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Question:  What is a Spanish Padron?

Answer:  The padron informs the local Spanish Government in your area that you are a property owner, and that you are residing in Spain. You will then be added to the official database where they can monitor their annual spending for the area reflected in the number of padrons they have processed.

If you are going to apply for residency, registering a child for school, purchase a Spanish car or transferring your imported car over to Spanish registration plates then you will need a padron. This can be obtained from your local Town Hall.

The padron reflects the details for your property so if your property is owned by a husband and wife then both their names will be on the padron. You can however get a padron for one person even through the property may be owned jointly by two people.

The Spanish Government are taking large steps to ensure that anyone processing their residency or buying a Spanish car have to have a padron so it is important to get this little bit of paperwork processed as soon as possible. Without this paperwork it would be illegal to process your residency or purchase a Spanish car.

If you are a property owner and are not resident in Spain then you do not need a padron. If you are driving a foreign car in Spain for no longer than 6-months then you also do not need a padron.

You will first have to look at one of your utility bills to ensure that you visit the correct Town Hall to process your padron. You will find your nearest town in the address.

Many expats have visited the wrong Town Hall in the past so this quick check ensures you are applying at the correct one. This will save you a lot of time and frustration.

This frustration comes from some of the Town Halls being very short staffed and set aside too few hours to process padron applications. This is Spanish red tape that unfortunately you need to get involved in personally.

To process your padron you will need your passport, NIE number, a utility bill (water, electric, telephone) and a copy of your title deeds for your property.

If your Town Hall opens at 8:30am we would suggest you get their around 7:00am, maybe even earlier depending on how busy it is. You will normally find a ticket machine inside the main hallway. Get a ticket if you can and wait for your number. This wait could be a few hours.

If no tickets are available it is possible that your Town Hall hands the tickets out when they open and they may restrict the number to 100 - 150 only per day. In this instance an official (or local Policeman) will distribute the tickets by hand to the queue. Once all the tickets have gone that's it. There is no reason to hang around. Just return the next day even earlier and join the queue again.

If you are lucky enough to get a ticket you will get your padron paperwork in around 15-minutes. They are completely free of charge. You would normally get three or four copies which are useful for buying Spanish vehicles or if you need to show a padron for health service applications. If they only provide you with one ask for more copies.

The padron only lasts for 3-months and if you need to provide it again after this period then you will need to take the old one back to the Town Hall to be renewed. This unfortunately means getting up very early again to join the queue.

Question:  What is a Spanish Residencia?


If you are planning to reside in Spain permanently then you must apply for residencia within 90-days otherwise you would be deemed to be illegal. This law is largely overlooked due to poor information or just pure ignorance. It does not matter if you are a property owner, someone who is renting or staying with friends. If you are here permanently then you must process your residencia within this time frame. If you are planning for a shorter stay then you can apply for a temporary residence card to suit your plans. 

Residency applications are now processed in the Town Halls, in the largest town near to where you live. The process is a little more streamlined than it used to be. Many people have been put off the application process in the past by Spanish red tape and delays. 

The residency application is now much simpler.  

1. You are required to have three passport size photographs. 

2. A certified copy of your passport. The certification can be taken care of at the Notary by your Abogado (Spanish Solicitor). Just drop them off and pick them up the next day. 

3. You will need your padron from the Town Hall. This can be done when you visit your town hall to process the application. 

4. Take with you a copy of your property deeds and a recent utility bill. This is confirmation of your ownership of the property and proof of address. 

For young babies who have just arrived in Spain you will need to provide proof from your health centre back home that all the vaccinations are up to date.  

You will be provided with a temporary residence card and when you are notified that the original is ready to be picked up you will need to provide your fingerprint of your right index finger at the National Police Station. 

Once you have your Spanish residence card you need to carry it with you at all times. There are many benefits from carrying the card. Pensioners will get savings on travel such as bus and rail fares. Drivers that are stopped and cannot show their card could have their car impounded. It can also be used as a form of ID in many instances. 

After you have completed your application do not expect to hear anything more for between 6-9 months. It is just a case of making your application and forgetting about it until your receive an update through the post. 

Some Abogados provide a service for residency application and some charge as much as 500 €, we would recommend you do the applications yourself and save some money. 

Question:  What is a Spanish NIE number?


In Spain you cannot buy any property, purchase a car, boat, motorcycle or sign up for a service such as water supply, and telephone etc unless you hold a valid NIE number. NIE stands for ‘Numero de Identidad de Extranjero’. This simply means it is an identity card for foreign nationals. 

What are NIE numbers for?

The NIE numbers are used specifically by the Spanish Tax authority so they can process your annual returns if you are a non-resident property owner or a resident property owner. It will also assist the service provider companies who will require that you provide your passport, bank and NIE number details when you sign up. 

NIE numbers for buying property:

If you are buying property in Spain under two names such as man and wife then you will both need NIE numbers. Without an NIE number you will not be allowed to sign the deeds though there are temporary exceptions to this. If you are married to someone outside the EU then they will want to see the original marriage certificate. It is possible to still sign the deeds without one as you can provide your Abogado (Spanish Solicitor) with power of attorney. The certificate can be sent over to the (oficinas de extranjeros) later and the NIE number of your partner will be processed after 2-weeks. 

Applying for an NIE number in Spain:

If you are buying Spanish Property and applying in Spain then ensure that you process the application at least 30-days before the deeds of the property must be signed. It is no longer possible to apply for the NIE number from your Country of residence unless your Abogado does this under power of attorney.  

You need to apply at the immigration offices (oficinas de extranjeros) and these can be found in designated police stations in the area where you are buying the property. Your Abogado can provide assistance to you when you do this and it is not uncommon for you to apply for your NIE numbers and sign the deeds to your property on the same day.  You will need to provide 2 passport photographs of yourself, your passport (and photocopy) and the deeds of your property. If you are a non EU resident then you will have to make copies of your Spanish Visa. You should receive your NIE number after 2-weeks though this can be early or later. 

We would advise that you apply for your NIE number at least 4-weeks before you sign the deeds for you Spanish property. Processing the very same day as you sign your deeds can be very stressful. The queues can be quite long and it is not uncommon to be waiting many hours for your turn to apply. Do everything before hand will remove any problems so you can focus just on signing the deeds and nothing else on the day. 

Question:  What is an Abogado?


A Spanish Solicitor is called an Abogado. You may have been to Spanish property exhibitions in your own country and found legal representatives offering their services. They would normally have offices in your country and in Spain, preferably in the same area that you are buying your property. 

If you choose to go on a property inspection tour one of the options is to meet an Abogado who will take care of all the legal requirements for you. This is a free consultation where you can ask any legal based questions regarding buying Spanish property.

The agents would normally use the same legal Company to take care of all the legal requirements for their clients. You are under no obligation to use the ones recommended by the agents. You are free to choose another Abogado in the area or you can choose one based in the UK you have already signed up with. 

Signing up with an Abogado before you find your property will save you time as all you need to do is provide the agents with the contact and address details once you have found the perfect property. Finding your property and then trying to locate a suitable Abogado will waste time and you may find you are rushing into signing up with one if you are worried you may lose the property you are interested in. 

If you prefer to use a particular Company and are serious about buying property then it makes sense to sign up with them first. This will be free so you have nothing to lose if you do not find the property. If you choose to take the Company recommended by the agents then this will also save you time as long as you have met them first. Do not agree to use the Company recommended by the agents unless you have been introduced to them first at their official office. 

Ensure that the Abogado or their staff speak very good English. If you have an important concern regarding the legal process you do not want answers in broken English. When you are dealing with the law it is imperative that both sides understand each other perfectly. 

Abogados recommended by the agents would normally speak English.  An Abogado will charge you 1% of the price of your property as their fee. This fee ensures that the property transaction is carried out under Spanish law. They will check all of the official documentation first before passing it onto you to also check and sign if need be. 

They will also make legal checks on the ownership credentials of the person you are buying from on a resale or information about the Construction engineers on new builds. This will confirm that the builders have the right to build on the land where you are buying your property. On re-sales they will check that the property is free from debt, encumbrances, charges and other financial liabilities and land ownership problems. 

To ensure you get the right Abogado to take care of all your legal requirements just ensure that the above criteria is met. It is better to do a little research into the Companies available first and meet with them. You can then rest assured that your legal requirements for buying property on the Costa Blanca are in professional hands.