All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to visit, live or work in Spain, and a Spanish residency certificates confirms your status as a resident in Spain. For stays of up to 3 months there is no need to register or obtain any Spanish documentation unless you are going to be working, or for example buying a property, in which case you’ll need an NIE. After that period, or if you intend to stay more than 3 months, you are expected to register as a resident.
You are given a residency certificate, or ‘certificado de residencia’, when you successfully register, and the issue of certificates is controlled by the National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia).
Originally a plastic, credit card sized, ‘tarjeta de residencia’, was issued, with a photograph of the holder of the card and a fingerprint. This was scrapped and replaced with an A4 sized paper certificate, which has since been superseded by the current certificado de residencia, which is credit card sized, however made from paper rather than plastic.
The residencia card doesn’t have an expiry date on it. It includes name, NIE, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and your address in Spain, and is only valid accompanied with national photographic ID, such as passport.
Obtaining a Spanish Residency Certificate
The application process to obtaining a Spanish Residency Certificate is similar to that for getting an NIE. The main difference is that as part of the application, you have to prove that you meet the conditions to be get one – e.g. proof that you have employment and are paying Social Security, or proof of other means to support yourself financially, and that you have other means of access to healthcare.
You first need to make an appointment at the National Police station in your area that handles residency applications. The process of arranging an appointment to register, varies from one area to the next. In most places it’s you now book online, others you can book by telephone, and in some places, you still have to go in to make your appointment.
At your residency appointment you’ll need your completed EX18 form, your identification, plus copies of each, and your evidence that you can support yourself, and anyone else included in your application.
Payslips, pension statements along with bank statements can be used to prove income, or you can obtain a bank certificate to show that you have sufficient funds in your account. If you are working in Spain you will be paying social security, so this will confirm your access to healthcare. Otherwise you’ll need a copy of your medical insurance policy, or if you are a pensioner using the reciprocal healthcare agreement, letters to confirm this.
Minimum Income / Funding Amounts for Spanish Residency
The amount for the first person is income of €5,164.60 per year / €368.90 per month, (to be precise it’s calculated based on the Spanish system of 14 salary payments per year) or a bank balance of €5,164.60, and for additional person included in the application an additional €3,615.22.
- 1 person – €5164.60 / €368.90 p/m
- 2 people – €8779.82 / €627.13 p/m
- 3 people – €12395.04 / €885.36 p/m
- 4 people – €16010.26 / €1143.59 p/m
- 5 people – €19625.48 / €1401.82 p/m
- 6 people – €23240.70 / €1660.05 p/m
So for a family of 5, the main applicant has to have a bank balance of €19,625.48, or an annual income equal to that amount.
Once you have presented your application and supporting documentation and it’s been accepted, you’ll usually be given your residency certificate there and then.
The Spanish residency certificate is only valid when accompanied by an internationally recognised form of ID, such as a passport or national ID card.
Brexit and the Spanish residency certificate
Two questions being asked a lot relating to the Spanish residency certificate and Brexit, are whether the residency entitlement of UK nationals already living in Spain will be affected post Brexit, and if it will be possible for UK nationals to take up residency in Spain once the UK is out of the UK.
The latter is a question that cannot be answered until a deal is done, and at the moment that’s looking unlikely. Whilst it is has been made clear that the UK and the EU27 are committed to maintaining existing residency rights for Brits residing in other EU countries, and EU nationals residing in the EU, the default position of UK nationals in Spain in a no deal Brexit scenario, is to fall into the same category as any other non EU citizen, e.g. USA, China, Russia etc.
In an announcement in December 2017, relating to this, the term ‘lawfully residing’ was used when referring to rights of residence within either area. The announcement also confirmed that citizens on both sides can continue ‘to live, work or study as they currently do under the same conditions as under Union law’.
What ‘lawfully residing’ means in practice and the measure for it is a bit of a grey area, however the assumption would be that a UK national settled in an EU state such as Spain before Brexit, should retain the right to reside.
Getting a Spanish residency certificate is the first of a number of steps that someone may need to take to show that they are settled and ‘lawfully residing’ in Spain, and therefore entitled to continue to do so post Brexit.
If you are from the UK and planning to live, or continue living in Spain, it is therefore advisable that you take this first step and get your Spanish residency certificate.
A Spanish residency certificate identifies you as a Spanish resident, and it is important that you are understand the full extent of what being a formalised resident in Spain actually means, for example your tax obligations. Living in a country and ignoring fiscal obligations even if unintentionally, certainly won’t help a case for ‘lawful residence’.
Read more about Taking up Residency in Spain
We’ll be adding a more detailed information about Brexit and Residency in Spain, including a guide to the possible steps you might need to take, if you are formalising your residency in Spain, and important considerations. If you’d like us to let you know when we’ve published this, click here to send us your details.
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