Moving to Spain

How to Obtain the EU Registration Certificate in Spain

Moving to Spain Michael Macdonald

Until the 31st December 2020, British nationals are still automatically entitled to register for temporary residency if you are staying longer than three months (and permanent residency if in Spain already for five years), which in principle means your rights are protected and you can stay in Spain under the same EU conditions as before Brexit.

Under Spanish law you need to register as a foreign resident living in Spain, although you do not need to request residency. This comes in the form of a green piece of paper or small card entitled ‘Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano Europeo’ (EU Registration Certificate). You would need this for registering for various things from a doctor’s surgery to new bank account. There are a few steps you have to fulfil to obtain Spanish residency, even if you’re part of the EU, and the usual mountain paperwork so you can be legally part of this country.

Many expats struggle a little when they try to get the NIE (Identification Number for foreigners). The official web page can be a nightmare for those that don’t yet have perfect Spanish. For those who’ve already got their NIE, you will know that this is true.

What is the EU registration certificate?

The EU registration certificate is a document that validates your residence in the country with the Central Register of Foreigners, on that paper card will be printed your NIE number, where you live and how long you have been living in Spain. When we say “paper card” it is actually paper. It’s important to know that this piece of paper is not an identification card, it is only to prove your residence in Spain.

woman filling out the eu registration certificate

“The citizens of a member state of the European Union or another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Switzerland who will reside in the Spanish territory for more than a three months’ period, are required to apply for a registration in the Central Register of Foreigners”

This document is only for those who are citizens in which their countries are members of the EU, as follows:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK (currently in grace period until the end of 2020). (Note that Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland aren’t part of the EU, but they have special agreements in place.)

two eu citizens with the eu registration certificate

How can I get an EU registration certificate?

After getting your NIE, if you decide that you are going to stay in Spain for a longer period of time, you will need to register the with following documents:

  • Download the official form EX-18 and fill out and sign all the documentation. Bring a copy and the original. You need to pay the taxes on this at a band, which will be around 12€. Get that form here.
  • A valid passport, a copy and the original. In case you’re renewing your passport because it’s expired, bring a copy and the original with the letter that proves that you’ve asked to renew it.
  • If you work as an employee in Spain (prove it with a copy of employment contract or proof of social security registration).
  • If you are a student and you can prove it with the acceptation copy of the school or the university. You will also need a document that proves that you have health insurance, whether in Spain or in your country. And you will need to prove that you have enough money to pay for your studies and your residence.
  • If you work as a business owner (prove it with a copy of your registration with Spain’s Commercial Registry or proof of social security registration).
  • If you have enough resources for you and your family in all your time in Spain.

taking notes on the eu registration certificate

Once you have all those documents and have paid you taxes at the bank make an appointment through the following link. If you are from the UK, there is a special link just for you. The link you need to click is called POLICIA-CERTIFICADOS UE. 

Be patient and if you happen to not have all the paperwork required on the first visit ask questions and even ask the attending officer to write down exactly what you are missing so it will not happen again. Good luck! 

Download Free Guide:  How to apply for Spanish residency

Michael Macdonald

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