EU Residency in Spain for EU Citizens, Their Spouses and Family Members

Posted by Dreamer

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How to obtain Spanish residency for EU citizens, their spouses and their non-EU family members: the registration certificate (certificado de registro) and the EU-family member residence card (tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión) revealed

For European Union citizens:

What is the registration certificate (certificado de registro)?
Who needs one?
How much does it cost?
How long does it take to get one?
Where do I get one?
How long is it good for?
What do I need to do to get one?

For the non-European Union spouses and family members of EU citizens:

What is the EU-family member residence card (tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión)?
Who is considered a family member?
Who needs one?
How much does it cost?
How long does it take to get one?
Where do I get one?
How long is it good for?
What do I need to do to get one?

European Union citizens:

What is the registration certificate (certificado de registro)?

The registration certificate is a document that certifies your residence in Spain with the Central Register of Foreigners (Registro Central de Extranjeros) and lists your name, where you live, your nationality, the date you registered, and your Foreigner’s Identity Number (also called a NIE, which you’ll need for any number of financial transactions you make in Spain).

You should be aware that the registration certificate is literally a piece of paper. While it does officially prove your Spanish residency, it is not a valid form of identification in Spain – only your own national passport is acceptable as ID.

Who needs a registration certificate?

You need one if you intend to live or reside in Spain for more than three months. You are eligible for the registration certificate if:

1. You are a citizen of one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. (Note that Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland aren’t part of the EU, but they have special agreements in place.);

AND

2. You can prove one of the following things:

  • You work as an employee in Spain and can provide a copy of your employment contract, employment certificate, or proof of Social Security registration in Spain;
  • You are a student in Spain and can provide a copy of your enrollment at a Spanish school or university, as well as a signed declaration that you have sufficient financial resources for your expenses while in Spain and proof that you have health insurance with coverage in Spain;
  • You work as a sole trader or business owner in Spain and can provide a copy of your registration with Spain’s Commercial Registry or proof of Social Security registration;
  • You have enough financial resources to cover you and your family’s expenses throughout your time in Spain (and won’t be a burden on Spain’s public assistance programs) and can prove it with copies of things like your bank statements, property deeds, investment income, etc. In addition, you must provide proof that you have health insurance with coverage in Spain.

How much does a registration certificate cost?

It costs 10.40 euros, the same amount that Spaniards pay for their national ID card, the DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad).

How long does it take to get one?

Assuming you have everything you need, the registration certificate is issued to you on the spot when you turn in your paperwork. That said, getting an appointment to turn in your paperwork varies depending on the region, and can be scheduled for as soon as a few days, or as long as a few months, in the future.

Where do I get a registration certificate?

At the Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or Police Station (Comisaría de Policía) closest to where you live or plan to live.

How long is the registration certificate good for?

In most cases, it’s good forever. However, if you move within Spain, you should get it updated, and if you move outside of Spain, you should formally give up your registration. It’s identical to the process to get the registration certificate except you’ll have to tick a different box on the form.

If you live in Spain continuously for more than five years, you can then choose to get permanent residency.

What do I need to do to get a registration certificate?

You should register within three months of arriving in Spain. Here’s how:

  1. Download the EX-18 form, fill it out, and sign it.
  2. Make an appointment with the nearest Foreigners Office by phone (if you can) or in person (make sure to get there early). Take this opportunity to ask for a form called Modelo 790. You’ll then have to go to a bank (you can get the Modelo 790 form there too) to pay the 10.40 euros and have the form stamped for confirmation.
  3. Bring your passport, the completed EX-18 form, proof of your situation (discussed here), and the stamped Modelo 790 to your appointment.
  4. Hand your forms over when the Spanish civil servant asks for them.
  5. Take your new registration certificate home with you. Congratulations, you’re now a Spanish resident!

Non-European Union spouses and family members of EU citizens:

What is the EU-family member residence card (tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión)?

The EU-family member residence card certifies your residence in Spain as an official family member of an EU citizen.

Who is considered a family member of an EU citizen?

For the purposes of obtaining an EU-family member residence card in Spain, the family members of Spaniards or EU citizens are:

  • Current spouses or registered domestic partners (unless separated) who are economically dependent on the EU citizen spouse;
  • Your dependent minor children (yours or those of your spouse or registered domestic partner);
  • Dependent parents (yours or those of your spouse or registered domestic partner).

 

The Spanish or EU citizen family member you’re basing your application on must meet some financial criteria and provide documentation (discussed here).

Who needs an EU-family member residence card?

You need one if you plan to accompany or join your EU family member while they are residing in Spain.

How much does an EU-family member residence card cost?

It costs 10.40 euros, the same amount that Spaniards pay for their national ID card, the DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad).

How long does it take to get an EU-family member residence card?

In accordance with EU law, you should get your residence card within six months from the day you turn in all your paperwork, but you must make an appointment to do so. Depending on the region and how busy they are, the next available appointment may be a few days or a few months in the future.

Where do I get an EU-family member residence card?

At the Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or Police Station (Comisaría de Policía) closest to where you live or plan to live.

How long is the EU-family member residence card good for?

It’s good for up to five years. If after that time you still live in Spain with your family member, you can get another one or opt for permanent residence.

What do I need to do to get an EU-family member residence card (tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión)?

You should register within three months of arriving in Spain. Here’s how:

  1. Download the EX-19 form, fill it out, and sign it.
  2. Make an appointment with the nearest Foreigners Office by phone (if you can) or in person (make sure you get there early). Take this opportunity to ask for a form called Modelo 790. You’ll then have to go to a bank (you can get the Modelo 790 form there too) to pay the 10.40 euros and have the form stamped for confirmation.
  3. Bring the following items to your appointment:
    • Your passport.
    • Your family member’s passport (or DNI if your family member is Spanish).
    • Your family member’s registration certificate (if your family member is not Spanish).
    • The completed EX-19 form.
    • The stamped Modelo 790.
    • A document that establishes your family tie to the EU citizen. If the document is not in Spanish, it will need to be translated and legalized or have an apostille on it. In the case of a spouse, you’ll need to bring a marriage certificate issued from an EU country that is less than three months old. If you were married more than three months ago, you’ll have to request a new certificate for this purpose. For those who were married in Spain, you can request the certificate in person, by mail, or online from the Ministry of Justice.
    • Proof of your family member’s financial situation.
    • Photocopies of everything listed above.
    • Three passport-sized photographs in color.
  4. Hand your forms over when the Spanish civil servant asks for them. They’ll stamp your copy of the EX-19 as a record.
  5.  

  6. Wait for a letter in the mail with instructions on how to pick up your residence card.
  7. Pick up your card. Congratulations, you’re now a Spanish resident! This card is also accepted as official identification in Spain.

 

Last updated 21 02 2013

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Comments

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26/Oct/2008:
greyspaniard said:

In the notes on the Registration Certificate it says that if you have lived in Spain for more than 5 years you can apply for permanent residence - this a new one on me, having lived here fro 10 years.

Can anyone explain or is it a reference to taking nationality?

 
29/Oct/2008:
Dreamer's avatar Dreamer said:

Greyspaniard, this is not a reference to gaining Spanish nationality. See page 6 from "Regulations governing EU citizens in Spain": http://extranjeros.mtas.es/es/InformacionInteres/FolletosInformativos/archivos/VERSION_INGLES.pdf.

 
02/Dec/2008:
El Trebo said:

Your link for addresses of Oficinas de Extranjeros does not open. Please could you advise me of the address in Elda. Thank you. Trevor

 
11/Dec/2008:
madcandylee said:

hi all...i went through this process last year and i just want to recommend hiring a lawyer. i hired someone in madrid based on another expat's recommendation and he handled all aspects of the process--paperwork, getting the appt, he even went with me to the appt and we were ushered right to the clerk--no waiting. from the time of my marriage in sep 07, i had the card in jan 01. the price for me was good, 130 euros, definitely worth not having the headaches of all the lines!

one question, when you say that the card gives me the right to work, does that mean i don't need a "permiso de trabajo?" i ask because i was at the comisaria the other day getting my baby's dni and asked the funcionario if he knew what i had to do to become autonomo. he looked at my card and said that i can't because i don't have a card allowing me permission to work. i know funcionarios are often wrong..was he???

thanks for an amazing article dreamer!

 
23/Feb/2009:
ceez said:

RE:madcandylee

The card automatically permits you to work, however you´d need to go for "seguridad social" card to be able to work. Autonomo is also asigned in the seguridad social office but I don´t know the Criteria. I think the easiest way to seek the "autonomo" type is through a lawyer.

 
02/Jul/2009:
Tahn said:

Thanks for the informative article Dreamer. I have a follow up question regarding getting an EU family member residence card.

I'm Australian, and live in Sweden with my Swedish GF under a permanent spouse visa. I've been here 2 years so I am still a year short of getting a Swedish residency. My GF has been offered a good job in Spain, and as far as we can see we have 2 options if we want to both move to Spain

A)I can just stay in Spain 'under the radar'. Problem here is that if I live anywhere in the EU illegally at any time Sweden won't give me a residency (ie EU passport) next year.

B)We can get married in Sweden before leaving, and then Sara applies for a residency in Spain, and I apply for EU family member residency immediately after. This leads me to my questions...

The questions are;

1- You mention that the marriage certificate must be less than 3 months old. Even if we get our marriage certificate right before we leave, how will we ever get to present it in time, if the appointment you are given is than 2-3 months away? Can you see the dilemma?

2- Can we, and would it be better, to get the appointment, and then marry in Spain? Is it even legal for a non-EU citizen to marry in Spain?

I hope you can help here- we are a bit confused and clearly in need of some direction!

 
10/Sep/2009:
Tenno said:

Hi All,

Thanks for the information it helped me a lot. Can someone suggest any English speaking lawyer in Barcelona or Madrid?

Thanks,
Tenno

 
11/Dec/2009:
jensfobcn said:

Thanks so much for this information, it really helped me a lot. I just completed the process (waiting for the card) but I wanted to mention that here in Barcelona there is an extra step. After Step 4, they give you a letter that says "starting on X date go X office and present: this letter, copy of EX16 (stamped in the first office), passport, 3 photos and your old residence card if you have one". I did this today; I showed up with all of that stuff and in less than 5 minutes (after waiting two hours) they gave me payment slip for 10 euros to be paid at any bank, and a tiny little piece of paper that will allow me to pick up the card in person (at another office) in 30 days.

Hope this helps someone!

 
06/Jan/2010:
t-f-s said:

Hello All,

As a non-European, I can only stay in Spain for three months after arrival. But this process seemingly takes longer. When my three months are up, does simply having an appointment for the residency card extend my stay? In other words, if the process is underway, do I have permission to stay (even if the card hasn't been delivered)? Or do I have to leave and come back for the appointment months later?

Thanks for any advice!!

 
04/Feb/2010:
ceez said:


t-f-s said:
Hello All,

As a non-European, I can only stay in Spain for three months after arrival. But this process seemingly takes longer. When my three months are up, does simply having an appointment for the residency card extend my stay? In other words, if the process is underway, do I have permission to stay (even if the card hasn't been delivered)? Or do I have to leave and come back for the appointment months later?

Thanks for any advice!!


What kind of residence card are you applying for? If you are applying for an EU family member residence card, then you should be able to stay after the application to await the outcome of your application. They will issue you an application entry paper which kinda serves if you have any control till your application has a resolution. I hope this helped. Good luck!

 
04/Feb/2010:
jensfobcn said:

To t-f-s: do you have an appointment to turn in your papers, or has your residency already been approved and you have an appointment to pick up the card? If it's the latter, the receipt that they gave you works as proof of your legal status for up to 45 days (the card can be picked up at around 30 days). If your appointment is just to turn in the initial papers, I would say that this would not be valid to extend your stay. However, if your residency is being obtained via a family member, an attorney will tell you that you cannot be denied residency status just because you are technically in Spain illegally. You just cannot leave the country while you're getting this taken care of.

Mind you, I am not an attorney, I am only speaking from personal experience.

 
04/Feb/2010:
t-f-s said:

To ceez and jensfobcn,

Thank you for your responses. I don't have any appointment as yet. I am planning to start the process within the coming months. I will be applying for the EU family member residency card, so it looks like that makes the process easier. I am presently contacting lawyers in Madrid to clarify some points.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my query.

 
05/Feb/2010:
ceez said:

The "comunidades" of Spain are autonomous and have different ways (could be called rules) in treating the the application of residence permits. In some comunidades you don´t have to have an appointment to apply. It´s a walk-in process. Now it´s going to depend on where the applicant chooses to do this.

 
28/Feb/2010:
ROB1305 said:

The official guide

For the Regulations document in English

http://extranjeros.mtin.es/es/InformacionInteres/FolletosInformativos/archivos/VERSION_INGLES.pdf

 
14/May/2010:
micro said:

Thanks for creating this lovely site.

A lot of my friends have got their residency with the help of your steps and directions. As for me, I need the website to make an appointment with the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros, in Valencia where I just get my accommodation. I need to make it an online appointment and they will be sending me date later.

Thanks

 
14/May/2010:
micro said:

I just wanted to start my paper work and I was asked to fill the appointment online. Please send me the website to make an appointment with the nearest Oficina De Extranjeros in Valencia. We have been married and I need to apply for my resident permit card as Non Europe Woman married to Europe Citizen.

 
28/May/2010:
jeepers said:

Just applied for my wife.

I have a question for readers, particularly for but not necessarily British citizens, who might have experience with travelling to the UK with their non-EU spouses holding this EU residency card. I understand that we should be able to travel together as long as we are able to show proof of our relationship, and without a visa, however I've read mixed reports about this depending from where one travels and in which European country one is resident. I'm not at all interested in applying for a UK Family Permit in perpetuity for what will be weekends! It's only for short stay visits to accompany me to the UK. Any comments would be most helpful. If you have personal experience, positive or negative, please specify how & from where you where travelling (including airline/other company), your nationality and which country you are resident. Feel free to make it a private message if you prefer. Thanks!

 
28/May/2010:
jeepers said:

Just to add: We were required to also provide our residence details (Certification de Inscripcion Padronal Familiar, processed at the Town Hall).

For those who are pressed for time, for EX16, we managed to submit our application on the same day without an appointment. They do issue numbers on a first come, first served basis to those who arrive very early in the morning OR, if you fancy your chances, we turned up at midday where they had already processed everyone and took us on the spot (the office closed at 2pm). Obviously hours and possibilities depend on region however I thought it's worth mentioning for those wishing to give it a shot.

 
11/Jun/2010:
sjg said:

why is Cyprus not in the list of EU countries?!

 
05/Oct/2010:
traveldread said:

Hi,

Trying to get my head round all this for my Non-European wife to be able to enter Spain and stay with my mother. I am UK passport holder living in the UK and my mother is a resident in Spain.

My wife and son need to travel from Peru so which visa would she need to apply initially to enter Spain for 3 months (or more) so she can then apply for the EU-family member residence card?

Would it be the normal family visit Schengen visa? Or can she apply directly for a dependent of EU national visa in Peru at the Spanish embassy? (Something I have read somewhere). I am just a bit lost on which type of visa she has to hold in order to enter Spain.

Any advice please.

 

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