For members


El Padrón: Your need-to-know guide about registering with the town hall

Along with the NIE, registering on ‘el padrón’ is one of the first things you will need to do when you arrive in Spain as you will be asked to provide the certificate for a whole host of bureaucratic matters.

El Padrón: Your need-to-know guide about registering with the town hall
Photo: ppl1958/Depositphotos

What is El Padrón?

It is Spain’s population register and details who lives where within which municipality.  Registration provides proof of residence in the municipality.

And it also helps the local council calculate how many people live in their jurisdiction so that services (doctors, police, etc) can be provided.  Funds are distributed by the government to the regions and municipalities depending size of population so it matters that you are counted.

The register also serves as an electoral roll and although as a foreigner you won’t be entitled to vote in National or Regional elections, you will have a vote in municipal and European elections.

The certificate for the padrón in Spanish is called ‘certificado de empadrónamiento’.

Who must register?

Anyone who resides in Spain should be registered on the padrón whether you have an NIE or residence certificate or not.  If you live in several places – or have several properties – you should only register in your primary residence: the one where you spend the most time.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the NIE number



Well apart from reasons of census and voting as explained above you will need to present an up-to-date padrón certificate for the following:

  • To register for local healthcare
  • To access public services and discounts
  • To access income-related benefits and social care
  • For a pensioners card
  • For a reduction in taxes
  • For discounted travel for residents on Spanish islands
  • To enrol children in school
  • To register a car with a Spanish number plate

As proof of residence

In some circumstances when you are required to prove your place of residence, a utility bill / letter from the bank is all that is required. But not always. Sometimes you must present the padrón certificate. Sometimes it needs to be one that has been issued within the last three months, in which case you will have get a new one issued.

How to get a padrón certificate

You will need to make a “cita previa” – appointment –  at the town hall or council office that deals with empadrónamiento. To do this chose ‘cita previa’ your local ayuntamiento webpage.

Of course, when navigating Spanish bureaucracy be prepared for different offices issuing different requirements – or even different workers in the same office diverging on what exactly is needed. It doesn’t hurt to go in advance and ask exactly what it required.

However, as a rule this is what you will need:

  • Passport
  • Property deeds (if you own the property)
  • Or Rental contract (if you are renting)
  • A recent utility bill in your name
  • If you have your residence certificate then take it, if you are waiting for padrón to get residence certificate then explain that and take appointment confirmation with you. You may need to come back within three months to confirm and give your NIE.

TIP: Take originals and at least one photocopy of each document.

Print off at home

Once you are registered you can request a new certificate to be email so you can print off at home. But this isn’t a service that is available everywhere. CHECK HERE

What El Padrón is not:

It cannot be used as a form of ID (although will be required alongside ID for multiple things)

It should not be confused with your residency certificate. (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE)

You do NOT need to keep it on you at all times or keep it your vehicle

Do I have to renew?

Not exactly, once you are registered you stay registered and only have to renew when the town hall asks you to (by sending you a letter). Usually this is every two years if you haven’t requested a certificate and every five years if you have.

If the town hall contacts you and you fail to respond then you will be removed from the padrón.

When you move house you will need to reregister with  your new address.

You can check with your town hall to check your padrón register at any time.

More information: 

  • To check your local ayuntamiento webpage find it HERE
  • Ask an expert: David Ruiz at Torrevieja Translations has written books about navigating the bureacracy in Spain and offers a service to guide you through the process.

If you have been through the process, then let us now how the experience was and whether you can offer any tips to those planning on doing it soon. Leave a comment below or email [email protected]

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For members


New rules and laws: Everything that changes in Spain in July 2021

As the month of July kicks off in Spain, we take a close look at all the important changes that come with it, from vaccines to entry requirements, new VAT charges, car devices and more.

New rules and laws: Everything that changes in Spain in July 2021
Photos: Help Flash/AFP

Delta variant expected to become dominant in Spain 

Spanish researchers and public health officials believe the Delta variant of coronavirus, first identified in India, will become the dominant Covid-19 strain in Spain over the course of July.

On June 24th, the Delta variant accounted for four percent of the cases detected in Spain, three points more than the previous week.

In Catalonia, at least 20 percent of new cases are due to the Delta variant, the region’s health official Josep Maria Argimon told reporters at a press conference on June 17th, adding that it would be “predominant” in two to four weeks.

The Health Ministry has so far only officially recorded 62 cases of the Delta variant in Spain, but several regions have reported many more cases than this. Galicia has reported 25 Delta variant infections, while Castilla y León are investigating 83 possible cases. 

The variant has also been found in Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, the Valencian Community, Extremadura, Murcia, Navarra, La Rioja, Ceuta and Melilla.

READ MORE: How much is the Delta variant spreading in Spain?

Vaccines for thirty-somethings

In July, Spain’s vaccination campaign will focus largely on getting people in the 30 to 39 age group their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Many Spanish regions have already started inoculating those aged 35 to 39 towards the end of June, whilst Madrid has decided it will start allowing thirty somethings to book their vaccine appointments in July.

Administering second doses to those in their forties, fifties and sixties will also be a priority, especially for the latter group as only around 30 percent of the 60 to 69 age group have completed their vaccination treatment (roughly half that of people in their fifties). 

That’s in large part because the AstraZeneca vaccine has been reserved for this group and delivery delays and side-effect investigations have hampered its distribution. As a result, Spain’s Health Ministry has brought forward their second dose by two weeks. 

As of June 29th, 16 million people (35 percent of the population) have received their full vaccination treatment and more than half of the population (52 percent, 24.7 million people) have at least one dose.

To read all the latest vaccine news from Spain, visit The Local Spain’s Covid-19 section

Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP

New travel entry requirements 

July 1st marks the start of the requirement for British travellers to Spain to show proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on Monday June 28th with regards only to the Balearic Islands, but it has been widely reported that the requirement will apply to travel to all Spanish regions, to be confirmed in an official government bulletin on Tuesday. 

Conversely, Spain added the United States to the list of third countries that are exempt from presenting negative tests or vaccination certificates, meaning American travellers will able to visit Spain more easily during the month of July. 

To read all the latest travel news and information relating to Spain, visit The Local’s travel section

EU digital Covid pass launches

Still on the topic of travel, this digital ‘travel pass’ should make things a little easier if you’re venturing out of the country. 

The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate, as it’s officially known, launches across the bloc on July 1st, although Spain’s regions have made it available to their residents in June. 

In theory, people travelling from Spain to another EU/EEA country will be able to use their vaccination, testing or recovery certificates to get a QR code which allows for quicker and hassle-free travel in Europe. 


How to get a Digital Covid Certificate for travel from Spain to the EU

New VAT rules for imported goods

Imported goods with a value of €22 or less used to be exempt from tax, but this condition will be scrapped on July 1st across the EU. 

This means all goods arriving into Spain and other EU countries from non-EU countries will be subject to VAT, regardless of their value.

This EU-wide regulation will particularly affect businesses that import goods from outside of the bloc and people who shop online on international websites such as China’s AliExpress. 

If the goods cost more than €150 (not including transport, insurance and handling charges) you will also have to pay customs duty.

If businesses don’t register with the The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS), the VAT will be paid by the customer when importing the goods into the EU. 

Postal or courier companies may charge the customer an additional clearance fee to collect this VAT and carry out the necessary procedures when importing the goods.

New device for cars in Spain

Back in January we reported how the warning triangles drivers in Spain have to carry in their cars in case of a breakdown are being phased out and replaced with these new emergency lights.

As of July 1st, drivers in Spain can use these DGT-approved V-16 emergency lights (luces de emergencia) instead of the warning triangles, although it won’t be obligatory to do so until 2026. 

Photo: Osram

VAT drop for electricity

The Spanish government’s bill to reduce the VAT on electricity from 21 to 10 percent in light of opposition to historically high rates comes into effect on July 1st.  

Last month we also reported how Spain’s main electricity access rates, the regulation costs of electricity which customers pay for, will no longer be frozen as they have been since 2018. 

The changes to the electricity rates means it has become more expensive to use electricity in the first part of the day from 10am – 2pm and in the evenings from 6pm – 10pm from Monday to Friday. The average times are between 8am – 10am, 2pm – 6pm and 10pm – midnight. 

READ ALSO: Spain’s new electricity rates for 2021 -the tricks to help you save up to €300 a year

July kicks off with a heatwave 

As is customary during the summer, July will bring suffocating heat to mainland Spain, with the mercury expected to hit 35 C in many areas. 

It hasn’t been a particularly scorching month of June in Spain but July is forecast to start with temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees higher than normal from Friday, the first heatwave of the year. 

That means that in parts of Andalusia and Murcia the temperature in the first weekend of July could be above 40 C. 

Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Ten single-use plastics officially banned

As of July 3rd, changes to the Packaging Act will come into force. 

Manufacturers will not be allowed to produce food and beverage containers made of Styrofoam from July. Furthermore cutlery, cosmetic cotton swabs, balloon sticks, stirrers, plates, bowls and drinking straws will also no longer be made from plastic.

If retailers and restaurants have remaining stocks, they can continue to hand them out so that they do not end up unused in the rubbish bin.

According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70 percent of the waste that pours into oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.

Money for staycations 

Twelve autonomous communities in Spain are offering their residents – and in some cases people from other parts of Spain-  holiday vouchers worth hundreds of euros as an incentive for them to spend their summer holidays in their part of the country.

These offers are available for the month of July, so if you want to find out more click on the link below. 

TRAVEL: Which regions in Spain are paying residents to go on staycations?