For certain types of family it is possible to register in Spain for a card that gives access to benefits and discounts from both the Spanish public authorities and also some local businesses. It is known as the “Tarjeta Familia Numerosa” (Large Family Card). Normally, the card is for where parents/guardians have three or more children, although other types of family can also receive it (for example with two children if one is disabled). British citizens who are registered residents can apply.
What are the benefits?
Having the card (which can also be issued individually to each family member) is the normal, statutory way of proving eligibility for access to several benefits or reductions, including:
- Income tax reductions/benefits
- Subsidies for kindergardens and meal centres
- Social housing application advantages
- Other, local tax reductions (such as IBI tax, depending on each town hall).
- Some advantages in social security payments for contracting outside domestic help
- Proving entitlement to reductions on electricity bills (and heating bills), the “Bono Social”
- Some fees for government entrance exams and government paperwork
- Rail and sea travel (20-50%) and lesser discount on air travel
- University entrance fees
- Access to museums and public cultural attractions
Some local private businesses also offer reductions; offers vary by region. In the links below, you can find some general background information (in Spanish) on the type of support or offers available with the card for the regions of Spain currently covered by this website.
For Andalucía (Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Costa Tropical, Costa Almeria and inland Andalucía), www.familiasnumerosasdeandalucia.org/
For Balearic Islands, www.fanomib.org
(For other areas, in an internet search engine, enter “Tarjeta Familia Numerosa” then the name of the region where you live; usually official information appears at or near the top of the search results.)
Who can apply?
The conditions for applying for a card are:
Families with one or two parents/guardians who have three or more children, (whether from the same parents or not). Children up to 21* living at home and financially dependent, or children any age if disabled normally can count. (* Up to 25 if in full-time further education).
Also entitled are:
Families with one or two parents/guardians with two children where one child is registered disabled or not able to work
Families where both parents have disabilities or one is 65% disabled and they have two children
Divorced or separated mothers and fathers with three or more children (not necessarily in common) if they have financial responsibility for them from a court order (even if they do not live with them. If there is no parental agreement on custody or maintenance, only the parent they live with can apply)
A widowed mother or father with two children
Two or more brothers and sisters who are orphaned and live with a guardian who isn’t financially responsible for them
Three or more orphaned children over 18 (or two in the case one is disabled), who live together.
A civil partner or spouse of one parent is considered as a parent for validating entitlement. Adopted, fostered or those children living with a guardian are counted as family members
(The above is a shortened, non-official translation of the definition of entitlement and the original can be seen here in Spanish. This is the Andalusian regional government’s website, but the criteria are the same across Spain).
How can you apply?
(see also a PRACTICAL HINT at the end of this page for help in understanding the process if needed)
These “Familia Numerosa” regulations are national but each of the regional governments is responsible for giving out the cards. Applications can be made directly online (usually if the applicant has a digital certificate), in person at their offices or by handing in the paperwork at the “Registro Publico” desk at your local town hall.
What you need to provide is more or less the same by each region, although there might be small variations in what you need to show to prove you live together or are a family if you are not married or your case is not straightforward. As with some other bureaucratic processes, be prepared for requirements to vary by region as well as for the application process to take a few months before you hear back.
The links for more details (in Spanish) of the process and application forms in each of the regions we currently cover are:
Regional government of Andalucía: https://www.juntadeandalucia.es/servicios/procedimientos/detalle/7/como-solicitar.html
Regional government of the Balearic Islands: https://seu.conselldemallorca.net/es/web/guest/ficha?key=11109
Regional government of the Canary Islands: https://www.gobiernodecanarias.org/derechossociales/infanciayfamilia/familias_numerosas/
What documentation do you need to provide?
In general, as well as the completed application form, you need to provide the following information as follows:
- Photocopy of Spanish national ID card, or for a British citizen, a copy of passport and the green residency card/paper. This applies to all family members that are legally obliged to hold one
- A photocopy of the “Libro de Familia” (Family book), a document for Spanish citizens that gives details of their children. If you are a British citizen instead and registered as Spanish resident before the end of the Brexit transition period (or a European Economic Area national), you will need to provide copies of documents that prove your relationship to the children; marriage certificate, birth certificates, court orders in separation/divorce cases, adoption paperwork etc.
- Every family member over 16 has to provide a signed declaration of what their income is.
- Proof of living together: An up-to-date “Certificado de Empadronamiento” (the padrón certificate from the town hall to show you are all on the municipal census at the same address. If the certificate you have was issued more than three months ago, ask the town hall for a new copy). Alternatively, a clear explanation/evidence if you feel you are entitled to the card but do not live with the children. Some regions may require proof that unmarried couples have been living together for a minimum period of time.
- Any further documents to prove any special circumstances (disability, widowhood, living separated from children etc.)
A PRACTICAL HINT: The forms and documentation can also submitted via your local town hall and basic assistance can usually be given in completing the Spanish forms; by the town hall office attending to foreign residents (if the town hall has one); or by asking for an appointment with a town-hall-based social worker (trabajador social); or at the “registro público” desk. If none of these are available at the town hall, clicking here you can see the organisations that may be able to help with completing forms in Spanish.