How to obtain the resident in Spain

NIE and Residence Card.

How to become a resident in Spain.

The Green Card is a card that contains your NIE (Foreigner Identification Number), your personal data, your photograph and your fingerprint. It is necessary for transactions where proof of your current address in Spain is required (eg for video stores, banks, etc.) The card is valid for five years after which it must be renewed. Applicants from countries outside the European Union (the EU) are granted an initial Residencia for one year, which is usually extended to five years to be renewed. EU citizens do not need a residence card in Spain. Those who currently have a residence card do not need to re-enroll until the card expires.

An NIE is a number that the Immigration Service issues once you obtain residency (you will find on your Card). This will be your identification number in Spain. You need to file tax returns, establish commerce, open bank accounts, and for almost any form that you must complete. Both Community and non-EU citizens receive a NIE.

How to apply for residency

  • To obtain residency and NIE, you must apply at the nearest Immigration Office. Once you do you will receive a green card in a few weeks, but depending on the time of year this process can take several months.
  • Since every foreign office processes the local candidates, both the waiting time in the office and the waiting time for the issuance of the Green Card may vary greatly from one office to another even in the same city. Therefore worth asking people who have applied for residence recently about their experiences.
  • On the website of the Ministry of Interior a complete list of foreign offices is available:
  • Moreover, keep in mind that sometimes can be processed faster than the NIE Residency Card, which if you're in a hurry you may prefer dealing separately and NIE card so that you receive your NIE before.

Documents Required for Application

  • Below you will find a list of some of the documents that you must submit to apply for your residence. However, there is no official list of these requirements so maybe what they ask vary from one locality to another (or even on different days). It is best that you check your local office exactly what they require.
  • Documents required for all (EU and non-EU) applicants:
  • Valid passport. Original and copy.
  • Three recent passport size photographs with your name written clearly on the back.
  • Form duly completed application. Original and three copies.

Other documents you may ask are:

Medical certificate depending on country of origin and recent residency.

If a member of the family is Spanish (or resident):

  • The marriage certificate and identity card (or card) family
  • Census
  • Health insurance
  • For special circumstances can apply the following:
  • If you go to work for someone: An offer of employment contract.
  • If you're working on your own: Documents showing that you qualify to develop this activity.
  • If you're not working: documents that prove you have enough to cover your stay in Spain, plus medical insurance money.
  • If you are studying in Spain: proof that you have registered at an accredited school, plus documents that prove you have enough money to pay your stay in Spain and medical insurance.
  • To renew your residence.

The authorities will not contact you to remind you that your Green Card requires renewed so it's up to you to review its effectiveness and ensure that this is done promptly. To renew your residence will need the following documents:

  • Two passport photos
  • Residence card. Original and copy.
  • Passport. Original and copy.
  • Form duly completed application. Original and three copies.
  • The exact documentation may vary depending on your legal status in Spain. Other documents you may need are:
  • The residency visa or its extension (necessary for non-EU citizens depending on the country)
  • A medical certificate.