Making Your Stay in Spain Official

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( — October 31, 2019) — Many foreigners move into Spain for long staying periods. Although many spend years on the country without making their stay official, having a Residency Permit can be necessary for a lot of official business. 

Getting your Residency Permit

Over the last years many people have chosen Spain as their permanent staying place. Reasons tend to vary between different people, maybe you want to start from zero in a new place or maybe you want to simply study abroad. Moving to a new country is never easy. Many people decide to not worry about the paperwork when making the choice of moving to Spain, spending years on the country without a Residency Permit. However, on the long run this can be troublesome. Spanish Law states that any citizen that spends more than three months in the country and has intentions of spending more than 183 days per year within its borders, is obliged to get a Residency Permit. 

A Residency Permit is required for many activities we do on a daily basis, such as:

  • Paying taxes. 
  • Looking out for a job. Most Spanish employers would not take the risk of hiring anyone without a Residency Permit since it could get them into legal trouble.
  • Registering a new business. If you want to create a business when you start your new Spanish life, you will be required a Residency Permit.
  • Buying and selling properties or vehicles. You will not be able to do official big transactions without having your Permit up to date.

As you can see, having a Residency Permit will not only keep you out of trouble, but will allow you to live in Spain just like any other citizen. 

Residency Permit status can also extend to your immediate family members (spouse, children, fathers, etc), so if you are traveling with your loved ones, you may wish to get a Resident Permit in the form of Family Residency Certificate.

Once you get your Residency Permit, it will be valid for a period of two years. After five years of having your Residency Permit, you will be able to apply for permanent residency. And after ten years of legal residency status, you can apply for naturalization. 

Requirements for a Residency Permit

Once you have already set up your mind on getting a Residency Permit, there are some requirements you must meet. 

  • The first one is getting yourself a NIE number. This number identifies you as a citizen in front of the law and you can get it on a police station. You need to go through this process in person, no one else can request it for you unless it is a legal attorney. For this process you will be requested different kind of documents depending of the police station. Usually only the passport is required, but more strict police stations may require documents like a birth certificate or a criminal record.
  • You need to prove your financial status. When applying for a Residency Permit, you need to prove that you will be able to sustain your new life in Spain. This can usually be done by different procedures. If you just moved to the country and do not have a job, you can provide a bank extract to prove that you have the means to look out for yourself. You will need to have a total income of 25,560€ annually, plus 6,390€ per any member of your household.  You can also prove your level of income by providing a valid job contract, on which you must earn at least 800€ per person per month. 
  • You need to have access to healthcare. Authorities will make sure you can look out for your own health when you apply for a Residency Permit. You will need to hire a private health insurance that meet all the requirements settled by the government, which can be tricky. 

Getting a private health insurance

Getting a good insurance for Spanish residency is key when applying for your Resident Permit. There are multiple private health insurance companies available in the market, but not all of them meet the requirements needed for this particular task. 

It is important for the health insurance to meet the following requirements in order to get the approval from the Spanish government:

  • Access to General medicine and infirmary service. Your private health insurance needs to be able to cover for your more basic needs when you are ill or get hurt. 
  • If children are involved, the private health insurance coverage needs to include pediatrics. 
  • Emergency service. You need to prove that in case there would be any eventuality, you would have a place to attend and not collapse public hospitals. Or that in case you would need to be visited at home, a professional would do so. 
  • Medical and surgical specialties in case there is a major health problem.
  • Diagnosis resources. Your private health insurance needs to be able to diagnose you efficiently when you get ill.
  • Hospitalization services. In case you need to give childbirth, have a surgery or a psychiatric hospitalization, your private health insurance must have a proper way to look out for you while you stay under their care.
  • Psychological help. Your private health insurance needs to have a proper psychological help system that will ensure your mental health while your stay in Spain.
  • Special treatments for long term illnesses, such as chemotherapy. 
  • Ambulance services in case the patient would need transport to the hospital during a health emergency. 
  • Health assistance abroad. If the person applying for a Resident Permit would get sick while staying abroad, his/her health insurance would need to cover the expenses generated by it. 

If you are looking to get your Residency Permit, it is important to get a good private health insurance that will meet all this criteria, otherwise your application may get declined.  Hiring a private health insurance service and then discover it is not a valid one would be a waste of time and money, plus it would not look good on you to have multiple Residency Permit request denied on your record.