It is no longer compulsory to apply for residency in Spain if you are an employed or self employed EU national or citizen of a country that is part of the EEA (Economic Area Agreement). However, if you reside in Spain for 182 days or more a year you will be considered a tax resident and will be liable to pay taxes on your worldwide assets.
Having a residence card can prove to be useful as it is often requested as a form of identification when using your credit card or when setting up a contract with a utility company. Being a resident also means that when selling property you are exempt from the retention of 5% of the price as insurance against payment of taxes, thus saving yourself from the process of getting it back.
To reside in Spain the following persons must apply for a Residence Card:
- Citizens of Members States of the EU or of countries included in the EEA Agreement who are retired and entitled to a pension, but who have not resided in Spain for more than three years.
- Citizens of Members States of the EU or of countries included in the EEA Agreement who are not engaged in remunerated activities.
- Spouses, descendants or ancestors of citizens of Member States of the EU or of countries included in the EEA Agreement.
- Relatives of Spanish nationals.
Residence cards can be applied for at any national police station (comisaria de polica nacional) with a foreigner's department (departamento de extranjeros). This must be done within one month of entering Spain.
You will need the following documents to support your application:
- Proof of support (bank statements/work contract/pension)
- Medical insurance (either form E-121 or private medical insurance)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months, plus a photocopy of the relevant pages
- Three passport size photos
- Completed application form
- Bank receipt for the fee of approximately 6€ payable at any Unicaja Bank
- Proof of address (empadronamiento) certificate, obtainable from your local Town Hall (ayuntamiento)
- In the case of a relative of a Spanish Resident, proof of the family ties
Non EU citizens will need to provide a number of other documents. A lawyer will be able to offer advice depending on your individual status and circumstances.
Upon submission of your application you will be given a receipt and a date to return in order for your fingerprints to be taken. Your Residents Card should be issued some weeks after this. It can be collected in person from the Police Station.