Monday, 25th May 2020
LEGAL Article

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General Legal Requirements when Moving to Spain

General Legal Requirements when Moving to Spain

E.U.U. citizens have no need to apply for a Spanish residence. Confirms Des Sparkes LLB LLM (member of the Law Society of England & Wales and the Spanish Law Society “IIustre Colegio de Abogados de Malaga)

As all British citizens are European Union members they do not need to apply for any form of Spanish residency if they spend less than 6 months of the calendar year in Spain.

If you plan to spend more than six months of the year in Spain either for work reasons or because you have moved from the UK to Spain you used to have to apply for a resident permit. This system had to be abolished, and it was on the 2nd of April 2007 by Spanish Royal Decree 240/2007, thus putting into effect European Union directives, meaning that European Union citizens in Spain do not need to apply for and carry around with them resident identification cards. On the other hand you are required to carry your passport as an officially recognized mean of identification and present it whenever required to do so by the police.

As a resident in Spain, now you need to apply for a “Certificado de Inscripcion en el Registro Central de Extranjeros” (certificate of registration in the central register of foreigners). To do so, firstly you must go to your local Policia Nacional Police station and ask for a Form 790. Then take this form to a Spanish bank and present the form with 6.70 Euros to the cashier, who will stamp it and return it to you. The stamped document, duly completed, will then be presented with your application at the Police station.

You can print your application form off from the Spanish Interior Ministry website  or obtain one from the same police Station. If you need help with completing the form it is best to ask your lawyer or at the Police Station.

You then take the completed application form, stamped Form 790 and your passport with a photo copy of your passport to the Police station. You will then in due course be issued with your certificate which will also include your NIE number (the NIE number is a form of tax identification number and is explained in more detail in the NIE article on this website). Obviously it is important to keep this certificate in a safe place and make several copies of it, as you will be asked on many occasions by different Spanish authorities to show it during the time you live in Spain.


As a Spanish resident you will be liable to Spanish taxation and the obligation to complete and submit Spanish tax returns. So, if you buy a property in Spain or move to Spain, it is advisable you find a good English speaking Spanish accountant.

The big advantage a resident has over a non-resident is when he or she sells her Spanish property. There is no 3% retention by the tax authorities of the proceeds of sale. This 3% retention is a serious inconvenience to non-residents as it is not returned to them until the authorities are satisfied that all taxes due on the sale of the property, such as capital gains tax, have been paid.

Residence Status and Documentation.

S. Kimsey, one of our readers, was kind enough to provide us with information relating to complaints made by the British Expats Association to the Commission for E.U. Justice, which could well lead to Spain being brought before the European Court of Justice for a fining process for the lamentable way in which they have treated foreign EU residents in respect of documentation and due process.


The Commission set out the following points, about which the BEA had laid formal complaints, the result of which are summarised as follows: - 


(1) The €6.70 fee charged for registration does not comply with the Directive and is therefore illegal.


(2) The registration cannot depend upon presenting a valid extract of the 'Padron' (or some other 'formality')


(3) That where a citizen has already fulfilled the 5-year residence qualification, then they must be issued with a certificate of permanent residence as soon as possible.


(4) The registration must be in one's place of residence. Not a Provincial capital or even a nearby city police station etc. 


(5) They agree that any demand for the production of the now abolished residence card by anyone is illegal.


(6) That Spain has failed to carry out any proper awareness campaign, as demanded by Article 34 of the Directive.


(7) The Commission agree the failure by Spain to implement any procedure to guarantee that disabled Union citizens can register as a resident; indeed the current Spanish legislation (240/207) incorrectly demands that every citizen attends personally.


(8) It is illegal for Spain to request any supporting documents other than those listed in the Directive when making the registration. (These are: I.D. card or passport, proof of health care cover, plus a document, when requiring proof of a family relationship. Demands for names of parents are also not allowed. Demands for fiscal numbers etc., are not permitted.) 

Further, whilst one must satisfy the Member State that they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members, so as not to become a burden on the host State, requiring proof must not be routinely carried out and a declaration to that affect should be all that is normally required.


(9) The Commission will now also seek an explanation from Spain over her failure to transpose the Directive into her national law by the due date of 29 April 2006. 


Also contained in the response was the comment that “The removal of the residence card was decided with the purpose of facilitating the life of E.U. citizens and not of complicating it.”  The Commission stated, “On the basis of the information you have provided, the Spanish authorities would appear to have breached Community Law.”  

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