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Brexit: How to register as an EU resident in Spain

Brexit: How to register as an EU resident in Spain
Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash
There is one thing that Brits living in Spain need to make sure they are in the best position ahead of Brexit and the end of the transition period - currently set for December 31st, 2020 - when new rules will come into force.
In order to make sure that, whatever happens, you are in the best place to secure your rights, Brits in Spain need to ensure that they are indeed a legal resident.

All EU/EEA nationals staying in Spain longer than three months should have the residence certificate called Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión (also known as Certificado de Registro Comunitario). 

Around 350,000 Brits are officially registered as living in Spain but estimates suggest there could be as many as 500.000 to 700,000 people who should be registered but aren't.

For those Brits in Spain who have not yet registered and those who will arrive after the 31st January, there is a transition period where it will still be possible to register as a resident under the current EU rules.

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Just to be clear, having a NIE .(Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is not a guarantee that you are registered as a resident. This identification number in Spain for everyone who is not a Spanish citizen and can be issued to those who have bought property but don't necessarily live here.

It is also not the same as being registered on the Padron – which is when you register at your local town hall.

If you don't have either of the two documents above then you are NOT registered as a resident in Spain.

“Please make sure you are registered correctly and that means that you should have either an A4 size green piece of paper or a small credit card size piece of green paper,” explained Sarah-Jane Morris, the Consul General.

“Both of which will say that you are registered with the central register of citizens here in Spain,” she said during a recent Q and A session on the FCO’s Brits in Spain Facebook page.

“If you don’t have one of those then make an appointment ASAP with your local foreigners office (Extranjeria) or if there isn’t one then your local National Police station.”

So, if you have only been here three months, or just never got around to officially registering, here’s the step by step guide to doing it.

READ MORE:  Can Brits still move to Spain after Brexit day?

Make an appointment

Securing a ‘cita previa’ – private appointment – is notoriously difficult and can require dozens of attempts as they are only released a certain number of weeks in advance and there is currently quite a backlog.

INSIDER TIP: Many of the appointments are block booked by Gestors so if you are willing to pay, you can bypass the process and employ someone to do it for you. You do not need to be there in person.

But if you do decide to do it yourself appointments are only available between 8.30am and 2pm and can be made HERE.

– Select your province and click ACCEPTAR and then choose: POLICIA-CERTIFICADOS UE  from the drop down menu.

– You will now see a list in Spanish of documents you need to take with you. This is just for information purposes so scroll down to the end and click on the red ENTRAR button to ask for an appointment.

– On the next page under ‘Tipo de documento’, and select the passport option and enter your passport number and name very carefully to match your passport.

– You will be asked to quickly “prove you are not a robot”, by clicking on some random photos of some items. If your Spanish isn’t good then have a dictionary read to follow the short instructions. There is no rush as you get as many chances as you need to get it right.

– Now press the red SOLICITAR CITA (Request appointment) button at the base.

– A drop-down menu of local National Police stations and their addresses in your province should appear. Choose the one closest to you and then click on the red button that says “Siguiente” (Next).

– You should now enter a phone number and a valid email address twice (to check it is correct). They recommend not to use Hotmail as emails may not arrive. Click on “Siguiente” again.

– Choose the date and time you want.

– Click on “Siguiente” and also Accept (if your browser asks you to).

– The next screen is a summary of what you are reserving. At the end tick the two boxes that say:-

Estoy conforme con la información mostrada en pantalla – I agree with the information on screen.

Deseo recibir un correo electrónico con los datos de mi cita en la dirección que he proporcionado. I wish an email with the appointment information to be sent to me.

INSIDER TIP: Avoid using Hotmail addresses as these can often get lost somehow. Also check your spam mail box. But you don’t need this email confirmation to get through the door. Just makes sure to write down the details and reference number before you close your browser.


A view of the Extranjeria in Jaen. Photo by TrevorHuxham/Flickr 

UPDATE: In the run-up to Brexit becuase so many Brits were applying for residency the Spanish authorities boosted the number of appointments available and in some police stations and foreigners office have dedicated appointment slots specifically for Brits. 

Choose POLICIA-CERTIFICADOS UE (EXCLUSIVAMENTE PARA REINO UNIDO) in the drop down menu for appointments. 

What do I need to apply for residency?

– You will need to fill out the application form called EX 20 (previously EX 18) DOWNLOAD HERE

– You need to show a work contract or show you have enough money in your bank account so you won’t be asking social aids upon your arrival and that you have health care. (More on both later)

– Present the original and a copy of this form and the original and a copy of your ID document (passport for Brits);

INSIDER TIP: Always have two photocopies of each required document, just in case!

– You will need one passport photograph (take two just in case). 

– You need to pay the application fee (approx €12) at a bank (any bank, it doesn’t have to be your own bank) before you go to the police station/ extranjeria. To do so fill out form 790-012) Get it here and print it off. The bank will stamp the form as proof of payment

– In some places your registration on the padron has also been demanded and the certificate issued within the last three months, but this isn't always the case.

REMEMBER: Requirements can change from station to station (and even person to person at the station) so always take all paperwork conceivable – just in case!

What do I need to prove?

In order to become a legal resident you have to have lived in Spain for more than three months and depending on your circumstances here, you will need to provide:

– A work contract OR if self-employed  then evidence to the effect that you are self-employed. Registration on the Economic Activities List “Censo de Actividades Económicos” or proof of their establishment by means of registration in the Mercantile Registry “Registro Mercantil”.

For those who are do not work in Spain you must produce documentation to show:

– Public or private health insurance contracted in Spain or in another country, provided that it ensures cover in Spain during their period of residence.

Pensioners will be considered to meet this condition if they can prove, by means of the corresponding certificate (S1), that they are entitled to health care paid for by the State from which they receive their pension.

– You must also prove you have sufficient resources, for yourself and any family members, not to become a burden on Spain’s social assistance system during their period of residence. Proof of the possession of sufficient resources, whether from regular income, including work income, pension or income of another kind, or from ownership of assets, will be given by any legally admissible evidence, such as property deeds or a bank certificate.

If you are a UK pensioner and get pension money paid into a Spanish bank account, a bank certificate is enough. Otherwise you will have to get a letter from the UK pensions office and have it translated by an official legal translator.

Further Information:

Guidelines (in Spanish) can be found  on Spain's government website HERE

FCO website 'Living in Spain' HERE and their Facebook page HERE

Spanish government dedicated Brexit information page HERE

List of provincial Extranjerias – foreigner offices – HERE 

READ ALSO: How to exchanging your British driving licence for a Spanish one 


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