How to apply for Spanish Residency

What is the Spanish residency permit?

Every citizen of the European Union and the UK who live in Spain for more than 3 months, is obliged to request a Spanish residency certificate to have both the tax rights and obligations of Spanish citizens. This Spanish residency is nothing more than a temporary or permanent legal permit that authorizes you to live in the country. The Spanish residency has two versions, differentiating citizens from the European Union (A4 format or green card without photo) and non-EU citizens (blue or pink photo card), if you are a british expat living in Spain maybe you are more interested in our section spanish residency after brexit.

Benefits of the Spanish Residency permit

Having a Spanish residency permit gives you the same rights as any Spanish citizen, including, education for your children, the right to work, healthcare, etc. Likewise, it is also very important to highlight the tax obligations that every resident must fulfill as a taxpayer with the Tax office in Spain.

How long does Spanish residency last?

Getting the Spanish residence permit does not mean that you lose your original nationality. The first step is to obtain temporary residency, and after 5 years you must go through the process again, but this time it would become permanent.

How to get a Spanish residency?

To obtain the residence permit you will have to go to the immigration office closest to your home in Spain or, if not possible, the local Police Station. Once you’ve completed the procedure and the permit has been granted by the Authorities, they will issue the corresponding Residency Certificate mentioned above.

It is important to highlight that the first time you apply for the Certificate of Residency, it will have a temporary nature and will be valid for 5 years unless your personal circumstances have changed and it’s been communicated to the Immigration office. After 5 years without any changes in your personal circumstances, you must re-apply by going back to your Immigration office and requesting the Permanent Residence Certificate, as long as you still meet the requirements to be a resident in Spain. The Administration will then issue a new Permanent Resident Certificate, which means that it will be final. The citizen must notify the Administration if there are any changes in their personal circumstances that can influence the application of the certificate after its issuance.

What documents do I need for Residence in Spain?

In addition to providing the EX18 form or EX20 form well as the payment of the corresponding fee, you must prove that you have sufficient financial means for your stay in Spain for both yourself and your family for at least 3 months. You also have to have private health insurance.

In the event of conducting an economic activity as an employed or self-employed person, you must also provide documented proof to obtain the permit.

You will also need to provide official translations of the required documentation, such as marriage or birth certificates.

Each case is different. At Tejada Solicitors, we recommend that you contact our lawyers so we can advise you on how to carry out the procedure simply and effectively. We are specialized in working remotely so we can advise wherever you are.

Interesting read: How to obtain the NIE number in Spain?

The procedure to apply for the Spanish Residence for British Citizens is divided in 3 Steps:

STEP 1: You have to provide us the following documents to give them at the Immigration office :


  • Passport and NIE photocopies.
  • Legal registration certificate from Town Hall (certificado de empadronamiento)
  • For married couples, translated and apostilled marriage certificate.


  • Property title deed from the Land Registry Office.
  • Rental housing contract.
  • Other proof of your dwelling in Spain , may be accepted at the Immigration office.


  • To see if you get enough incomes to fulfil this part of the procedure, each immigration office may have different requirements

Note: All the cases follow the same steps, there might be little differences.

1. Pensioners

  • Weekly or monthly pension document from your country of origin.
  • Bank account balance updated showing an active balance with the required minimum amount ( please check the minimum amount required below)

2. Non pensioners , out of work people.

  • Bank account balance updated showing an active balance with the required minimum amount ( please check the minimum amount required below)
  • Required minimum amount = approximately 461,53 € per month/ person or 5,553.40 € per year / person

Note: Figures are illustrative, and may vary depending on the case. Other proof of income may be requested by the immigration office.


1. Pensioners.

  • S1/E121 or E106 social security form, stamped by your country of origin authorities

2. Non pensioners out of work people.

  • Private Health Insurance (without co-payment).

STEP 2: EX20 electronically submitted to the immigration office.

STEP 3: Once you obtain your resident authorization, your fingerprints will be taken at the nearest police station in a second appointment you will be required to make.

Documents to be provided at this appointment as follows:

  • Valid original passport
  • Passport photocopy.
  • 1 photo. (ID/passport size)


Fiscal residence in Spain

In parallel to the process of acquiring the permanent residency certificate, Rosana Tejada – an expert in tax advice for expatriates – also recommends going to a professional like her to learn about all the tax implications that they will have as Spanish citizens.

Many citizens just worry about processing their residence at the Police Station but completely forget to start the tax procedure derived from their new status as a resident in Spain. We receive many expatriates at our office who are in this exact situation, and it’s usually because they have not been well advised before starting the process. In these situations, expatriates have had to assume the payment of important sanctions to regulate their financial situation as residents in Spain, so it’s worth it to get legal advice beforehand.

In general terms, the article 9 of the IRPF Law defines, among other requirements, that tax residents in Spain will be those who stay for over 183 days a year in the national territory or whose main nucleus or base for financial activities or interests is in Spain.

Tax obligations

The Model 100 of the Personal Income Tax (IRPF), through which your worldwide income will be taxed in Spain – income obtained abroad such as pensions, stocks, bonds, rental income, bank interest, dividends, etc, are subject to taxation in Spain and to correct double taxation (a result of the fact that the same income is taxed in two different States) a double taxation agreement signed between Spain and the country of origin (the country where the income is derived) will apply.

The Wealth Tax is filed through Form 714. All of your global assets and economic rights must be included in this tax return. The law on Wealth taxes regulates the cases in which a taxpayer would be required to declare: When, after calculating the amount of your tax, an amount is paid.Or when, even without having a fee to pay, the value of your assets and rights (including assets that are exempt and without deducting debts, charges or encumbrances) exceeds two million euros.

The Declaration of Assets is in the Form 720 and must be submitted by all-natural and legal persons residing in Spain when their assets and rights abroad exceed 50,000 euros.

For expatriates who do not declare their income or declarations on time, the Tax Agency usually uses data such as the permanent residence certificate, Spanish social security card, registration, exchange of the Driving License, consumption of electricity and gas supplies, use of credit cards, use of mobile phones,… to demonstrate the tax residence of the expatriate in Spain and thus be able to claim the corresponding taxes and penalties.

Other things to consider

  • Driving license

The British driving license allows you to drive in Spain for 6 months, so if you are a resident in Spain you must start a procedure to exchange it for a Spanish one. On the other hand, if you are a citizen of the European Union you only have to apply it to the Traffic office.

  • Healthcare Right

It’s important to keep in mind that the procedure for requesting it is different if you are an employed or self-employed worker, a resident’s family member or a pensioner.

Employed or self-employed workers will only have to go to their nearest health center and request it by providing the documentation that justifies their economic activity.

Family members of workers can also be included in the Healthcare system as beneficiaries, but in their case, they must request it from the Social Security by justifying their relationship with the insured.

Finally, pensioners must present the corresponding request and contribution of form S-1 issued by their country of origin.

Once processed, the Social Security will send the corresponding health card by mail.

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Spanish residency for expats citizens

Spanish residency after brexit

As we already know, on January 1st, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union, with the acceptance of a Withdrawal Agreement that enables a transitional period during which the rights of citizens are maintained. Like this, citizens of each party who have resided in the other will have the right to continue living in the same conditions and to acquire permanent residence, after continuous and legal residence for five years, also guaranteeing the right to work, both for other people’s account as well as their own, to the recognition of professional qualifications, and especially the right to medical assistance, pensions and other rights derived from Social Security.

Get Spanish residency

During this transition period, the current residence certificate, either temporary or permanent, (in A4 or green card format) will be valid, but it is important that UK citizens residing in Spain after December 31st, 2020, must have processed their documentation correctly following the provisions of the Agreement, especially in what corresponds to obtaining the new TIE document (residence card) that accredits the status of tax resident in Spain, which will take effect on January 1st of 2021, and in which it will be explicitly stated that the holder is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. This document will have the same format in all Member States with the only difference that will be mentioned on the Article 50 together with an indication of whether it has been issued by a declaratory or registration system.

According to our expert in immigration, lawyer Marisol Sala Valverde, for those British citizens who wish to obtain the spanish residence after brexit, it must be made clear that during this transition period, the procedure will be the same as before the UK departed from the EU, that is, you must go to the immigration office closest to your residence in Spain, or, failing that, to the corresponding Police Commissioner and request it. If you are moving to Spain from UK, the process for obtaining residence is the same. For your registration, you must prove that you have sufficient financial means for your living and subsistence expenses, including those of your family, during your stay in Spain or justify if you are going to carry out an economic activity either for someone else or for yourself. Also, you must have private health insurance in Spain that provides coverage in Spain during this period and which must be equivalent to that provided by the National Health System. This procedure will allow you to obtain a registration certificate that will be very useful after the end of the transitional period as it will allow you to prove your status as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.

During the transitional period, and until the uniform format residence document (TIE) begins to be issued, the current registration certificates and family cards of EU citizens will continue to be processed, which will have the same supporting effects of being a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement than those issued before February 1, 2020.

Regarding mobility after the transition period, we still cannot establish the procedure since it is still in negotiations.

Get the residence in Spain throught investment: Golden Visa

From the 1st of January 2021, marking the end of the transitional period and the official parting of the UK from the EU, the citizens of the United Kingdom will have “third country” status. This change is particularly important when applying for Spanish residency. According to Law 14/2013, UK citizens will be able to obtain a special visa for investors (that is to say, they will be able to choose among different types of visas) to obtain residency through the Golden Visa.

There are many advantages to the Golden Visa over others, including the following:

  • No minimum stay requirement in Spain
  • Holders of this visa can leave and enter Spain as many times as they need to
  • Golden Visa holders can plan their taxes – holders will not be a tax resident in Spain; as long as they fulfil the tax law requirements, only non-resident tax will have to be paid in Spain. Instead, they will pay tax for their worldwide income in the United Kingdom

You can find out more about the procedure to obtain the Spanish Golden Visa, the specific tax requirements for both fiscal and non-fiscal residents, as well as the numerous advantages of this Visa.