What is the Spanish Padron, do I need it, and how do I register?

One topic that often concerns newcomers to Spain is whether or not they are required to register with the local authorities as a ‘resident’ of the area. Here I have tried to break down the basics of the Padron so people can decide if they may need to register their presence.

For those of you who may be unsure as to what the Padrón is, it can most easily be described as a sort of ongoing census. It comprises a record of each individual who is living within each and every Spanish local government area.

The accuracy of the Padrón may be, on occasion, questioned, however, as the responsibility to register is placed upon the individual in question, this is where inaccuracies occur. The duty to register for the Padron also includes informing the local Town Hall of any changes to an individuals circumstances when living in Spain.

The Padrón  is most often compared to that of the British electoral roll. This is because as once registered, each adult individual is entitled to the right to vote. The Padrón however has a much wider use than just registering to vote, these other benefits will be outlined in the article below.

Many people do not realise that if they spend more than six months of the year in Spain they need to make their presence known to the local authorities. This is a total of six months so it could be four months in the winter and two months in the summer, it is the total amount of time that is important.

Is Everyone Obliged to Register?

You are obliged by law to register yourself on the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes if you intend to live on the Spanish mainland or islands for more than 180 days of any year. You can select to either register as a family or as an individual.

The Padrón is simply a local municipal register of residents. It does not mean that once you have registered, you will be subject to fiscal checks or tax inspections. Many ex-pats bypass the issue of registration due to this misconception.

It is a way for the local government can calculate the number of residents registered as residing within the local area. The Padrón’s main function is to help calculate figures for local councils to receive the correct amount of funding-per-resident from the national government’s coffers for essential services such as policing and health, which will directly benefit you as a resident.

Spain is now taking Padron registration more seriously and are dealing with a number of the registration issues that ave caused a loss of funding in the past, signing-up for the Pardon is therefore now becoming ever-more important. If you own a holiday home, or perhaps live between Spain and your native country but do not live in Spain for the majority of the year, then it is not a requirement to sign-up for the Padrón.

What are the Benefits of Padron registration?

The Padrón is needed for many administrative and bureaucratic processes. Being registered will enable the following-

Much Improved Services

The Spanish National government allocates cash to each individual local authority based on the number of officially registered residents showing on the Padron. This is how your town hall will receive funding from the national and provincial government for services such as Health Centre’s, Firefighters, Policing, Schools, and all the other services that a local government provides. If you register on it, you will be entitling your council to additional funding that can help improve your local services.

Getting Access to Social Care and other Benefits

For some reason Ex-pats living in Spain often consider that social services are only available to Spanish Nationals, and not foreign residents. The truth is that Non-Spanish-Nationals have equal access to services.

There is just one catch, and that is the requirement to register on the Padron. It is necessary, however, that you are registered on the Padrón for a set amount of time, before you will have access to some benefits, these are generally income-related benefits as well as different types of social services obtained through the local government. This includes disability passes, benefits, and access to social services.

The Right to Vote

Despite perhaps living in Spain all year round, if you wish to vote in your local or European elections, you will have to register on the Padrón. It is important to make sure your Town Hall has your correct and up to date postal address if you are intending on voting, this will ensure you receive your voting card.

Tax Reduction Benefits

Registration on the local Padrón can lead to reductions on basic taxes, as well as various local council charges and even a reduced rate of inheritance tax. If you are registered on the Padrón, you may also often enjoy discounted educational courses, as well as cultural and leisure activities. These are organised by your local town hall often including free language tuition classes.

Buy, Sell, or Register a Vehicle with Spanish number Plates

Some ex-pats who do not live in Spain permanently, have signed onto the pardon for the sole purpose of buying a car. In reality this number is fairly small as the majority of holiday homeowners rent cars. Nobody has actually ever given an official answer as to how this is to be came around. It seems you can register to gain a certificate to buy a vehicle and then deregister after having purchased the vehicle.

Some Advantages of Registering

Opting to register with the Padrón Municipal will benefit you because you will become a fully paid up member of the local community with a way of verifying your legal Spanish presence , which is very important for a whole host of benefits.

To register for the Padron you will need to supply the following.
1 A fully completed application form which you can obtain from the local registration office

In Javea the office is located at
Avenida Amanecer de España, 2
03730 Javea
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.00am to 2.00pm

2 An officially recognised form of National Identification, for most people this will be their passport.
(Plus a photocopy)

3 If you rent you will need a rental contract to prove your address. In addition you will need a completed Autorización de Empadronamiento form (from the Town Hall) This proves that the person who owns property is already registered on the Padron.

4 Current Rental Contract

5 Home owners will need the escritura (deeds) in addition the most recent receipt from AMJASA or IBI

6 NIE Document (home owners and renters)

7 Take photocopy’s of everything with you, they probably will not be needed, but being ready can save a lot of inconvenience.

In theory that is all you need and your application. On the other hand you are dealing with government bureaucracy so everything is subject to change and negotiation. Just because you have read articles like this one and they all say that this is all you need does not form any kind of guarantee and patience is very much a virtue that may come in handy, but ultimately for nearly all registrants the process is simple, quick, and straightforward.

Obtaining an NIE

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