Residency in Spain

Before you buy a property for sale in Marbella it is important to know what your residency rights and requirements are and how you go about obtaining residency in Spain.
Residency in SpainCountries vary widely in their criteria for granting visas and/or residency to foreign nationals. The degree of red tape is usually proportionate to the number of applications they receive. Spain presents a easy prospect for Britons wanting to live there.
When the country joined the EU, the residence card became the only formality required for EU citizens to take up residence in Spain.
Recently, the rules have been relaxed still further. Residence cards are now compulsory only in the case of:
  • Pensioners retiring to Spain
  • People of independent means (that is, who are not working)
  • Non-EU dependants of an EU national, all of whom must be able to demonstrate sufficient means to support themselves and, if applicable, their families in order to obtain resident status.

What is residency in Spain?

There are two categories of residence card in Spain:

  1. The temporary residence card (valid for stays of between 90 days and a year)
  2. Residence card (valid for stays of between one and five years, and renewable thereafter).

Even those who fall into a category where a residence card is not compulsory may find it useful to have one. It can help to simplify various administrative procedures for new residents.

This is an area in which thorough research will pay dividends. It’s worth consulting a specialist company for advice on obtaining residency in your chosen country but here we give you the basics on how to apply for residency in Spain.

How to apply for residency in Spain

You can register yourself at the Central register for Foreign Nationals (aka Registro Central de Extranjeros). Their offices can usually be found inside the local police station.

You will need to bring the following documents:

  1. Proof of identity (Passport) with your full name
  2. NIE number (if you have one)
  3. A signed EX18 application from which can be downloaded here: 

You will very likely be asked about your history and what you plan to do in the country. They might ask for the following information:

  1. Provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself for a minimum of 3 months. (If you already have a job in Spain, then you can bring your contract)
  2. Provide evidence of your public or private health insurance or clarification /declaration of longstanding health issues that might require regular treatment

On average it takes 1 month to get your residency card, but we have seen cases where it took over 3 months to get their card. It all depends on the time of the year (remember Spanish Government Officials don’t do much work in the months of July & August) and the requirements of your specific case.

We generally recommend to contact a gestor to look after your residency applications. It can save you a lot of headache and waiting around in front of government offices.

If you’re adamant to DIY your residency check out the website of the British Embassy in Madrid. They have translated a Spanish document on Residency in Spain and what you might need.

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