How to apply for residency (residencia) in Spain: A simple guide

If you are struggling with the Spanish residency process, you are not alone. The process can be tricky due to language barriers, confusing opening hours of government buildings and changing rules. Here we provide some practical information to help you navigate the residency application process!

Types of residency in Spain

If you plan to spend more than 90 days in Spain and are not a citizen of an EU country, you will need to apply for residency.

There are 6 main options for residency in Spain and which type you apply is based on your status and plans in the country. If you do not have a visa sponsor, you will need to apply for residency yourself or using a legal representative.

Lawyers can help you with the process for a fee. A list of English speaking lawyers is provided on the British government website at: The list is divided into autonomous region and specialities, including immigration.

Filling in residency forms in Spain

You will need to fill out the relevant form which can be downloaded from: or collected from your local Extranjería office (immigration office).

Forms and information must be completed in Spanish, but there are plenty of options if you need help with understanding. Guides for specific forms are available on the internet and most translation companies can assist you with filling in forms.

Making an appointment for residency in Spain

Once you have completed the relevant forms, you need to make an appointment with your local immigration office online at:  Alternatively you can create an appointment by phone. The website can be set to English or French as well as Spanish.

Appointments are available in the mornings. Most immigration offices open only between 10am and 2pm.

You will need to prepare the following documents to take to your residency appointment:

  1. A valid passport and a full copy of it
  2. 3 passport sized photos
  3. Application form for your visa type
  4. Proof of finances (bank statement)
  5. Private health insurance unless employed by a Spanish company
  6. Clean criminal background check
  7. Pay a fee (tasa) if it is required for your type of visa

At your residency appointment in Spain

At your appointment you will be asked to hand over your documents to an immigration officer. The appointment is conducted in Spanish, so if you don’t understand Spanish it would be useful to bring a friend that does, or a translator.

If you are missing documents you can arrange another appointment to bring them.

After the appointment

On submitting your documents, you will receive a receipt of submission containing a code which you can use to check the status of your application. You can check the status online using your code at:

The authorities generally make a decision on residency cases within 15 days. You then can collect your documents by appointment. You need to bring your receipt of submission to collect your documents, including your visa!