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3.3.1. Empadronamiento (Registration)

  • What does empadronamiento (registration) mean?

It means registering at the municipal register, for all the people who live in a given municipality. It is a right and a duty for everybody who lives in Spain, regardless of their nationality and whether they hold a residence permit or not.

In order to register, you have to settle in an address, whether it is your own property, rented, or a relative or friend’s house.

  • What is the purpose of registration?

It is advisable to register as soon as you get to Spain, since your registration will be the official proof of your time in Spain.

Being registered makes you a resident of a given municipality and entitles you to access the different rights that the Spanish law grants for:

  • Applying for work and residence permits, as well as family reunification for spouse and/or children.
  • Applying for the healthcare card that entitles you to healthcare.
  • Accessing all municipal services: social services and benefits, cultural and sport services, etc.
  • Exchanging your driver’s license, if there is an agreement with the origin country.
  • Enrolling your children at public schools.
  • All the other procedures for foreigners.
  • It is the official document that proves your integration in the Spanish society in order to apply for permanent residence.
  • What obligations does registration entail?

- If you move, you should request, in writing, to be registered at the municipality your new address belongs to.

- It is not necessary for you to notify your old municipality, as the new one will automatically notify them in order to be able to register you.

- Foreigners from outside of the European Community, of legal age or not, who do not have a permanent residence permit, have to renew their registration within 2 years. If not, they will be eliminated from the register.

      • What documents do you need to submit?

        • The Individual or Group Form that you can get, free of charge, at the city hall, filled out and signed by every person of legal age (most town halls allow you to download it from their website).
  • Original Identification Document: Valid Passport, Valid Residence Permit (temporary, permanent, from the EU), Foreigner Identification Card, together with passport or ID from their country (citizens from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) (original and photocopy).
  • For children under 18, attach family book (original and photocopy) or birth certificate, if they do not use family books in they country of origin.
  • In the case that a representative is being used, they will need to submit the original ID of the person, the original ID of the representative and the written authorization to represent them.
Documents that prove the address:
  • Contract of sale
  • Rental contract (if the contract has been extended, proof of payment of the last month’s rent should also be attached)
  • Last telephone, water, electricity or gas bill, or contract formalized no earlier than a year prior to the application.
  • When none of the applicants is the titleholder of the home, it is necessary for one of the titleholders to prove so, through any of the aforementioned documents, and sign the corresponding section of the registration form. A photocopy of the titleholder’s ID also needs to be attached.
  • When the applicant is registering at a home where other people are already registered, it is necessary for one of the people who is of legal age registered at that address to authorize the registration of the new person by signing the corresponding section of the registration form. A photocopy of that person’s ID also needs to be attached.
  • When registering at a group home, the director’s authorization is necessary. They will all be registered together but only individual certificates will be given out.


  • Where do you need to register?

You should register at the municipality where your address is. In case you live in more than one municipality, you should register where you spend more time during the year.


- This certificate only proves that you live in that municipality permanently
- The data on the registration is confidential and can only be used by the Spanish Administration to ensure public safety.
- Even if you are in an irregular situation, do not be afraid to register at the municipality where you live: town halls do not control your administrative situation in Spain; they only carry a register of the people who live in their territory. 
- You should ask the corresponding municipality about any additional information regarding specific requirements for registering at each municipality. 
- To prove that you are registered you need to ask your city hall for a registration certificate, which needs to specify the reason why it was requested.
- If you have a temporary residence or work permit, but you do not hold a permanent one (5 years) or if you do not belong to the European Union, you have to renew your registration every 2 years or you will lose your seniority and the rights your registration entitles you to.
- You have the right to request the service of a sign language interpreter. You may get information about this at your nearest association or federation for the deaf.

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