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).
Now that the UK has left the EU, a residency certificate or the new withdrawal agreement ‘Tarjeta de Indentidad de Extranjeros’ – TIE, is essential for British nationals who want to live in Spain. During the transition period that runs until 31st December 2020, British nationals living in Spain, and those moving over, ‘EU residency’ criteria apply, however they now apply for TIE, rather than the residency certificate.
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 You can also 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 private 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 the Transition Period and Spanish Residency for British Nationals
Spanish Residency for British nationals, used to be a basic paperwork exercise. Due to the UK’s departure from the EU it is now essential for British Nationals who wish to live in Spain.
The withdrawal agreement at least provides guarantees of EU citizen rights, and provides a transition period during which UK nationals in the EU can secure the current EU rights and vice versa.
Following the Spanish Governments announcement on 4th July 2020, the Spanish Residency Certificate is no longer issued to British Nationals applying for residency. The Tarjeta de Indentidad de Extranjero, or TIE as it’s known, is now issued to UK Nationals taking up residency in Spain.
Both the ‘new’ TIE and ‘old’ residency certificate confirm the holders rights as and EU citizen under the withdrawal agreement. The ‘old’ residency certificate can be exchanged for a ‘new’ TIE by appointment at National Police stations.
During the transition period the eligibility criteria and requirements remain the same. Thereafter they will change to those for non-EU. British nationals already living in Spain who haven’t applied for residency and those planning to move, are advised to get apply for residency certificate this year, or run the risk of having to go through a more rigorous and requiring application process as a non-EU applicant, once the transition period ends.