How to get residencia

Anybody wishing to live and work in Spain long term has to obtain a Spanish residence permit commonly referred to as residencia. The residencia certificate carries your name, address and nationality. It also carries your identity number, it does not have an expiry date. Unlike the old residencia card these certificates are not valid forms of ID.

The residencia certificate shows that you have the right to reside in Spain. Once you have this you are entitled to the same rights and privileges of any Spanish citizen. Without it you would not even be considered for bank loans, mortgages or credit. You will also have the right to all the benefits offered by the National Health Service.

Nationality is thought to affect the probability of being granted residencia. It is generally considered easier to be granted residencia if you are an EEC national. Other nationalities may encounter more difficulties, however if you have a contract of work with attributes that only you can provide or demonstrable financial resources or own a property on the island you might fight it somewhat easier to be granted residencia.


Applications are made at the Officina de Extranjera in Santa Cruz or Las Americas.

Documents needed:

Full, valid, original passport, plus photocopy.

3 photographs.

Completed Solicitud de Tarjeta de Regimen Communitario form.


Proof of Income. Proof that their income covers their costs

Enrolment documents. Documents form their place of study to prove that they are in full time education.


Birth certificates and parents marriage certificates. Sometimes these certificates need to be translated the British Consulate in Santa Cruz can organise this for you.

Certificado de Domicillo Certificate of proof that you are registered at your local council office. Go to your local council for this. You will be charged a nominal fee.

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