One of the material documents that you must obtain as a resident in Spain, whether you are in a regular situation or an irregular one (that is, “without papers”), is the certificate of registration (“padrón municipal” or “empadronamiento”), which you will need for many formalities, including obtaining a Residence and work permit, or the granting of Spanish nationality (citizenship).
What is the certificate of registration
The municipal register (“padrón de habitantes”) is the administrative registry where all the residents of a municipality (that is, a town or city) are listed. Their data is evidence of both the present residence in the municipality and the permanent domicile in the same. The issued certifications of said data shall be considered public and authentic documents for all administrative purposes.
Every person who lives in Spain is required to register in the Register of the municipality where he / she lives habitually. And the city council in turn must make the inscription after presentation of the corresponding documents.
Documents needed to process the certificate of registration (“volante de empadronamiento”)
The first one is proof of identity. If you do not yet have a residence card, with the NIE number, the valid passport of your country of origin is sufficient.
The second is proof of residence, basically, the property title of the property, or a lease, for example. If you are not the owner of these contracts, you will need a letter from the owner or lessee, authorizing or certifying that you actually live there.
To register without a fixed address
But what if you rented only one room and you cannot, for any reason, get a contract or proof that you live there? Or if you are in a caravan or temporary housing of any type that does not appear in the Real Estate Registry (Catastro) or does not have property documents?
Article 3.3 of the Resolution of 16 March 2015 of the Ministry of the Presidency offers us an alternative. And it is that the social services of the city council make a visit to the place that you indicate as your residence, check that you actually live there and submit a report accordingly.
In that report they do not have to refer either to housing conditions or to the validity of your right to live in the premises. It simply states that they have checked that you live in it, without further analysis.
In some municipalities, such as Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, this is a pretty common procedure regularly applied. For others, however, it is something they do not handle frequently. If the latter is your case, and you do not find much receptivity on the part of the official in charge of the register, please ask him to review the aforementioned Resolution of March 15, 2015.