12 solved doubts regarding the municipal registry in Spain
We clarify the most common questions about the registration at the municipality in Spain (“empadronamiento”)
1- What is the municipal registration (“empadronamiento”)?
As we explain in detail in our article “Register at the town hall: everything you need to know”, the registration is nothing more than a census, a record, which all municipalities (cities or towns) have for, basically, statistical purposes, of all citizens residing in said location. But in turn it serves as proof that you are residing there, which will be useful for several practical reasons.
2- Where should I register?
The municipal registration must be done at the city hall that corresponds to the town or city where you live in Spain. In some cases you must request an appointment (usually in large cities), in others it is an immediate process.
3- What documents do I need for the municipal registration?
Proof of your identity and housing data (property or rent contract).
4- When should I register?
Once you have settled in a home and plan to reside there, you should register as soon as possible. You will receive a certificate of registry.
5- Can I register as a foreigner, even if I am in an irregular situation?
Yes, you can register as a foreigner, whether you have a residence or stay permit, or community family resident card, or simply even if you are in a tourist situation or already in an irregular situation.
6- Should I renew the registry if I am a foreigner?
Yes, in principle every two years. Only foreigners with a long-term residence permit are exempt from this obligation.
In case you do not renew the register, the city council can unsubscribe you, that is, remove you from the registry. The usual thing is that they notify you before you are unsubscribed, so you can renew it.
7- If I move, should I regsister again (reempadronar)?
Yes. If you move within the same town, you must go to the town hall to have your address updated. If you change your city, you must go to the town hall of the new place and make a new registration.
8- If I move to another city, should I unsubscribe from the previous location?
No, the city council of the new town or city will notify the municipality of the previous where you had made a registration and the latter will remove you from its registry.
9- Does this affect my continuity as resident in Spain?
No, in order to prove that you have been living in Spain, it does not matter that you have changed the municipal registration to different cities. The important thing is that continuity is maintained, that there are no time periods in which you appear without being registered anywhere.
10- What other procedures should I do if I change my municipal registry (“empadronamiento”)?
You should go to the Primary Care Center that corresponds to your new address to be register there. Otherwise, you should continue to be treated in the previous CAP, which can be very inconvenient.
Likewise, if you have children of school age and want to change them to a closer study center, you must process the change either in the new school or institute, or before the educational authorities of the municipality.
11- What practical utility does the registration have?
To be assigned a Primary Care Center, where they will provide you with medical and health care, you need the registration (it depends on where you live in one center or another).
If you have children of school age, they will also be assigned a study center depending on the address in which they are registered.
In the case of Spaniards who return to Spain or who, having been born abroad, come to live here, they will also have to present the registration in order to obtain their ID (national identity document), or to request the returned emigrant subsidies.
If it is a foreigner who will be more than 3 months and has a residence permit, the registration allows you to prove your time in Spain, for the purpose of future renovations or even to apply for Spanish nationality if you comply with the Other requirements.
It is also essential if it is an irregular foreigner who wishes to obtain social roots, in which case he must prove a permanence in the country of at least 3 years.
If you are a foreigner, a relative of a Spaniard or a community citizen, you will need the registration to prove that you live with that relative.
12- Can I register without a fixed address?
Yes, we explain it in detail in our article “How to obtain the certificate of registration without a fixed address”