For members


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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For members


EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain

Spain’s cannabis clubs are appealing for many foreign residents and tourists, but there are many misconceptions about them. Are they really legal? How do you find and join them? Here’s everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain

In the past, Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops attracted cannabis users from across the world.

But a recent crackdown in the Dutch capital has led many to search for new places to enjoy a smoke and some weed-themed tourism.

In the last few years, Spain has emerged as another destination for travelling ‘stoners’, as well as a place where foreign residents can indulge without fear of ending up in jail.

The existence of cannabis clubs, or rather, associations – asociaciones cannábicas as they’re known in Spanish – is a draw for many, although they are often as misunderstood as the law on cannabis in Spain more broadly.

These aren’t simply shops that sell cannabis, or bars you can stroll up to and buy a joint from.

Rather, they are highly regulated, often secretive places that exist in a legal grey area. If you are interested in visiting one, whether on holiday or if you already live in Spain, there’s some rules you should know about.

The Local has broken down everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain.

The law

First things first, what’s the law on cannabis in Spain in a broad sense? 

Although there is some confusion among tourists, cannabis use in Spain is not legalised but decriminalised.

It is not illegal to smoke weed in your own home, or in other private property such as an association.

Attitudes to personal consumption are relatively lax in Spain, generally speaking, given that it is done on private property.

READ ALSO: What’s the law on cannabis in Spain?

Simply put: Spanish weed laws make the distinction between personal consumption in a public space and personal consumption in private.

Many foreigners don’t realise that it is illegal to smoke outdoors or in the street, as they may have seen locals or tourists smoking on a park bench, at a bar terrace or down at the beach. But this is illegal and, if you’re caught, punishable by fines. You’ll also have your stash seized by the police.

In fact, even possession in public is illegal. So, if you are stopped by the police for whatever reason and are carrying some cannabis with you, even if you’re not smoking it, you could be subject to a fine and will at the very least have your stash taken.

Cannabis clubs and associations

One legal loophole that exists in Spain is that of its famous ‘asociaciones cannábicas’. These are private member’s clubs where you can consume cannabis within the confines of the property.

Cannabis clubs are non-profit organisations created within the ‘right of association’ contained in Article 22 of the Spanish Constitution and the Organic Law 1/2002.

Cannabis clubs are usually set up to be like bars with music, and often have pool and foosball tables.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the legal ambiguity of these clubs, membership is not entirely risk-free and some are occasionally subject to seizure by police who try to exploit the legal grey area. 

In Catalonia – the capital of cannabis clubs in Spain, where 70 percent of Spain’s clubs are located – Catalonia’s Superior Court recently ruled against them.

A member of the Sibaratas Med Can Club rolling a joint in Mogán on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. Photo: DESIREE MARTIN/AFP

How to find them

As they exist in a sort of legal loophole, cannabis clubs are understandably low-key. You won’t see them advertised as you walk down the street, and often you won’t even find an address online.

In order to find one, you’ll need to do a bit of research. Search online for clubs in your area and you should find some listed. Some will have a phone number you can call, others just an email address, and you’ll need to make an appointment in order to visit. 

In terms of physically finding the clubs, some are particularly secretive and refuse to give out the address via email or over the phone. In some cases, you’ll be given the name of a street and sent the exact address or building once you’ve arrived. The clubs can be discreet and hidden, so don’t expect a huge marijuana leaf or Bob Marley flag to guide you there.

READ ALSO: Pharmacies in Spain will be able to sell medical marijuana by the end of 2022

How to join

In order to join, often you’ll have to be introduced or referred by a current member. In some clubs, membership is by referral only, so if you’re just hoping to pop in on holiday it won’t be possible. Often these are the more local clubs for Spaniards and residents.

The clubs that do accept tourists will sometimes require you to make an appointment. Once you’ve found the place and arrived, you’ll need take the following documents to most clubs:

– Passport or ID

– Address (if you’re a tourist, the address of an AirBnB or friend’s house is often accepted, but not hotels)

– Membership fee (this depends on the club but is usually an annual fee of around €25 to €100)

It is worth noting that this membership fee, legally speaking, is not to pay for cannabis, but rather for your membership of the association and right to be a member – socio in Spanish.

How does it work?

So, you’re registered and now a socio. How does it work?

Cannabis clubs operate somewhat similarly to coffee shops in Amsterdam, or dispensaries in the United States, in that you enter and there’s staff working who can explain and recommend the different strains, types, and prices on offer.

You are then free to relax and smoke in the club, and make use of whatever facilities this club has. Most have a bar, TV screens, some of have pool tables and games consoles.


A cannabis club worker displays different varieties of marijuana that she sells. (Photo by ROBYN BECK / AFP)

The rules

Often the rules depend on each individual club. 

Generally speaking, the rules are as follows:

  • Photos aren’t allowed.
  • Guests are allowed, but usually have to be signed in with photo ID, and members have limits on how many and how often they can bring non-member guests.
  • No underage guests.
  • Limits on how much you can take from the dispensary (daily/weekly/monthly).
  • You can’t take your cannabis with you when you leave, technically speaking (more on that below).

Leaving the premises 

Now, here’s where things can get a little complicated. Remember the law on cannabis in Spain? Legal to smoke in private, but illegal to smoke (or even have on your person) in public?

Often when you join a club, the staff will tell you that you can only smoke your cannabis in the club and that you mustn’t take it outside the premises. Some are a little more relaxed, and say if you want to do that it is your decision – meaning basically that you’re on your own once you have left.

That means that, thanks to quirks of the Spanish legal system, you can legally smoke cannabis inside the association and in your own home, but walking between the two places with cannabis (possession alone, not smoking) is illegal.

Does it make sense? Not entirely. Is it the law? Yes. Cannabis clubs exist to try and create safe, legal spaces for people to enjoy smoking cannabis together, so it is recommended you use your discretion not to attract attention to the club or cause undue legal problems for it. 

Simply put, the moment you step foot outside the association with cannabis on your person you are breaking Spanish law and putting the association at risk. In Spain the founders of some clubs have even gone to prison.

Note, it has also been known that plain-clothes police officers at times hang around outside popular associations and stop people coming and going in order to fine them. In Spain, fines (multas) for cannabis possession in public can cost you up to €600.

In any case, weigh up your options depending on where you are in Spain, ask yourself how likely is it that you will be stopped by police on your way home, and consider carrying a bag or Tupperware in a rucksack which will make the smell of the cannabis you’ve bought less pungent and noticeable.