Need a residence permit to move to Spain?

Tips for EU citizens

Need a residence permit to move to Spain?

Every year, millions of EU citizens migrate south to sunny Spain. Most stay for a short holiday, but a growing number decide to stay in Spain permanently – a popular reason is to get away from the cold, wet and dark Northern winters. Many ask themselves “Do I need a visa or permit to go and live in Spain?”

Immigration rules differ greatly from country to country. Every country has their own laws, rules and bureaucracy for different situations. In reality, this means that most people find it near to impossible to find out what rules apply to them and then work out what they need to do. Luckily, for European Union (and EEA – European Economic Area) citizens it has become a lot easier to move country within the EU.

Since March 2003 getting a residence permit is in most cases no longer necessary for people with nationalities of the following countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, The United Kingdom and Switzerland.

However, there are exceptions to the above. For instance, if you are looking to retire to Spain but still want to continue receiving a pension from your home country, it may still be necessary to apply for a permit.

Even though EU citizens are not required to have a residence permit or visa, it is advisable to get a N.I.E. ( Número de Identificación de Extranjero – an identification/registration number for foreigners). Though you are under no obligation to get a N.I.E. you will find it facilitates many things. You will be asked for it when opening a bank account or buying property. If you are under the obligation to have a residence permit or visa, you must also apply for a N.I.E.

Generally speaking, it is easy for Europeans to get a permit sorted (which is not the case for non-EU citizens). You will need to prepare for long queues when applying for the N.I.E. Often you will find an extremely long queue in front of the local Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners’ Office) first thing in the morning. It sometimes helps to come as early as possible, and be the first in line. But this depends on individuals offices as there are large local differences. It is also wise to call your local office first, asking them what documentation you are expected to bring. Requirements can differ from office to office and if they decide you do not have everything you need you might have queued up for nothing. You will probably need the following: a valid passport and photocopy of it, 3 recent passport style photographs with your name written clearly on the back of them and a correctly completed application form and 3 copies it. Bring a good book to read while you way, you won’t regret it.

This article has been submitted by Just Landed

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