Spanish Residency – What are your rights – Spain as a country has changed considerably in the last 40 years. In this relatively short space of time it has achieved what many other countries have taken several centuries to do. Spain is now considered to be a western democracy with all the usual elections you would expect from this type of society. The country is both economically and socially very stable. Through more difficult times Spain has always been blessed with the fact that it is a naturally beautiful country and when in 1959 the Spanish government lifted the requirement for holidaymakers to have visas the tourist industry was born and Spanish economic revival began. North Europeans were lured to Spain on a promise of a cheap holiday and fantastic weather, all of this was delivered and soon property developers and local business were reaping the benefit of this new money that was flowing in to the economy. Although initially there were many excesses mainly to do with over zealous property development, Spain has now recognized the need to preserve her natural beauty and building controls have become more stringent. Education standards have been raised substantially and in this short space of time, Spain has turned from a poor, mainly agrarian society to become a major world economy with fine industries such motor car manufacture. Even the horticulture industry has changed beyond all recognition with thousands of acres of land being given over to production employing the latest techniques. The holiday makers have changed too, those who first arrived many years ago on a holiday visit are now returning but with money to invest in property, perhaps to stay for good. holidaymakers have become more sophisticated and Spain’s diverse culture and wonderful historic sights are just as popular as the holiday resort areas. One of the first questions usually asked by persons either considering a holiday home in Spain or considering moving altogether, is “what are my residency rights in Spain”? The European Union allows free movement in it’s member states providing of course you hold either a valid identity card or passport. At the present moment, the UK does not support a National Indentity card scheme and thus you will need your passport to enter Spain.
Short Term Stays in Spain (up to 90 Days) – Extend able to 180 days – If you enter Spain, initially, you are classed as a tourist and you may stay for a period of up to 90 days. The only legal requirement is for you to hold a valid passport for the duration of your stay. Of course it is a good idea, to also bring your driving license, form E111( you can obtain this from the post office and within about 6 weeks, you will be sent a credit card sized plastic card you can keep in your wallet) and of course some money. A 90 day extension to this period can be obtained but only once per calendar year so in total you can stay in Spain for a total of 6 months on this basis. If you want to have this 90 day extension, you will need to report to your local police station that should have a “foreign persons” department. They will stamp your passport, you will be asked to supply two photos and they may want to see evidence that you can support yourself during your stay.
Longer Term Stays (in Excess of 180 days) – if you intend to stay in Spain for a period in excess of 180 days, you will need to apply for a Residencia.- If this is your intention, you will need to do this after your initial 90 days have been completed. To apply for a Residencia which is really an identification card, you will need to report to the local police station again with then following documents.
Your valid UK passport & NIE number ( See below)
Three passport sized photos
A completed Residencia request form.
Don’t be alarmed, at the police station, your finger prints will be taken and your application may take 6 months to complete. After this time you will be sent a Residencia card and you can now carry this with you as a means of identification in Spain. You will only now need your passport for foreign travel. Once you have obtained a Residencia card you will need to visit your bank as your account details will have to be changed as you will now fall under the tax jurisdiction of Spain
NIE Number– If you have business dealings in Spain whether a resident or non resident, you will be required to have a NIE, Numero Identification de Extranjero. To obtain one, it’s the usual trip to the police station, with your passport, ( and a photocopy) two photographs plus the relevant completed form. You will need this identification to complete a major purchase such as buying a home or a car or in any dealings with the tax authorities. This number is also inserted on insurance & bank documents
Becoming a Spanish National– This is the final step of becoming Spanish if this is your desire for you can move to Spain, obtain a Residencia card, buy a home, marry a Spaniard,earn a living, pay your taxes and you still wont be Spanish. You must apply if you require to become a Spanish national. The qualifying period for British citizens is 10 years residency in Spain although this is reduced if you marry a Spaniard. You will need the following documentation to apply:-
Your Birth Certificate
Your parents Birth certificates
All the above translated in to Spanish
Proof of 10 years Residencia
You will be required to renounce your former nationality (the British accept dual nationality and you will have dual nationality in their eyes ) and swear an of allegiance to the Spanish crown. It takes about 12 months for your Spanish Nationality to be approved.
If you decide to buy a property in Spain and require holiday home insurance, including insurance for holiday letting, contact Assetsure for a quote.