Are you relocating to Spain? If you are, it’s important to understand how to become a full Spanish resident. If you live in Spain for a total of 183 days a year, even if those days are not consecutive, you are classed as a resident and are liable to pay Spanish tax. Don’t forget that if you want to move to Spain before Brexit, you must apply for Spanish residency before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. In this article we will explain how to obtain Spanish residency as a member of the EU and what you need to get in order before the 31 December if you are British.

What do you need to gain full Spanish residency? If you have decided to make Spain your permanent home, you need to legally become a resident. The Spanish government’s definition of ‘permanent’ is if you’re in the country for a total of 183 days per year. If you are, then you are classed as being a tax resident of Spain. There are three important items you will need to secure in order to live in Spain permanently: your residencia, or Spanish residency card, the Padrón and your SIP (health card).  The documentation required for each of these will depend on the region in which you wish to live and your own status.

What paperwork do you need to apply for residencia (or Spanish residency card)? Your residencia is the document that officially registers you as living in Spain. It is issued at the Foreigner’s Office or police station, depending on where you live. You may need to obtain your residencia before applying for your padrón, but this varies from region to region. You can usually obtain your residencia on the same day that you apply, providing you have all the necessary paperwork. The documents needed can vary between regions, so always check beforehand. However, usually this consists of:

  • NIE, or your foreigner’s tax number
  • Your S1 form if you are a pensioner or proof of Spanish health insurance if not
  • Proof of fee payment for the residencia application (paid at any Spanish bank)
  • The completed residency application form
  • Passport
  • Two passport size photos
  • Proof of income

We recommend that you always bring the original and at least one copy of each document in the list above.

How to obtain your residencia (or Spanish residency card)? When you bring all of the relevant paperwork to the appropriate Foreign Office or your local police station, you will need to provide evidence that your life in Spain is financially sustainable. You will be expected to show bank statements covering the last three months and that you have a minimum monthly income of £800 (per person). If you have come to Spain to work then your employer should provide you with un certificado de vida laboral – which is proof that you have work here. If you are under pensionable age, then you must have proof of Spanish health insurance if you are not going to work. The insurance must be fully comprehensive and you may also need to show proof of payment. If you are looking for trustworthy comprehensive healthcare in Spain, Perez Legal Group is THE healthcare contact for Sanitas Mas Salud health insurance and can organise everything for you.

What is the padrón? The padrón is the certificate that enables you to apply for a SIP (health card) and access other local benefits within your area, such as enrolling your child in a local school, obtaining a bus pass, or using the local library.

How do you get your padrón? To obtain your padrón, you will need to register at the town hall office. You will need to take with you:

  • Proof of where you live e.g. a rental contract or title deed
  • Passport
  • Residencia, if your region requires that you apply for this first
  • Your most recent water bill and electricity bill (now asked for by some town halls)

How long is the padrón valid? Once you register, the certificate is valid for three months. After this period, you can return to the same office with your passport and previous padrón and they’ll issue a new one. You should renew your padrón at least every five years in order to ensure that your name is kept on the register.

What is the SIP card? This important little health card entitles you to access health treatment and discounted prescription charges as part of the Spanish National Health Service, if you are a resident in Spain.

How do you acquire the SIP card? In order to get your SIP card, you must book an appointment at your local social security office. You will need to provide:

  • Your NIE and Spanish residency card
  • Passport
  • S1 if you are a pensioner
  • Padrón
  • Application form TA1

Again, we advise that you bring the original document and at least one copy, just in case. Once you have presented your paperwork, they will give you a registration number. With this, you can go to your local health clinic and obtain you SIP card there.

If you need some help with your transition to Spain, our team of experts can help. Perez Legal Group has designed a solution specially to help organise your move to Spain called the Relocation to Spain package. From applying for residency, opening a bank account to filing annual tax, Perez Legal Group is here to make your life easier. For more information, see our brochure by clicking this link.

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