As we all know, or soon learn, living in Spain means lots of paperwork….
It might seem like lot of hard work at first and it can be a minefield trying to understand everything you need to do to live here legally, but just remember it will all be worth it once the paperwork is completed and you can live your happy new life in the sun in a beautiful & friendly country like Spain.
After you have gained your NIE and registered on the padron ( you can read our Spanish paperwork blog here) the next step is residency. If you plan to live in Spain long term then you will need to apply for your residency as you can only legally live in Spain for 90 days without it.
Getting a residency appointment
We hoped to have our residency approved by the end of January but there was a mix up with our appointments and in the end our new appointment date was 22nd March 2019.
There was a 3 month wait for appointments at the time. I believe that they have now increased staff numbers to try and account for the amount of UK nationals applying for residency before brexit as there has been a backlog for some time now and some towns had stopped all applications whilst they dealt with the backlog.
Proving you can afford to live in Spain
There are different ways to gain residency depending on your circumstances but the main priority when trying to get residency is to prove you can afford to live here and support yourself, this is what you will be required to show at your residency appointment.
I am Autonomo in Spain which means I am self employed, this meant that I was already paying into the Spanish system (there is a monthly fee which autonomo registered people pay monthly to be self employed plus we pay tax and IVA on earnings on top of this fee, its not cheap to be self employed in Spain, but that’s another story).
When we went to our residency appointment we had to provide paperwork from my accountant, the vida laboral to show I was making monthly payments and that I had been Autonomo for more than 3 months, this enabled us to gain residency without showing a set amount of money in our bank account or taking up private healthcare. My husband and two children could piggyback on the back of my Autonomo too as we are classed as a family unit.
If you are below retirement age, not in receipt of a UK state pension and not working in Spain with a legal contract then you will have to show approx 7000 euros per person in your bank account for living expenses, plus extra funds if you have children to support. You will also need a full healthcare plan in place and paid for in full for the year ahead. This is whilst the UK is still part of the EU, after the UK leaves the EU the amount of money required to prove you can afford to live here increases drastically.
I’m happy to say that for us gaining residency was a fairly easy process, In all honesty I was expecting it to be a quite difficult and after reading other people’s stories I had got myself into a bit of a panic, especially as the dreaded Brexit was fast approaching but thanks to being organised (kind of) taking our time and having Frankie @ FP translations on board to answer my millions of queries it really was much easier than I anticipated.
Documentation we required for residency
Please remember that this is just what we required, depending on your personal circumstances and which area you are applying to, your application requirements may differ.
- Vida Laboral – this was required due to being autonomo
- Children birth certs – translated to Spanish
- Wedding certificate
- 6 months bank statements, stamped at bank.
- Padron – up to date
- 036/037 – this is a tax document issued by my accountant
- Passports and copies x 3
- Passport photos for each applicant
- Residency tax – 12 euro each – paid before the appointment at the bank
- Residency application forms – These were filled in by Frankie on our behalf
On the day
We arrived at the Comisiria de policia de orihuela at 9am on the 22nd March, we met Frankie outside and quickly went over the paperwork. I hadn’t taken bank statements as being autonomo I didn’t think we needed them as we didn’t need to prove savings or earnings as far as I was concerned, mistake no 1, Frankie wasn’t overly concerned we would go in and see if we could wing it.
We took the children with us to the appointment as we were applying for their residency too and although taking them to appointments isn’t the easy option (they get so bored so easily) we didn’t want to risk any reason for them to say no.
We waited in the waiting room until our name was called, we probably only waited approx 20 minutes, we all went into the room with Frankie who obviously did all the talking, I passed documents to her as and when she requested them and they started putting folders together for each application, then they asked for the bank statements – cue panic again from me…….Frankie worked her magic and the officer agreed that we could go to the local bank to request bank statements and bring them back in half hour, luckily there was a Sabadel bank just down the road, Frankie warned us that the bank might be a bit arsey as being so close to the police station that deals with residency they get these requests quite often and sometimes they ask for payment for the statements, luckily we had a lovely member of staff who printed us 6 months of statements from both our accounts and also stamped them for us – result!
We then had to get 6 copies of the stamped statements, we asked at the bank and they weren’t aware of any photocopying shops near by, cue panic again. We decided to take a quick walk and see if we could find anywhere and luck was on our side, about 5 doors down of the same side as the bank was a photocopy shop – woohoo – we got 6 copies of our bank statement for approx 1.40 euro’s.
We headed back to the police station to meet Frankie with all our documents, we were both a bit worried about our bank statements, they didn’t show any savings, we didn’t have any savings left as we had just got married 6 days before our appointment and all our savings had been depleted by the wedding costs but our statements showed that we had been living in Spain, paying our bills, paying rent and our accounts were all in credit so we just hoped this would be accepted.
When we got back into the station we more or less went straight in, myself and Frankie went back in to see the officer dealing with our application, leaving sim looking after the children, The officer took the statements, did a quick review of the bank statements, presumably to check that there were 6 months worth and then printed our our green residency cards.
We had been accepted as residents and were now free to live in Spain legally – we played it cool then jumped for joy once outside – big smiley faces all around.
Citizens advice bureau SPAIN – their website is extremely helpful and you can search for information on their website or ask questions on their Facebook page
RESIDENCY – minimum resources for Residency
Thanks for reading our latest blog, I hope it helps you on your own journey
Jess @ Happy New Life In The Sun xxx