Get a Certificado de Empadronamiento ("Padron Municipal de Habitantes")
by registering on the census register (the padron) at your local Town Hall.
/r/Barcelona's "Residency aka EMPADRONAMENT"
NIE Barcelona's "Empadronamiento"
David Ruiz's "What is a Padron?"
Lemon in my Coke's "Get Your Empadronamiento On!" (Barcelona)
Lemon in my Coke's "Making your Padron Appointment" (Barcelona)
From /u/kihaku1974: if "living with citizen, not renting", "You will need a letter from them stating you are living there, and a
copy of their lease/documents". (May also need a copy of their DNI certificate ?)
From Esencial Blog's "NIE and Residency Card":
You must submit: your passport, your birth certificate, a photocopy of your birth certificate,
two passport photos, and the original and photocopy of the rental agreement of the flat or of
a document certifying that you live at that address.
Other sources don't say birth certificate is required, and I didn't have to show birth certificate.
My experience, in Nou Barris in Barcelona 10/2015:
It was very easy to get an appointment for the next day, online.
I went with my lady, who is the owner of the apartment where I am staying.
She speaks Spanish and Catalan, so she handled everything.
We submitted my passport and copies of the ID page and visa page,
and her DNI card and copies of it.
My NIE is on my visa, so no card needed for that.
Filled out a couple of paper forms.
No photos needed, no birth certificate needed.
The apartment owner was there in person, so no need to show a lease or other proof of address or a letter.
Received a pink paper that shows the padron has been applied for.
The padron certificate will come in the mail in 2-3 weeks.
Padron came in the mail 7-8 days later. It's just 5 pages on government letterhead paper,
saying that I'm on the padron and repeating lots of my information and the address and info
about the other people registered at the same apartment.
When I received my residency card later, I went back and had that info added to the padron.
My experience later, when we moved to Jerez de la Frontera 9/2016:
No cita possible or needed.
My lady's name is on the rental contract.
We handed in a copy of the rental contract, and copy of front and back of her DNI and my Permiso de Residencia.
Showed my passport, but I think the agent didn't even look at it.
Lots of typing; I guess the info from a computer system in one region (Catalunya) does not carry over to another region (Andalucia).
An oddity: my NIE is of the form "YnnnnnnnL", but on the printed padron page here it shows up without the "L".
The guy said that's no problem, in the computer the "L" is there. Seems weird to me.
No charge for my padron, since it's the first time I've lived in this region, but about €5 charge
for my lady's padron, since she's lived here before.
We each got one original of our padron; just make photocopies if you need more (such
as for National Police). [This is different from Barcelona, where we each got 3 originals, and
photocopies are not valid, I think.] Some places here (banks, mainly ?) will demand an original,
and each additional original will cost about €5.
My experience again in Jerez de la Frontera 4/2017:
I needed to update my padron with new residency card, and get a newly-valid padron so I
can go apply for convenio especial healthcare. My lady needed to change her padron
from Barcelona to here (again).
I handed over residency card and passport, my lady handed over her DNI, lots of typing
and printing, we signed, forms were stamped. We each got one set of forms with
"Efecto para el que se expide" set to "Asistencia Sanitaria",
and another with it set to "Informacion padronal".
This time the forms have my complete NIE, not missing the letter on the end as the previous forms did.
I guess they've fixed that problem.
No charge for anything, which surprised me. I thought there was going to be a charge of about €5 each.
After you're on the padron, later you might be able to print a copy online, or apply online and pick it up at
a government office. But there are different types of padron certificates. And this online
facility might not be available in all places.
Gobierno de España's "Certificado y volante de empadronamiento"
Ayuntament de Barcelona's "Volant de convivencia del Padro Municipal d'Habitants de la ciutat de Barcelona"
Types of padron certificate [not sure]:
- Certificado de empadronamiento (AKA Certificado individual de residencia, AKA padron para residencia, AKA Volante de residencia):
shows you are living at an address in a town on a given date. Usually valid for official operations up
to 3 months after issued.
- Volante de empadronamiento colectivo (AKA Certificado colectivo de convivencia, AKA Volante de convivencia):
lists all people living at an address in a town on a given date.
- Padron historico (AKA Certificado historico de empadronamiento individual):
shows you were living at an address in a town during a given range of dates.
- Certificado historico de empadronamiento colectivo:
shows all people living at an address in a town during a given range of dates.
Must apply for a Residency Permit/Card
(Tarjeta de Residencia) within 30 days of arriving in the EU on long-stay visa.
There used to be a "TIE" ("Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero") card instead of or
in addition to the Residency card, so you still will see the term "TIE" in various places.
But "Tarjeta de Residencia" or "Permiso de Residencia" or Residency card are the right terms now.
Tumbit Spain's "Applying for Residential Status (Residencia) - Non-EU Citizens"
Just Landed's "Residency and NIE"
Best to apply immediately upon arrival in Spain; almost certainly you will have to wait for an appointment,
might have to get additional documentation. Note I received with my visa says I must apply for residency
within my first month in Spain.
The office may be called "Extranjeria" or "Comisaria de Policia" or "National Police" or "Policia Nacional".
From Esencial Blog's "NIE and Residency Card":
Waiting times at the office and waiting times to receive the residency card may vary greatly from one office
to another even in the same city. As a result, it is a good idea to ask people who have recently applied
for a residency card about their experiences. [In Barcelona, there are different offices for EU applicants
and non-EU applicants, and different offices for first-time cards and renewals.]
Below is a list of some of the documents that must be presented to apply for residency.
However, there is no official list with these procedures, so the necessary documents may vary from
one location to another. It is best to confirm at your local office which documents are required.
Documents required for applicants (EU and non-EU nationals):
- Valid passport: Original and copy.
- 3 passport size photos with your name clearly written on the back.
- The census or padron document.
- The corresponding visa.
- Properly completed application form: Original and three copies.
From Mejor Inglés's "The 7 Documents for your NIE Appointment":
When applying, you must bring:
- Slip showing your appointment time (Cita Previa).
- The filled-out EX-15 or EX-17 form.
- A supporting document (such as a notarised letter) showing why you need a NIE (2 copies).
- Your passport.
- A copy of ID, visa and entry stamp pages of your passport.
- Three passport photos.
- Paid Tax Form Modelo 790, Codigo 12.
- Padron certificate.
You will walk out with "Resguardo de Solicitud de NIE", a slip of paper that says your residency card has been applied for.
Don't lose it; you will need it for other processes until you get your card.
You also will be given "tasa de pago", showing an amount you have to pay at a bank. Do that right away.
Some sources say residency card certificate/letter will arrive by mail 2-4 weeks after you apply,
others say you may get it immediately, or months later, or have to go pick it up.
Can check status
[May have changed to here]
Cale Gram's "Where to Pick Up Your Spanish TIE in Barcelona"
From Wagoners Abroad's "Tips For Getting Settled In Spain":
You will be making multiple trips to the Foreigner's Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station, so don't wait until
they're about to close, as it means you'll have to come back the next business day.
Also remember that they will most likely close at 2 PM. So go early! Let me also set
the expectation right up front that you are not going to be walking out with your final
NIE Resident card today. I'll get to the why in a bit.
When you originally obtained your Spanish Visa, you should have been provided with a bunch
of other papers, to be provided to the local Spanish authorities. Not only will you need that paperwork, you will need:
- Passport pictures - These are a different size than the passport pictures you get in the U.S.,
so don't be surprised if they tell you that you don't have the correct type. These are usually
very easy to get. A local photo store will be able to take them for you and they often have
them near the police station / foreigner's office. Get at least two per adult, and four per
child (the school and local library will need them).
- Depending on the paperwork you provided with your initial visa application, you may need
to supply a complete copy of your passport, from the first page to the last for each person.
- Bring along your rental contract or invitation letter.
- In addition, you'll need the paper you received from the Town Hall "Padron Municipal de Habitantes".
Once you've provided them with your paperwork, they will provide you with a piece of paper, and there will
be a fee you need to pay to make it official. Unfortunately, you can't pay at the police station.
You'll have to go to a nearby bank and pay the fee for each person, not just the primary.
If you have a bank branch that's close to the police station, go there. Not all banks will take
the payment, but if you bank with them, they most certainly will or you can go to a caja type bank.
Once you've got the stamped documents which prove you paid the fee, head back to the police station / foreigner's office.
They will then take your fingerprints, complete the paperwork and then you'll get your temporary NIE resident card,
which is on a small slip of paper. If you're an adult, you'll want to carry this with you at all times.
In approximately four weeks, you should receive a letter that your card(s) are ready to pick up.
Make sure you bring your passport and temporary NIE.
That's Spanish passport-sized; size of photograph is 40 mm x 30 mm.
From CIEE's "Living in Spain 101: Applying for a Foreign Residency Card (TIE)":
- 2 copies of the first page of your passport.
- 2 black and white copies of your visa.
- 2 black and white copies of the page where Spanish customs stamped your passport.
From /u/AidenTai on reddit:
[When the visa is granted, you have been approved for residency.]
All individuals, whether visitors or residents, have a duty to be documented at all times whilst in Spain.
The Ministry of the Interior, through its National Police force, is tasked with creating ID cards for all foreign nationals
residing in Spain. It is your obligation to apply for one of these physical ID cards from the national police upon arriving in Spain.
They can deny you a card for reasons such: lack of the right forms, improper photographs, lack of some underlying permission to
be in the country long-term, or due to inadmissability of some of the submitted paperwork. But they cannot deny a valid request
for an ID card from someone who legitimately needs an ID card to identify himself as a legal resident, nor deny Spanish nationals
requesting their own separate ID cards. If at any point you lose the ID card they provided you, you can request another.
The important thing here is that your underlying permission to be in the country as a resident is still valid and that permission
was issued before any "paper documentation" was issued to you including visas, ID cards, etc. The Secretary General of Immigration
and Emigration will be in charge of renewing your right to residency should you choose to apply for renewal once already in the
country as a legal resident. Other government bodies such as the Ministry of the Interior, National Police, Ministry of Hacienda/Revenue,
etc. play no part in making a decision as to whether or not you can stay. They are simply involved in a secondary way
(providing paperwork, identification documents, etc.)
Spanish banks charge higher fees to non-residents than to residents. So after you change status,
go to your bank and get the status noted and the fees changed.
What is application form ?
if you have NIE already ?
Although everyone says you need to be on the padron first, and take a copy of padron to the appointment, padron is NOT
required to apply for residency according to
Gobierno de España's "Autorizacion inicial de residencia temporal no lucrativa".
Applying online for a "cita" (appointment):
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".
There is a mobile application as an alternative to the web page. The mobile application is the same
as the web page but without the ability to remember form field values or cut and paste, so the
web page is better.
For Barcelona 10/2015, it took me a hundred attempts, over the course of a week, to finally get an appointment.
Best to try in mornings, 7 AM to 9 AM. But a few citas do become available at other times, occasionally.
Monday morning the system seemed choked or crashed, probably from many people trying at the same time.
Often an attempt failed at the last web page; until you have a "Número de justificante de cita", you don't have a cita.
The appointment I got is scheduled for 2 weeks later. So start trying to get an appointment as SOON as you arrive in Spain,
or even before arriving.
If you try and try and just can not get an appointment, and the deadline is fast approaching,
it might help to take screen-shots of the "no appointments available" web pages.
Then when you blow the deadline and finally get an appointment, you can show the screen-shots
as evidence that you tried to get an appointment before the deadline.
I've also heard that you could try just walking into the office to ask for a cita.
This may be possible only in smaller offices. The building in Barcelona had security checking
your cita paperwork before you could even go in to get to the desk.
The residencia appointment:
[My visa is for non-lucrative, and already contains an NIE, which may affect what happened.]
My appointment was for 12:57 at National Police station in Barcelona (Rambla Guipuzcoa 74).
Allow extra time because it's a big building with multiple entrances
and very little signage, so it takes a while to find the right waiting room.
I think mine was one of the last appointments of the day, and I had to wait
until 2:30 to be seen.
I handed over the printed justificante page showing the appointment.
She checked the ID page, visa page,
and most recent entry stamp in my passport. I handed over the EX-17 application form,
a middle page of my padron, and one Spanish-passport-sized photograph.
Fingerprints of my index fingers were taken a couple of times, electronically.
The clerk didn't care about any of my photocopies of passport pages.
She did various examining and typing, then handed back everything I had given her, even the application form, keeping only the photograph.
She gave me a stamped one-page "Resguardo de Solicitud o Renovacion de Tarjeta de Extranjero",
which says I've applied for residency. It says it expires in forty-five days.
And she gave me a tasa form (Modelo 790 Codigo 012 for €15.45)
that I can go pay at a bank. Told me to take the paid tasa and my passport to a different office (Carrer de Mallorca 213)
in about a month to pick up my residency card, and that was it !
Later that day, tried checking status on
not found. Same ever after. Never did show up.
[Later figured out I've been using that page wrong all along: the "Cl@ve" icon
is hiding ALL digital ID methods, not just Cl@ve (which I don't have).
If you have a digital certificate, click on "Cl@ve", click "eidentifier", use digital certificate, and maybe get good results.]
[May have changed to here
Apparently there will be no notification when the card is ready ?
Just go about a month later to pick it up. No appointment needed.
I went to pick it up exactly 3 weeks later, and the card was there !
Minimal wait, had to show passport, hand over tasa, do fingerprints to match them.
Card is valid for 1 year from the date you entered Spain, not
from the date
you applied for the residency card or the date you got the card.
I took the card to the local govt office the next day, and had my padron updated.
6/2016: I'm told the procedure is changing: now you're supposed to print the 3 pages of the tasa form (Modelo 790 Codigo 012) from the internet
ahead of time, and they no longer give a carbon-copy form at the office. Check to see if your local office uses old or new procedure.
From someone on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
[If your residency card is stolen:]
[Apparently no cita needed to go to Extranjeria in this case.]
Go to the police station and report it stolen. They give you a denuncia which you then take to [foreigner's office]
with the necessary paperwork to apply for a replacement. The wait time for a new card is no more than a month.
Meanwhile, carry the denuncia on you and an alternative form of ID in case anyone asks for it.
You have to inform Extranjeria if your address changes. Usually they don't give you a new
card when that happens.
Your residency card may give you discounted admission at some museums and other places.
Get a Spanish bank account.
[Bank products and fees and policies are changing all the time, so don't rely too much
on the specifics in this section, especially the older info.]
MumAbroad's "Setting Up your Finances in Spain"
movingtobarcelona.com's "Money & Banking in Spain"
NIE Barcelona's "Bank Account"
Spotahome's "Great online bank account options for expats in Spain"
Martina Vitali's "Current accounts in Barcelona: Which bank to choose?"
I'm Moving To Barcelona's "Banks In Spain"
Expat Agency Spain's "Top 5 Banks in Spain Tips for Expatriates"
Living in the Canary Islands' "Are Your Savings Safe?"
Do you really need a Spanish bank account, if you're not working in Spain, not owning or renting property, etc ?
Why not just use a USA bank account, and get cash out of Spanish ATMs ? I suppose a Spanish bank account would let you avoid ATM fees and foreign
transaction fees, and help you get a Spanish credit card. A Spanish bank account is one option used to pay your Spanish income tax online,
but you also can pay in person at any bank with your tax return (fees ?), or pay by credit or debit card. [But: I found that to
file wealth tax form (714) you absolutely MUST put an IBAN on the form, even if you pay another way.
This forced me to get a Spanish bank account.]
It seems that the Spanish tax forms, if you want to pay via direct-debit out of a bank account ("domiciliario"),
force the first two characters of the IBAN to be "ES". So you have to use a Spanish bank account, not one from
any other European country, if you want to pay this way.
Perhaps it is a bad idea to keep much money in a Spanish bank account. The banks
seem to feel free to take out new fees, apply new charges from vendors you contract with,
or freeze your account if some piece of paper is missing, and you have little recourse.
Sometimes when you open an account, a bank may insist that you also buy life insurance with them;
refuse and go to a different bank or a different branch.
From Practical Spain's "NIE / NIF Registration and Residencia Application":
You cannot enter into a contract for the supply of electricity, water or a telephone line etc without giving
your NIE/NIF number together with your bank details because these services will only accept clients whose
bills are paid automatically from a bank.
From Wagoners Abroad's "Tips For Getting Settled In Spain":
If you are moving to Spain from a non-EU country, you'll want to get a local bank account,
as most recurring payments are set up as direct debits to your bank account. If you're coming from
the U.S. or Canada, you will most likely not find your bank in Spain. From what we've gathered,
Spanish banking is a bit non-standard. We banked with Bank of America in the U.S., but
they have no presence in Spain, so you'll probably need to start from scratch.
When setting up a bank account, you'll need to provide your address, your NIE/Passport number,
as well as a some nominal amount of Euro-denominated currency. ...
Our understanding is that there is no free checking account, unless you're automatically depositing
a certain amount of money each month (like what a retiree would do). This amount varies per bank,
and by what type of account you set up, but our monthly minimum was €700. If you do not set
up an "auto" account, make sure you're comfortable with the monthly fees.
The other thing to think about, there are different ATM networks in Spain. If you draw money
from an ATM network that you do not belong to, you'll be charged a fee.
Do some checking around, and ascertain that your bank has plenty of ATM presence.
Our bank Sabadell belongs to the ServiRed network which is popular throughout Spain.
I would recommend against opening a bank account at a local Caja type of bank.
These are typically very local, and don't necessarily have a broad presence throughout Spain or Europe.
From someone on "Expats in Barcelona" Facebook group:
Two people in the same bank will tell you two different things. It seems that if the Spanish Admin people think
your application is going to be even a tiny bit more paperwork for them - they will just send you away.
Paperwork is key here. The bank must have printed out at least 100 sheets of paper for my bank account and I must
have signed my signature at least 20 times. Preparation is the key! Make sure you have proof of address and your
registration from the local police and your passport. You can open the account with as little as 10 or 20 Euros - but be prepared
to go to same bank 2 or 3 times until you find someone who will actually help.
From comments on Young Adventuress' "10 Mistakes Auxiliares in Spain Make Again and Again":
All the banks in Spain will try to screw you over ... And it seems to vary more
from branch to branch than bank to bank, so it's a matter of luck. ... I suggest just being super cautious,
asking tons of questions, and sticking to your guns no matter where you open your Spanish bank account.
Surviving for two years with a Spanish bank account may be the biggest accomplishment of my life. Sigh.
Before opening an account you should visit different banks, or even better savings banks to find the best one.
You've got to carefully read the contract before signing just to see if there's a fee when closing the account,
or to see if there's a monthly or yearly fee on the credit card, or the famous 'maintenance fee'.
Anyway, the best to do is to withdraw 99% of the money before closing the account, so if there's a fee
of the remaining money you'll pay a tiny amount. ...
An example of what a Spanish bank might require you to fill out for FATCA compliance (bank has to report your info to USA):
HSBC's "FATCA overview".
From someone on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
"Banks don't give out credit in Spain like they do in the States! You need stable income
to qualify for a card, and even then the credit limits are extremely low."
From someone else on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
"I was not given a credit card in Spain until I had been with ING for three years. Tried at Cajasol, La Caixa and Citibank. Good luck!"
Foreign address on US accounts:
If possible, don't close your US bank account, and don't tell your US bank that you're
living abroad (they might close your account).
This would require that you still have a USA mailing address, and may have tax implications.
Andrew Hallam's "American Brokerages Slam The Door On U.S. Expats"
Thun's "Why US Brokerage Accounts of American Expats are Being Closed"
Brian Ford's "IRA Custodians Turning Against American Expats with Retirement Accounts"
After living in Spain for a couple of years, I decided to change everything to my Spanish address.
- Told my main US bank (ETrade) that I wanted
to change the address on the account to a Spanish address, and they said no problem,
I'd just lose the ability to do options and margin trading.
But a few months later, I found out that they won't send a debit card (with CVV) to
a foreign address, they'll only send an ATM card (inferior). I wasn't told that
when I changed the address.
- Was able to change address on my credit union, too.
- 401K company no problem, but account frozen for 10 days as
notifications were sent via postal mail.
- Coinbase change triggered GDPR, closed USD wallet,
had to re-verify ID, verifying Spanish address is a problem because I don't have any
bank stmts or utility bills with my name and address on them. But Coinbase accepted
a copy of my padron.
- Transferwise no problem.
- No problem changing addresses in my US domain and web hosting accounts.
- US Social Security: until you start collecting benefits, they don't care
about, don't display, and don't let you specify your postal address (at least in your online SS account).
- PayPal: Can't put Spanish phone and address on a US account.
Had to create a new Spanish PayPal account, and can't be same email address
as that on US account, so I added "+pp" to my email address.
- Citigroup Mastercard: the first two times I called, agents said no problem changing to Spanish address, but their
system can't do international phone numbers. But they didn't quite get the Spanish address correct.
Third time I called, agent said the account must keep a US address in the "residential address"
field or the account will be closed. So I did that, mailing address is Spain but residential address is USA. Bummer.
The last agent said if I want a new card with only a foreign address, I should call their
"new application" phone number. I did so and was informed that NONE of Citigroup's cards allow
a foreign address only.
Two months later: suddenly they closed my existing credit-card account;
mailing address in Spain was enough to cause that, even with residential address in USA.
- Realized that my Spanish Bankia account offers a credit card, but no-fee only
if you charge more than €5000 in first year ! And I'd prefer a US credit card anyway.
- Asked my main US bank (ETrade) if they offer a credit card. No.
- I notice that IRS's online account service only accepts US phone number.
From discussion on /r/Barcelona:
> I want a Spanish bank account which I can use via internet/phone app.
. €0 bank fees with your salary, VISA Gold and debit VISA free, possibility to get
your monthly salary in advance in the middle of the month for €8 (regardless of your salary quantity)
with no limitation and everything is controllable via web/Android/Windows Phone/iOS app or mobile web.
[But the web site has no English.]
an ethical and sustainable bank. [But the web site is not good, and no mobile app.]
Also: 5 free SEPA transfers/month, low fees, and good karma.
the cool thing is that you can use any cash machine in the world without paying commissions.
Also the use of credit card is for free. I had trouble with La Caixa and was treated like an idiot,
when I went to Evo they were very nice and treated me like a normal person. Their website is also quite clear.
Paraphrased from movingtobarcelona.com's "Money & Banking in Spain":
From someone on "American Expats in Spain" Facebook group 9/2014:
- There is no English language version of their Spanish banking website.
- They currently have three branches in Barcelona which are open all day including Saturday.
Most of the traditional Spanish banks only open their branches in the mornings.
- Account types: cuenta naranja (a current account but needs to be connected to an existing account at another bank in Spain),
cuenta nomina (an independent current account, however this can only be set up if you pay your salary into the account),
cuenta sin nomina (aimed at self-employed people).
Cuenta Naranja is a savings account, that's why it needs to be linked to a current account.
"Nomina" means direct deposit from your employer. "Sin Nomina" means without direct deposit.
So, there are two different types of checking accounts, one that requires direct deposit,
and one that doesn't. It appears the "sin nomina" requires you to have a balance of at least
3000 euros, while the other one doesn't have that requirement as long as you have direct deposit.
It's pretty much the same kind of deal as most banks.
From Mejor Inglés's "Getting a Bank Account":
"ING Direct - a great choice, but you will need the physical NIE card. Look into it after you get your card
if you want a change. They have credit and debit cards that are completely free, even for those who aren't under 26."
From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group 4/2016:
I use ING Direct. Steer clear. I will dump them when I have a chance even if it costs me more.
While online is appealing, the Spanish way of doing business is still culturally face to face. The "Direct" services haven't yet matured.
It's my impression that Spanish banks charge low or no fees if you're depositing a salary or pension
into the account automatically every month. But I'm a retiree living off savings, not pension, so I don't have this situation.
Bankia has a "SIN Comisiones" (no commissions) program that charges
no fees if your salary/pension is deposited every month. For retirees with savings but no pension, to get the same program,
you must maintain a balance of €75,000 !
Stopped in a Caixa Blue in Barcelona 11/2014, and the story was: maintenance fee of €12 every 3 months,
and the only way to make the fee go away is to have direct deposit of paycheck or pension.
I asked about Triodos
on /r/spain 6/2016 and got:
Yeah, I have an account with them.
- So far no problems, they never tried to contact me to sell me unwanted stuff, and I can do all my stuff online.
- The account itself doesn't require any maintenance fees, although, if you want a debit/credit card you'll need
to pay a yearly fee (I think it's €18). Also, they will take a fee for every bank transfer you do after the 5th.
- No English after logging in.
Facebook page "Triodos Bank España"
No-fee bank accounts ?
[Note: no English on ANY of their web sites.]
(backed by Banco Popular; use Banco Popular, Banco Pastor and Targobank ATMs for free)
(site has English once logged in as client ?)
(no fees if keep €2000 in account ?)
(backed by Santander; use Santander and Banesto ATMs for free)
(backed by La Caixa; use La Caixa ATMs for free)
(charges fee for ATM use ? now has a small quarterly account maintenance fee)
New app-based bank, and has English: N26
(credit card is only with business account)
Another app-based bank: Revolut
These days, there is a Facebook Group about just about every big bank, so you
could go on there and see what customers are saying, and ask questions.
Spanish banks charge higher fees to non-residents than to residents. So when you get your residencia,
go to your bank and get the status noted and the fees changed. And there may be an extra "non-resident certificate" fee if you
open an account before having an NIE.
If US citizen has $10K or more in a non-US bank account at any time during the year, must
file FBAR form, FinCEN Report 114 (by April 15 each year).
See my Taxes in Spain page.
Some people complain of accounts (especially with ING Direct) suddenly and in explicably being frozen.
This seems to have to do with IRS form W-9. Perhaps you should ask your bank for this form
as soon as you open the account.
I opened an account at Triodos 6/2016:
Office in Barcelona is near Verdaguer Metro. Office is open limited hours, so lots of people waiting.
Find the roving receptionist-guy and put your name on the list.
Opening a "current" (as opposed to "savings") account without ATM card or credit card was quick and easy.
The lady's English wasn't great, and my Spanish is bad, but we got it done.
Showed my passport and residence card, also gave my Spanish mailing address and email address and mobile number
and US Social Security number and US mailing address.
Indicated on a form that I was paying taxes in both USA and Spain.
They don't take cash; you have to do a bank-transfer to put money in, or just open the account with no money in it.
If you're intending to pay bills (such as tax bill), as I am, you have to have a current account, not a savings account.
I left with a copy of the contract, and information for logging in online (6-numeric-digit password, and
8-character authentication string).
About 2 hours later, at home, I tried to log in online, and had problems. In Firefox, was able to generate a new password,
which was sent to me via SMS, but never could get a login page. Switched to Internet Explorer,
got the login page okay (works on Chrome, too), but no combination of information (NIE or passport number,
and old password or new) was accepted.
I sent a message about it to
Facebook page "Triodos Bank España"
and got a response, but then they were gone for the weekend.
But then 2.5 days after opening the account, logging in worked. No choice of languages; Spanish only.
maybe one of my add-ons is preventing that ?
Transferred some money into the account from USA using TransferWise; no problem.
Triodos's web site has pages for paying various government taxes, IVA, Social Security, etc.
I paid my Spanish wealth tax (714) through this.
An annual (I guess) maintenance fee of €0.67 appeared on my account 31 Dec 2016.
But then I realized: as of 12/2016, Triodos instituted a €1/month maintenance fee for "current" accounts !
Also instituted various fees on transfers, none of which should affect me (I do only internet transfers on a "current" account).
Closed my account 2/2018, because of the maintenance fee.
6/2017 I heard that Bankia now has a no-fee online-plus-ATM-card account:
HelpMyCash's "Cuenta_ON de Bankia"
AlertaBancos' "Cuenta On Bankia"
The account gives a debit card for free. No fees for maintenance or administration, or
on transfers within Europe (SEPA). International transfer fee 0.75% or 1.5%. It's a "current" account, not "savings".
You must do everything online; you're not allowed to go into a Bankia branch to do things.
They WILL email advertisements to you and share your data with their partners.
You have to give mobile number and email address.
They have English on their web site. Use Servired ATMs.
I tried to create an account, and it failed for some reason, on the first page after putting in my ID info.
I think because I had NoScript running, in Firefox. Changed to Chrome without NoScript, it worked.
Verified my identity using another bank account, several SMS messages sent to my mobile,
sent photo of my residency card to them, signed contracts online. Got everything done except setting PIN on my ATM card;
got an error that seems to mean their system is down for a while, try again later.
The next day, someone from the bank called me, but he spoke no English and my Spanish is terrible.
I think he was asking me questions (which I've already answered on the web site) about my occupation,
but when he tried to transfer me to someone else, he dropped me, and he didn't call back.
Bank account still is stuck in "some error before setting ATM PIN". Tried phone calls to Support, can't get through.
A few days later, went to local branch. The lady typed for a while, I signed several times, got a paper
copy of contract, ATM card will come in mail, deposited €100. Left thinking everything was good,
but at home I realized the account number has changed, she must have opened a second account.
Login on the web site works, error is gone, but I'm still halfway through "sign the contracts"
on the original account. Completed that, logged in again, all I get is a "wait while we verify your identity" web page.
So far, they have not asked for my US address or Social Security number, and I have not
filled out a tax form.
A couple of days later, account(s) still not working, went back to branch again.
Signed more agreements, and filled out a US W-9 form. Even after that, guy said
"give me a couple more days to get this working".
Several days later, account still not working, back to the bank. Took 45 minutes,
the guy wiped out my first two accounts and created a third, and this time it worked.
I can log in online, the money is there. I'll probably get three ATM cards in the
mail; I'll give the first two back to the guy, and keep the third.
A week later, I've received 3 ATM cards in the mail, and the 3rd one is the right one and it works.
TransferWise transfer into account has worked, too. All looks good.
Their web site is very slow in some cases. And makes some mistakes using dates for programmed
periodic transfers, in English OR in Spanish. Doesn't work with NoScript in Firefox [got it working later]; I have to use Chrome without NoScript.
Sent a message to Support about date bugs in transfers, got no response.
Took me a while to figure out: you contact their Support through the "Help" menu, not the "Mailbox" menu.
At end of first month, they charged a €20 maintenance fee to my account ! Not supposed to happen. Got it removed.
Can't get monthly transfers to work; bug in their web site. Had to go to the branch to get them to bypass it.
Went again and had them try the web page, and it worked fine for them. So maybe I'm using a different browser or something ?
Another €2.84 maintenance fee appeared on the account. Went to branch and had them remove it.
Account working okay for 6 months now. A few quirks:
- Web site has a bug in creation and management of recurring (monthly) transfers.
It mangles the start date and thus throws an error, can't get around it.
I reported this a couple of times, and it did not get fixed.
I was able to create a transfer by using the mobile app instead of the web site.
- Web site also throws mysterious errors in transfer-creation if you type too many characters into some fields,
such as concepto or referencia fields.
- Same password/PIN is used for both ATM card and web site login, and it's
limited to 4 numeric digits. This is okay for an ATM card PIN, since a thief would
have to have the physical card to login. But a 4-numeric password is terrible
security for a web site login. Only saving grace is that to actually do any
transaction through the web site, you also have to "sign" the transaction with
an 8-numeric signature code.
1/2020: Looks like they're instituting maintenance fees unless you have monthly-deposit or
a high balance (not sure). Went to office and they said it doesn't apply to the internet-only account.
3/2020: Got charged a €1 maintenance fee because I didn't install their phone app and
accept notifications in it. Chat support says I can install, accept, then uninstall.
App takes 61 MB on Android phone, but an hour later it was using 200 MB. It's slow to connect,
repeatedly asks for permissions. A disaster.
Spanish credit cards:
I'm told it's a bit hard to get a Spanish credit card, and not many Spaniards use them ?
[But my wife has credit cards with Caixa and Popular, and used to have one through Carrefour.]
TheBanks.eu's "Compare Bank Credit Cards in Spain"
After my US credit-card company suddenly closed my account 9/2019:
I'm finding that some web sites accept my Spanish bank debit card, since it
has a 3-digit CVV on back (like a credit card).
Virtual credit cards created via Privacy.com work on some web sites.
Available for US and Canadian citizens only.
My referral code
for anyone who wants to create an account.
Free account works fine. If you want 1% cash-back cards, you have to have $10/month account.
TPG's "Avoiding ATM Withdrawal Fees When Traveling Abroad"
Stores don't do cash-back when you pay with a debit card.