How do I: 1) get an NIE, 2) register as officially resident in Spain or 3) get on the ‘padrón'(town hall census)?

How do I: 1) get an NIE, 2) register as officially resident in Spain or 3) get on the ‘padrón'(town hall census)?

This article explains briefly the process for applying for the following and the differences between them:-

  • A Spanish identification number known as the NIE (Numéro de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • As a British national, how to obtain your certificate of registration as a resident foreign national (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión)
  • Registration on the local municipal/town hall census – the ‘padrón’

Important initial advice: When applying for the above it is not unusual to be asked for different things depending on the town. The best thing is to check locally exactly what is required and be prepared for two or more visits to get the document you need.

Scroll down to see the information you need. If you need further assistance in understanding how to apply, click here for voluntary and statutory organisations that can help.

  1. Spanish identification number, known as the NIE (Numéro de Identificación de Extranjero)

A NIE is required for any type of process in Spain if you live here, do business or own a property, (such as opening a bank account, registering for a doctor etc.).

It does not mean you are resident, (you can have a NIE but still live full-time in another country), and does not affect your tax resident status.

It is easy to obtain. Fill out the NIE application form (EX-15), available here .

The form should be filled out in Spanish. However by clicking here you can see a helpful translation of the form (for guidance only) supplied by the Spanish government.

You should take to your nearest National Police station (Policia Nacional) the following:-

  • Two originals of the filled-out form
  • A copy of your passport (all pages with information/text on including the cover) and the original
  • Two copies of passport photo
  • You will need to pay a small tax/fee (under 12 euros) by filling in 790-012  online here.  This can now ONLY be filled in online  and printed out, taking the form to any bank to pay it, before going to the police station. Click here for some guidance notes on filling in 790-012.

You do not normally need a pre-arranged appointment at the National Police Station (mornings only) to apply just for a NIE, although you may have to wait in a queue and return on another day to collect a white certificate with the number on. NIE numbers always begin with the letter X.

If you need further assistance filling out forms click here, for voluntary and statutory organisations that may help.

Note: If you are applying for the certificate of registration as a foreign national instead (as described below in point two), you do not need to apply separately for a NIE first – you will be given one automatically when getting your Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión.

2. As a British national, how to obtain your certificate of registration as a foreign national (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión)

As a British national you are automatically entitled to temporary residency after three months and permanent residency after five years. You do not need to request residency, but by Spanish law you do need to register as a foreign resident living in Spain.   You will be given a green piece of paper or small card entitled ‘Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano Europeo’ (European Citizen Registration Certificate). You need this, for example, as a key piece of paperwork to register with the local doctors.

You apply for this at your nearest National Police station (Policía Nacional).

What you need to bring is listed below, which is a shorterned version of what is published on the British government’s ‘Living in Spain’ website, which has more details on this process.

  1. Applicant’s passport
  2. In addition, the following documentation will be required, depending on the applicant’s circumstances:
  • a) Employed workers must produce a declaration to the effect that they have been hired by the employer or a certificate of employment.
  • b) Self-employed workers must produce evidence to the effect that they are self-employed. Registration on the Economic Activities List “Censo de Actividades Económicos” or proof of their establishment by means of registration in the Mercantile Registry “Registro Mercantil”.
  • c) People who do not work in Spain must produce documentation proving that they comply with the following two conditions:
  • i. Public or private health insurance contracted in Spain or in another country, provided that it ensures cover in Spain during their period of residence equivalent to the cover provided by the National Health System. Pensioners will be considered to meet this condition if they can prove, by means of the corresponding certificate (S1), that they are entitled to health care paid for by the State from which they receive their pension. The SI can be obtained from the  UK Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999.
  • ii. Have sufficient resources, for themselves and their family members, not to become a burden on Spain’s social assistance system during their period of residence. Proof of the possession of sufficient resources, whether from regular income, including work income, pension or income of another kind, or from ownership of assets, will be given by any legally admissible evidence, such as property deeds or a bank certificate. If you are a UK pensioner and get pension money paid into a Spanish bank account, a bank certificate is enough. Otherwise you will have to get a letter from the UK pensions office and have it translated by an official legal translator.

You should take with you:-

Two filled-out originals of form (EX-15), available here .

The form should be filled out in Spanish. However by clicking here you can see a helpful translation of the form (for guidance only) supplied by the Spanish government.

Original passport and photocopy (of all pages with information on, including the cover).

Payment of tax/fee of approx. 11€ (on form 790-012): (fill the form in online only and print out. Get it here. For guidance notes, click here). The tax/fee should be paid at the bank before you can present your application. The bank will give you a receipt as proof of payment.

You should go to the nearest National Police station first (mornings only from 8.30am) to make an appointment for another day and recheck what documentation you need. Be prepared therefore for at least two visits.

If you don’t have an NIE (see above) you will be issued with one automatically and do not need to apply separately for an NIE.

Important: once you have your green certificate/card this is valid for only two years and needs to be renewed, so make a note of when it is due to expire as, if you are still resident in Spain when it expires you will need to remember to renew it. Nobody will write to you to remind you.   If you have lived in Spain for five years you can apply for this to be permanent (reissued and marked Permanente) and it does not then need to be renewed again.

If you need further assistance filling out forms click here, for voluntary and statutory organisations that may help.

3. Registration on the local municipal/town hall census – the ‘padrón’

The padrón is the local census of how many people live in a municipality. This is not the same as the certificate of residence/green card (see point 2 above), although for most administrative processes in Spain, including access to social care and Spanish benefits due to UK nationals, both may now be required to be shown. Being on the ‘padrón’ does not affect your tax residency status and the town hall does not share the information.

For a more general introduction to the padrón, see here.

To apply to be on the padrón, you need to go to your local town hall. Often a town hall has a department that can help British nationals in English. Otherwise you should go directly to the ‘Registro Público’  department to apply.

Although requirements might vary slightly by local council (always check first) you should normally take:-

  • Original passport and photocopy.

*If you have either your NIE number or Certificate of Registration from the National Police  (see above) take this along also with a photocopy, but it is not a legal requirement to have these nor to show these. Normally your British passport is sufficient.

  • Proof of ownership of property (either your title deeds or a rates receipt/bill in your name and a photocopy.)
  • If you do not own property and are renting, the rental contract in Spanish and a photocopy.
  • If you don’t own property and you are not renting, you have to come with the owner of the dwelling in order for him/her to sign the registration form, authorising you to register at the property.
  • All family members over the age of 18 have to sign the registration form in person. For minors the familybook or birth certificates and passport have to be presented; the registration can be signed by parents.

(Source of this list: Mijas Council)

You will be issued with a certificate to show you are on the ‘padrón’. Remember when you change address or move to a different municipality you must notify your old and new town hall of the changes to keep your rights.

Renewing your registration on the padrón:

For UK nationals, your town hall should contact you every two years to reconfirm you are still resident at that address (this two year requirement applies if you are NOT also permanently registered on the ‘Registro de Ciudadano Europeo’ (European Citizen Register – which is mentioned in part 2 above)).

However, if you are a UK national and ALSO permanently on the Registro de Ciudadano Europeo, (point 2 above), you should be contacted every five years instead to reconfirm you still live at your address.

In whichever case applies to you, normally town halls send a registered letter to your address asking you to reconfirm that you still live there, which you must reply to within about three months in order to stay on the padrón. As a UK national you do not need to reapply to be on the padrón but failure to reply to a request to reconfirm you still live there could mean you are taken off the padrón and lose acquired rights to local services and welfare in the future. This process may vary between town halls.

Notes:

If you need further assistance filling out forms click here, for voluntary and statutory organisations that may help.

Some people confuse the padrón (town hall census registration) with the green EU citizen registration certificate card. These are two separate things and require different processes to apply for them and renew them.

If you have acquired  (or renewed) the ‘Registro de Ciudadano Europeo’ (European Citizen Registration Certificate) green card so it is now permanent (meaning you have been in Spain five years) and have done this after the last time you reconfirmed or signed on the municipal padrón, it is recommended you check with your town hall personally to see if you will need to reconfirm the padrón within two years or five years the next time.

If you will be away from Spain for several weeks when your padrón registration is due to be reconfirmed, contact the town hall before going away.

Help, if people find themselves in a vulnerable situation due to a sudden change in health or income, loss of a partner or onset of age-related conditions, is limited if they have not been on the padrón. Being on this padrón, and keeping your entry up to date, is strongly recommended for everyone living in Spain for over three months at a time. The information is not exchanged with other authorities. While you may not need the help of social services or other organisations now, the speed of help you can get in the future is significantly improved if you have registered at the town hall.

Last Update: March 14, 2018  

September 17, 2017   205    Understanding The System  
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