I thought I would write a little on the current situation with Residencias. Firstly, what is a Residencia? The green certificate Residencia is a joint Residencia/NIE. The new stricter rules for Spanish residency, introduced in July 2012, state that within 90 days of arriving in the country with the intent of taking up permanent residence persons must register at the local Oficina de Extranjeros (literally meaning Office for Foreigners) for a Residencia.

The NIE only is needed if you are buying a property inSpain, setting up a bank account, buying a car and for many other transactions.  You do not need to be Resident for this.

A fiscal resident means you file income tax returns in Spain.

When people first arrive inSpainthe first thing they want to do of course is ensure they can get free health cover. And here comes the chicken and egg situation; which comes first…?!

To obtain free health cover (a SIP card) you need a Residencia. However to obtain a Residencia, you need to demonstrate you have health cover inSpain!  The solution is that people are having to take out a private health insurance policy to show they have health cover until they get their SIP card and then cancel the health insurance (but usually that is not possible for a year!). The situation is crazy.

When you go to get your Residencia, you now have to jump through a lot more hoops and apart from having the correct application form, passport and paying a fee you now must also be able to prove both your financial ability to support yourself and any dependants and your healthcare arrangements.

Regarding the financial ability, for those with pensions, whether government or private, it is easier. Persons without guaranteed pension income will need to show proof of funds, or a job contract or other suitable financial data.

You will need your Residencia to get a fiscal residency certificate and be registered as Self-Employed with the tax authorities. Of course, when you are self-employed, and you pay social security, you get free healthcare. But in the meantime, just to get a Residencia: you generally need to show:

An S1 form from the Pensions office

Proof of pensions paid into Spanish Bank account or alternative income

Proof of private medical insurance (this can be cancelled one year later if you are eligible for the Spanish health system or SIP card)

For those of us lucky enough to have already obtained a Residencia, it is rather a relief.

It really is a system that needs altering, but in time we believe things will settle down and become easier.  In the meantime, please do contact us if we can be of any help.

Amanda Thomas

Spanish Solutions Legal and Tax


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