As we already said the Spanish love paperwork especially that which they can sign and put an official stamp on. There are several documents that you must have to get anywhere.

  • Passport or Residencia card
  • NIE number (your national identity number)
  • Escritura (deeds for your house) or your rent book.
  • Padron (your registration at the local town hall)
  • Passport size photographs
  • Your medical card or at least an E111

Along with copies of each.

For your car

  • Pemiso de circulatión ( equivalent of registration document)
  • A receipt showing payment of your insurance from the bank*
  • Tarjeta inspección téchnica de vehículos ( a detailed specification for your car)
  • SUMA (the road fund tax for your car)
  • NIE and Residencia card or passport
  • Driving licence (preferably a Spanish Permiso de Conduccion)
  • a European Accident Form (not compulsory but essential if you have a crash)

* Police will not accept the orginal policy document, advice of payment from the insurance company or a green card as proof that your car is insured.

In the car you must have a high visibility jacket (in the passenger compartment), two warning triangles, a spare set of bulbs, a spare tyre and tools to replace it and a spare set of glasses if you wear them.

Proof of identity and where you live is used in so many aspects of your life in Spain. For example you need your passport or residencia card to:

  • draw money from your bank account
  • collect a parcel from the Correos
  • use a credit or debit card
  • collect other documents e.g. the Padron

We even had to provide copies of our passports to register for the Spanish classes at the school.

You need your Escritura and or Padron to prove where you live when buying a car, registering at the doctor's etc.

Very early on we went to Alicante to get our NIE numbers and start the process of obtaining Residency. They only process so many applications per day so you have to be there very early and join the queue. When they are ready to start they issue tickets to those who have the right paperwork. If you get a ticket you will be seen otherwise you have to come back the next day and start again. We were lucky and completed our application the first day. Arrive after 9:00am and you will probably be turned away.

The NIE number is used for all sorts of purposes and is required in relation to e.g. car purchases, online banking, telephone contracts etc.

Within a couple of weeks of buying the house we had our Spanish wills drawn up. This was done by our solicitor but then had to be signed and stamped by the Notario. The Spanish wills we made covers all of our worldwide assets and are essential to cover our Spanish property. They overide any previous English will that we might have drawn up. Please note that the Notario will also sign and stamp copies of any documents e.g passports which means that you no longer have to carry the originals except where they are specifically required.

Having applied for residency in November we got the papers back at the end of June but had to wait until February to go for finger printing. We collected our residency cards in March - eighteen months after the process started. The cards are valid for 5 years from the date you obtain residency so in our case until May 2010.

Now the law has changed and EU nationals no longer need a residency card. They just have to register at the nearest National Police station and get a certificate of registration. However that means carrying another form of ID i.e. a passport when using a debit or credit card. The residency card was handy because it fitted into a wallet and saved you carrying your passport.

Having completed the residency process we have also registered with the Spanish tax authorities. Spain has a dual tax agreement with England which prevents us from paying income tax twice. In our case because we recieve Teacher's pensions we have to pay tax on them in England. People with private pensions can elect to either pay tax in England or in Spain. Now that we are residents we do not pay tax on the value of our house (wealth tax).

To get a medical card we needed a E160 which provides reciprocal cover for UK citizens in an EU country. We took our E160 along with copies of our registration with the Padron to the local Centro de Salud to get our SIPS (medical) cards. Form E160 is valid for up to two years. Now that we both have E121s, (Pam because she is of pensionable age and I am her dependant) we have permanent SIP cards and don't pay for either medical care or prescriptions. Otherwise we would have to take out private health care policies or pay for treatment. We also have Spanish EIHC cards for any trips back to the UK.

The links to USEFUL INFORMATION in the right hand column provide a more detailed explanation of the processes involved including buying a car which of course requires the help of a Gestor.

Atono feria





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