Some of the Bureaucracy Around Moving Explained

Published on 25/03/2008 in Relocating to Spain


Moving from any country to a foreign land is an enormous decision.  Thankfully, there is a wealth of information available on the net for people wanting to emigrate.  Inform yourself carefully as to the criteria you need to meet, and be sure to take with you all your documents of identity from the UK.

When you have decided where you are going to live, you will need, in order to get anywhere, two documents :

Certificado de Empadronamiento


Certificado de Empadronamiento :

This is usually a stamped piece of A4 paper that you will be given by your local Town Hall, here called Ayuntamiento.  In order to get one, you must show that you have an address - if you are renting, you will need a copy of your rental contract.  If you are staying with friends, they will need to vouch for you.  You will be asked to submit your passport for copying, as well as those of your family members.  All originals.  They will be returned to you!  Ask for a receipt (recibo), if you are concerned.  Another tip - take handfuls of passport sized photos for all such meetings.

Depending on the size of your Ayuntamiento, you may need to wait a few days for the relevant official to come and stamp the paper.  Return every day if possible, or at least every second day to remind them of the paper required.


This can be more complicated, and can also be very time consuming.  As an EU member, in theory it should be easier, but not all offices "fast track" EU members.  So be prepared to GET to the Policia office very early in the morning (as early as 6 or 7 am) if you don't want to wait all day only to be turned away.  Best advice is to check it out if the office is within reasonable distance and inform yourself before going to register.  You will need to take all personal documents such as Passports and Certificados de Empadronamiento for all family members together with at least three passport photos for each person.  If you are working, take those documents as well along with any formally written offers of work - this can help.

You will have your information taken, and not necessarily be treated with a great deal of respect, depending on where you are.

You will usually NOT be able to take the NIE (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero) away with you there and then, so be prepared for a return trip or two.  There shouldn't be a cost involved, although these rules do change from Province to Province.

Once you have your DNI or NIE (more likely), you MUST keep this on your person at ALL TIMES.  A UK drivers licence will not suffice.  Failure to do so, especially if stopped while driving a vehicle, can result in having your vehicle impounded until you can prove your identity.


Another tip - if you ARE driving a car (yours or another) - be certain that you have in the car at all times proof that you have paid up to date car insurance!

Good Luck!

Written by: Amanda Hamilton

About the author:I run a Guest House with Art Gallery nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Subbética Mountains of Córdoba, Andalucia.  My personal experiences come from travelling with my son and our UK motorhome through the north where we stayed for a year, before coming south and finding our hearts' delight.

 You can find me at my websites : or

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