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Do I need Spanish residency card if I hold an EU passport?

Published on 28 Apr 2022

With freedom of movement within Europe, free choice for settling down and possibilities to work in any of the EU states – do EU citizens residing in Spain need to obtain Spanish residency document and/or any special permits? The answer is a DEFINITE YES! The law is clear – if you are intending to reside in Spain for longer than 3 months, you need to apply for residency, or for EU citizens – be included in the Central Registry of Foreigners. And although there are numerous examples of those technically RESIDING in Spain – living, working, even paying taxes in the country, but holding NO official residency document, this doesn’t make it right. But how is it possible, you would ask?! 

Well, indeed, if you are an EU citizen, it is difficult to know whether you live in Spain full time or just visiting, and to be able to register for work one requires a NIE and a Social Security number, so it is reasonably easy to get away with not having a residency document. Besides, quite many believe they are covered with a NIE, or simply just ignore the requirements. Even if it is a COMMON thing and might look like having no consequences, it is ILLEGAL and will cause troubles with authorities! With an EU passport Spanish residency application is much more straight forward, compared to the one valid for non-EU citizens, however like with everything else, you must still meet certain requirements, mainly the health cover and the availability of funds or income - for more details please refer to our article about NIE and residency for EU citizens

Some people may ask - so what are my BENEFITS of becoming a Spanish resident?! To be honest with you, it is not always about BENEFITS, it is about complying with LAWS and REGULATIONS. Laws are there to be followed and not necessarily to be questioned. But speaking of benefits, there are definitely some. Spanish residents get better conditions when applying for a mortgage. Property owners are relieved from a non-resident property tax. In some areas of Spain there are significant discounts offered on public transport, including the airfares, on cultural events, museums, theatres, etc. Other areas, like for example Andalusia, offer huge benefits for Spanish residents when it comes to inheritance and gift taxes. 

But despite of all possible benefits, it is primarily your OBLIGATION to comply with the laws of the country you have decided to make your home, and we at Malaga Expat will be only happy to support you along the way! Get in touch to apply for your Spanish residency!


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