All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to visit, live or work in Spain. A Spanish residency certificate 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. The issue of certificates is controlled by the National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia).
The Spanish residency certificate used to be issued as a green A4 size document. It is now credit card sized, however made from paper rather than plastic.
The residency certificate or ‘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. It 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. That is show proof that you have financial means to support yourself, and if applicable your family, in Spain, and that you have unrestricted access to healthcare.
You first need to get your paperwork ready. This is the most important and in many cases, the most difficult part. You may well meet the requirements, but if you don’t present the right paperwork to show this your application will be rejected. With you application ready, you then need to make 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 you now book online, others you can book by telephone, and in some places, you still have to go in person 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.
Work contract, payslips, pension statements along with bank statements can be used to prove income, or you can obtain a bank certificate showing sufficient average balance in your account over the last 6 months. 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. If you are a state pensioner eligible for healthcare under the reciprocal agreement, you’ll need the S1 form 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.
Amounts correct as of April 2019
Before your appointment you need to pay the €12 application tax. You can do this by filling in the 790 form on line, printing it off, and paying at a bank before you go to your appointment. The form prints as 3 copies. The bank will keep one and stamp the other two to confirm you’ve paid. You need to take the stamped copy to your residency appointment.
If your application and supporting paperwork is all present and correct, the appointment won’t take long. Once you’e presented your application and it’s been accepted, you’ll usually be given your residency certificate there and then.
Read more about Taking up Residency in Spain
Brexit and the Spanish Residency Certificate for British Nationals
Spanish Residency for British nationals, used to be a basic paperwork exercise. It is now a necessity due to Brexit. The uncertainty of the last year has made it quite difficult for Brits to get their residency certificates in many places. The authorities began to implement a plan of change to the process for British nationals in the run up to the first exit date in March, and things sat in limbo for weeks until the first extension was agreed.
Since the extension to October 31st and current to January 2020, things have been much more ‘business as usual’. The outcome of the general election made Brexit a certainty. British nationals already living in Spain who don’t have a residency certificate, or those planning to, need to get a residency certificate now, or run the risk of having to go through a more rigorous and requiring application process as a non-EU applicant.