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’, (full name certificado de registro de ciudadano de la unión), when you successfully register, and 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, however is now 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 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, 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.
Read more about Taking up Residency in Spain
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.
In the agreed Brexit deal, existing residency rights for Brits residing in other EU countries, and EU nationals residing in the EU, will be protected, for UK citizens lawfully residing in EU countries, and vice versa. The indication is that existing lawful residents, will also retain their right of residency in a no deal Brexit
What ‘lawfully residing’ means in practice, and the measure for it is a bit of a grey area, however it is clear that a UK national settled in an EU state such as Spain, before Brexit, should retain the right to reside. The question is the interpretation of ‘settled’ and ‘lawfully residing’.
As things stand, the agreed deal is unlikely to get passed in parliament, and an exit from the EU without a deal is strongly on the cards. This puts UK nationals in Spain in a position of great uncertainty where the right to reside in Spain is concerned.
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. It has however also been stated that UK nationals will NOT need visa’s for travel in the EU, although visits will be limited to 3 months in any 6 month period.
Getting a Spanish residency certificate is the first of a number of steps that someone can 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, post Brexit, it is advisable that you take this first step and get your Spanish residency certificate.
Get your Spanish Residency Certificate before Brexit
Let us guide you through your application.