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 …
- live in Spain for more than six months,
- apply for or renew your NIE, (read our detailed blog about how to get your NIE)
- open a bank account,
- buy or sell a car,
- get a Spanish driving license,
- get married,
- some other administrative tasks.
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
- 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
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:
- Go to the official website(in Catalunya) where you have to make the appointment (the website is available in Spanish and Catalan only, English translation available below).
- Under Solicitud de una cita, click on Continuar.
- 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:
- Nombre: first name
- 1r appellido: Last name
- 2o appellido: Second last name (optional)
- Tipo: Type of document (NIE or passport)
- Número: NIE or passport number
- Fecha de nacimiento: date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- 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
- Under Selección temática, Tema, pick OAC: ATENCION PRESENCIAL EN LA OFICINA
- Under Subtema, pick PADRÓN GESTIONES
- Fecha cita: date of appointment. Pick the current date or the next day’s date.
- Click OK.
- Now you are given a list of available dates at different offices. Pick the one closest to your home and click Continue.
- Now you can pick the time. We recommend picking the earliest one (anything between 9:00 and 10:00). Click Continue.
- 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. 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. 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:
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:
I rented an apartment without a lease but need this document. What can I do now? The person I’m renting from says she doesn’t do contracts and just rents to people. Can I find a template online and we both just sign it?
Hi Claire. We cannot tell if the person you are renting from would be ok with that. Double check because it needs to be a proper contract, not a half-a-page template downloaded from the internet. Thank you
is possible place a Mexican phone?
As far as we are aware, a Spanish number is required but give it a try and see if it would work.
If I don’t have a formal housing contract, but I am staying at some friend’s house, can I go with my Friend? or I really need to get the housing contract?
Hi Lina. We have heard cases where going with a friend worked and also didn’t work. You can go to the City Hall and ask just to be sure. If your friend comes with you, that would increase your chance of being able to get the padrón without the need of getting a contract.
Hi, to get an empadron in Barcelona does the housing contract have to be of more than 6 months? Or is a little less fine?
As far as we know, having a contract for less than 6 months is fine. It shouldn’t be an issue but we always recommend double checking with the ayuntamiento just to be sure as they often change their policies from time to time and there might be different requirements for different nationalities.
i am trying to fill in the apointment page but it wont let me put my correct phone number in?
Hi Veronica. We just checked the form again. The maximum number of digits you can enter is 10. Just enter the first 10 digits of your phone number. We don’t think it would cause any issues. Thanks