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Reader question: How do I officially give up my Spanish residency?

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Reader question: How do I officially give up my Spanish residency?
These are the steps to follow when renouncing your Spanish residency. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

If you're leaving Spain for good or for a long period of time, then you will need to make sure that you deregister before you leave, essentially giving up or renouncing your Spanish residency. Here's how to do it.


There are several reasons you will want to make sure you renounce your Spanish residency when you leave, rather than just simply leaving.

The most common one is so that you can prove that you're no longer resident in Spain for tax purposes. 


How do I go about renouncing my residency? 

In order to renounce your residency, you will need to go back to the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería where you first originally registered or received your residency documents. Remember that in some regions or cities, you will need to make a 'cita previa' or prior appointment in order to visit, and sometimes this can take several months to get.

You will need to take your residency documents such as your green residency card featuring your NIE or your TIE along with your passport.

If you are an EU citizen and have a green residency document, you will need to complete the modelo EX-18 or EX-18 form and check the box that says ‘Baja por cese’. The form then gives you space to state the reason why you are leaving.

In the case of non-EU citizens, you only have to renounce your residency if you have permanent residency or you’re leaving before the date that your residency or visa will expire. In this case, you should take the above documents to the Oficina de Extranjería, where they will give you the necessary forms to complete.

They will ensure that you don't have any outstanding taxes, fees or fines to pay before cancelling your residency. 

When you give up your residency, you will be issued with a stamped document detailing the date when you renounced your residency and the reason for it. This is proof that you are no longer resident in Spain, should you ever need to show it to anyone.

The authorities will keep and destroy your residency documents so that they are no longer in your possession and will no longer be valid. 

Remember, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country such as the UK or the US, you cannot simply undo this process if you change your mind. It will mean starting from scratch and applying for your visa all over again, if you're eligible. 

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Are there any other places I have to de-register from?

Although you have officially renounced your residency after going to the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería, there are still a few other things you need to do.

The first is to go to your Ayuntamiento or Town Hall and inform them that you want to de-register from the padrón, this will ensure that you will no longer be listed as living at your address.

READ ALSO - Empadronamiento in Spain: What is it and how do I apply?

You must also remember to inform your bank of your plans to move. You can either decide to close your account or change your account from a resident one to a non-resident one, if you will still have financial obligations in the country. Showing them the certificate you received at the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería should suffice in being able to change your account. 

This step is important because if you simply just withdraw your money and leave, you may still incur charges if it’s not closed properly.


What are my tax obligations after leaving Spain?

If you renounce your Spanish residency and move to another country, it's most likely that you will not be a tax resident in Spain anymore. However, you may still need to present one more tax return in the year after you leave as taxes are presented retrospectively. 

If you still own a property in Spain, you will need to complete a non-resident tax declaration form every year. You will also need to pay tax on earnings from any rent you receive. 



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