Learning Spanish For Members

The vocab you'll need when applying for Spanish residency

The Local Spain
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The vocab you'll need when applying for Spanish residency
There are a lot of technical terms used when applying for Spanish residency, so this quick Spanish language guide should come in handy. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

If you've had your visa approved and you've newly arrived in Spain, you'll need to apply for your Spanish residency. As your Spanish language skills may not be up to scratch yet, you'll need some help in knowing what all the terms mean.


When you first arrive in Spain and you're applying for your Spanish residency card, such as your TIE, there are lots of words you'll have to get to know quickly.

Official forms in Spain are almost always in the local language and your appointments at foreigners' offices and local police stations will also most likely be in Spanish. It's rare that someone will speak in English (or another language) or translate for you, even in big cities like Barcelona or Madrid. 

To help you out, here is a list of words you'll need to familiarise yourself with. It's likely you'll hear many of these words often throughout your time living in Spain, so it's important to know what they all mean. 

Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero – Better known as the TIE, this is the foreigner ID card for non-EU nationals.

READ ALSO - GUIDE: How foreigners can apply for their TIE residency card in Spain

Residencia temporal Temporary residency, in other words the initial residency period for non-EU applicants which can run from a period longer than 90 days but shorter than five years.

Residencia de larga duración – Long-term residency (you can get this after you have lived in Spain continuously for five years). It's also referred to as residencia permanente although it is not technically permanent. 

Cita previa – Prior appointment (you will need an appointment for almost all residency processes you have to do in person).

READ ALSO: How to get a 'cita previa' (appointment) in Spain when it seems impossible

Oficina de Extranjeros/ Extranjería – Foreigners’ office (this is where you’ll go to apply for your TIE once you have been approved for your visa and have arrived in Spain).


Comisaría de la Policía Nacional – National police station (in some regions you will go to your local police station to apply for residency instead).

Modelo – Form (you will most likely need to complete several different official forms when you apply for your residency, like the EX-17). The word formulario is also used.

Solicitud / solicitarApplication or to apply (you will need to apply for residency when you arrive in Spain).

Extranjero/a – Foreigner (adding an 'o' or an 'a' at the end depends on whether you’re male or female).

Sede electrónica – Electronic office (you can apply for many residency processes online and send them digitally using your digital certificate or cl@ve). 

Residencia – Residency


Visado – Visa

Visado para residencia no lucrativa – Non lucrative visa

READ ALSO: What are the pros and cons of Spain's non-lucrative visa?

Visado de inversor – Investor visa, better known as the golden visa in English.

Visado de trabajo – work visa

Visado de residencia por teletrabajo - Remote worker visa, more commonly known as the digital nomad visa. 

Trabajar por cuenta propia o ajena – Working for yourself (self-employed) or working for someone else (employed). You can get different visas for each.

Huellas digitales – Digital fingerprints (when you are applying for your TIE, the authorities will take a digital copy of your fingerprints).

Número de Identidad de Extranjero – Better known as the NIE this is your Foreign Identification number. (It can be found on your TIE card).

Autorización/permiso de residencia – Residence authorisation or permit. 

Certificado de registro de ciudadano de la Unión Europea - the green residency certificate issued to EU nationals residing in Spain. Britons who were officially residing in Spain before Brexit can exchange this document for their Withdrawal Agreement TIE.

Renovación – Renewal (you will need to renew your residency card once it has expired).

READ ALSO: What happens if I don't renew my TIE residency card in Spain?

Tasa – Rate or fee. (When you fill out your residency application, you’ll also have to pay a fee and fill out another form to do so).


Estado Civil – Marital Status (you’ll need to state your marital status on your application form).

Cónyuge – Spouse

Titular – Title or titleholder (your title or the title holder of the bank account or similar).

Apellidos – Last names or surnames (you'll need to know this to fill out all your residency forms). 

Fecha de nacimiento – Date of birth (this will also be asked on all your official residency forms). 

Padrón – A padrón certificate is official proof of address that you get from your local Town Hall. You will often need to show this when applying for your residency.

READ ALSO - Padrón: 16 things you should know about Spain's town hall registration

Extra comunitario – Non-EU national, no comunitario is also used. (people who need to apply for TIE card will be from outside the EU).

Ingresos – Income. (You will need to show proof of your income for most of the residency visas for Spain).



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