Almost everything you’ll need to register for in Spain will require you to be registered as a resident first. Processes like obtaining your NIE (or TIE), opening a bank account, and even signing up for a Spanish phone contract will ask to see your “Certificado de Empadronamiento” in Spain. After all the work of applying for your student visa, you might not be too happy to gather more paperwork (unless you used Go! Go! España to help with the visa process).

Never fear! Getting your empadronamiento in Spain is one of the easiest steps in moving to Spain. In fact, it requires way less paperwork than other registration processes! Read on to find out where to go, what to bring, and how to use your empadronamiento in Spain.

What is the Empadronamiento?

The empadronamiento in Spain is really just a census, or a register of all the inhabitants in a certain city or municipality. The government of Spain uses this data to allocate funds and resources according to the number of people living in an area. For those of us who are moving to Spain, we will use the empadronamiento as proof of residence. Applying for healthcare and getting a driver’s license are just two examples of procedures that will require having an empadronamiento in Spain!

empadronamiento in Spain

Most Spanish city halls are awe-inspiring, like this one in Valencia. You can get your empadronamiento and tour your city at the same time!

Who Needs the Empadronamiento and Where Can You Get It?

Any person who is planning to stay more than 180 days in Spain MUST get their empadronamiento in Spain. There is even a specific verb in Spanish for this process: empadronarse. If you’re wondering what to do when you move to Spain, this is one of the first procedures after finding an apartment. Newcomers to Spain will apply for their empadronamiento at city hall (known in Spanish as an ayuntamiento).

If your city is small enough, it’s likely you can walk in and register the same day. If you live in big city, you’ll have to book an appointment online first. Here is where you can ask for an appointment (or cita previa) in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. If you are computer savvy, you may be able to submit your documents online!

empadronamiento in Spain

You only need 3 documents for your empadronamiento in Spain!

What You Need for the Empadronamiento in Spain

Once you make an appointment at the ayuntamiento in the city where you live, you will need to bring the following documents:

  • Your passport and a photocopy
  • Your signed rental agreement for your apartment in Spain* and a photocopy
  • A filled-out application form available at your local ayuntamiento

*The signed rental agreement that you present must have a rental period of at least 6 months or more. If your name is not on a rental contract or your contract is for less than 6 months, you will need someone who is registered to accompany you to your appointment at the ayuntamiento.

  • If you are living with roommates who have completed their empadronamiento, they can come to the appointment with you. They will need to present their government ID as well as a photocopy. Then, they can sign your application form to confirm that you live with them.
  • If you don’t have roommates, your landlord can come with you to the appointment with ID. If this is the case, call your local ayuntamiento to see if your landlord can send a form instead of coming in person.

After that, you’re registered in Spain! You should receive your empadronamiento in Spain the same day that you present your documents. It’s important to note that some national procedures such as getting an NIE or TIE will require an empadronamiento that is less than 3 months old. However, you can request an up-to-date empadronamiento in Spain at any time.