Spanish residency

Guía publicada por:

Overview This guide explains the new rules for European nationals applying for residency in Spain, what documents are required and information on the right to reside in Spain for EU and non-EU family members


Register as a resident

As an EU citizen you must register as a resident if you plan on living in Spain for more than 3 months.

You should register in person at the Oficina de Extranjeros (immigration office) or designated police station in the province where you live.

Before going to your local Oficina de Extranjeros or designated police station, you must make an appointment, which can be done either online or by telephone.

Once on the online appointment booking system, you should select the province where you live and then the option “Certificados UE” and follow the instructions to select and confirm your appointment time.

When you go to your appointment, you will be required to provide documents to support your appplication - see an English language summary of the documents you will need to bring

The Spanish authorities will issue you with a green credit-card-sized residence certificate with your:

  • name
  • address
  • nationality
  • NIE number (Número de Identificación Extranjero)
  • date of registration

Older residence certificates are larger (A4 size) but are still valid. You do not need to apply for a credit-card-sized certificate unless your circumstances change (for example your address) or unless you want to.

After you have been registered as a resident for five years, you can apply for a certificate of permanent residence in Spain. You will be issued with a similar credit card size Residence Certificate, but it will additionally state that you are a permanent resident (residente permanente).

Non-EU family members

An EU citizen´s family members who are not EU citizens can register to live with them.

They must register in person at the Oficina de Extranjeros within 3 months of entering Spain. They will be issued with Tarjetas de Residencia de Familiar de Cuidadano de la Union (residency cards for family members of EU citizens). Additional documents will be required.

Changes to the residency regulations

In 2012 the Spanish government introduced details of the new residency requirements for all EU citizens.

EU citizens applying for residency in Spain may be required to produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves (and dependants).

Applicants may also be asked for proof of private or public healthcare insurance. More details about the application process and documentation you need are available on the website of the Spanish Ministry for Work and Social Security.

The Ministerial Order sets out the new residency requirements and some of the documentation applicants may be asked to present. We have created an unofficial translation of the Ministerial Order below.

Apply for permanent residency

After being registered as a resident for 5 years, you can apply to be a permanent resident of Spain.

Pedir más información sin compromiso