Here are the first three steps you need to follow when moving to Spain as an EU citizen to become a permanent resident…

Step One: Finding a place to live

When you move to Spain and plan to live here for more than 90 days per year, you will need to apply for a residency permit. The first step is finding a permanent residence, as without a permanent address you can’t apply for residency.

If you are renting a property, you will need a long-term rental contract, that’s a contract for 11 months rental or more. (In some cases mid-term contracts have been accepted – but it’s not guaranteed).

If you are purchasing a property then your title deeds or nota simple will allow you to apply for the residency.

Step Two: The Padron Certificate

Once you have a permanent address, you need to register yourself with the local town hall (ayuntamiento). They will give you a padron certificate (certificado de empadronamiento). This is a document which registers you as living in the town/area. You’ll be added to the population consensus. To apply for your padron certificate, you must have a rental contract, or have purchased a property. (Please note you will need to provide other documentation .

You can not apply for residency in Spain if you do not have a permanent address.

Step Three: The Residency Permit

Now that you have your rental contract and your Padron certificate, next you apply for your residency permit. This permit will allow you to stay in Spain permanently.

To apply for your residency you’ll need several documents ready for the appointment. These include passports, birth certificates (under 16s), your rental contract/title deed, and the padron certificate. In addition, you’ll need to show that you can support yourself whilst living here. Spain does not allocate residency permits to those who don’t have the means to live here self-sufficiently. It is up to you to prove that you will not be a burden on the state.

How do you do this?

Proof of income: When applying for residency you must be able to show sufficient income to be able to pay living expenses. You are proving you will not require state benefits. During the residency appointment, you must show you have a Spanish work contract, are self-employed or have set up a registered company. If you are moving to Spain and don’t intend to work then you must present at least one of the following to prove you have the funds to support yourself and any dependents:

  • Six months bank statements (proving regular income)
  • A work contract from your employer abroad (if you will be working remotely), which shows your monthly earnings (in this case you will also be required to show bank statements)
  • Your pension statement

If this is not possible then you will need to show 5,500 € per family member in a Spanish bank account. In some cases, you will be required to show this money, as well as six months bank statements from the country where you were previously living. And in other cases – depending on the town you have moved to – this will not be acceptable.

Our Move to Malaga team will check the requirements from the Comisario de Policia, when booking your residency appointment.

Health Insurance: Spanish regulations require foreign residents moving to Spain to have health insurance to apply for a resident permit. If you are moving to Spain and don’t intend to work i.e. you will not be contributing social security payments, you will need to take out private health insurance for you and your family to get through the residency process. Contact us for a no-obligation health insurance quote.

The NIE – do I need one?

Contrary to popular belief, when moving to Spain, you do not have to apply for an NIE certificate. Your NIE number is given to you as part of your residency. You only apply for an NIE before your residency application under the following circumstances:

  • You are purchasing a property. In which case our lawyer will organise your NIE as part of the legal process.
  • You want to buy a car immediately on arrival. In which case you must have a written offer from the dealer to be able to apply for your NIE
  • You need to set up a utility contract, such as mobile, fixed line, or electricity contract.

There is a waiting list for NIE appointments, as long as that for residency appointments. So, unless you have an urgent need for a car or utility contract, it makes sense to wait for the residency.

In some cases, the NIE may be denied. This is because the reason doesn’t substantiate the application. If you do get it, you’ll have to go through the same process when you apply for the residency.

There you have our initial advice for Moving to Spain as an EU citizen and obtaining Spanish residency.

Our Move to Malaga team is here to help you through the whole process. Including finding a place to live, choosing schools, residency applications, property purchase. We support you through all aspects of the bureaucratic process.

We make the whole process a lot easier for you!

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