Empadronamiento is a city hall registration to inform the municipal register where you currently reside.
The empadronamiento (also called padrón) is a census record, which allows the city to generate a list of local inhabitants.
In practice, the empadronamiento is key to becoming a member of your Spanish community, and you can apply as an individual or as a family. Whether you are here in Spain legally or not, it is highly advisable to register with your local padrón, as it provides innumerable benefits if you intend to live in Spain for any extended period of time.
Registration means that you’re an official resident of your community. Consider this your first step to integration into Spanish life. Also, the empadronamiento is the way to verify or accredit your stay or residence in Spain – a necessity for a variety of administrative procedures, such as (depending on regions):
- Applying for a NIE.
- Getting a health insurance card.
- Buying a vehicle.
- Getting married.
It is important to note that the certificado de empadronamiento is only considered valid if it doesn’t exceed three months from the day it has been issued. Once registered, a copy with a recent date can be requested at your nearest town hall. You may or may not need to pay a small fee – this, again, varies on the place of residence.
Below is a list of documents which can be requested from you on the day of registration. However, the list varies depending on the region. To find out how to get on the padrón and what documents are required, always check with your local town hall.
- Passport: original and copy.
- NIE (if applicable).
- Utility bill with your name and address (recent).
- Proof of address:
- Property owner: Original deeds (escritura).
- Renting a house/apartment: Original rental agreement (in Spanish).
- Renting a room: Signed written letter from the landlord, confirming you reside at the address, and copy of their ID.
This procedure is completely free of charge, and the registration should be renewed every five years or each time you change your home address.
A city or town receives money from the government to provide services to those who live within its jurisdiction, based on the number of inhabitants. It’s therefore in everyone’s best interest to have an accurate count of who is living in the community, in order to provide optimum service levels.