: Registering on the padrón could give you a reduction in certain community charges and inheritance tax (although this does depend on your town hall).

Discounts: The padrón can give you access to discounted courses and cultural activities run through the town hall as well as reductions in travel fares; in some towns a Cerificado de Empadronamiento gives residents of the Spanish Islands discounts on air fares and ferry tickets between the islands and mainland.

The right to vote: You must be registered on the padrón if you wish to vote in local and other European elections.

Do I need to update the padrón?

If you are an EU citizen, there is currently no law in place which makes it obligatory to renew your padrón, according to Citizens Advice Bureau Spain. However, you may receive a letter from the town hall asking you to renew your inscription for a number of reasons; you may have changed your address, there is a fine or official notification which has not arrived at your address or if any authoritarian body have not been able to contact you at your registered address, in which case you should go to your town hall and update your details. In some cases, such as applying for a school placement or social care, you may be required to have an up-to-date padrón certificate, one which has been issued within the last 3 months.

Information sourced from: www.gov.uk.