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Beat the queues: 25 official matters you can do online in Spain

The Local Spain
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Beat the queues: 25 official matters you can do online in Spain
Photo: Richard Mcall/pixabay

Spanish bureaucracy is notoriously slow and convoluted but there are an increasing number of official matters that can be carried out online now, saving time and headaches for foreigners.


Nothing is certain in life in Spain except death and citas previas (pre-made appointments).

Dealing with Spain’s public administration is without a doubt one of the downsides of daily life here for many foreigners (and for locals for that matter).

We’ve previously asked you, our readers, how you found undertaking official matters in Spain, and answers ranged from a flat-out “remarkably annoying”, to others calling it “not terrible” and the more pragmatic saying “it gets better”.


“They need to review so many issues that could be done much simpler,” argued Karen Williams at the time.

And while much still remains to be done to improve many official processes, there are more and more trámites that can be done online now in Spain.

Here we’ve collected as many of these digital procedures as we can in the hope that they can make your daily life in Spain that bit easier.


Get a padrón certificate online

Registering on ‘el padrón' at your local town hall 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.

You can find out more about the process here.

Whether you can do the process entirely online depends on where you live in Spain, with cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria setting up systems on their town hall websites which allow residents to submit their documents online to obtain a padrón.

Get a Cl@ve account to handle tax matters online

The Spanish government’s Cl@ve system is one of the tools you can use to fast-track and simplify processes by doing them online. You will need it to do a lot of the processes mentioned on this list.

Read more about it here in The Local’s guide.

Renew your digital certificate

Ironically, in order to get a digital certificate to be able to do most online processes available, you will have to go into one of your local public administrations in person.

However, once you’ve sorted this out, a lot of the official matters on this list will become available to you online, with a bit less hassle than through the Cl@ve system.

You will also be able to renew or update your digital certificates through Spain’s National Currency and Stamp Factory (FNMT) here.



Get an appointment at Spain’s immigration office

Popping into your local foreigners’ office in Spain to request an appointment is no longer possible, so save yourself the time and headache of dealing with a poker-faced civil servant by first booking a cita previa for the process you have to complete, here.

Pay extranjería fees

Fee 052 for residency registrations and fee 062 for work permits can be paid online rather than at the bank if you have a digital certificate.

Check status of extranjería process and send in extra documents

You can find out if Spanish immigration authorities have approved or denied your request or if it’s still being processed, here.

It’s also possible to electronically submit extra documents that you’ve asked for, here.

Renewing residency and work permits

A number of foreigners’ residency and work permit renewals can be done partially or entirely done online, whereas the first-time round will require more visits to the immigration office. You can find more information here.

However, since mid-December 2020, Spain’s immigration offices are allowing more first-time residency and work permits to be processed online as this list on the Spanish government’s website details.



Request a working life report from Spain’s Social Security

A working life report (informe de vida laboral) is a document that contains important information relating to the number of days a person has worked, how much they’ve paid into the country’s social security system and thus what benefits are available to them.

You can request it from Spain’s General Treasury of Social Security here.

Find out your social security number

If you’re ever asked for your Número de Seguridad Social-NUSS or Afiliación-NAF, you can get it online here and print out a form.

Apply for Spain’s minimum income

Spain’s most vulnerable households and families at risk of poverty can apply for the ‘ingreso mínimo vital’, or minimum vital income, here.

Request or renew your unemployment benefits

If you have a digital certificate or Cl@ve, you’ll be able to do both here.

Find out your contribution base

The contribution base is a reference salary for both salaried employees and self-employed workers that’s used as a base for calculating the pension and other benefits they’ll receive such as parental leave sick pay.

If you want to find out how much your contribution base you can access it here.

Find out if you’re registered with Spain’s social security and your employment status

You can find out how you’re classified in Spain’s social security and print out a form through this website.

Check the processing status of your ERTE

If you’ve been made temporarily unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis or otherwise you can check the status of your ERTE online as well as other pertinent information relating to your benefits.

Register for electronic notifications with Spain’s State Employment Service

If you want to get alerts and notifications from Spain’s SEPE you can do it here.



Check if you have traffic fines

If you suspect you’ve got a traffic fine or you want to double check the information you’ve received, you can do so through the Directorate General of Traffic’s website here.

Change how you receive notifications of traffic fines

Equally if you prefer to change how you receive the notification from SMS to in the post or vice versa, this is also an option through the website mentioned above.

Check how many points you have on your driving license

If you don't know how many points you have on your driving license, you can also check this on the DGT’s website.

Hand in documents to the DGT to exchange your foreign driving license

EU and EEA driving licences are valid in Spain but for foreigners from other countries, the chances are that you’ll have to exchange your home-country licence for a Spanish one. Fortunately, a lot of the process can be done online starting here.

For British nationals in Spain who have struggled to get an appointment for the exchange their licences before Brexit, there is more information here.



Find out a property’s land registry

You can find out a Spanish property’s cadastral reference, as well as other information such as its dimensions and when it was built, here.

Request a birth certificate

If you’ve just had a baby you’ll need to get a birth certificate from Spain’s Civil Registry as it will contain all the vital information about your newborn (name, place of birth, parents’ names) and you will also need it for other official matters.

Luckily this can also be requested online here.

Make an appointment with your local public doctor

You don’t have to go in person to the public hospital or call over the phone to request an appointment with your doctor in Spain.

Each region has its own website so our recommendation is to Google “cita previa medico” and then your region’s name and look for the website that starts with “sede”.


Request your digital certificate to be used on any browser:

It could because you prefer Safari over Chrome, or because you keeping getting redirected to different browsers, but having your digital certificate approved across the board can be very handy.

You can download the software here.

This Spanish website has more detailed information about the installation process.

Install your digital certificate on your mobile

If you’d rather handle official matters on your mobile or tablet, you can install your digital certificate on both Android and iOS.

It’s more complicated on Apple devices as this explainer in Spanish shows.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2021/01/15 19:42
This information alone is worth the price of subscribing! So happy I paid for membership. This is a legitimate review/comment.

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