The EU Residence Card
As of March 2007 EU citizens no longer require an EU Residence Card. EU citizens who already hold an EU Residence Card do not need to re-register until the card expires, at which point they should follow the process laid out below.
Proof of financial means and private or public healthcare insurance
Following new legislation introduced by the Spanish government in July 2012, all EU citizens who wish to stay in Spain for longer than three months may be asked to prove that they have the sufficient financial means to support themselves and any dependents. They may also be required to provide proof of private or public healthcare insurance.
Any EU citizen intending to stay in Spain for more than three months is obliged to register to be added to the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros) at a Foreigners' Office (Oficina de Extranjero) or local police station (Policia Nacional) if there is no foreigners' office in the area in which they intend to reside.
A Registration Certificate as an EU Resident (Certificado de registro como residente comunitario) is issued. This document certifies residence in Spain and includes the holders name, address, nationality, and foreigners tax identification number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero - NIE) along with the date of registration. This certificate will remain valid for no longer than five years, at which point it must be renewed.
Note: Prior to the introduction of the Residence Certificate in April 2007, foreigners were required to submit a separate application for an NIE. This is no longer necessary, as application for an NIE is incorporated in the residence certificate application process.
Within three months of arrival in Spain, application for a Residence Certificate must be made at the Foreigner's Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence. In some areas, an appointment can be made in advance.
Proof of payment is required before the residence certificate can be issued; request a payment form (Modelo 790) at a National Police Office; payment is made at a bank and the form stamped as proof.
The following documents are required in order to apply for a Residency Certificate:
If all paperwork is in order, the Residence Certificate is issued immediately and is valid indefinitely. However, the relevant police or foreigner's office should be notified of any change to personal status (marriage, divorce, change of address) using the same form EX18 and following the same process.
The Residence Certificate is a piece of paper which contains the NIE number. It is not an identity document and the certificate should be carried with identification (such as a passport) at all times.
Legislation that came into force in July 2012 requires all EU Citizens who wish to live or stay longer than three months in Spain to provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves and any dependents. They may also be asked to provide evidence of having public or private health insurance.
The British Embassy in Madrid has created an unofficial English translation of the Spanish Ministerial Order which details these residency requirements and the documentation.
The rights of the EU citizen are extended to their family members (irrespective of nationality). This includes the spouse by marriage, a partner by civil partnership (or marriage equivalent), dependent children under 21 and dependent grown children and parents.
Application should be made for a Residency Card for EU Citizen Family Members (Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión) at the Foreigner's Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence.
The following documents are required in order to apply for a Residency Card for EU Citizen Family Members (others may also be requested):
If a marriage certificate is used as proof of family relationship, the Spanish authorities may insist that it is only valid if issued within the last 90 days. If the applicant's marriage certificate is older, it may be possible for them to confirm its validity via the embassy or consulate of the issuing country. In this regard, Spain may be acting against EU directives.
The Ministerio del Interior website has information regarding what procedures must be followed in the case of divorce, legal separation or the death of the EU citizen.
A residency card will remain valid for no longer than five years, after which it must be renewed. The following documents must be presented:
Authenticated marriage certificate: A marriage certificate must be requested from the country where the marriage took place. Some countries issue marriage certificates on request online, others require a request to be made to the country's official records department - consult the relevant Consular authority for further information. The certificate is dated for the time the request is made. All foreign (not Spanish) documents should be translated into Spanish by an official translator. They must then be authenticated or legalised. Translated and legalised documentation should not be more than three months old.
Documents issued by a country which is a signatory of The Hague Convention can be authenticated or legalised by carrying the official seal of Certificate of Apostille of the Hague (Apostilla de la Haya). Consular offices are authorised to legalise documents in this way. There is usually a fee for authentication and translation.
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