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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