Guide to Spanish Residency Permit, Visa Rules and Application Form

Guide to Spanish Residency Permit, Visa Rules and Application Form

Guide to Spanish Residency Permit, Visa Rules and Application Form

What is the Spanish residency permit?

It is a short term or permanent legal permission to stay in Spain.

The Spanish residency has two different versions:

EU citizens – it is a green card with your personal details and no photo.

Non-EU citizens – it is a blue / pink card with your personal details as well as a passport photo on it.

Don’t ask me why the EU one doesn’t have a photo. It makes no sense at all, I know. By the way, “in theory” you are supposed to become a resident if you spend more than 90 days in Spain.

I said “in theory” because I know some people have been living in Spain for years without it (without enjoying the benefits of being a resident, of course) and I have yet to hear of any legal consequences for not doing it.

However, I might be wrong and you may get fined or something like that. Therefore, do whatever you want to do at your own risk and not just because David gave a such and such piece of advice.


Where do I get the Spanish residency card?

There are two places where you can obtain a “Spanish residencia”:

  • Spanish National Police stations are properly assigned to issue NIE numbers. However, not every single National Police station will offer this service (click here for your nearest one).
  • Spanish embassy located in your country.

The Spanish Residency can be requested:

  • In person.
  • Through a legally authorised person (power of attorney).


What can I use the Spanish residency for?

There are some common activities/procedures you can carry out with the Spanish Residency or NIE number:

  • Pay tax
  • Get employed
  • Register a business
  • Buy / sell a car
  • Buy / sell properties
  • Other legal economic activities

In addition, some of the benefits you will obtain are:

  • Renewal of your driving licence into Spanish.
  • Obtain your local pensioner’s card (if you are on a pension).
  • Get your Spanish health card covered by national insurance (you can get it on an NIE if you’re employed in Spain though).
  • A possible tax reduction on properties when you sell / buy (get in touch with an advisor to find out more about this in detail, as tax is not my area of expertise).
  • A tax reduction on inheritance tax may also be applied (contact your advisor for more information).


Basic requirements on Spanish residency

Remember, if you are from a non-EU country you will need a visa before you get the Spanish residency card (at the end of this article you can read more about the Spanish non-lucrative visa).

Anyway, the following information is just some basic requirements you will need to apply for your residencia if you are an EU citizen.

  • Original passport + one photocopy.
  • Two small photos (maybe one, maybe two, but take two just in case)
  • A Padrón certificate less than 3 months old.
  • Ex18 Form.
  • 790 Form used to pay a fee of 12€ (2019 fee) at any Spanish bank.

You may need official translations for marriage certificates, birth certificates, school diplomas, criminal records, etc. Find out at the relevant office before you apply for you residency. Meanwhile, click here have a look to this article I wrote on official translations.

Regarding the application fee, as I explained in the article about NIE numbers, there is an online version of the 790 Form. In the area where I live they do not accept it; they will only accept the traditional type form which is a carbon copy (an original top copy with two tracing paper copies behind), one of which is for you, one for the bank and one for the police



– Financial Means. It is just a bank statement where your pension is reflected.

Some police stations will request the last twelve months… others just a quarterly statement.

In this area they are requiring that the receiving bank be Spanish.

Also, certain police stations will request the official current annual pension certificate, in which should be stated how much money you get on your state pension.

I know two police stations where there’s a minimum amount of money you need to be receiving. (what we call in Spain ‘miminum wage’, which is 900 in 2019).

And there is one police station in this are where you have to be living in Spain for at least three months before applying for the residency.

You will probably need your state/private pension certificate too.

Solution: hey, you know it… ask first!

– Health Coverage: Forms E121, S1 or E106 (whichever your country of origin works with for pensioners).

People on private pensions may have to take private insurance.

One way or another, these forms must state that you have health coverage in Spain.

Beforehand, you should find out if your local National Police will accept these forms in your native language. I have done it hundreds of times in English and several times in German. However, in the past I have heard of stations in other regions requesting official translations of the original forms.

Solution: fill the blank… starts with “ask” and ends with “first”.



This applies to those legally working in Spain. You will need:

– Working records (“Vida laboral” in Spanish). Original + one photocopy. This is a document that shows whether you are employed in Spain, by whom, and for how long.

Same here regarding minimun wage and how many months you should be living here before you can apply for the Spanish residency, just find out at the relevant police station.



As in the last section, you must be legally self-employed in Spain to request the Spanish residency and will have to bring generally:

  • Working records (Vida Laboral). Original + one photocopy.
  • Proof of self-employment registration – The documents they will give you at the Spanish taxation office (Agencia Tributaria) and Social Security office.
  • Financial means (same as in the “pensioners” section before).



Being unemployed in a different country will not be accepted to obtain the Spanish residency card.

Remember, you have to be legally unemployed in Spain. These are the requirements:

  • Either sworn statement with bank certificate or financial means.
  • Private medical insurance policy. Original + one photocopy.



In this situation, you may be able to apply even though you are not employed, self-employed, a pensioner or unemployed.

Talk to the National Police in your area as requirements may vary from one place to another.



More information on how to become a resident in Spain

  • Becoming a resident in Spain may cause changes to your fiscal status. Find out through a professional adviser.
  • Obtaining the Spanish residency card does not mean that you lose your original citizenship.
  • As with the NIE number, the Spanish residency is not a valid identification document, unless it’s the version with the photo. Either way, take your passport with you for official procedures… just in case.
  • If you are a pensioner, and have no private medical insurance, you will need to become a resident to have access to the National Health Service in Spain.
  • You can’t exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without being a resident.
  • If you are married to an EU citizen who has Spanish residency even though you are not from the European Union yourself, you can still apply for the Spanish residency.
  • Those from a non-EU country will probably have to renew their residency periodically until they get a permanent one.





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