Guidance

Spain: register your residency

How UK nationals who plan to live in Spain for more than 3 months must register as a resident and on the padrón at their town hall.

Overview

This guide explains the registration processes you must complete as a UK national living in Spain. You must register both on the central register of foreign nationals (‘registro central de extranjeros’) and with your local town hall (‘padrón municipal’). Children must also be registered on both systems.

UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021

On 6 July 2020, the Spanish government introduced a new residence document for UK nationals living in Spain who have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement - the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This biometric card explicitly states that it has been issued to the holder under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

All UK nationals legally resident in Spain before 31 December 2020 have the right to request this card.

UK nationals who register as resident after 6 July 2020

If you register as resident after 6 July 2020 and are living in Spain before 1 January 2021, you must follow a 2-step process to obtain your TIE. If you meet the requirements and your application is approved you will be issued with the TIE. Children must also be registered and obtain their own TIE.

Read the Spanish government’s residency Q&A for further information on the residency process.

Step 1: Submit your residence application

You must submit your residence application to the immigration office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in the province where you live.

You can do this electronically (if you have a digital signature ‘firma digital’), in person by appointment at the immigration office or via a third party representative who can submit your application, electronically or in person, on your behalf.

You will need to provide the following documentation:

  • application form EX20
  • passport
  • documentation which demonstrates your residence in Spain before 31 December 2020
  • documentation which demonstrates you meet the EU residence criteria on income and healthcare

Make sure you read the specific instructions provided when submitting your application online or when booking an appointment, on any additional documentation required in your province.

If you submit your application in person, many immigration offices will also require you to provide photocopies of official documents such as your passport at your appointment.

Submitting your application electronically

You can submit your residency application and supporting documents using the Spanish administration’s online platform (Sede electronica) as long as you have a digital signature:

  • enter the online portal
  • click ‘continuar nueva solicitud’
  • choose ‘EX-20 - Documento de residencia Artículo 50 TUE para nacionales del Reino Unido (emitido de conformidad con el artículo 18.4 del Acuerdo de retirada)’

Submitting your application in person

To submit your application and documents in person, you must first request an appointment at the immigration office. In many provinces you must do this online via the public administration website:

  • choose your province
  • select ‘trámites oficinas de extranjería’ (if this option is available)
  • choose the option ‘Trámite para la documentación de nacionales de Reino Unido (Brexit)’

In some regions this last option is not available and first time applicants must contact the immigration office by telephone or by email. For example, in:

If you are not sure how to request an appointment, contact the immigration office in your province.

Step 2: Apply for your TIE

Once your residency application has been approved by the immigration office you will need to obtain the TIE from the national police.

You must apply for an appointment online.

  • choose your province
  • then ‘trámites cuerpo nacional de policía’ (if this option is available)
  • then ‘Policía Exp tarjeta asociada al Acuerdo de retirada ciudadanos británicos y sus familiares’

You must attend this appointment at the police station in person with the following documentation:

  • application form EX23
  • passport
  • proof you have paid the fee (via form ‘modelo 790, code 012’ – choose option ‘certificado de registro de residente comunitario’)
  • photograph (you must ensure this meets the Spanish administration’s requirements)

Many police stations will also require you to provide photocopies of official documents such as your passport at your appointment.

You will need to return to the police station with your valid passport to collect the TIE once it is ready.

Read the Spanish government’s residency Q&A for full details of the application process and documentation required.

UK nationals who registered before 6 July 2020

If you registered for residency before 6 July 2020 and have a green paper residence certificate, you do not need to take action. Your green certificate (A4 or credit card-sized) will remain valid proof of your residence and of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement after 31 December 2020.

You may exchange it for the new TIE if you want to. The Spanish government advises the TIE is more durable and may simplify some administrative processes. If you want to exchange your green paper certificate for the TIE there is no deadline for doing so. The process will not change from 1 January 2021.

To start the process you must apply for an appointment online.

  • select your province
  • then ‘trámites cuerpo nacional de policía’ (if this option is available)
  • then ‘Policía Exp tarjeta asociada al Acuerdo de retirada ciudadanos británicos y sus familiares’

You must attend this appointment at the police station in person with the following documentation:

  • application form EX23
  • passport
  • proof you have paid the fee (via form ‘modelo 790, code 012’ – choose option ‘certificado de registro de residente comunitario’)
  • photograph (you must ensure this meets the Spanish administration’s requirements)

Many police stations will also require you to provide photocopies of official documents such as your passport at your appointment.

You will need to return to the police station with your valid passport to collect the TIE once it is ready.

Read the Spanish government’s residency Q&A for full details of the application process and documentation required.

Validity and renewal of residence documents

If you apply for the TIE and have been resident in Spain for less than 5 years, you will be issued with a temporary TIE, valid for 5 years. You can apply for a permanent TIE as soon as you reach 5 years total legal residence in Spain. You do not have to wait until the original card has expired.

If you apply for the TIE and have been resident in Spain for more than 5 years, you will be issued with a permanent TIE, valid for 10 years.

You must renew your TIE card if it is about to expire. You must do so in the month before or within 3 months after its expiry date.

Read the Spanish government’s residency Q&A for full details of the application process and documentation required.

UK nationals moving to Spain from 1 January 2021

If you move to Spain from 1 January 2021 onwards, different immigration requirements will apply. This page will be updated when further information is available.

Register on the padrón

If you live in Spain you must register on the padrón municipal. This is a list kept by the town hall of all the people who live in that town.

You must register at the address where you normally live. You cannot be registered on the padrón (‘empadronado’) at more than one address.

You do not need to own a property to register, you can still register if you are renting or live with others.

Registering on the padrón municipal where you live is not the same as registering as a resident in Spain, which is a separate national register called the Registro Central de Extranjeros. See the ‘UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021’ section of this page.

How to register on the padrón municipal

Padrón registries are managed by municipal authorities and town halls across Spain. The registration process may vary between regions. You may have to:

  • request an appointment online (cita previa) to register in person
  • submit your application online

Ask at your town hall or consult their website for information on the process to follow in your area.

You register on the padrón by filling in the form provided by your town hall (solicitud de alta). This form may be available to download on your town hall’s website.

Documents for the padrón

When applying in person or online, you will need to present your valid passport as official identification, as well as documentation which shows you live at the stated address such as:

  • your NIE (numero de identidad de extranjero) or residence certificate / card
  • the deeds to your house or a copy of your rental contract
  • a recent utility bill in your name or proof of payment of municipal taxes

Your town hall will issue you with a certificate confirming your registration (certificado de empadronamiento). You may have to return to collect your certificate, but the authorities will complete your registration on the same day.

Some town halls may charge a small fee (for example, the fee in Palma de Mallorca is 1.20 euros).

Benefits of padrón registration

By registering you can:

  • access public services and discounts
  • access income-related benefits and social care
  • receive a reduction in taxes
  • get discounted travel if you are resident on a Spanish island
  • vote in local elections
  • register for local healthcare
  • enrol children in school
  • register a car with a Spanish number plate

Keeping your padrón up to date and de-registering

If you move house within the same municipality, you should request an appointment with your local town hall and update your details by requesting ‘cambio de domicilio’.

If you move to a different municipality, you must register (‘alta’) at your new address but you do not need to de-register from your old address (‘baja’) as it will be processed automatically by your new local authority.

If you decide to leave Spain, you should de-register by requesting ‘Baja por residencia’. Please refer to your local town for further information regarding de-registering procedures.

How to request a duplicate copy of your padrón certificate

Once registered, you may find that you need to present a duplicate copy of your padrón certificate issued within the last 3 months when carrying out administrative processes in Spain. It is a requirement at some Extranjeria offices when registering as a resident. It may also be required at civil registries, social services, local education authorities etc.

There are many ways to request a duplicate padrón certificate:

  • in person at your local town hall
  • by completing an online form (if available on your town hall’s website) and requesting the certificate be sent by post to your registered address
  • instantly online, if you have some form of official digital ID such as a certificado digitalor by using the Cl@ve app.

You should check with your local authority for information on the options available to you.

Padrón status checks

You must confirm your padrón status every 2 or 5 years in order to remain registered.

If you have a green paper residence certificate (A4 or credit card-sized) or the TIE, your town hall will contact you every 5 years from the date you register to confirm that you still live in the town and wish to remain on the padrón.

If you don’t have a green paper residence certificate (A4 or credit card-sized) or the TIE, your town hall will contact you every 2 years. Your town hall will remove you from the padrón register if they are unable to confirm you still live in the town.

You can check with your town hall that you remain on the padrón register at any time.

Published 27 March 2013
Last updated 11 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include additional information on the registration processes UK nationals living in Spain must complete.

  2. Updated information on how UK nationals should register as a resident in Spain.

  3. Guidance added to 'Registering as a resident' section about navigating the Oficina de Extranjeros online appointment booking system. Users should select the province where they live and the option “Certificados UE”.

  4. Updated July 2018

  5. updated July 2018

  6. Updated March 2018

  7. First published.