All the steps to gain Spanish residency
Before you get started make sure you have:
- A place to live in Spain. You can either buy a property or rent somewhere long-term.
- A valid UK passport with plenty of time left until it expires
- Financial means to support yourself and your dependants for as long as you are in Spain. This can either be through passive income like a pension, or savings.
- No criminal record.
If you have got this far, then next you need to apply for your visa from the local Spanish consulate. In the UK they are in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. You need to email them and ask for an appointment for each member of your family. Read this article for what documents you need to provide.
The visa process is by far the biggest hurdle. You need to provide a lot of documents, and if they are not from Spain they will need to be translated and apostilled.
In our experience it is best to stay in the UK and deal with the consulate in person with any issues that may arise. We found contact by telephone impossible, and email was only sporadic! Check these articles here, here and here for our experiences in the process.
As soon as you have got your visa, you have three months to go to Spain, and then a month while there to apply for your foreigners identity card, the TIE (or tarjeta identificad de extranjeros).
However to do this you will need something called the padrón, a certificate that officially confirms where you are living in Spain. It is equivalent to the electoral roll in the UK. Before you arrive in Spain with your visa, get booked into your local ayuntamiento (town hall) to apply for your padrón. You may be able to get it done in one appointment, or you may (as in our case) have to book another appointment a week later to actually collect it. Either way, this step needs to be completed before you can get your TIE. This article explains our experiences of the padrón.
When you have your padrón you can book an appointment with the national police to be finger-printed and apply for your TIE card.
Important – You need to make sure you have an appointment booked before your visa expires!
Click here to see how we got on with our TIE process. Again though, after the stress and effort of the visa, everything else seemed very easy!
Hopefully this article is useful in bringing together the different steps. Feel free to ask a question in the comments.