Spain Explained

Mini guide to Spanish residency – an overview

Last updated on February 19th, 2020 at 01:37 am.

Many people are confused when it comes to what they need to apply for residency in Spain. In this series of four articles, David Ruiz of Torrevieja Translation, explains what the general requirements are.  

Welcome to the Mini guide to Spanish residency.

This is the first article of a series of five articles on Spanish residency for EU and British citizens.

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Here is the table of contents:

  1. Spanish residency overview
  2. Pensioners
  3. Workers
  4. Self-employed/business
  5. Unemployed

Today’s article will cover all the common information for everybody:

  • An introduction to the Spanish residency
  • Spanish residency vs. NIE number
  • The most important action
  • How to make the appointment
  • Main requirements for the four groups



Let’s go for it 🙂

What is the Spanish residency?

It is a stay permit, which for EU and British citizens is permanent. Some people call it ‘residencia’.

Are you British? Read this article again after the UK leaves the EU, as we’ll update it with any changes on the Spanish residency.

Spanish residency vs. NIE number

You might be confused with the two documents. Here is a short description of both of them:

  1. The Spanish NIE number is an identification number for foreigners. It is printed on a white A4 sheet  .
  2. The Spanish residency certificate is a stay permit now printed on a small green card with no photo. It you had an NIE number before, it will print that same number on the card. Otherwise, the police will generate a new NIE number for the card. Previously people have been issued with paper certificates as proof of residency

Do you see the difference?

Great, let’s move on to the next point 🙂

The one and most important action

It’s simple: ask first at the relevant office.

This guide is intended to give you an idea of what you’ll need, but only your relevant office will let you know the exact requirements.

In just the Torrevieja area there are three foreigners’ offices where the process varies in each one. How many differences must there be throughout the 17 Spanish regions plus the 2 autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla)?

Who knows.

That’s why it’s so important to find out beforehand at the relevant police station. They will give you the right guidance.

Click here and access the official list of police stations dedicated to processing NIE numbers and Spanish residency certificates.

How to make the appointment

Your corresponding police station may have a different way of making appointments, like going in person to request it with no online system.

Otherwise, here is the official way to make appointments for many offices, including the ones we have around this area: Alicante, Torrevieja, Orihuela and Elche.

Main requirements across the four groups

All four groups of EU and British citizens (pensioners, employees, self-employed and business, and unemployed) have a number of common requirements when applying for residency.

Here we go:

  • Original passport + one photocopy (the two pages where the picture is).
  • Two small pictures taken in Spain (Why taken in Spain? Because not every country uses the same size and perspective).
  • One Padrón certificate less than 3 months old + one photocopy.
  • EX18 application form. Click here to download the EX18 form.
  • 790 form to pay the fee at the bank. It was €10.60 for 2016, so I was expecting a little increase. However, it is still the same amount. Click here to download the 790 form.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of the Spanish residency. If you are a pensioner you can now click on the specific information for this group. If you belong to one of the other three groups we will be publishing this specific information shortly.

  1. Pensioners
  2. Workers
  3. Self-employed/business
  4. Unemployed

Want to read more?

Access now to the Ultimate Guide on Spanish Residency

Torrevieja Translations

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Leave a comment


Sally Gardner

1 May, 2018 11:31 am

I have just had contact back
I have just had contact back from my solicitor re applying for residency. We were going to
Wait until my husband is 65 in November We have bought our house however I have been informed we have to have 18000€ savings to get residency. We have the required income ?

Suzanne O'Connell

8 May, 2018 12:06 pm

Hi Sally

Hi Sally

The 'financial means' requirement depends on the office. Some will accept savings, others won't and require a regular income. Our recommendation is that you try to find out at the relevant office exactly what they expect.