How To Get An Empadronamiento in Spain

So you packed up your things and made the big move to Spain. Great! But now what? The first month here can be a bit daunting as you’re searching for an apartment and applying for your NIE/TIE residency card. Where do you start? Well the first step in this unenjoyable bureaucratic process is to get an empadronamiento. But don’t worry, this part is very easy, and it’s FREE!

What is the empadronamiento?

The empadronamiento, also called a Padrón Municipal de Habitantes, is the process of registering your domicilio (place of residence) with the local government. This is the way your ayuntamiento (town hall) knows how many residents they have in their township. The document gives you legal proof of where you’ve been living and for how long. It’s important to register your new address each time you move. Spanish law requires that everyone be empadronado/a if they will be living in Spain for more than 180 days.

You can get either a more informal volante de empadronamiento for local needs or an official certificado de empadronamiento for national legal procedures.

What will you need it for?

Since the empadronamiento verifies that you are a resident of your city, it is a necessity for a variety of administrative procedures you may want to apply for:

  • Residency visas, citizenship
  • Social security, healthcare card
  • Civil partnerships (marriage, pareja de hecho)
  • Buying/selling a car, getting a license

Where do you go and what documents do you need to apply?

You will apply at your ayuntamiento in the city where you live. The building may also be titled the concejo (town council) or in Galician towns like mine, concello. In most cities and towns you can walk in without making an appointment beforehand, but calling ahead in very large cities could help cut down your wait time. You will need

  • an application form (which are available in the town hall office)
  • your passport and photocopy- or valid DNI/TIE and a photocopy
  • the original and photocopy of your apartment lease signed by your landlord and yourself

And that’s it! You should receive your certificate the same day that you go. If you don’t have a lease or contract, someone who is already empadronado at your residence can accompany you to the town hall and sign off for you. You’re now one step closer to your Spanish residency!

Thanks for reading! How did the process go for you? Leave any questions in the comment box below and I’ll try to answer them. Happy travels!

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I'm an American expat living in Galicia. I want to inspire travel, learn a dozen languages, and try every food in the world.

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