Spain Explained

How to get a social security number in Spain

Similarly to the United Kingdom’s National Insurance system, Spain has Seguridad Social, or social security. This ensures that residents and citizens have support during times of ill health, old age, and unemployment.

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Under Spanish social security, EU and non-EU citizens are covered by national health insurance when there is some form of a contribution to the Spanish system: state pension, working in Spain, self-employment in Spain, specific agreements between countries, etc. The social security system is financed through income tax and all Spanish taxpayers have the right to social security. However, to qualify, you need to have a social security number. The process of obtaining a social security number in Spain has recently changed; in this article, we explain how to apply. 

The documents you’ll need

To apply for your social security number, you’ll need the following application forms and identification:

  • The TA1 form, which you can download here. In the days of Google Translate this is less of an obstacle than it once was, but make sure you complete your form carefully. The first page explains how to fill out the application, but we would advise seeking assistance if your Spanish is poor.
  • Your passport.
  • Your NIE number. You can’t get a social security number in Spain without an NIE, so make sure you get your NIE first.
  • Your digital certificate, if you want to apply online.

Applying online

To apply online for government services in Spain, you need to have a digital certificate. This is essentially something that you download on to your PC to ensure secure communications between you and Spanish government websites. You can get more information and download yours from the Spanish National Mint website. 

Once you have this certification, you can apply for your social security number online. To apply, visit the social security website and click Tu Seguridad Social. Here, you can fill in the TA1 online and submit your identification and NIE number. The Spanish government have also recently released an app where you can apply as well.

Applying in person

Alternatively, you can apply in person at your local Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social. This is the route we would recommend if you don’t speak Spanish that well. You’ll need all the documents listed above. We advise printing and bringing two copies of your TA1 form.

When you arrive say you have come to apply for a número de la Seguridad Social. You’ll be directed to the office where you’ll take a ticket from the machine indicating your position in the queue. You’ll then go to the desk, present your documents and your social security number will be issued there and then. 

There are, however, some quirks to look out for. Some offices won’t be able to issue a social security number without a Spanish phone number, and if you intend to work, others will insist on your employment contract. They’re not always compulsory, but bring them just in case.

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Your social security number in Spain

Your social security number in Spain entitles you to several important services, including unemployment and disability benefits, pensions, and access to the public health system. Access to the national health system is particularly important for your well-being while in Spain, so make sure you’re covered. If you’re a British citizen, this is particularly important in light of the developing situation regarding Brexit

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on the process of applying for your social security number. However, if you need any assistance with navigating the Spanish social security system or any other aspect of legal proceedings, it’s sensible to seek professional advice. At Abaco Advisers, we’ve been assisting our clients with life in Spain for more than 20 years, constantly staying abreast of new developments and procedures. Call us today for a consultation without obligation.

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1 October, 2020 7:26 pm

I need to obtain a social security number as I have a job offer to start from 26th October.
I am not in Spain right now and would like to apply for it online. How can you help me?

Oscar Paoli

2 October, 2020 7:47 am

Hi Sonali,
We can assist you with arranging a power of attorney to arrange the process in your behalf.
Please contact us at and please send us a copy of your passport and details such as your home address, profession and civil status.
Thank you very much in advance.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Sandra Holland

1 November, 2020 6:59 pm

Very good article. Just one question, once I’ve completed the form, do I simply turn up at my (nearest) Social Security office to get my application processed? Or due to current circumstances with the pandemic and C-!9, should we be telephoning ahead to request an appointment? Incidentally, I’ve rang and rang but to no avail as no-one picks up the phone.

Oscar Paoli

2 November, 2020 3:16 pm

Hi Sandra,
We would recommend you request an appointment in advance.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers


28 April, 2021 10:40 am

Very helpful article, thank you!
Do you need to have a permanent address in Spain for the form or can you put your current address in the UK for example if you have not yet moved for work?
How long does the process usually take online please?
Thanks so much in advance!

Oscar Paoli

30 April, 2021 9:42 pm

You will need an address in Spain, it can be your Spanish property address, a rental address, but you will require a Spanish address.
The process will vary greatly, but usually is quite fast if all paperwork is in order.
With best regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Dawn Hodgson

19 May, 2021 11:17 am

We have our digital signatures that are now on our laptop. how do we attach these to the digital AP1 form when applying for our social security number. We have tried dragging and dropping into the signature box but to no avail. How do we apply online?

Oscar Paoli

21 May, 2021 10:52 pm

Sorry we are not sure how to proceed with this matter. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers


22 June, 2023 1:47 pm

Does having a social security number in Spain affect tax contributions in the UK if you are still going to work between the two?

Oscar Paoli

22 June, 2023 2:27 pm

This will have Tax implications as if you are working and living in Spain and the UK you may find that you are obligated to present Tax declarations in both Countries under the terms of the Double Taxation Treaty.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers