This FAQ has been prepared
from original material by, and copyright of,
H.R. Services, C/Mostoles 131, Apto. 275 03724, Moraira, Alicante
Additions by Bill Hayles, email@example.com, to whom all errors and
omissions should be reported.
Information given applies to residents living in Alicante Province.
Details may vary slightly for those living in Valencia, Murcia
What is a Residencia?
A Residencia is a card incorporating your personal details and a
photograph/fingerprint. It is valid for five years and must then be
renewed. Occasionally, applicants are granted an initial Residencia
for one or two years, which is extended to five years on renewal.
Who Should Apply for a Residencia?
The current Spanish law states anyone intending to remain in Spain
longer than 183 days in any one period throughout the calendar year
should apply for a Residencia. In addition, anyone working, either as
an employee or in a self employed capacity, should become resident, and
be registered as having a work permit. The reality is that it is very
difficult for the Spanish authorities to check who should be resident,
and often people do not have a sufficient regular income to apply for
Residencia (see “Requirements”). In addition, many employers
employees “cash in hand” because the seasonal nature of most
this part of Spain means work often cannot be guaranteed all year. The
decision whether to fully remain within the law and apply for a
Residencia is therefore for the individual to make (see
Requirements to Apply for a Residencia
You will need the following:
1) Current passport and 4 recent passport style photos.
2) A Certificate from your Spanish bank showing the balance in your
account and amount of monthly
income you receive. This must be a minimum of 70.000 ptas (420.71
Euros) per person per month.
3) If you are an unmarried couple, and your income is from one source
for both partners, i.e. is in one name only, then a Certificate of
Convivencia must be obtained from your local Town Hall (Ayuntamiento)
for the person who does not receive any income. The cost for this
Certificate may be approximately 2.000 ptas (12.02 Euros). The local
Police usually make a visit to your property to check that you are
4) Confirmation of adequate Health Insurance cover. This could be in
the form of private medical insurance, or an E106/E121 from the DHSS in
5) The relevant application form, duly completed.
6) A 750 “Tasa” form, which should be handed into any bank
of 990 ptas (5.95 Euros) per application to cover the administration
costs of applying for the Residencia. Two copies of this form will be
returned to you.
7) 1 photocopy of each document, except 5) and 6).
What Happens Then?
It is common to employ a Gestoria, such as H.R. Services to complete
the application form, take all necessary copies and check the
documentation, etc at a charge of roughly 30 Euros.
All the documentation should be taken by yourself to your nearest
National Police Station with a Departamento de Extranjeros, such as
those at Denia or Benodirm. You will be required to sign and
fingerprint the Residencia, and will receive a copy of the application
form as proof that you have lodged an application.
The Residencia normally takes between 6 to 9 *months* to be completed.
You will not be notified when it is ready, so it is up to you to check.
Please remember that once you have obtained your Residencia, you should
exchange your British Driving Licence for a Spanish Licence. You will
need the following:
a) Two passport photos.
b) Original plus one copy of your current Driving Licence.
c) Original plus one copy of your Residencia.
d) The relevant Trafico form.
These documents must be taken to the Trafico Office in Alicante,
whereupon paying their charge of 2.575 ptas 15.48 Euros) you can apply
for your Spanish Driving Licence. Again, A Gestoria can arrange the
document transfer for you for a fee of about 30 Euros + IVA.
Renewing a Residencia
You will not be reminded when your Residencia needs renewing, so it is
up to you to check. The documentation for renewal for EEC members is
a) 4 passport photos
b) Original Residencia + 2 copies
c) Original Passport + 2 copies
d) Relevant application form duly completed
Please note that the former requirement for medical insurance is no
longer required for a Residencia renewal.
Applying for a Residencia as an Employee
If you wish to work legally in Spain, on applying for a Residencia you
must also hand in the papers required for the Work Permit. You will
require the following:
a) Passport and 4 photos.
b) Original work contract.
c) CIF Number and Inception details of employer.
d) TC1 and TC2 forms from the employer.
e) Original NIE (if you already have one).
f) Two photocopies of all documents.
Applying for a Residencia as Self Employed
Again, the following documents must be produced:
a) Passport and 4 photos.
b) Tax Licence application for the work activity to be followed (this
may be obtained from your local SUMA Office).
c) Form 037, stamped by the Tax Office and declaring the method of
payment of your taxes (quarterly VAT + Income Tax Declarations).
d) Registration document from the Seguridad Social.
e) If the work activity will be carried out in an office/local etc
where the public are allowed to enter, you will also need to make an
Opening Licence application, which can be obtained from the Town Hall.
f) If the work activity normally requires qualification certificates
(e.g. electrician, builder, architect etc), your original Certificates,
together with a Spanish translation copy, must first be homologated by
the Ministry of Education + Science in Alicante/ Madrid.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Applying for a Residencia
1) As already mentioned, your tax obligations as a Non-Resident are:
a) Patrimonio, based on the Escritura value of your property in Spain.
b) Income Tax on the own use of your property, based on the rateable
2) Your tax obligations as a Resident are:
a) Patrimonio on Spanish property with an Escritura value of more than
18.000.000 pts (108,182.18 Euros)
b) Income Tax on all income received worldwide.
On the sale of your property:
1) As a Non-Resident who purchased the property after 1986, you will
obliged to deposit 5% of the new declared Escritura value with the Tax
Office as payment for Capital Gains Tax and then apply for a refund (if
applicable – see the “House Purchase/Sale” information
refund will be repaid within 6 – 9 months after the sale. Capital
Gains Tax is calculated at 35% of net profit.
2) As a Resident, you will not have to pay the 5% advance payment of
the Capital Gains Tax. Instead, the sale of your property and any
resulting profit therefrom will be declared in the following year´s
Income Tax Declaration. Capital Gains Tax is calculated at 20% of net
profit. However, if all the profit is re-invested in another main
residence within 2 years of the sale, then no Capital Gains Tax is
Should you require further advice on taxes , I recommend you seek the
assistance of a registered Tax Advisor.
1) As a Non-Resident, your English registered vehicle may remain in
Spain all year without the need to change to Spanish number plates.
2) As a Resident, you will be granted a period of 6 months after
obtaining the Residencia to legally “import” your vehicle.
1) As a Non-Resident who spends more than 183 days per year in Spain
technically breaking the law.
2) As a Resident, you are in Spain completely legally, and may even,
qualifying period, vote in local or European residents. Your Residencia
will open doors for you that your passport won’t.