Last updated on April 19th, 2023 at 02:59 pm.
No matter whether you are from an EU country or a non-EU country, you will need to apply for a Spain residence permit to live in Spain long-term (more than 90 days).
The way to apply for residency will be different depending on the country of origin (EU or non-EU).
In simple words, if you have a passport nationality from a EU country, you will obtain an EU Spanish residency card.
Otherwise, if you are a non-EU citizen, you will obtain a TIE card (Tarjeta de Indenficación de Extranjero – Foreigner’s Identification Card).
How to apply for residency
EU citizens will apply for their Spain residence permit in Spain, at the relevant foreign affairs office of the province where they live.
Depending on the office, you may have to stay in Spain around 2-3 months before you can apply.
For instance, if you live in Torrevieja, the Spanish residency application could be done anywhere within the province of Alicante.
For non-EU citizens, the process will be different.
It’s a three-part process:
1. Visa application.
This part will happen at the relevant Spanish consulate of your country of origin.
Alternatively, if you are living in a third country and have legal residency there, you will be able to apply for your visa at the Spanish consulate of the third country.
2. Spanish residency
After you obtain your visa, you will have to travel to Spain to apply for residency.
Your visa will be valid for 90 days.
You will have to apply for residency within the first 30 days after you enter in Spain.
3. Collecting the Spanish residency card
After you have gone through the Spanish residency application, part 2, your Spanish residency card will be ready.
This will take around 3-4 weeks after the application.
Note: Timing is critical for non-EU citizens, so our recommendation is that you use a professional so that you can have the proper guidance.
The three essential requirements to obtaining a Spain residence permit
The exact amount will depend on whether you are from the EU or from a non-EU country.
The key here is to show the Spanish authorities that you will be financially self-sufficient while living in Spain.
The relevant consulate/foreign affairs will let you know the exact format (i.e. bank statements, pension certificates, investments, etc).
To apply for a Spain residence permit, the Spanish authorities will want to see public or private health insurance.
Public health insurance will depend on the healthcare agreement that your country has with Spain.
Private health insurance will be exactly the same for EU or non-EU citizens. It must be full coverage in Spain, all medical services included and no co-payment (generally one year paid in advanced).
Proof of address
This is an essential document: showing the authorities that you will have a place to live in Spain.
Short-term rental might not be accepted to apply for a proof of address certificate.
Long-term rental will be accepted, but the town hall will confirm how long it would be (6 months, 9 months, 12 months).
Owning property will give you access to a proof of address certificate, totally guaranteed.
Additional requirements for non-EU citizens
There are several more documents required for non-EU citizens, at the visa stage, such as criminal records, medical certificate.
Depending on whether you are moving on your own, with children, with your spouse, the requirement will slightly vary.
Don’t’ forget that EU and non-EU procedures will have their relevant application forms and government fee forms.
Your documents might need to be authenticate either by a public notary or by the apostille of the Hague. Please make sure about this part.
Finally, most documents will have to be officially translated into Spanish by an official translator licensed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Apply for a Spain residence permit can be complex if you don’t know the exact requirements, timing, who to book appointments, application forms.
Worst case scenarios is usually having to start all over again, which can mean additional cost on documents that will have to be requested all over again, as well as the time invested.
Our recommendation is to use our services, we are here to help.