Home » BLOG EN MALTAWAY » tax legal expatriate international lawyer » Moving to live in Spain: Nie, empadronamiento and residence


Moving to live in Spain:

Nie, empadronamiento and residence


When choosing a country, whether it be


  • of Expatriation,
  • of Investment,
  • of domiciling a business and a company,
  • of opening a market,
  • to carry out one’s professional activity,
  • to transfer one’s pension or
  • to be a digital nomad in smart working,


we have developed a model covering

6 macro-areas from the Geo-Political to the Macro-Economic situation, to then identify the well-known fiscal or regulatory issues

both in relation to individuals and to corporate or asset protection structures.


We offer a highly qualified professional advice, to compare the legal, tax, wealth, regulatory, financial, macro-economic, geo-political implications of these choices amongst different jurisdictions, considering the country of choice to be a fiscal resident, to locate assets, to domicile a company 


Spain: Nie, empadronamiento and residence


In this article, we deal with Spain, a country to which we are professionally linked by long experience and exposure to different territorial realities, from the capital Madrid to the Canary Islands.


Spain Nie empadronamiento residence


TABLE of CONTENTS Spain Nie empadronamiento residence





Spain, as a member country of the European Union and in accordance with the rules of the Schengen Agreement, allows all European citizens freedom of movement and entry with only an identity document.


Moving to live in Spain for a European citizen or a Spanish speaking country, can have the advantage of the geographical and cultural proximity, of the temperate climate in many areas, of the long coast on the sea rich in beaches, but there are also mountains, hills and green areas, and of the relative ease of the language to learn and understand. Obviously, a good level of Spanish is required for skilled jobs.


Large cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga or Valencia, as well as the Canary Islands, are well-known tourist destinations and attract many foreigners who decide to move there to live.


Spain is also an architecturally and historically rich country with a varied landscape and the Spanish people are very hospitable, friendly, open, warm and cheerful.


Spanish cuisine is delicious and full of different dishes and flavours, not just paella or tapas.




Spain is made up of 17 communities, including the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.


Each community has a certain amount of autonomy and on many issues, they can legislate independently from the central government, so when you move to live and work you should pay attention to the specific rules and legislation of the community where you decide to reside.



The cost of living depends a lot on the area where you decide to live, but it can be advantageous because it is on average lower than in Italy.



Finding a job is not so easy and salaries are not high on average.


However, it is one half that is attracting many smart working people or digital nomads especially in the area of Barcelona, Tarifa or the Canary Islands.



The health system is good, offering public health care similar to Italy’s, divided into Areas de Salud where you can find primary care centres, including a general practitioner, and centres for specialist care.


Each community decides autonomously on health matters, giving its own political direction, although always in accordance with the general directives of the central government, and this can create differences and even inequalities between the different areas.


If you decide to transfer your residence to Spain, it is necessary to pay attention to the formalities to be carried out, and to have your heart in peace, because Spain, like Italy, is not a bureaucratically streamlined country.


Let’s take a look at a series of formalities to be carried out and documents to be requested in order to move to live in Spain, familiarizing ourselves with the terms used in Spanish.



NIE or Foreigner’s Identification Number


In Spain it is necessary to obtain the NIE or Numero de identificacion de Extranjero, a unique and exclusive identification number of the person, equivalent to the tax code number, by means of an application form EX 15 to be presented at the Police Station or the Immigration Office (Oficina de Extranjería) if you are on Spanish territory, or at the Consular offices abroad.


As always, I advise you to go to the source to read the regulations and procedures that you will find on the Spanish Government website:






This is an important identification number for dealing with Spanish administrative offices as a foreigner.


It can be requested not only by those who intend to transfer their residence to Spain, but also as a non-resident, in order to pursue their economic, professional and social interests related to Spain and to have access to many services as well as to pay taxes.


When applying for a Nie, it is necessary to provide the offices with proof of the reason for the application: for example, it is needed to buy a property, a vehicle or a boat, but also for an employment contract, to register with the Spanish social security system or seguridad social.



In general, this document, similar to the tax code, is called NIE BLANCO or provisional document, while when you obtain residency the related document is called NIE VERDE but, actually, improperly because it is not a simple identification number but it is a document that certifies Spanish residency or “Certificato de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión Europea”.




EMPADRONAMIENTO, or registration in the Spanish registry office, can be requested by both those who have a residence and those who only have a domicile on Spanish soil and ascertains domicile at a specific Spanish address.


It is obtained by applying to the Town Hall or Ayuntamiento, in some cases online, and presenting proof of residence (e.g. a rental contract of at least 6 months’ duration or a contract for the purchase of the property) in addition to an identity document.


You can also reside with a family member, friend or acquaintance or in a tourist facility.


On the website of the Spanish administration you can check for each Ayuntamiento how to apply, the procedure, the forms to fill in and the necessary documents.


With the registration you get the certificate or volante de registro which indicates your residence or usual domicile.


This is an important document to be produced in various cases, such as, for example, to obtain residency, to register with AIRE, to have a work contract, to have access to health care, to obtain a Spanish driving licence or to register your children at school.



As a foreigner, in order to obtain a foreign residence in Spain, or rather, as explained above, what is improperly called a GREEN NIE, but more accurately a “Certificato de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión Europea”. you must be in one of the following 4 categories and present the required supporting documentation:


employee (declaration of employment, proof of 3 months’ pay and payment of social security contributions)

self-employed (proof of registration and activity for at least 3 months and of taxes and contributions paid)

pensioner (pension certificate, S1 or health insurance)

economically self-sufficient (having a rental contract or ownership of a property, health insurance, sufficient income to live on deposited in a bank account).


The law requires a check and update of the working and residential position after 5 years from the first obtainment, with the obligation to update the NIE. Failure to do so will result in fines.


Once residence has been obtained, it is necessary to register with AIRE as an Italian citizen.




If you are employed or self-employed, after obtaining the NIE and the empadronamiento document, you can apply directly or, if you are an employee, through your employer, for registration with the health and social security system and obtain a seguridad social membership number.


Once you have this number you can apply for a health card to access the Spanish public health system.


The number is used to pay the social security contributions due to be entitled to health care and to accumulate the years of foreign pension.


The reference site of the Seguridad social can be found at this web address: http://www.seg-social.es/ where you can also find the form to fill in to make the application.






Maltaway: Our knowledge of the World as a factor in your success!




What do we need to check to assess a jurisdiction in addition to its macro-economic situation, regulatory profile, taxation conditions, cost of living, health system, climate, resident population, connections for people and goods?




What can we do to manage and reduce Country, Banking, Regulatory, Pension, Financial, Occupational, Health, Geographic RISK?

Expatriating, transferring your residence, business or assets abroad means improving your risk management and taking advantage of the opportunities that different countries offer.



A personalised professional expatriation consultancy service for the choices of expatriation, transfer of residence abroad and the protection of individuals and businesses with a comparison and coverage of between of the best jurisdictions in the World and 30 countries

with an analysis of specific individual needs and identification of the opportunities and solutions offered by a redomiciliation of oneself or one’s assets or business, an International Advisory service with the solutions and opportunities of expatriation with respect to your country and other countries in Europe or outside Europe