Spanish Residency For Expats Explained

Normal (civil) and fiscal residency is the topic I get the most questions about. It is not my area of expertise, but this is the information you need.  Many people think that they are one and the same thing, but they are not.

What Is The Normal Residency?

Normal (Civil) Residency is obtained from the Spanish National Police Station in the area where you live and should be applied for after 90 days if you are intending to live in Spain for more than 183 days per year.  It could be easily described as a ‘staying permit’.

The documentation of the Spanish Residency for UK and EU citizens is currently a small green card of credit-card size (with no photo).  Many of you would have an A4 paper certificate if you obtained it years ago – this is still valid.  Non-EU citizens obtain a card with a photo and the format is a mixture of light red, white and blue colours.  After Brexit, this may mean a change for UK expats and is why many from the UK are trying to obtain official residency before the end of the year.

What You Need

The civil residency has two main requirements:

Financial Means – Depending on the police station it will be proof of regular income or savings.

Health Coverage – Employer provided, self-employed or a pensioner or private with full coverage in Spain.

What Is Fiscal Residency?

Fiscal Residency is when you spend more than 183 days in Spain and have got your EU or non-EU Spanish residency cards/certificate and present the annual Income Tax Declaration form 100.

Is Fiscal Residency Necessary?

To begin with, you do not have a choice of not being a Fiscal Resident if you live in Spain and this is your main residence. You are obligated to present the annual Income Tax Declaration based on your worldwide income.

What You Need

The certificate of Fiscal Residency is a white document obtained from the Tax Office (when it is required). There are two types:

  • The first one is the normal certificate which is often requested for use inside Spain. For example: the sale of a property by foreign Residents means there is no retention of the 3% (the requirement for sellers who are non-residents in Spain or in settling an inheritance).
  • The second and most common document for residents is the Certificate of Fiscal Residency under the Double Taxation Treaties ‘Certificado de Residencia Fiscal con Convenio’, to confirm Fiscal Residency in Spain as these are required by tax offices in other countries to stop deducting and paying tax there.

Financial Planning and Residency

It is important to remember once you are a Fiscal Resident, that many of the financial products (investments and pensions) could be treated completely differently for you as a Spanish Fiscal Resident.

It is possible that you are unwittingly breaking tax rules in Spain in either incorrectly declaring, or not even declaring assets at all for tax because that is the way you used to do it in the UK. The main mistakes usually occur when taking benefits from company or personal pensions, or by continuing to invest in an ISA and not reporting the profits/interest in Spain because it is a tax-exempt product. This is not the case in Spain.

For more information about how we may be able to help you, contact your local office today.


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Disclaimer: The provision of information in this communication is not based on your individual circumstances and does not constitute investment advice. Blacktower makes no recommendation as to the suitability of any of the products or transactions mentioned.