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New rules raise requirements for applying for residency in Spain

The Spanish government is tightening up on applications for residency certificates or cards in Spain. It isn’t enough any longer just to say that you want to live in Spain, you must prove that you have the means to do so.


Although the intention was clear, the exact means by which this would be proven, was not. The central Spanish government makes national policy but this is often interpreted at a regional as well as a town hall level. So what we are beginning to see is this latest dictate being interpreted in different ways in different parts of the country.

In order to give some indication of what might be asked for if you do want to apply for Spanish residency we selected three areas local to our offices to illustrate.

Murcia: Is not currently issuing residency certificates at all. The regional authorities are waiting for further national guidance.

Torrevieja: In addition to the usual documents you have to produce   you also need to complete and sign a declaration to confirm that you do you have your own source of income.

Orihuela and other areas: You must have proof that you have income. What this proof is depends on its source:

  • If you have a pension then you need your E121, S1 or the PN that you will find on your SIP card.
  • If you are working, you need your ‘vida laboral’ which is the certificate of work issued by the social security department in Spain.
  • If you have other types of income, for example income from renting your property, you will need a bank certificate from a Spanish bank that confirms this is the case.

A Spanish bank will not be able to provide this proof if you have money paid into your English bank account and transfer money to Spain.

The other additional requirement, no matter where you live, is proof that you have access to health care. If you are a pensioner or are working and contributing to the Spanish system you qualify to use the National Health Service here. However, if you are an early retiree with other sources of income you will need to have private medical insurance to meet this criteria.

We have chosen three examples based on the east coast. Wherever you might live we recommend that you seek local advice to ensure that you have the right documents to support your residency application.

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Published: Aug 1 2012
Category: Spain Expat
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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1 Comment for “New rules raise requirements for applying for residency in Spain”

  1. A bit more in -depth investigation would have shown you that under EU law Murcia is acting illegally if they are indeed refusing to issue certs. EU law is quite simple they have to issue a certificate on the spot as long as the paperwork is correct. If they do not know what paperwork is required then people need to make official complaints .

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