What is ‘Residencia’?
All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to live and work in Spain for up to a period of 3 months without needing to register as a resident. However after that period, you need to obtain a residency card, (Tarjeta de Residencia), which includes your name NIE, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and your address in Spain.
It is this card, or its predecessor the paper certificate, which is referred to as ‘residencia’.
Originally the ‘tarjeta de residencia‘ was a robust laminated plastic card (the size of a credit card) with a photograph of the holder of the card and a fingerprint. This was scrapped with and now we have the (certificado de residencia), about the same size of the original residencia, however of paper rather than plastic. It doesn’t have a photo or fingerprint.
The ‘residencia card’ doesn’t have an expiry date on it, and is only valid accompanied with national ID, such as passport.
The process for obtaining ‘residencia’ is similar to that for getting an NIE. The National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia), control it’s issue. There have been recent changes that have come into place, which mean that it is no longer as straight forward as it used to be to get your residencia. As well as the completed form ‘modelo EX18’ and the usual original documents and copies of your passport and padron, you now need also to prove that you are either paying social security, or have other cover or means of access to healthcare.