Empadronamiento: 6 Easy Steps to Get a Padron

Legal & Administrative
| | 6 min read |
The hands of a man who works in Extrangería analyzing empadronamento and Padron documents.

Registration with the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes is obligatory for anyone planning to reside in Spain for more than six months per year.  It is basically just an official register of where you live. To be registered is to be empadronado and when you have registered yourself, you will be given a padrón or a certificado de empadronamiento. Registering yourself is completely free and you do not need to pay to do it.

In this blog, we are going to learn more about why and how to register yourself.

Why register yourself?

  • It’s a proof of having a valid address and not living off-the-radar or in the street.
  • It helps the government keep track of demographic changes and to decide how to allocate resources across regions, municipalities and communities.
  • You need to prove that you are not a tourist or a temporary resident if you need to open a bank account, or do anything legal.

Register yourself if you are going to …

On average, your padrón needs to be less than 3 months old but usually most places don’t check the date. They just need the paper.

You don’t need to register yourself if

  • you are a tourist just visiting Spain
  • you are an exchange student staying in Spain for less than six months
  • you don’t need to open a bank account or do any other administrative task
  • you don’t need to have a verified address in Spain

Required documents for Empadronamiento

  • A valid passport and/or NIE
  • A house contract valid for more than 6 months with your name and NIE/passport number mentioned in it and signed by the landlord and you
  • Any other documents that may be necessary in your case

Where to register yourself

This changes in every city and province in Spain so you have to check where to register yourself in your city (you can Google something like “empadronamiento YOUR_CITY”).

In Catalunya, you have to register yourself at OAC offices (Oficina d’Atenció al Ciutadà). In other places, you would go to a similar place too. Just Google that.

How to get your Padrón

Before 2019, you could show up to any OAC office, line up, wait your turn and then present your documents and have your paperwork done in 10 to 15 minutes. Starting from 2019, you can’t just show up without an appointment. Luckily, making an appointment for the empadronamiento is fairly simple and fast (compared to making a NIE appointment, for example). Follow these steps to make an appointment:

  1. Go to the official website (in Barcelona) where you have to make the appointment (the website is available in Spanish and Catalan only, English translation available below). If you don’t live in Barcelona, then Google “your-city empadronamiento” to see what shows up and take it from there.
  2. Under Solicitud de una cita, click on Continuar.
  3. Now you should see the form that you have to fill out with your information. If you understand Spanish, fill out the form and skip to step 4. If you don’t understand Spanish, here are the fields you will have to fill out:
    • Documento de identificación (document type) and number
    • Nombre: first name
    • 1r appellido: Last name
    • 2o appellido: Second last name (optional)
    • ————————–
    • Correo electrónico: email address (the confirmation will be sent to this email and you will need the confirmation number when you go to your appointment)
    • Teléfono Móvil: mobile number
    • —————————
    • Tema: ATENCIÓN PRESENCIAL EN LA OFICINA (you will have to go to the office physially yourself)
    • Subtema: PADRÓN: ALTA/CAMBIO DE DOMICILIO (this is to register you for the first time or to change your address)
    • Click Contiuar
  4. Now you will see a list of appointments available at different offices in the city. Select the best option based on their proximity to you or their date.
  5. Descripción de la consulta: write a short description of why you are making this appointment. If it’s for the padrón, just write “alta padrón”.
  6. The next page will briefly show a summary of your information. Make sure everything is correct. Then, click Enviar. Now you should have received a confirmation email with a code. We recommend printing this page and taking it to the appointment with you.

Go to the office you picked a few minutes before your appointment time. There will be a machine at or near the door where you can enter your appointment number and you will be given a desk number. If you don’t know what to do, ask the receptionist for assistance. Don’t be late, because if you show up more than 15 minutes late,  the machine won’t accept your appointment and you will have to line up and talk to the receptionist.

When your number is called, go to the desk and present your passport and/or NIE along with your house contract (every office might function a bit differently). The clerk may take a few minutes to read the contract to make sure it’s valid and proper. When everything is good, you will be given your padrón on a greenish-grey paper which would look like this:

Example of a Empadronamiento document
An example of a padrón

You can ask the clerk at the desk to give you 2 or 3 copies of it but you can photocopy it yourself as well. 

Congratulations! You are now an official resident of your city. You will need to submit a copy of your padrón when required.

Let us know in the comment section below about your experience with getting your padrón.

Also, check out our related blogs:

Photo credits: Image by aymane jdidi from Pixabay

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