Applying For Residence Permit

Remaining legal in Spain

Applying For Residence Permit

Need information on Spain about applying for your residence permit? Stop biting your nails! Once you start the ball rolling, it´s not as bad as you think, especially if you´re an EU citizen. And, to get you started, here is an approximate guide to what you will need ...

Information on Spain - obtaining your residence permit

Once you have lived in Spain for more than six months, you are no longer considered a tourist and should apply for a residence permit. Fortunately, the revised foreigner´s law, which went into effect on 1 March 2003, makes it easier for European Union citizens to apply for residence; also, those EU citizens who are working in Spain, do not need to renew their permits.

The normal residence permit is renewed once every five years and renewal is usually a fairly straightforward matter.

Normally, you apply for your residence card at your local police station or oficina de extranjeros. As laws constantly change and vary slightly from region to region, it is best to pop along first and find out exactly what will be required.

How long can you expect to wait before receiving your card? This also varies, but you are talking of about six months. However, you are given a document showing you have applied for residencia, and this can be used in place of the residence permit.

Information on spain - eu citizens

Since 1 March 2003, two groups of EU citizens no longer need to hold residence cards: people legally working in Spain and paying Spanish Social Security; also, retired workers entitled to a Spanish State pension who have lived in Spain for more than three years and have worked in the 12 months prior to retirement.

Everybody else should apply for residencia.

EU citizens no longer need to show proof of income or medical insurance. However, they will need to present:

  • completed application form
  • four photographs
  • passport plus photocopy

Information on Spain - non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens will need:

  • the visa or visado de residencia obtained from the Spanish consulate in your home country;
  • proof of financial means;
  • certificado de antecedentes penales showing you have no criminal record;
  • medical certificate - necessary for obtaining the visa;
  • consular inscription;
  • medical insurance with a company which has offices in Spain;
  • passport plus photocopy;
  • three passport-size photos;
  • payment of fee (not high);
  • Spanish bank statement showing income arriving from abroad;
  • deeds to Spanish property or a rental contract, plus photocopy;
  • completed application form.

Information on Spain - miscellaneous

Non-EU citizens requesting the unified work permit/residence permit will need further documents relating to their employer.

Your residence permit will include a número de identificatión de extranjero (NIE), which identifies you to the Spanish tax authorities.

Many EU citizens I know shy away from taking out their residencia. This is not a good idea for, if living in Spain, there are tax advantages in being resident and, for EU members, application is not a complicated process.

For those who do not want the bother of dealing with it themselves, it doesn´t cost an arm-and-a-leg to use the services of a gestor (licensed administrative expert).

So ... go ahead and take the plunge! You now have most of the information on Spain necessary to obtain your residencia, so ... get yourself legal!


This Article has been submitted by Linda Plummer, webmistress of:  . Linda is English and has lived on the Costa Blanca in Spain for 20 years.

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