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Applying for Spanish Residency

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The Spanish Residency (Residencia) is only possible if various requirements are met (pensioners, students, employment contract holders, self-employed, family members of residents…), and is often confused with the Spanish N.I.E number. Tax law and administrative aspects have to be considered.

The registration in the Central Foreigners Register (Registro Central de Extranjeros) can be applied for at any time personally at the Policia Nacional of your place of residence. After payment of the fee of 10.60 € and submission of the application form and documentation, the certificate of registration will be issued directly on-site if the requirements are fulfilled. It should be noted that this certificate is not the “Tarjeta de residencia”, as the latter is only issued to non-European foreigners.

In order to register with the police as a “resident”, one of the following Spanish residency requirements must be fulfilled. You can register as a “resident” in Spain and therefore live in Spain for more than 3 months if one of these cases applies to your situation:

1. You are a student

If you are studying in Spain and you have sufficient health insurance, you are studying at an educational institution financed or recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education and you have sufficient financial resources, you can register as a resident.

2. You are self-employed in Spain (Autónomo)

If you are self-employed in Spain, you can also obtain the residency (Residencia) by submitting the registration form to the Spanish Social Security and enrolling in the Register of Economic Activities (Censo de Actividades Económicas). It is important that you already need the N.I.E. to register with the tax and social security office and that you apply for it in advance.

The possibility of obtaining the residency is particularly interesting at the moment, as the Spanish social security contribution rate for new self-employed persons is greatly reduced. So it is quite possible that the first year only 50 € monthly contributions are to be paid and thus both the entire health insurance of your family and the payment into the pension fund is covered.

3. You are employed in Spain

If you have a valid employment contract, you can register as a “resident” without further ado. It is sufficient to present either your employment contract or a certificate of registration with the Spanish Social Security (vida laboral o certificado de alta).

This point also applies to pensioners insured through the other European country’s health insurance scheme who wish to move their residence to Spain. In this case, it is sufficient to submit the European Form S1, which can be issued by any European health insurance company. 

4. You have sufficient financial resources

If your case is not mentioned in any of the previous paragraphs, you can still obtain the residency (Residencia) if you can prove that you have health insurance (private or state) and sufficient financial resources for yourself and your family. For example, property ownership, income from rentals and leases, savings accounts, credit cards, etc. can be cited as evidence of sufficient funds.

5. Family members of Residents

Family members of residents can in principle also register as residents if they can prove the family relationship as well as the economic dependency. As far as health insurance coverage is concerned, they are also insured in Spain via the “Residente” as “beneficiario”. If a family member pays into the Spanish social insurance system through self-employment or dependent employment in Spain, the entire family is generally covered by health insurance.

As soon as you are registered as a resident, you will be considered as resident in Spain for administrative and tax purposes and you will have to fulfil all the legal obligations of persons resident in Spain (tax returns, Modelo 720, etc.). It should be noted that even without the “Residencia” you are in some cases already considered as a resident in Spain and you have to tax your world income in Spain.