What is “empadronamiento”?
The ‘empadronamiento’ in Spain is the registration of residency in the city hall of the place where someone resides. It is open for every person, national or foreigner, that stays in the country. It works at a municipal level, and is the way by which one proves that their address is in a certain town.
It is mandatory to be registered for the sake of the local census and in order to apply for residency, however many expats don’t always comply.
For the nationals of a member State of the European Union and some other countries with which there are treaties in that regard, being registered in such way entitles the citizen to participate in local elections both actively (to vote) and passively (to be voted).
It is essential to keep in mind that the ‘empadronamiento’ does NOT prove that you are a legal resident in Spain. You could be staying illegally in the country and yet be able to register at the municipality.
In order to register, one has to go to the town hall and simply fill up the form. Bear in mind COVID-19 restrictions now allow the ‘empadronamiento’ to be applied for either online or in person with an appointment.
What is “residencia”?
‘Residencia’ or residency is the concept that refers to the administrative situation that entitles legally an individual to stay in Spain for as long as their particular situation allows them too.
There are different types and options. First of all, residency can be temporary or permanent, depending on the length of the right to stay (between 90 days and 5 years, temporary, and from 5 years on, permanent), but all of them require in order to keep it and extend it to stay over 183 days a year in Spain, excluding the golden visa. Secondly, it can be for just living or for working too depending on the Visa or permit. And thirdly, it can be given for family reunification or on exceptional grounds such as asylum or special ties with the territory.
The question of ‘Who can apply’ depends largely on each particular case: requirements and eligibility are not the same for those who plan to come to work as for those who just want a Schengen visa to travel around. Make sure to look into your Visa options depending on your specific situation.
Since this entry does not attempt to explain all the variants and cases, what we must do here is bear in mind that the residency, for as long as the permits state, does imply a legal status, but has a much complex procedure and tougher requirements in general.
To set an example of how this can affect the daily life of foreigners in Spain, we can speak about the eligibility for government benefits.
As an illegal resident in Spain, one is not entitled to all the rights that enjoy the local population and the legal expats in there. Although some benefits are conducted at the municipal level and only require ‘empadronamiento’, most help someone can have access too, including Social Security and programs at national level, is open just for legal residents.
Also, living illegally in Spain can lead to important fines and even the expulsion from the country, so we strongly recommend avoiding such a situation.
If you are interested in living in Spain, contact us and our team of experts will help you choose the best option for you and ease the whole process so that you can move to our wonderful peninsula as soon as you want.