What Is Empadronamiento?
Spain is divided up into different Autonomous Communities or Provinces, as is the case with the UK and other European countries. These Autonomous Communities are then further divided into smaller municipalities (Boroughs), which keep a record of local residents. This is called the ‘Padron Municipal de Habitantes’ or simply ‘Padron’. It is equivalent to the UK electoral roll.
The Padron is held at the local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) and anybody that owns a property in Spain, whether they live in it permanently or as a holiday home, should register.
The local government receive funding for the number of people registered on the 'padron', this funding goes towards essential amenities such as health centres, cleaning, policing and road maintenance so being on the Padron does massively benefit the municipality as a whole and of course as a homeowner, that benefits you.
Why Do I Need To Register?
If you spend more than 183 days per year in Spain, it is advisable to register on the Padron.
Once registered, you will be given the Certificado de Empadronamiento, which can be used in many legal procedures in Spain, like enrolling your children at the local school or getting married in Spain, you also need it to apply for a health card (el càrnet para la asistencia sanitaria) or to apply for certain visas and also to apply for a residence permit. It also allows you to enjoy the discounts at the municipal sports centre, where they run exercise classes and other fun activities.
Although it is not a strict requirement, if you want to benefit from better public services for yourself and others in your community, you really should take the time to register.
It is also advisable to register due to the current Brexit process, as this will help to show the Spanish authorities that you are a permanent resident in Spain.
How Do I Register For Empadronamiento?
It is very easy to register, all you have to do is take the application form (hoja de empadronamiento), your passport, NIE details and your 'escritura' (house title deeds, If you are a homeowner) or rental contract and a utility bill to the local Town Hall (Ayuntamiento).
As you will be dealing with a bureaucracy, you will need the originals and a photocopy of each required document except the application form. Once you have registered they will describe you as ‘empadronado’.
You may have to wait for a week or two for your certificate. If they can’t give you one straight away they can issue you with a temporary certificate called a ‘Volante de Empadronamiento’. You can apply for an individual or a family certificate.
Once you have registered you will also be asked to sign a census form, which will give you the right to vote in the European Union and the local council elections.
If You Move Home Or Leave Spain
If your circumstances change, for example, if you were to get married, divorced, have a baby or move, you would have to let the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) know. If you move to a different town, you have to go through the whole process again in your new local Town Hall. Even If you decide to move away from Spain altogether, you should still let the town hall know.
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December 02, 2022
Updated: June 22, 2022 CET