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EXPLAINED: Everything you have to update when you change address in Spain

Whether it’s getting new official documents, calling up or going online to register a change on the system, moving home within Spain involves quite a bit of paperwork you should know about. 

processes when you change address in Spain
What are all the processes you have to carry out when you change address in Spain? Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP


If you’re already based in Spain, you’ll be familiar with the town hall registration process called empadronamiento in Spanish. 

Even if you’re moving home within the same city or town, you should update your padrón document as they need to have a record of where you live for a number of official processes.

Padrón: 16 things you should know about Spain’s town hall registration

Residency document 

Spain’s Immigration Department does not state that changing an address is a justifiable reason for updating a residency document, whether it’s a green residency certificate or a biometric TIE card. 

However, some extranjería offices or police stations will say that this is necessary to get a new document. 

What is for certain is that foreign residents in Spain, whether EU or non-EU residents, should at least notify police of their change of address by getting an appointment at their local immigration office. 

In the case of Spanish IDs (DNI) and passports, it’s not mandatory to change the documents but it is recommended and free of cost. 


Driving licence 

Even though Spanish driving licences don’t usually include the driver’s address, anyone who moves home in Spain should update their details at the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT).

That’s because the DGT needs the correct address to send you fines and other important notifications relating to deadlines, changes etc. 

You’ll also have to change your vehicle’s address as this determines how much you have to start paying in driving tax (Impuesto de Circulación) in your new town or city, and as a resident you may gain some advantages in terms of parking in the street. 

The process is free of charge and you will need to show a rental contract, padrón or similar document to prove the change of address. 

It’s one of a number of driving processes that can be done online. 

READ MORE: 23 official driving matters you can do online in Spain


Unless you want strangers to have access to any post you receive from your Spanish bank, it’s advisable to update your details at your closest bank branch and change your postal address.

READ ALSO: What are the main reasons bank accounts get blocked in Spain?

Social security and tax

In order to be assigned a doctor at the health centre closest to your new home, you’ll have to update your social security details either in their offices or online. 

If you change regions within Spain, this will also involve applying for a health card for your new autonomous community. 

Changing your fiscal address is just as important, especially if you relocate to a different autonomous community in Spain as each one has its own tax conditions. 

But even if you don’t move to another region with different fiscal requirements and just move to another part of your city or province, you should technically make sure to change your fiscal address as Spain’s tax agency needs to have an updated address to which to send you notifications by post. 

This applies to contracted workers and in particular self-employed workers, as they are entirely responsible for handling their own fiscal matters.

READ MORE: How do I change my tax address in Spain and when is it illegal?

Bills and subscriptions

If you don’t want to pay the water and electricity of the person that moves into your former home, you should make sure you let your suppliers know that you’re no longer renting or owning the property in question, and that direct debits should be paid by the landlord, new tenant or new owner. 

You’ll also have to do the same with your internet. Depending on your new home’s existing installation, you may be able to simply let your existing provider know without the need to cancel your subscription or for a new technician to be sent over, but first you should check how good their coverage is in your new neighbourhood. 

If you have property insurance you will have to update your address too and provide extra information such as the size of your new home.

Don’t forget either about changing your postal address for Amazon and similar online services. 

TIP: The government’s cambio de domicilio (change of address) website is extremely handy as once you update your new address it will send this to a number of Spain’s public administrations, such as the DGT traffic authorities, the social security department and the Agencia Tributaria tax agency. 


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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.