Spanish Residency Certificate for Citizens of EU countries
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 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 if accompanied with a valid passport or national ID card.
Obtaining a Spanish Residency Certificate
You first need to get your paperwork ready. You may well meet the requirements, but if you don’t present the right paperwork to show this, you’ll be turned away.
When you have your application ready, you 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, your evidence that you can support yourself, and anyone else included in your application, proof of healthcare, and application fee, (modelo 790), paid receipt.
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.
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’ve presented your application and it’s been accepted, you’ll usually be given your residency certificate there and then.
Economic Means for the Spanish Residency Certificate
The law does not define a specific amount that is required to get a Spanish Residency Certificate. What the law says is that you must have resources that are greater than the amount set each year that is considered the minimum amount sufficient sufficient to live on.
For 2023 this is set as an annual amount of €6,230 euros.
If there are family members, in most cases the accessing Police Foreigners Offices apply the general immigration regime, that is, an additional 70%, €4,361, of the minimum for each dependent member of the family .
So a family four needs €6,230 for the main applicant plus €4,361 x 3 for the family members, i.e. €19,131 income per year.
If you don’t have income, then other financial means can be taken into account, e.g. savings. The rule generally applied to where you have savings instead of income, is that there should sufficient to cover the initial 5 year period of temporary residency. So a single applicant would need savings of 5 x €6,230 = €31,150.
The application of rules does vary from one area to the next, e.g. in some areas home ownership is sufficient, however the above is a good general base to work to.
Amounts are correct up to December 2023 and are subject to increase year on year.
Family Members of EU Citizens and British Nationals Already Resident in Spain
As noted, the right to Spanish residency can be extended to a spouse or civil partner, children or dependants who are part of your household, and under 21 years of age.
The family member who is a national of an EU country must first obtain their Spanish residency certificate, their non-EU family member/s can then apply for Spanish residency. They do not need to apply for a long stay visa, so can travel to Spain on a tourist visa. They must however make their residency application within three months of arrival in Spain.
Non EU Family Members Spanish Residency Application Process
There are two stages in the process. In the first stage an application for residency is presented to the Foreigners Office (extranjeria) in the province where you reside. The second stage is the application for the TIE, tarjeta de identidad de extranjero, is completed at the National Police Station in the area that you live.
The initial application can be presented in person or by an authorised representative. It can be done face to face at the Foreigners Office, or submitted online.
Once the initial application has been approved, you make an appointment at the Police Station to apply for the TIE ‘tarjeta de identidad de extranjero‘ . Your application and ID is checked, fingerprints recorded, and if all is in order, you will be given confirmation of your processed application and you card will be ready to collect in a few weeks.
British Citizens / UK nationals and the Spanish Residency Certificate
The withdrawal agreement guaranteed EU rights for British citizens and UK nationals living in Spain, providing they were legally resident in Spain before the 31st December 2020.
In July 2020, Spain introduced the withdrawal agreement TIE,tarjeta de indentidad de extranjero, a special Brexit foreigner’s ID card that recognises the holders rights under the Brexit withdrawal agreement. British citizens and UK nationals who have a Spanish Residency Certificateshould exchange their certificate for this.
The ‘old’ residency certificate is exchanged for the ‘new’ TIE by appointment at National Police stations and both the UK and Spanish Governments strongly advise Brits to do this.