Changing Status in Spain

Bill having lunch

Information on this page applies to non-EU citizens.

Renew your (normal long-stay) residency card

This is about renewing temporary long-stay residency. Initial permit is for 1 year, then renewed at the 1-year and 3-year marks for 2 more years each time.

The Residency Card (AKA "TIE" or "Permiso de Residencia"), not the visa or NIE number, is what gets renewed. Then when re-entering Spain at some later time, you show the Residency Card instead of a visa.

From /u/ultimomono:
The visa is what you apply for at your designated Spanish embassy in the US to enter the country correctly (i.e. not as a tourist); residency is what you must apply for once you have entered Spain under the correct type of visa. Once you have residency, all of your renewals happen within Spain.

From someone on /r/Spain:
NIE is just a number, think of it like a social security number in the US. You get one and then you have that for life. The residency card is a physical card [which says "Permiso de Residencia"]. The thing is most people refer to the card (incorrectly) as the NIE. ... [The card may be valid] to a concrete date (as happens with student visas) or a set number of years depending on your personal situation.

From Myra on CAB FB group 10/2014:
"NIE number is for life. If you have applied recently the cert will state that it has a validity of three months. Only need to renew if asked for up-to-date copy."

First Residency Card (at least for non-lucrative) is valid for 1 year; renewals should be for 2 years each, up to 5-year mark.

From Esencial Blog's "NIE and Residency Card":
"The authorities will not contact you to remind you that you need to renew your residency card, so you must verify when your residency card expires and make sure to renew it in time."

Can apply starting 60 days before current card expires, and up to 90 days after it expires. Procedure is "Renovacion de residencia temporal" ? You keep your old card until your new card is ready (then they'll take the old card from you). If you travel after the old card expires, but before you have the new card, get an "Autorizacion de Regreso" and also carry the residency-renewal papers with you.

Renewal process

  1. Get appointment: SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa" and select province and then click on "3. Expedicion de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero." Then select "Policia - Toma de Huellas (Expedicion de Tarjetas ...".

    If you're having trouble getting a cita, don't put in an expiration date; that seems to make it easier. Maybe even put in a fake early date.

  2. Documents needed to apply in first office visit:
    • EX-01 form.
    • Passport valid for 1 year more.
    • Complete copy of all pages of the passport. Probably a good idea to add a little summary sheet listing the dates when you entered and left Spain, to make it easier for them to see that you resided in Spain at least 180 days in previous year.
    • Current residency card.
    • Proof of financial support.
    • Proof of health insurance.
    • Probably a good idea to have a copy of your padron, to show that your address hasn't changed.

  3. At the end of the office visit, you will get a tasa form for €15.76. Pay it at a bank. (Or you will get the form later in the mail, pay it, and mail it in.)

  4. Some time MONTHS later, get notified (by postal mail) that your renewal has been approved.

  5. Get another appointment, but I'm not sure if you do this via email (specified in approval letter) or same way as first appointment. I just went to the office without a cita.

    It's not clear whether this second office visit has to be after the old residency card expires.

  6. Second office visit, taking documents:
    • Favorable-result letter.
    • Passport.
    • Current residency card.

  7. Get a tasa form (Modelo 790 codigo 052) for €18.54. Pay it at a bank.

  8. Back to office for third time, taking documents:
    • Favorable-result letter AND a copy of it.
    • Passport.
    • Copy of the passport's ID page.
    • (Second) Tasa receipt: €18.54.
    • Two color passport photos.
    • Current residency card.

  9. At the appointment, office will take your fingerprints, and give you a resguardo that serves as legal ID.

  10. About 25 days later, you will get a phone call, or just go to office again (no appointment needed) to pick up new residency card. Take passport, old residency card, and resguardo. Office will take your fingerprints again. Surrender old residency card, get new one.

You can't change your type of residency (e.g. from non-lucrative to work or student) when renewing the card. You'd have to apply for a new visa at the consulate in your country.

Bucking the Trend's "How to Renew a Non Lucrative Residence Visa in Spain"
Bucking the Trend's "Spanish Residence Permit Renewal - Approval"
Cale Gram's "How to Renew Your TIE in Barcelona, Spain"
Wagoners Abroad's "Spanish Resident Card Renewal Process"
Gobierno de España's "Renovacion de la autorizacion de residencia temporal no lucrativa"

My experience renewing 9/2016 to 3/2017 in Jerez de la Frontera

Online, earliest cita I could get was for 2+ months later. So I decided to try the office anyway, with no cita.

I filled out the application form and made two copies, copied my whole passport, made a summary-sheet showing when I'd gone in and out of Spain, gave copy of bank account summary, letter showing medical coverage, copied my Permisso de Residencia (both sides), copy of padron. Summary-sheet, bank summary, medical letter are in English.

On 9/21 I went to the National Police office in Jerez (Plaza del Arroyo 17) without a cita. At 11:30 or so, there was no line, and I walked in and sat down in front of an officer. I put my Permiso de Residencia and passport and stack of photocopied documents on the table. I pointed to the application form and "1st Renovacion" check-box. She asked if I had a cita, and I said no, can't get one until November. She said something like "I can give you a cita for Friday (2 days from now)" and she looked on a computer and in a logbook.

Then instead she thumbed through the top few of my documents for a moment, had me date and sign the two application forms, then said "The documents will be sent to Cadiz for processing. Take them upstairs to be stamped, then either you're done or they'll send you back down here." I went upstairs, the two application forms got stamped, back downstairs. Officer gave me one stamped application form back, took the rest of the stack, said you'll get a letter in the mail, done !

It happened so quickly that later I wished I'd checked the stack of documents more carefully before handing it over. I think I gave them all the right stuff, maybe with a couple of duplicates.

Six and eight days later, tried to check status SEDE infoext2 [may have changed to SEDE login], got "no information found". Tried various submission dates, no luck. Eventually figured out I've been using it wrong all along: the "Cl@ve" icon is hiding ALL digital ID methods, not just Cl@ve (which I don't have). Clicked on it, clicked "eidentifier", used my digital certificate, and it found my tramite ! In progress, two weeks after I submitted it. And it gave me the expediente number, which I didn't have before.

On 10/17, received a letter (dated 10/5) saying I must pay tasa of €15.76, which means they're approving my renewal. Have to pay the tasa within 10 days of receiving the letter. Then within 15 days of paying the tasa, have to mail the paid tasa to the extranjeria office in Cadiz.

Paid the tasa and mailed one copy on 10/19.

10/29, online status still says "en tramite". So I guess it won't change through the various stages of this process, until done at the end.

11/8, I had a cita I got long ago, so I went to the office. They said "still en tramite, you just have to wait for a letter in the mail, and anyway you won't be coming to this office, you'll be going to another office". And they gave me a slip of paper with another office's address, also in Jerez (Plaza Domecq 46-47).

Then I said "I'm traveling to USA, do I need to get a regreso ?", and they said yes. [Note: I'm in the renewal stage after paying tasa, before having fingerprints taken. Not sure if that matters.] So I got tasa forms from them (€10.30), went to bank and paid the tasa, back to office and applied for regreso (submitted EX-13 form, passport and copy of ID page, one of the stamped tasa forms, maybe copy of residency renewal application form). At first they said come pick it up in 2-3 days, then they said 3-5 days, then said 2-3 days.

Went back 3 days later (11/11) first thing in the morning, and regreso was done. Handed over passport, got back passport and a one-page regreso (pic), good for up to 3 months.

1/16, went to the office, they say renewal status still is "en tramite", and the status will change online when the letter is mailed.

On 1/17, the online status changed to "resuelto - favorable" !

On 1/26, received letter saying go to Extranjeria to pick up your card.

1/27, went to Extranjeria. They handed me a tasa to pay (€18.54), said come back in a couple of days with the tasa, two pictures, and copy of passport ID page (as well as original passport, old residency card, and letter showing approval).

Tried to check status SEDE infoext2, got "no information found". I think their system is having problems. [May have changed to SEDE login. But that doesn't find my expediente either.]

1/30: Back to Extranjeria. Handed over: passport and copy of ID page, renewal sheet I received in mail AND a copy of it, old residency card, paid tasa form, two photos. Guy grumbled that I handed over copies of same photo I used 1.5 years ago on my original card, but accepted them. Lots of electronic fingerprinting of my index fingers, pressing them, then rolling them, several times. Finally done, but no new card yet. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying, but sounds like we'll get an automated phone call or SMS in a couple of weeks, come pick up the card somewhere. I asked if it will be this same office, but couldn't get a straight answer. He gave me a "resguardo" paper that says it's valid legal ID for 45 days. Paper he gave me says when that phone call comes, bring passport and old residency card and the resguardo, come to same office, pick up new card.

2/7 and 2/28: Still can't find my expediente online.

3/1: To Extranjeria. My card still is not available, somehow they received batch 16 but not batch 15 (mine). Try again in 2-3 weeks.

3/15: Back to Extranjeria, and they had my card. They never called us, and now they say we were supposed to call them. Card has an issue date of 1/30 on it, so it took 45 days to get from the main office in Cadiz city to my hands. Valid for 2 years since start date of previous card.

So, the whole process took 1 week short of 6 months.

If your renewal gets denied, you could try a "recurso" (appeal). Probably have to get a gestor or abogado to do it ?

6/2017: Heard of a new way to start the renewal process online: Secretaria de Estado de Administraciones Publicas' "Renovacion Telematica de Autorizaciones de Extranjeria". But I think it requires Java, which hasn't worked in my browsers for a while now.

From someone on "American in Spain" Facebook group 1/2018:
Applying for a renewal ONLINE is the most easy thing we ever made. I just uploaded 4 documents scanned. Passport, proof of income, proof of health insurance, and the fee (tasa) paid. That's ALL. You scan the documents, upload through the webpage, sign it electronically and wait no more than 40 days. No more queueing, no more fotocopies, no more paying anybody ... all you need to be able to do it online is the electronic signature or (certificado electronico o digital) ...

Web page to apply online to renew: Gobierno de España's "Procedimientos de la categoria Extranjeria". Choose "MERCURIO - Renovaciones de Autorizaciones de Extranjeria - Presentacion Telematica".

When filling the tasa form you must check the box "Pago en efectibo" if you want to print it and go to the bank to pay it.

Felix Wong's "Renewing My Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Online: Pitfalls & Solutions"
Tapas Forever's "How To Renew The Non-Lucrative Visa Online"

Long-term residency ('el permiso de residencia de larga duracion')

After 5+ years of long-stay residency (renewed at the 1-year and 3-year marks), apply for long-term residency ("el permiso de residencia de larga duracion").

It's "long-term" residency, not "permanent" residency. You renew it every 5 years. There is a separate "permanent residency" (see "Permanent Residency" section) which is for family/spouse of EU citizen.

Someone said this card gives you permission to work in Spain, even if your previous residency had been non-lucrative.

I think this does not give the right to reside or work in other EU countries ("right of free movement"). You would have to apply for residency in another country if you wanted to reside or work there.

Someone said you can apply for a "certificado de residencia" to see how long you have been in/out of Spain in your 5+ years of residency, because you can only be out for up to 10 months in 5 years before you apply for long-term residency ?
Cuerpo Nacional de Policia's "Certificado de residente"

Gobierno de España's "Residencia de larga duracion"
Expat Agency Spain's "How to become a permanent resident in Spain"
Parainmigrantes' "Autorizacion de Residencia de Larga Duracion - UE"
Sterna Abogados' "Long term Spanish residency"
Spainguru's "Permanent and long-term residency options in Spain"

What is this ?
Gobierno de España's "Residencia de larga duracion - UE"
Someone on Facebook says: "It looks like the only difference between the two is the UE one gives you the possibility to work anywhere in the EU while the other one does not. Also the UE one would count any previous years that you were in Spain as a student towards the five year requirement, while the other one would not."

After getting long-term residency, if at any time you leave EU for 1 year continuously, you lose residency.'s "Contar el tiempo fuera de España para no perder la tarjeta de residencia"

Maybe the EU card has same rules: a person can spend up to 18 months out of the EU, including 12 consecutive months, without losing it.
Gobierno de España's "Residencia de larga duracion-UE"

Spanish Citizenship

After 10 years of residency, you could apply for citizenship.

If non-EU person marries a Spanish citizen, can apply for citizenship after 1 year of residency-while-married.

Benefits of citizenship over residency

  • The right to reside or work in other EU countries ("right of free movement"). You would have to register in another country if you wanted to reside or work there, but generally your registration can't be denied.

  • Right to vote.

  • Can spend as much time as you like outside Spain without losing residency/citizenship.

  • No need to prove everything all over again each time you renew.

  • First-level NHS service, instead of the second-level you get if you buy into NHS via Convenio Especial.

Must pass DELE A2 language test and a CCSE citizenship (history, culture, etc) test. You can take the tests before the date when you are eligible to start applying for citizenship. You have to pass the tests before you can apply. There may be waiting lists of several months before a time-slot is available for you to take the test. Expect to wait 1-3 months to get test results back.


DELE = "Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera":
DELE - Level A2
Instituto Cervantes' "Spanish Level Test"
Instituto Cervantes' "Que son los DELE"
Instituto Cervantes' "Preparar la prueba DELE"
AIL Madrid's "The DELE Exam Samples and Past Papers"
Parainmigrantes' "Guia Examen DELE A2"
A2 DELE test is 4 parts, totalling almost 3 hours, including audio ? Examenes DELE A2
Passing grade is 60% or higher, but you must get at least that grade in both the written and oral parts.
A2 DELE test is given about 8 times per year.
Fee to take A2 DELE exam is around €130 ?
Resulting certification is valid indefinitely.

About the oral part of the exam 2019, from someone on Facebook:
There are two parts to the speaking. 1. Monologue. You compare and contrast 2 photos and the interviewer asks you a few questions. 2. Dialogue. It's a role-play. In my case I had to buy tickets at the train station and the interviewer presented me with a problem which I had to solve. It was very easy.

CCSE = "Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España":
Instituto Cervantes' "Que es la prueba CCSE"
Instituto Cervantes' "Preparar la prueba CCSE"
Instituto Cervantes' "Manual CCSE 2021"
Parainmigrantes' "Test de Nacionalidad Española"
Notes from Navarra's "Studying for the CCSE"
Notes from Navarra's "The CCSE Day!"
Smartphone app "CCSE 2019 Test Nacionalidad Española"
Test is 25 multiple-choice or T/F questions in 45 minutes; passing grade is 60% or higher.
Many people online say the test is easy, do the published questions and maybe the app and you'll be fine.
Test is given about every 2 weeks, on same day nationwide.
Fee to take CCSE exam in 2019 is €85.
Resulting certificate is valid for 4 years.

Documents needed to apply

  • Application form "Solicitud De Nacionalidad Española Por Residencia.
  • Residency card (TIE) and photocopy.
  • Passport.
  • Complete photocopy of all pages of the passport.
  • Certified and apostilled birth certificate, valid in last 90 days.
  • Criminal record check from home country, apostilled, valid in last 90 days.
  • Spanish criminal record check, valid in last 90 days.
  • Padron, valid in last 90 days.
  • DELE test certificate.
  • CCSE test certificate.
  • Paid tasa of €100, via modelo 790 codigo 026.
  • If married to Spanish citizen, Libro de Familia and their DNI ?
Applications can be submitted entirely online.

You will be required to choose a Spanish form of your name, to be your official name on Spanish documents: given name(s), followed by either fathers-surname then mothers-surname, or mothers-surname then fathers-surname. And "given name" can include multiple names, such as "first middle" from your foreign name. (A single first name is a "nombre simple"; a multiple first name is a "nombre compuesto".)
Wikipedia's "Spanish naming customs - Foreign citizens"
ICRtranslations' "Spanish naming customs"
BOE-A-2011-12628 (see articulos 50-57)

After applying for citizenship, it can take up to 2.5 years before getting result. Then more waiting until the swearing-in ("juramento").

Apparently the exact text of the oath that is sworn ("jura de la nacionalidad") is just some short lines filled out on a form. See Anexo I of BOE-A-2013-7472.
Also relevant: articulo 220 of Real Decreto 1917/1986
Described as "renunciar a la nacionalidad anterior y de prestar juramento o promesa de fidelidad al Rey y de obediencia a la Constitucion y a las Leyes", but no specific text is given.

When you get citizenship, you will stop using your foreigner ID number (NIE), and get a DNI card with a new number (also called DNI ?) on it.

From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
In Spain there is a difference between dual nationality and having two nationalities. In Spain you can only have dual nationality with a few countries because there is an agreement on which nationality becomes active and which nationality is put in hibernation. So there is no British-Spanish dual nationality but you can have both nationalities without any issues. Your children will always have the Spanish nationality. That is protected by the constitution. When they are 18 they will have to decide between their nationalities but this will only have effect in Spanish territory (art. 23 codigo civil) so if they pick Spanish they will no longer be British INSIDE Spain. If they pick British they will be British and no longer Spanish but as I said before they will never lose their Spanish citizenship so they can claim it back ANY time. Once you get Spanish citizenship legally you won't be British inside Spain but your British citizenship is never lost.

COMO's "How to Apply for Spanish Nationality through Residency"
Ajuntament de Barcelona (SAIER)'s "Nova Ciutadania"
Gobierno de España's "Nacionalidad"
Gobierno de España's "Nationality by residence"
Formulario 790 (application form)
iAbogado's "Getting the Spanish nationality"
Spotahome's "How to Get Your Spanish Citizenship"
Ministerio de Justicia's "¿Cómo se adquiere la nacionalidad española?"
Expat Agency Spain's "Dual Nationality - Spanish Citizenship"

USA allows dual citizenship, but some articles dispute this ?
State Dept's "Dual Nationality"
Legal Language Services' "Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in the United States?"

Pareja de Hecho And Matrimonio


  • Pareja Estable (AKA "pareja de hecho no registrada" ?): When a couple has been together for a year, but not registered the relationship anywhere ?

  • Pareja de Hecho: Done at local govt office, you get some kind of certificate ("Certificado de Inscripcion de Pareja de Hecho" ?), registered on regional registry, no effect on taxes or inheritance.

  • Marriage:

    • Matrimonio Civil: Done at regional Registro Central / Juzgado, you get a Libro de Familia, registered on national registry, can affect taxes and inheritance.

    • Matrimonio Canónico: do Matrimonio Civil, then a week or two later do a church ceremony.

PdH with a citizen does NOT give you right to work; marriage does ? But PdH followed by getting tarjeta comunitaria does give you the right to work.

AbogadoExtranjeriaMadrid's "What is Pareja Estable in Spain?"
AbogadoExtranjeriaMadrid's "What is Pareja de Hecho in Spain?"
Expatica's "Getting married in Spain: Marriage and partnerships in Spain"
Maria Teresa Velasco's "Marriage in Spain"
Angloinfo's "Civil Marriage in Spain"
Expat Agency Spain's "Marrying a Spaniard - Legal facts for Non-EU foreigners"

There is another alternative ? "Familia extensa" ?
Tolentino Abogados' "Familia extensa"
Santo Domingo consulate's "Requisitos para Visado de Familia Extensa de Comunitario"
NYC consulate's "Residence Visa to Reunite a Family Member with a Citizen of Spain or an EU Member"

My understanding is that doing (and potentially undoing) pareja de hecho has ZERO implications for taxes and inheritance and ownership of assets. So a much simpler process than marriage (and potentially divorce).

But PdH does have some benefits in case of inheritance, according to Health Plan Spain's "Understanding Common Law Partnerships And Pareja de Hecho In Spain".

From someone on "Spain Immigration and Residency Questions" Facebook group:
In Spain even if you get married, you have two fiscal regimens to choose from. You can either do gananciales, which means you share everything, and bienes separados, which means you only own the assets under your name and the liabilities under your name. I believe with pareja de hecho you automatically get bienes separados, but if not, there is a process and you can choose it, so either way you are covered.

Before or after marriage, you can specify the "fiscal regime" ("régimen económico") of the marriage by creating a notarized "capitulaciones matrimoniales" document. Apparently it's simpler and cheaper to do it before marriage.
Laura Delle Femmine's "Me caso, ¿separacion de bienes o gananciales?"'s "¿Que tramites debemos realizar para casarnos en regimen de separacion de bienes?"
Notaria Zaragoza's "Capitulaciones Matrimoniales"'s "¿Cuando y por que hacer capitulaciones matrimoniales?" (PDF)
Example documents: from Colombia, from Ecuador, Iberley

Apparently, names and procedures of PdH vary by region. Name of PdH may be "Pareja de Hecho" or "Pareja Estable" or some local equivalent ?

If your PdH is approved, you can have a little ceremony at the govt office. Then about 30 days later, you will receive an official certificate in the mail. Then you can apply online for a cita to apply for tarjeta comunitaria. After you apply, you will get a paper that says your application is in process. With that paper, you can be hired by a company.

COMO Consulting's "What are the Differences Between Pareja de Hecho and Marriage in Spain?"
Love From Andalucia's "Pareja de hecho"
Tumbit's "Common-Law Partnerships In Spain - 'Pareja de Hecho'"
COMO Consulting's "How to do Pareja de Hecho in Spain"
spainguru's "How to apply for 'pareja de hecho' (civil union) in Spain"
Junta de Andalucia's "Preguntas frecuentes de los usuarios en relacion con la inscripcion en el registro de parejas de hecho de la comunidad autonoma de Andalucia"
Gobierno de España's "BOE-A-2007-4184" (the law in Madrid)

You have to get a "certificado de solteria" that says you are single. If you get it from USA, have it apostilled there. If you get it from US embassy or consulate in Spain, have it legalized at the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores.
SpainGuru's "How do I get the Certificacion de Fe de Estado Civil (for Pareja de Hecho or Marriage) in Madrid?"

[In hindsight, maybe we should have gone to a gestor to guide us through this process. The PdH was easy, but then we got confused.]

My experience applying for PdH in Jerez de la Frontera in 2017

5/23/2017: Had an appointment at local government office (on Calle Consistorio). Got paper application forms; the electronic one online is totally different and makes no sense. Found that the application and interview will be done in this office; we don't have to go to Cadiz. My lady was born in Peru but now is a Spanish citizen; we're told that she needs documents from Spain, not Peru. All good news. I already have residency; after we get PdH, probably next time I go to renew my residency, I'll be given a 5-year renewal instead of a 2-year renewal.

Later, looking at the papers we were given: Nowhere do the papers say you must have been padron together for N months, or even padron together on the date of application, and nowhere do they say you must show a padron of any kind. But the main "Solicitud de Inscripcion" application form has spaces for both names and only space for one address, implying that you must be living together.

In USA, went to my state offices. Cost $92 to get certified birth certificate and no-marriage certificate, another $80 to have them apostilled.

The birth certificate is mostly handwritten (it's the original form filled out by the doctor or nurse), and hard to read, so I typed up a text file of my reading of it, to make things easier for the translators. Also, I'm pointing out to the translators that the two apostille pages are absolutely identical except for a certificate number, so really I need 3 pages translated instead of 4.

8/20: In Spain, sent email to four translator services, asking for quotes. Three responded, and one of them was half the price of the others: Idiomatic Language Services

8/22: Emailed scans of my documents, to be translated.

8/24: Went to Registro Central in Jerez to get solteria document for my lady, and they said "oh, after you do PdH at the local ayuntamiento, you have to come here and do it a second time, with a second set of original documents" ! And we need to show two years of padron together ! Local ayuntamiento didn't say anything about this. Local ayuntamiento gave us nice clear printed instructions, but the registro has nothing to give us except oral instructions. Argh ! At least there are no fees charged at the registro, either for the solteria document or the PdH.

8/24: Translation is done, received scans in email. Asked for second set of paper copies.

8/31: Received translations in paper mail: two sets of paper copies. Total cost was €91.

9/4: To local city hall, and did pareja there. Lots of forms and handing over papers and signing and stamping stuff. Good news: we have everything needed (mainly, birth certificate and soltera certificate for each of us; no padron needed). Bad news: the man is taking all of our originals, and we're going to need a second set of originals for the registro central. He won't accept compulsados, and neither will registro; they both demand originals. Charge here today is only €2.50, but we've paid about $300 to get these original documents from USA and Barcelona, and we're going to have to get another complete set. Mayor has to sign our certificate here, so we'll receive that in about 2 months [later, I'm told no, it will be mailed to registro]. Were given a stamped copy of first page of our application form, as proof we applied.

9/7: Mailed forms to USA to start getting another copy of birth certificate and no-marriage certificate. Another $92.

9/20: Went to registro civil, and my partner negotiated with them. They may accept some form of "compulsado" from the ayuntamiento about my documents. At registro, there will be an interview of sorts, so I have to know a bit of Spanish. They want 2 years of padron. None of this is written down anywhere.

9/21: To town hall, and my partner talked them into doing compulsados of my USA original documents, to take to Registro. But there's a problem with her padron.

9/28: To the Registro Civil with my partner and her parents. In and soon the four of us are in the office with a lady. We hand over a mound of documents and forms and ID cards. It seems to be sufficient, even though a couple of our documents have defects (no originals of my US documents, since we handed them in at ayuntamiento, and my partner's padron has a 4-month gap in it, so she shows utility bills).

Her parents hand over their IDs and sign a form attesting that we're honest people and not running a scam. Then the three of them clear out of the office and the lady talks to me to write up a document. Takes about 15 minutes, and stretches my Spanish language abilities. It's an interview/quiz, and I have to tell her things such as the names of my partner's parents and son, how we met, how long we've lived together, etc. She prints up the document, I correct it, she prints it again, I sign it, then I'm out and my partner is in.

Her interview takes even longer than mine, which surprises me, since she knows the language. Turns out she was bonding with the lady, they chatted about all kinds of things.

Then we're out. Our application and documents are submitted. They will get back to us with any additions needed. I have to continue getting second set of originals from USA, apostilled and translated.

10: Ordered and received new documents from USA.

11/7: Ordered new translations for new documents.

11/22: Went to Registro to deliver translated documents. Where my partner is told "we don't need those, we already have everything we need, you just had to call us to schedule your appointment for the final steps and ceremony, but sorry, earliest appointment we have is 2 months from now". Great, $250 down the drain, and they could have called us a month ago to schedule the final stuff.

1/16: Went to Registro to deliver photocopies of the DNIs of the two people who will be our witnesses.

1/19: Went to registro in nice clothes with our witnesses, to appear before a judge. Each group of people has a 5-minute time-slot. The judge read a short statement, asked if we were doing this of our own free will, etc. All four of us signed a form, judge gave us a Libro de Familia, we exchanged rings and kissed, judge said all done, and we're out.

So, the whole process took 8 months (probably could have been 4 if we'd pushed and been lucky), and cost about $550.

I notice that the Libro de Familia has "matrimonio" printed in it (not handwritten or typed, it's there in the basic printing of the booklet) in several places, and doesn't say "pareja de hecho" anywhere. Did we accidentally get married instead of PdH ?

I was able to download a "Certificado Matrimonio" online from Andalucia via Portal Adriano's "Obtencion del certificado de matrimonio". And it says "(4-2) Matrimonio: (4-2-1) Civil".

There seems to be no way to check the PdH registry of Andalucia online. No way to request a certificate.

2/4: I'm starting to suspect that we're BOTH PdH and married(civil). We did first at Ayuntamiento, then they said we had to go to Juzados/Registro. I think that was wrong; we did PdH at Ayuntamiento and then marriage at Juzgados. We never received any certificate from Ayuntamiento.

Yes, we're married.

10/2018: received email from Jerez Ayuntamiento saying our PdH is approved/resolved, we're PdH !

My situation after being married

My situation after being married:
  • I (US citizen) have lots of money (cash, no property) in USA, and almost none in Spain.
  • My wife (Spanish citizen) has no property, almost no money, and several thousands of debts.
  • My wife has a history of spending money a bit more than I like, and despite or against my wishes.
  • My wife has an adult son from a previous marriage.
  • For about 2 years now, I have been paying for her son's university, about €14K per year. Eventually this could total €70K.
  • I expect that about 7 years from now, I will start paying for her niece's university.
  • It's possible that about 13 years from now, I will start paying for university for her other niece and nephew.
  • Four university's could add up to €300K total.
  • My wife has a will in Spain, that has not been updated since the marriage.
  • I have a will (not updated) in USA, and no will in Spain.
  • On my death, I would like to divide my estate equally among my 4 siblings in USA and my Spanish wife.
  • Some of my accounts in USA name my wife and siblings as equal beneficiaries.
  • On my death, I would like to avoid the authorities taxing the inheritance to my Spanish wife.

My strategy thoughts:
  • Gradually gift money to my wife (either in the form of the university payments, or in paying rent and pension fees, or in cash).
  • Gradually reduce her share of my USA estate.
  • Buy a Spanish life-insurance policy with my wife as beneficiary.

My experience doing a notarized "capitulaciones matrimoniales" document in Barcelona in 2018

  1. Went to a Notary.

    • Front desk gave us a price estimate of €70 to €80, but were unable or unwilling to give an exact price ahead of time. This must be a common procedure; why no standard price ?
    • Got a cita to come back a couple of days later.

  2. We went in to start the procedure.

    • They made copies of our ID cards and the Libro de Familia.
    • They didn't care that my partner has a child from a previous marriage.
    • I don't understand Spanish very well, and that caused a frown, maybe they were going to charge us for a translation to English, but I said I read Spanish pretty well.
    • They said since we were married in Andalucia, we're going to have to register this "capitulaciones matrimoniales" document there somehow.
    • Since we were married in a place with "gananciales" by default, and we're changing to "bienes separados", they asked if we had made any big transactions since we were married, any joint accounts, etc (we haven't).
    • Still no firm price, now "probably less than €100".
    • Come back tomorrow to sign the document.

  3. We went back.

    • Document looks good, we signed it.
    • Paid €80.
    • For some reason we can't take the document home now, they'll call us when we can pick it up.

  4. They didn't call, so 3 weeks later we called and went in.

    • Surprise: price of document was less than we paid, here's €19 or so refund ! Total ended up at €62.40, of which half was for preparing the document, other half was for copies and IVA etc.
    • Cover-sheet has me titled as "doña" (female), but that's not part of the actual document, secretary just crossed out the "a" for us.
    • The official document doesn't have our signatures in it, just the notary's stamps. I guess they file the signature page locally instead of including it in the filing to the registry.
    • Another surprise: they're going to file it in the Barcelona registry. I thought we were going to have to file it in the Jerez registry somehow, since we were married in Jerez.
    • When it gets filed with registry, the registry will send a letter to us confirming that.

  5. About 2 months later, after half a dozen calls to notario saying we haven't received letter from Registro, did they file the document, now notario says WE have to get a lawyer to file the document, they don't do that.

  6. I see in Agreement24's "Preguntas Frecuentes sobre Capitulaciones Matrimoniales":
    "Las capitulaciones tienen como requisito de validez que consten en escritura publica". Does "escritura publica" mean Registro, or notario's files ? But that article also says filing in Registro is not necessary, but then you are not protected in the case of third parties who don't know about the agreement.

  7. An authoritative-sounding person on Facebook said:
    First, a public document is any document emitted by the State (in any of its levels), the Registrar's books, or, most pertinently for common purposes, Notarial acts.

    As with many institutions in law, registering this isn't a matter of creating the change in state (that is, it isn't a "constitutivo" act) but rather, a matter of publicity ("declarativo"). Having the Registry show this information means the agreement HAS been notified to all third parties and is therefore actionable in any proceedings with third parties. If you don't register the act, the agreement is only actionable with third parties if you notify them of the agreement.

    A lawyer can draft the document, but you'll still need a Notary to elevate the [private] document to public document. A Notary can draft the document for you and elevate it to public document. However, it's up to you whether or not to register the change.

    I asked:

    So, if the document was signed by both parties in the marriage, and is in the notary's files, it is valid and in force to both of US, right ? In case of divorce, for example. And then if we give a copy to a specific third party, such as a bank, it is valid and in force with them ? That's probably good enough for us. No need to put it in Registro.


    But I'm still a little confused by the terms. We had a notary draw up the document and we signed it there. It is in their files. That means it is a private document, not public. They or we could elevate it to public, which is the same as registering it with Registro. Do I have all of that right ?

    He responded:

    Regarding the first matter (the effectiveness of the document): yes, as the two of you have signed it, the document is effective between the two of you; it would also be effective against any third party who is presented with the agreement.

    Regarding the second matter (private/public): A Notarial document, signed and stamped by a Notary with his rotund and dramatic final statement of "lo elevo a documento publico", is a public document whether it is emitted over TVE or hidden in a crypt in Malaga. The Notary's expensive signature IS, shiny sticker, and special verbiage IS the elevation to public document. The role of the Registrar is to make certain information -- civil states, like marriage status, citizenship, etc. -- known publicly. Public document does not equal publicized information: publicized information is that available to all interested third parties (as with a Registry).

    I asked:

    We were married in Andalucia, now we reside in Catalunya. Do we have to register the document (if we choose to do so) in Andalucia ?

    He responded:

    As for where to submit these documents: Ley 20/2011, del Registro Civil governs this matter. Per articles 3, 10, and 20 of the law, you are able to submit your documents (related to article 4) at any Civil Registry. You should also be able to do so electronically or at your town hall.

  8. Went to local (Nou Barris) govt office, since the web site led me to believe they were a branch office of Registro, but they said they weren't, we have to go to Registro Civil or somewhere. They weren't sure what to do. But they did give me some useful pages, including an email address (for Barcelona): at

  9. Sent an email to that address, and quickly got a response which translates to:
    You have to present the writing of capitulations (the one that on the last page there is a note that says that it is addressed to the Civil Registry and must be presented in the Civil Registry of the town where you were married).

    If they got married in Barcelona city, one of you can come and ask for an information number for Section L.

    If they were married in another locality, they will have to take it personally or send it by certified mail with acknowledgment of receipt to the corresponding civil registry.
    Our "capitulaciones matrimoniales" doesn't have such a note on the last page, but has something like that in the middle, article V.

  10. Found email address (registrocivil.jerezdelafrontera at, sent questions to them about what form to use, tasa to pay, how to register the document, and quickly got a response which translates to:
    You must go to the Civil Registry of your home to send us, through them, the deeds of marriage agreements. Once registered by us, we will return them in the same way.
    So the two registries are disagreeing about how to do it.

  11. An abogado online was talking to me and the registro, and came up with same answer as Jerez: go to the Registro where you live, and they will send the document to the Registro where your marriage is recorded.

  12. In Barcelona, central Registro is at Placa Duc de Medinaceli 3, no cita needed, generally open 0900-1400. Section L is what I want.

  13. 24 July 2018: Went to the Registro, stumbled through it, got it done. They copied my Tarjeta Comunitaria, padron, marriage certificate. They took the original and copia simple of my capitulaciones matrimoniales. I signed a page. No tasa needed. Done, no copy of anything for me, I'll get something back from Jerez in the mail, I think.

  14. 11/2018: after consulting lawyers, we decided doing a "capitulaciones matrimoniales" of "bienes separados" had been a bad idea in terms of inheritance taxes. So we went back to same notario and did another "capitulaciones matrimoniales", specifying "gananciales" (shared property).

    I'm still a bit confused: The notario seems to be saying this is the best of both worlds: if an account has only my name on it, it's not considered shared property, until I die and then for tax purposes it IS considered shared, my wife gets taxed on only 50% of it. As you open accounts and buy real estate, you can decide which is shared and which is not. But then when I die, wife gets taxed on only 50% of everything. Doesn't make sense to me. Not sure what happens in case of divorce.

  15. Picked up the new document, paid €67.

  16. 11 Dec 2018: Went to Registro again, stumbled through it, got it done. They examined my Tarjeta Comunitaria, took my padron convivencia (squawking a bit that I printed it at home), took the marriage certificate. They took the original and copia simple of my capitulaciones matrimoniales. I signed a page. No tasa needed. Done, no copy of anything for me, I'll get something back from Jerez in the mail, I think.

  17. 23 Feb 2019: Received a letter saying come to Registro. Went to Registro, picked up the document. It's the second one we did, the one filed 11 Dec 2018. I guess the one filed 24 July 2018 has disappeared, or maybe it will come later.

Catalunya allows one to register as PdH either in-person or online.
See more info about PdH in Catalunya in the Address Change section of my Living in Spain page.
Inmaculada Castillo's "Las parejas de hecho en Cataluña"
LegalTeam's "Solicitar la Tarjeta de Familiar de Comunitario por inscribirse como Pareja de Hecho en Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona y Girona tras la apertura del Registro Autonomico de Parejas de Hecho"

Como Consulting's "How to Renew a Tarjeta Comunitaria"

If you got residency or TC by virtue of becoming PdH with a citizen, your residency or TC is dependent on the PdH. If you remain PdH for 3 years, that dependency then is removed, and you have the residency or TC in your own right. The PdH can be terminated after the 3-year mark without affecting your residency or TC.

In Spain, it is not common to change name after marriage, but there IS a procedure for changing one's name.
Ministerio de Justicia's "Cambio de Nombre y Apellidos"
Also have to update your entry in the Register of Extranjeros ?
From someone on reddit 8/2022:
"My wife recently had a name change and wanted to update her name on her NIE. It was not possible. What she had to do was obtain a 'certificado de concordancia' from the embassy of her country. Which mentions that her name has changed. For any official legal stuff here in Spain in which her NIE is required, it's always accompanied by this letter she obtained from the embassy to show that her name has changed."
From someone else on reddit 8/2022:
"Is your marriage recognised here in Spain? If it isn't, the first step is to go to the Registro Civil and have it recognised here. Once that's done, you can ask to get your last name changed in the Registro Civil. The last step in the whole process is going to get a new NIE and a Certificado de Concordancia. I went through this a few years ago."

Apparently there is no way of registering a foreign marriage in USA, or with US consulate/embassy in any foreign country (including Spain). If you're married in Spain, you're married in USA. If you want a US Catholic church to recognize your Spanish Catholic marriage, there might be some church way to do that. Depending on your US state, there might be a way to register ("inscribe" ?) your Spanish marriage with your US state ? Or you might be able to also marry or "remarry" in your US state, so that you are registered as married in both countries.

If married in Spain, you DO have to change your filing status on US income tax returns. The rates and deductions are different; you can't file as "single" any more.

Does my Spanish-citizen spouse have to get involved with the US tax system ?
"If your spouse is a nonresident alien and you file a joint or separate return, your spouse must have either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)."
from IRS's "Nonresident Alien Spouse".

But someone on "US Expat Tax Questions" Facebook group 2/2018 said:
"If you file MFS and you spouse is an NRA with no obligation to obtain a US social security number or TIN (has no US source income nor Green Card), then your spouse has no US tax filing obligation and you do not have to list your spouse's name on your US tax return.".

And with respect to that IRS page, same person said:
"That information is not complete. If you are using a software to file, generally there is a box to check which states 'NRA not required to have social security number'. If your software does not support this function (TaxAct does), do a paper-file and write NRA in to the box for Spouse social security number, and the box for Spouse's occupation.".
(2019: TaxSlayer requires spouse to have an ITIN.)

If you decide to get a US ITIN for your NRA spouse, be aware that it can take up to 3 months to get it during tax-filing season, and you have to present spouse's documents and official copies. See IRS's "About Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number"

Do not open any joint bank accounts, anything where the NRA partner has signature authority over US assets. Being death-beneficiary of estate or accounts is okay.

If a US citizen marries a Spanish citizen who already has a Spanish citizen adult dependent child, does that open any avenue for the two Spanish citizens to acquire US citizenship ?
Summarized from people on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group 2/2018:
"Everyone stays in Spain. Spouse and child start applying for 'green cards' to enter USA, 'sponsored' by the US citizen. Probably spouse would get approved much faster than child. At this time, US govt is proposing to change law so adult children can not get green card, only minor children can. After getting green cards, move to USA, after residing there for several years they can start applying for citizenship."

USCIS's "Family of U.S. Citizens"

After getting married to a Spanish citizen who is "alta" on SS (a worker), I was able to get full NHS coverage through her. My experience in Barcelona in 2018:
  1. To local INSS. Showed ID cards and Libro de Familia (tried to show padron convivencia, but they didn't care), and obtained a "Documento Acreditativo del Derecho a Asistencia Sanitaria". It says I am a beneficiary of her, I am entitled to healthcare coverage through her.

  2. Took that to my medical center. Obtained a new temporary healthcare card, and a "resguard" paper that says I'm approved. Permanent card will come in the mail in a few weeks.

  3. Canceled Convenio Especial coverage by stopping the payments and sending a letter to the central health administration that had sent the Convenio papers to me.

  4. A couple of months later, the whole situation changed anyway, govt passed a law that everyone gets "free" NHS.

If your marital status changes in a way that affects your right to residency, you must report that change to extranjeria. For example, if you obtained residency or Tarjeta Comunitaria via marriage, and later you divorce, you must report that divorce to NatPolice/extranjeria.

Tarjeta Comunitaria (Regimen Comunitario)

TC Card

5-year residency card which allows work, social security and medical benefits.
For non-EU nationals who marry or PDH an EU national.
How does this relate to "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union" ? Same thing, I think.

I think this does not give the right to reside or work in other EU countries ("right of free movement"). You would have to apply for residency in another country if you wanted to reside or work there. Someone on Facebook says: "You on your own cannot go to another country in the EU to work without a Visa. If your [EU citizen] partner moves and establishes residency in that country, you can do the TC application in that country."

How long can you live outside Spain before you lose this status ? Looks like you lose it if you stay outside Spain for more than 6 months in 1 year, same as normal long-stay residency.
Judith Tabares Iglesias' "Mantenimiento de Tarjeta Comunitaria"
Articulo 14 item 3 in BOE's "Real Decreto 240/2007"

If later you divorce, you don't lose this status if you were married for at least 3 years and lived together during the marriage for at least 1 year.
Cat Gaa's "Modifying Spanish Residency after Divorce or Dissolution of a Civil Union"

Can you apply if the EU citizen is on paro or baja from SS ? Someone on Facebook says EU partner must be "alta" on SS for minimum of 2 months. But it's also possible to get the tarjeta if EU citizen is "baja" and non-EU citizen gives proof of enough money to support themselves (savings, income, pension).

Someone on Facebook says you're allowed to work before getting your TC card, as long as you're "alta" on Social Security. I don't know if your TC application has to be "in tramite" for this to be true. And a company may be reluctant to hire you until you can present the actual card to them.

Love From Andalucia's "Tarjeta comunitaria"
Costa Calida Chronicle's "Residency in Spain"'s "10 Consejos imprescindibles antes de tramitar la Tarjeta Comunitaria"'s "¿Se puede trabajar con la tarjeta comunitaria?"
Gobierno de España's "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union"
EX-19 form (PDF)

Application procedure

  1. Get a cita at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".
    [Menus and pages may differ depending on your location.]
    Select province, click "Acceptar" to see other tramites.
    Select "Solicitud de Autorizaciones". Click "Acceptar".
    Read section "Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Union". It says "make cita in name of non-EU person" if applying for just one person. Click "Entrar".
    Fill out ID form and click "Acceptar".
    See page with name and ID number, click "Solicitar Cita".
    Get page saying "no citas available".
    Try again over the next week or more until you get a cita.

  2. Documents needed to apply in first office visit:
    • Confirmation of the cita, probably need it to get into the building.
    • EX-19 form (PDF), filled out, and signed by both people.
    • Photocopy of EX-19 form.
    • Residency card (TIE) of non-EU person.
    • DNI of EU person.
    • Photocopies of both ID cards.
      Maybe have the EU person sign the copy of their card.
    • Passport.
    • Complete photocopy of all pages of the passport.
    • Original Pareja de Hecho document or Libro de Familia (no copy needed). [But in Barcelona I found the Libro de Familia was not sufficient; had to provide an "inscripcion del matrimonio".]
    • Original empadronamiento colectivo or conviviencia (no copy needed).
    • Something showing "economic means":
      • That the EU person is employed or "alta" in Social Security (Seguridad Social's "Informes y Certificados" and click on "Current worker status report" or "Limited employment history report"), or
      • Some proof of money needed to support non-EU person without state aid.
    • Some proof of health insurance for the non-EU person ?
      • Copy of non-EU person's NHS card, or
      • Some proof of private insurance. But:
      • There is a simple check-box on the application form saying "I have medical insurance".
    • Maybe good to have a copy of the public health insurance card of the EU person.
    [But see my actual experience in Barcelona 5/2018, below, which has a somewhat different list of documents.]
    EU person does not have to go to the office.

  3. Documents you will receive at end of first office visit:
    • Photocopy of EX-19 stamped and with a long number written on it.
    • "Comunicacion de inicio del procedimiento y admision a tramite" document showing that your application is in process.

  4. Wait for a "resolution" letter, maybe 1 month later. There may be no letter; you may have to look online for status of the tramite to change to "favorable".

  5. Get a cita at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".
    You want "Expedición de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero" and then "Toma De Huellas (Expedición de Tarjeta)". Abbreviation for USA on the web form is "EEUU".
    Get page saying "no citas available".
    Try again over the next week or more until you get a cita.

  6. Documents needed for second office visit:
    • Printed "resolution" letter with bar-code.
    • Residency card (TIE) of non-EU person.
    • Passport.
    • 1 photo.
    • Padron if your address has changed.
    • Tasa 790 012 paid. €10.71, and check "Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familia de un ciudadano de la Union".

  7. Document you will receive at end of second office visit: "resguardo" needed to pick up new card.

  8. Wait 30-40 days.

  9. Go back to office with "resguardo" and passport and pick up new ID card. Unless limited by the residency situation of the EU person, the card should be valid for 5 years.

My experience applying for Tarjeta Comunitaria in Barcelona in 2018

At the start, I already had residency (valid TIE) and Libro de Familia. I am married to a Spanish citizen.

So, for me, acquiring the TC mainly means getting onto NHS healthcare for free (I'll drop Convenio Especial). Might mean better NHS coverage too, such as coverage when visiting other EU countries ? I might get permission to work (but I don't want to work). Might mean I don't have to renew residency for another 5 years, instead of about 1.5 years from now.

2/4: Started trying for a cita. None available.

2/8: Got a cita ! It's for more than 3 months from now, 5/18.

5/18: Went to first appointment, with my partner. All the official wanted was application form (I left blank the 3rd page, list of documents supplied), my TIE, my partner's DNI, my passport and copies of all pages, padron conviviencia, and proof of our marriage. No need for anything else I brought: copy of application form, copies of ID cards, proof of medical insurance, proof that my partner is "alta" in SS, bank stmt, photographs.

Official ran the documents through a scanner and gave them all back. Application form is stamped.

But a problem: the Libro de Familia was not accepted as proof of our marriage. We have to supply a marriage certificate, which we don't have, never received one. He said go to web site of registro central, or go to their office in person, to get one. We have one month to supply it. He gave me a "Requerimiento Aportacion Documentos" page that has an expediente/requerimiento number, my ID information, then a line specifying that I'm missing an "inscripcion del matrimonio" document.

So I went to Registro Civil de Barcelona and ordered matrimonio certificate. Same price for 1, 2 or 3 copies, so I ordered 3. Price €43. Paid by US credit card. We got married in Cadiz province, so looks like the certificates will come from there. Had to give a lot of information: names, my NIE, where married, date of marriage, registry page number from Libro de Familia, reason for requesting certificate, where to send, etc. Didn't have to have a digital certificate. Immediately received an email confirmation.

5/31: Matrimonio certificates arrived in the mail. Sent one of them, and a copy of the "Requerimiento Aportacion Documentos", to the registry address specified on the RAD (double-check the address, it was truncated on my document).

6/12: Received an email saying there was a resolution of my expediente. Connected to SEDE and tried to download the resolution. But it requires a Java application to "sign" it, and none of the browsers allow Java any more.

6/18: Went to Extranjeria to ask them to print my resuelto, but they said go away and send the expediente number to, so I did that.

6/21: Got email response, with resuelto document (PDF) attached. It says "Acuerdo ... Conceder", which means favorable resolution. Tells me to make another cita for "expedicion de TIE", at SEDE's "Internet Cita Previa".

On that page, I chose tramite "CNP- Toma de Huellas (Expedicion de Tarjeta) y Renovacion de Tarjeta de Larga Duracion". On next page, country abbreviation for USA is "EEUU". Left the "expiration date" field empty. Worked through the pages, and immediately got a cita, first try ! For 8 days from now.

[Later that same day, I received a copy of the same resuelto document in postal mail. This copy has an authentication bar-code on it that the electronic copy doesn't have.]

Resuelto says I've been granted 5 years ("fecha de caducidad" is 5 years from first office visit date). Has a couple of "if" clauses saying if less than 6 months granted, no need to do anything further, but since I get more than 6 months, I have to do another visit.
Documents to bring to office:
  • Resuelto.
  • Passport.
  • One photo.
  • Current TIE.
  • If you have changed address, current padron.
  • Justificante de abono (paid) tasa modelo 790 codigo 012 from Tasa790_012.
    In that form, I selected option "Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Union." Cost is €10.71. Selected to pay "en efectivo". Downloaded the PDF and printed it. After printing, write "EX-19" in the greyed-out "Modelo" box in the upper-right, on all three pages. Tried to pay the tasa a couple of times at a couple of branches of BBVA, and failed each time. Went to Banco Sabadell and paid it no problem first time.

Took photos at booth in metro station; remember to take off eyeglasses.

6/29: To Extranjeria for my cita. List of documents they wanted is what is shown above, no problems. Did fingerprints of both index fingers. They kept my TIE and one tasa page. Received a resguardo, official says pick up my new card in 4+ weeks, I think. Resguardo says it expires in 45 days. Take passport when going to pick up card.

7/17: Went to office at Carrer de Mallorca 213, and they had my card, probably could have gone a few days earlier. Handed over the resguardo, showed my passport, they asked if I'd already turned in my previous card (I had, the previous office kept it), gave me my new card. Done !

Later went to local govt and asked if they need to see my new card so they could update my padron. They said since my NIE hasn't changed, they don't need to do anything.

Renewing long-term residency (Tarjeta Comunitaria):

Must not have been out of Spain for more than 6 months consecutively, or 1 year total, in the 5 years of your residency ?
Immigration Spain's "How to Renew your Residence Card as a Family Member of a European Union Citizen"
Apparently when you renew, you will get a card good for 10 years, but it will say "permanente" on it ?

Tarjeta Comunitaria renewal process (get "permanente")

  1. Can apply within period 60 days before expiration to 90 days after expiration.
  2. Install Autofirma software.
  3. Go to SEDE's "Autorizaciones de Extranjería"
  4. Ignore the links for "Consulte la informacion sobre" renovaciones or iniciales.
  5. Click on button Continuar.
  6. See info about digital certificates, ignore it.
  7. Click on button Continuar Individual.
  8. Give your digital certificate.
  10. Click on button Continuar Presentacion.
  11. See dialog "Opciones".
  12. Select "Presentar nueva solicitud", specify province, click Continuar.
  13. See Aviso, click Cerrar.
  14. See test for autofirma.
  15. Select EX11 - Solicitud de autorización de residencia de larga duración o de larga duración-UE ?
  16. See a page with lots of choices. Choose 2nd section (RESIDENCIA LARGA DURACIÓN-UE), first choice (Supuesto general 5 años de residencia continuada en España, con recursos económicos y seguro de enfermedad).
  17. See page asking for your personal info. Fill everything out, click Concluir.
  18. Get "SOLICITUD INICIAL: EX11 - Solicitud de autorización de residencia de larga duración o de larga duración-UE . Id formulario inicial: XXXXXXXXX". Make note of the ID number and today's date (sFecha de presentación).
  20. Get to page "DOCUMENTACION REQUERIDA", says following are required:
    - Copia completa del pasaporte, título de viaje o cédula de inscripción en vigor
    - Recursos economicos
    - Seguro publico o privado de enfermedad.
    - Tasa (MOD. 790, COD. 052)
  21. To resume later, do same first steps, through click on button Continuar Individual, then click on button " Continuar presentación ". See "Opciones" dialog, select "Aportar documentos a expedientes". Give NIE and ID (expediente) number. BUT IT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME.
  22. After form is submitted, to see status later, do same first steps, through click on button Continuar Individual, then click on button "Continuar consulta de solicitud existente". Give ID number and date.
  23. What you want is "solicitar la tarjeta permanente de familiar de ciudadano de la UE" ? Go to Click on Procediementos and select Extranjeria. Should find one generated for you automaticaly, gives expediente number ?

My experience renewing Tarjeta Comunitaria in Barcelona in 3/2023

Used Firefox on Linux with no VPN.

I was able to start, and get an expediente, but then got stuck for several weeks, system couldn't find my application. Then suddenly it worked again, and I was able to submit application and upload documents. Not sure what changed.

Start at

If you have form filled in and some docs uploaded, and have to stop and come back later, then when you come back, search WITHOUT giving the expediente number. For some reason, giving that number before you've submitted and signed everything makes the search fail.

Tasa 790_012 (€12.00) Get a form with bar-code. Choose payment type "efectivo". You have to take it to a bank to pay it and get it stamped. Before I knew that, I submitted the unstamped tasa form.

Couldn't get AutoFirma to work on Fedora-family Linux; used a Windows machine and Chrome browser.

Electronically submitted application on May 2. Received an email confirming it.

May 15: received a message saying I had to submit padrons for both of us, and certificado matrimonio. Ordered that (€48) through Registro Civil de Barcelona. No mention of the unpaid tasa.

Marriage certificate got stuck on someone's desk for several weeks. Finally got it and submitted docs about 6/13, got favorable resolution about 3 days later.

Need cita for "toma de huellas", I think. First available is 2 months from now.

Aug 18: Went to cita for "toma de huellas". Took resuelto favorable, EX-17, paid tasa, passport, residency card, new photo. Gave fingerprints of index fingers. Got a resguardo saying new card should be ready for pickup in 30 days, get a cita for that. Says new card should be "permanente". Says card will be in "Lote 2023/412"; the cita page says current lote available for pickup is 362. The cita page says make sure your lote is available BEFORE making the cita. But never could find that "current lote" listed again. Just made a cita for Oct 13.

Oct 13: got my card, no problem. It's "permanente", good for 10 years.

Permanent Residency

AKA "Residencia de carácter permanente".

I think this is "Tarjeta Comunitaria Permanente".

This is for a family member of an EU citizen, if the family member has resided in Spain for at least 5 years.
Gobierno de España's "Residencia de carácter permanente"

Does this ever have to be renewed ?

I think you lose this status if you stay more than 2 years outside of Spain.'s "Contar el tiempo fuera de España para no perder la tarjeta de residencia"

This status is specific to each country in EU; getting PR in country A does not give you PR in country B, you have to apply for PR again there. But getting PR in country B should be easier, and you don't have to reside there for 5 years before applying, because you had PR in country A.

Sterna Abogados' "Long term EU residency"

Arraigo Social

Process by which someone who has lived/worked in Spain for years becomes a legal resident.
"por Cuenta Ajena": worker.
"por Cuenta Propia": entrepreneur.
SpainGuru's "Residency Type: Getting a 'Arraigo Social por Cuenta Ajena' Spanish work permit"

Autonomo or Cuenta Propia

Self-employed worker.
From a lawyer on Facebook:
There is no autonomo visa per se. There is a "visado de residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia". Autonomo is also not a sector (those would be the CNAE codes), but rather a descriptor of fact. An autonomo is a person who carries out an economic activity habitually, personally, and directly. They work "por cuenta propia".

Benidorm Seriously's "Register for Autonomo"
Spotahome's "How to Become a Freelancer in Spain: Going Autonomo for Dummies"
Sanitas' "Registering As Self Employed Autonomo In Spain"
Expats in Spain's "Autonomo Social Security" (PDF)


For hard-core questions about visas, residency, etc maybe see BOE's "Codigo de Extranjeria" (PDF)

Maybe you can get answers about EU visas and travel at Europe Direct

Tasas for some operations:
Gobierno de España page

If you pay a tasa incorrectly and want a refund:
Parainmigrantes' "Devolucion de tasas pagadas indebidamente"
Various agencies and regions have specific online procedures too; search for "espana devolucion tasa pagado" or something similar.

If you haven't already, see my Moving To Spain page.

This page updated: November 2018.