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Jim's guide - The Residency certificate - Part 1 - Theory

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 2:22pm
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jimtaylor

jimtaylor

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Note:

As from July 6th 2020, the application form has changed from the EX-18 to the EX-20 or EX-21. For links to these, see my guide 'First time residency applicants'. However, all other requirements, up to the end of the Brexit transition period, remain the same as in this guide.

INTRODUCTION

Now that appointments are freely available again, I've published this revised guide. I'd ask anyone who does apply for residency over the next few weeks to reply to the topic and give details of their experience, especially of the finances they were required to prove.

There is so much information on the internet, especially on the various forums, about residency, that a guide such as this should not be necessary. However, many people keep asking the same old questions, presumably because they either struggle to do an effective search, or don't always understand what they find. I can sympathise, as many of the articles about residency are out of date, incomplete, or lacking in detailed instructions. Although there is a lot of good information available, the problem is in knowing what is both good and, critically, up to date.

I decided therefore to produce this guide in an attempt to put all the necessary information in one place. I originally published it on a Costa Blanca forum a few years ago, but have had to make a large number of changes to make it topical. I consider this worthwhile, as there are a still lot of people who will want to obtain residency before the end of the Brexit transition period.

The legislation itself hasn't changed over recent years, but the requirements imposed by the various national police stations have changed a great deal.

To give an example, the online appointments system has gone through several changes. The reason to be given for seeking an appointment has changed three times; the offices at which an online appointment can be made have, in the Valencian Community, been reduced to one office in each provincial capital; and some police stations are still processing appointments although they're no longer in the online appointments system.

What has caused the most problems is the proof of finances, required by those not working here, to prove that they won't be a financial burden on Spain. It is understandable that the amount of finances one needs to prove should increase over time, but there is a large variation between the different national police offices as to not only the amount of finances, but also as to what is acceptable as proof.

In updating this guide I found that many of the links on the Immigration Office website are dead, so this guide is more up to date than they are. Links do have a habit of changing, so if any of my links don't work, then please tell me.

This is a long guide, so I suggest you make yourself a drink before settling back to read it.

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

'Residencia' is what many people call the green paper or card that we receive when we register as residents, and the word residencia does appear in the descriptive text about the subject, but what we actually receive is a certificate of residency. It is only non-EU citizens who receive a card with the word Residencia on it. Note that, although the UK are no longer in the EU, the EU citizen rules continue to apply until the end of the Brexit transition period.

You can stay in Spain for up to three months, and for that all you need is your passport. For stays of more than three months, it is a legal requirement that you register your presence.

You don't have to wait three months before you apply for residency - you can do it as soon as you make the move out here.

A residency certificate (CERTIFICADO DE REGISTRO DE CIUDADANO DE LA UNIÓN) is a document certifying that someone from another EU country is legally resident in Spain, and that the person is registered on the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros).

It used to be an A4 piece of green paper, but for some years now it has been issued as a credit card size piece of card. It contains the person's name, date and place of birth, nationality, address, NIE number, and date of issue. It does not have an expiry date.

It cannot be used as proof of identity, but the credit card size of certificate is easier to carry than the A4 NIE document, for occasions when you need to show your NIE number.

The major parts of the application process are that you have to prove that you will not be a financial burden on the state, by providing proof of an acceptable level of income, and have to provide proof of health cover. More on these topics later.

You don't need to have previously obtained an NIE number before applying for residency - the NIE number can be obtained as part of the residency process.

ADVANTAGES

In my opinion, the principal advantage is that you are complying with the law, and therefore legally resident.

After the end of the Brexit transition period, your length of stay in Spain will be monitored. That means that anyone who stays more than three months will be identified and, if found to be an undocumented resident, will have to apply for non-EU citizen residencia, and the proof of finances required for that is horrendous.

That proof of finances requirement is what led to a large upsurge in the number of people applying for residency, flooding the system and causing a significant backlog of appointments. Unfortunately, this delay caused by all the illegals creeping out of the woodwork has been to the detriment of those recently taking up residence here, as they have had difficulty in obtaining appointments.

Most of the material advantages revolve around the fact that if you're resident in Spain, then you pay resident tax here. If you're not legally resident, then you're classed as non-resident.

For examples:

Non-residents pay an annual tax based on the catastral value of their property. Residents do not pay this tax.

Non-residents with rental income have to do a quarterly tax return for any rental income they receive. Residents include rental income in their annual tax return. If you pay someone else to do your returns, then a non-resident pays for four returns whilst a resident pays for one. Also, a resident has the advantage of the various tax allowances. Post-Brexit, non-residents will be unable to claim expenses against property rentals, and will also pay a higher rate of tax.

Inheritance tax prior to Brexit is the same for residents and non-residents. Post-Brexit, unless the current law is amended (which may possibly be the case), inheritors will only receive the national tax allowance, which is very much lower than the regional Valencian allowance, and there may be differences between the IHT paid by residents and non-residents.

If a non-resident sells a property in Spain, then the buyer retains 3% of the price and pays this to the tax office. This can be recovered if it's more than the tax due, but it could be a lengthy process. For a resident, there is no retention.

Post-Brexit, non-EU non-residents who sell a property will pay a higher rate of capital gains tax than do EU citizens.

If a resident sells his principal residence and re-invests the proceeds in another property here, then he doesn't pay capital gains tax on the sale of the first property.

There are several other aspects as well, for examples:

A non-resident can potentially have his car impounded if stopped for a traffic offence or, if fined, has to pay the full amount on the spot. Residents can pay at a later stage, and if they pay within 20 days they get a 50% discount.

Some municipalities offer benefits to residents

Having a non-resident bank account incurs considerable charges that resident accounts do not have.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION

If you fancy a bit of light reading, the following is some of the legislation related to the subject:

E.U. Directive 2004/38/EC

Real Decreto 240/2007, with updates to 2015

Real Decreto 557/2011, with updates to 2018

Real Decreto-ley 16/2012

Real Decreto 1192/2012

Ley 6/2018, with updates to 2020

Orden PRE/1490/2012

Real Decreto 231/2020 (IPREM)

Where I provide quotes from the legislation in subsequent sections, these are my translations.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ALL APPLICANTS

Application form:

The application form is the EX-18.

There are a great many links to the EX-18 on the internet, and even active links to the old EX-16, which became redundant some years ago. Some of the links to the EX-18 are for old formats. The links provided by the Immigration Office frequently change. The links to the current format are:

Immigration Office:

http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/modelossolicitudes/mod_solicitudes2/18-Certificado_residencia_comunitaria_FEB20.pdf

National Police:

https://sede.policia.gob.es/portalCiudadano/extranjeria/EX18.pdf

Irrespective of which link you follow, both give the same form. This is an editable PDF. It can be completed online then downloaded or printed, or it can be downloaded as is and then completed in your PDF reader.

You need to take two completed copies.

See later for completion instructions.

Passport:

Valid passport and copy.

If it has expired and you've sent it back to the UK for renewal, a copy of both the passport and the renewal application must be provided.

NIE?:

There isn't any requirement to provide an NIE. However, as the various offices that issue residencies seem to operate to their own rules, then I suggest that you take your NIE if you've got one, just in case.

Padrón?:

As above, there isn't any legal requirement to provide a copy of your padrón, but the office at which you apply will require proof that you are resident.

If you own your property here, then simply providing a copy of your escritura isn't proof that you are resident. If you have a long-term rental contract then this would be proof, but I think you'd find that this might not be accepted, and it's the same with a long-term contract of employment.

To apply for a padrón, you have to provide a residency certificate to prove that you are actually resident, but you can't get a residency certificate without a padrón. This catch 22 problem is caused by a conflict between the laws concerning padrón and residency.

The solution to this is to ask your town hall to give you a temporary padrón to support your residency application. Having obtained the residency certificate, then go back to the town hall and they will issue a permanent padrón.

If you already have a padrón, and it's more than three months old, ask your town hall for a recently dated copy.

Take that padrón with you, although it shouldn't be needed, because the authorities will carry out an online check.

Photograph?:

This again is not required by the written procedure but, probably because of Brexit and the subsequent requirement to change residency certificates to residencia cards, which do have a photograph, then most offices are requesting two photos. These should be Spanish passport size - 32 mm x 26 mm - not UK passport size.

Other requirements:

Other things you need to produce all depend on what category of applicant you are. These are detailed in the following sections.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR STUDENTS

A student has the right to live in Spain whilst studying or undergoing professional training, for the duration of this, provided he/she produces documentary proofs of:

a). Enrolment in a  education institution (state or private) that is either funded or recognised by the Spanish education authorities.

b). Having public or private health insurance, contracted either in Spain or in another country, that provides complete cover in Spain.

The law states:

However, this condition will be deemed to be met if the student has a European Health Insurance Card that is valid for a period that covers the entire period of residence and that allows him to receive, exclusively, any medical assistance that is necessary from a medical point of view, taking into account the nature of the assistance and the envisaged duration.

I find this somewhat strange - it implies that the law considers anyone young enough to be a student to be healthy enough to only require cover for emergency treatment.

c). Provision of a sworn statement of having sufficient financial resources for oneself and any family members, so there is no risk of becoming a burden on Spain’s social security system during the period of residence.

Compliance with this requirement is considered to be met by producing proof of taking part in a EU educational exchange programme for students and teachers.

Note:

You could lose your right to residency if you complete your studies, and are unable to prove you are working or have sufficient financial resources to support yourself, and family members if applicable.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR AN EMPLOYEE

By employee, I mean legally employed with a contract and paying social security contributions.

You need to produce, from your employer, a contract or certificate of employment (certificado de vida laboral), to prove that you are employed here. The contract must include, at least, the name and address of the company, and its tax code and social security contribution code.

The length of time for which you need to prove that you have been paying social security contributions depends on the office you go to, and three months or six months seem to be the two options. Three months is more logical, because you have to seek residency after being here for 90 days.

If you are not yet working, you will need proof of a job offer that has been registered with the Ministry of Labour (Servicio Público de Empleo).

You may need to consent to checks being carried out about you with social security contribution records (Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social), to prove that you are paying social security contributions.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

By self-employed, I mean paying social security contributions and being registered with the relevant authorities.

You must provide evidence that you are self-employed (Autónomo) by providing one of the following:

a). Registration on the Economic Activities list (Censo de Actividades Económicos).

b). Proof that your business is in the Companies Register (Registro Mercantil).

c). Proof of registration with the Social Security system.

d). Giving consent to your details being checked in the Social Security General Treasury records (Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social) or those of the Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria).

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR A JOBSEEKER

I'm including this as a separate category because jobseekers seem to be treated differently under EU rules. However, I've been unable to find any mention of different treatment for jobseekers in Spanish legislation.

The EU view seems to be that a jobseeker can stay in another EU state for six months without having to register as a resident and without having to prove that he can support himself financially.

After six months without finding a job, the authorities could re-assess the entitlement to stay in the country, and the jobseeker would need to provide proof of actively seeking work and, moreover, of having a reasonable chance of finding a job.

As a jobseeker will not been paying into the social security system, there is no entitlement to non-contributory benefits, like health cover.

Bear in mind that I can't find the above information in Spanish legislation, so it appears that jobseekers should be grouped within the category of people not working in Spain.

Requirements here are that you must:

a). Prove that you have health cover, private or public, and covering all health eventualities.

b). Prove that you have sufficient finances for yourself and any family members.

For more details, look at the section later on regarding these requirements for those not working in Spain.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHILDREN

I can't find anything specific about this in the legislation, so the following is just a guess regarding the requirements. If anyone has done it, I'd welcome feedback. The child probably won't have an NIE number, but that will be allocated as part of the residency application.

Passport of both child and applicant parent.

Residency certificate of the parent making the application.

Marriage certificate.

Child's birth certificate - with an official translation if not born in Spain.

Libro de Familia if born in Spain.

SIP card, if the child has one.

You may need to provide a sworn statement (declaracion jurada) to attest to the family relationship.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR FAMILY MEMBERS

In this section, I am looking at family members who are unable to apply for residency in their own right - for example, their income may not be sufficient to meet the requirements. In that sense, this section deals with those who can be regarded as dependants. I'm giving the theory, from the legislation and relevant websites, and not the practice of what the police actually require.

If there are two or more of you applying as a family unit, and you don't all individually have income or capital exceeding the minimum, then it gets a bit more complicated, as it depends on the relationship between you.

If you live only with your spouse and/or second-degree blood relatives (brother-sister, grandchild or grandparent), then the present amounts are:

Two people: €8,803.62

Three people: €12,428.64

Four people: €16,053.66

Five people: €19,678.68

If among the blood relatives with whom you live, there is one of first-degree (parents or children), then the official amounts are:

Two people: €22,009.05

Three people: €31,071.60

Four people: €40,134.15

Five people: €49,196.70

The above figures are those specified by social services but, to me, seem ridiculously high in the context of qualifying for residency. I am of the opinion that the qualifying amounts will be simple multiples of the IPREM referred to later.

If you apply as a couple, and your spouse on their own doesn't meet the residency requirements because their income is below that required, and so makes the application as a family member, and your combined income meets the requirements for two people, then it might be helpful to take your marriage certificate, and produce this if it's requested.

This is potentially a very large topic, as there are so many possible permutations of family relationship, but I'm only going to cover the most common situations.

EU spouse or partner and other direct family members:

You need:

Your own residency certificate.

Proof of the applicant's family relationship with you, e.g. a marriage or birth certificate.

Proof that children or grandchildren are under 21 or dependent on you.

Proof that parents or grandparents are dependent on you.

Proof if they are seriously ill and need you to take care of them personally.

Proof you have sufficient means to support all the members of your family who are with you, including full medical cover.

If you're not married, you may need a 'certificado de convivencia' from the town hall (it's like a padrón). You need to prove stable cohabitation of at least one year unless you have children, in which case that is taken as providing the necessary proof.

If your family member is not an EU citizen, then they need to apply for a 'tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la UE', and for this the application form is Modelo EX19. It's a different procedure resulting in the issue of a plastic card bearing a photograph and thumb-print.

Death:

The death of a spouse will not immediately affect the right of residence of family members. However, after six months of the death (unless the family member has acquired the right to permanent residency), the family member must apply for a residency in their own right.

Divorce or separation:

In the event of divorce or legal separation, the family member retains the right to residency provided the couple have been legally resident for at least three years. However, after six months of the separation (unless the family member has acquired the right to permanent residency), the family member must apply for residency in their own right.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED IF NOT WORKING IN SPAIN

This category includes pensioners and those who have retired early. You need to provide two things:

1). Proof of health cover:

The law states:

You must also provide public or private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country, that provides coverage in Spain during your period of residence equivalent to that provided by the National Health System.

If you're in receipt of the UK state retirement pension, or an 'exportable benefit' like Disability Living Allowance, you need to get from the NHS Business Services Authority at Newcastle a form S1, which enables you to transfer your health cover from the UK to Spain. You can call them on 0191 218 1999 (option 5) if you are calling from the UK, or 0044 191 218 1999 (option 5) if you are calling from outside of the UK. Email: [email protected].

If anyone has a problem with their S1 being accepted, refer the official to the following Immigration Office website:

http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/informacioninteres/informacionprocedimientos/ciudadanoscomunitarios/hoja102/index.html

where it states:

Los pensionistas cumplen con esta condición aportando certificación de disponer de asistencia sanitaria con cargo al Estado por el que perciben pensión.

Nota importante: cuando se aporten documentos de otros países deberán estar traducidos al castellano o lengua cooficial del territorio donde se presente la solicitud.

Cuando se trate de formularios estándares de la Unión Europea no será necesaria ni su traducción, ni su legalización de conformidad con lo dispuesto en la normativa comunitaria que los ampara. Por ejemplo: modelos de asistencia sanitaria S1, E109, E 121...

This is a very clear statement that an S1 is acceptable, and that it does not need translating.

If you're not entitled to an S1, you need to have private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country, that provides full cover in Spain, equivalent to that provided by the Spanish National Health System (Sistema Nacional de Salud).

The emphasis is on full cover, i.e., it must cover pre-existing conditions, cover unlimited hospital stays, and not be subject to co-payments.

To avoid people taking out such a policy and then cancelling it after obtaining residency, you need to provide proof that you have paid for twelve months cover, or are committed to paying for this period.

The insurance company should be asked to provide a certificate confirming that the policy meets residency requirements and has been paid for one year, and you should present this certificate and not the actual policy - but take the policy with you just in case.

The practice:

Anyone who cannot transfer their health cover from the UK has to take out private health insurance, and this has in theory to provide full cover. This has been of considerable concern to many people, especially bearing in mind that anyone old enough to retire to Spain will probably have some sort of pre-existing condition, which would make it impossible to get full-cover PHI or, if possible, this might be prohibitively expensive.

Fortunately this seems to be one area where the police aren't as diligent with their checks as they are with checking finances - perhaps they simply don't like the idea of ploughing through the small print of an insurance policy to check for exclusion clauses. I've seen several references to them accepting the certificate referred to at the end of the last section, on face value. I've also seen a couple of reports of people who didn't obtain a certificate, and instead presented the policy, being refused.

I'll finish on this topic by including a couple of quotes - the first from Alfonso of Gran Alacant Insurances - someone of whom I've only ever seen glowing reports:

... the fact of having had a medical issue in the past is the most normal and frequent. But to date and according to the experience that we can share of all the cases processed in our office, the authorities have accepted the 'certificate' issued by the insurance company, stating that "private medical insurance has been purchased and paid in Spain for one year with coverage for outpatient and hospital treatments and no copays". In this certificate the companies do not usually identify possible excluded pre-existings.

When it says that the health cover (public or private) must be in force "during the period of residence", we are also not aware of having seen any verification for the following 4 years until completing 5 to renew the residency again.

However, we had one single case in which the customer also delivered the policy documentation where the pre-existing exclusions are usually reflected, and was denied for this reason. A few weeks later and at a new appointment in the same residency office, he only provided the certificate and was approved.

If you wish to contact Alfonso for any form of insurance, his website is:

https://www.granalacantinsurances.com/

And the second quote if from one of his satisfied clients (thanks Edwina):

Alfonso provided me health insurance and a certificate for my residency appointment in Alicante. All went fine they accepted the certificate, hardly glanced at it, or any of my other paperwork and gave a date to collect my card.

I only had my appointment in Jan although the health insurance was valid from November last year.

2). Proof of finances:

What you need to do is to prove that you have sufficient resources - including for family member(s) if applicable - that you're not going to become a financial burden on the Spanish social services. On this topic there is, unfortunately, a considerable difference between theory and practice. In other words a difference between what the legislation says, and what the National Police stations require. Because this is such an important topic, I'm going into considerable detail, so bear with me.

To quote from Orden PRE/1490/2012:

Accreditation of the possession of sufficient resources, whether by periodic income, including work or other income, or by the possession of capital, shall be carried out by any means of proof admitted by law, such as property titles, certified checks , documentation justifying obtaining capital income or credit cards. In this latter case, an up to date bank certificate proving the amount available by way of credit on the aforesaid card shall be produced.

The assessment of the sufficiency of means must be made individually, and in any case, taking into account the personal and family situation of the applicant.

The assessment of sufficient resources must be carried out on an individual basis, taking into account the applicant’s personal and family circumstances. The possession of resources that are more than the amount established each year by the State General Budgets Act (Ley de Presupuestos Generales de Estado) that justifies the right to receive non-contributory benefits, taking into account the interested persons’ personal and family circumstances, will be regarded as sufficient proof to meet this requirement.

To quote from the requirements laid down by the Immigration Office:

He has sufficient resources for himself and for the members of his family so as not to become a burden for social assistance in Spain during his period of residence.

The assessment of the sufficiency of financial means will be carried out individually and, in any case, taking into account the personal and family situation of the applicant. Sufficient accreditation for the fulfilment of this requirement will be considered the possession of resources that are greater than the amount established each year by the General State Budget Law to generate the right to receive a non-contributory benefit, taking into account the personal and family situation of the interested.

To quote from Real Decreto 240/2007:

As regards sufficient financial means, a fixed amount may not be established, but the personal situation of nationals of a Member State of the European Union or of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area must be taken into account. In any case, said amount will not exceed the level of resources below which social assistance is granted to Spaniards or the amount of the minimum Social Security pension.

To simplify the above, you need to prove that you have a regular income, capital, or own a capital asset. Acceptable income can be from a pension, salary, income from capital, property rental etc, and even from a large credit limit on a credit card.

If you own a property, then in theory it should be sufficient to produce the deeds, although, if the property is in the UK, these would need to be translated and bear the Hague Apostille, and the same would apply to bonds or shares etc. Documents can also be legalised beforehand by the Spanish Consular Office in the UK, or by the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación in Spain. However, I've never seen a report of anyone obtaining residency on this basis. That I can understand, as a property doesn't provide a source of income unless it's let out.

Similarly to the above, I've never heard of anyone being granted residency on the basis of a credit card but, if you want to try that route, then you'd need a bank certificate confirming the amount of credit available.

Unfortunately, the legislation does not specify the period for which you need to prove the regular income, and just refers to sufficient resources for ... his period of residence. That leaves considerable scope for the offices handling applications to decide over how long a period you need to prove income. If you're providing proof of finances by demonstrating a capital balance in a bank, the offices again have scope to determine how much this should be.

Even more scope is given to the offices by the assessment of the sufficiency of means must be made individually. In a worst case scenario, this means that two people with identical proofs of finance could be assessed differently.

As regards how you prove your finances, the loosely worded any means of proof admitted by law, and the lack of any definition as to how to prove income or capital, again leaves the offices considerable scope to decide what they regard as acceptable.

The obvious way to prove proof of income or capital is to provide bank statements. Some offices accept statements printed off from internet banking, some insist on statements printed by the bank, and some insist on the statements being stamped by the bank to prove they are genuine. I believe that the only way to overcome all the hurdles is to ask the bank to provide a 'certificado bancario' stating that you have a regular income or sustained capital balance with them. I think it would also be wise to have to hand - but not produce unless challenged - a document proving a regular income - like DWP's notice regarding the annual increase in your pension.

There is a further problem if your principal funds are in a UK bank. Some offices refuse to accept these, requiring that proof be of funds in a Spanish bank, and some will accept them provided they have an official translation and the stamp of the Hague Apostille confirming this.

The next problem is the length of times that deposits or capital have to be in a bank, with some offices accepting three months, and others insisting on six months.

The final problem is the actual amount of income or capital that has to be proved. Here we run into a conflict between two of the applicable pieces of legislation quoted above. One refers to the need to prove finances greater than the amount set in the budget law, and the other states that the amount will not exceed that amount. Once again this leaves scope for individual offices to select which criterion they work to, and they all go for the former, requiring proof of more than the amount set in the budget law. Not only that, but they interpret 'greater' as 'much greater'.

There is also a further conflict between the two pieces of legislation, with one saying the amount should be more than the amount below which Spaniards can claim social security benefits, and the other saying that the amount will be no more than the benefit ceiling or the minimum Social Security pension. I consider that this needs to be explained in detail.

Minimum pension amount:

The reference above to the state budget law - Ley de Presupuestos Generales de Estado - is important, as it is this law which defines the amount of the minimum non-contributory pension. Normally a new law is published every year but, because there wasn't a functioning government in 2019, the 2018 budget law (Ley 6/2018) is the one that is applicable. If a new law is published in 2020, then this would be in July.

Ley 6/2018, with updates to March 2020, states that the basic pension amount is €5178.60 p.a. or €431.55 p.m. Even in 2018, this was well below the amount that immigration and police offices required, and so does not appear to be what they base their requirements on.

Social Security benefit ceiling:

The benefits ceiling is set by another indicator, known as the IPREM - Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples. As well as defining the amount below which social security benefit can be claimed, it is also used as a reference for granting scholarships, housing aid and unemployment benefits.

Using the IPREM is perhaps understandable, as this is what the offices use as the criterion for residencia applications from non-EU citizens.

The IPREM is also set by the state budget law, and the 2018 figures for this were €6454.03 p.a. or €537.84 p.m.

The authorities were, in 2018, requiring proof of €600 a month, which I believe shows that they do use the IPREM. I can well understand the authorities rounding this up to €600 for the purposes of residency, to ensure that a person's income doesn't dip below the benefit threshold due exchange rate fluctuations. I'll cover present requirements in a later section.

Minimum wage:

As a follow on to the above, the authorities in 2020 are requiring much more than €600, which leads to me introduce another public indicator which is not mentioned in any of the residency legislation.

This is the SMI - Salario Mínimo Interprofesional - the minimum wage for a full-time employee, and is also set by state law, in this case the most recent law being Real Decreto 231/2020.

The SMI for 2018 was €735.90, but went by up 22% to €900 for 2019, and then to €950 for 2020. To make matters worse, these amounts assume payment every four weeks, so the calendar month amounts are greater than those detailed in the legislation, and the calendar month amount for 2020 is €1108.

Side note:

Both the IPREM and SMI were introduced in 2004, and at that time were identical. Since then, they have diverged considerably. This means that employers have had to pay more to employees, and thus more income tax has been paid into the Treasury. In contrast, the amounts that the state have had to pay out in benefits has increased much more slowly. That sounds to me as though Spain has been taking lessons from the UK!

Recent reports on requirements:

The above sections are, in essence, the theory. What is more important is the practice, and for that I have to rely on feedback from those who have obtained residency recently and, just as important, what reasons for refusal were given. I'd like to thank all those who provided feedback.

Over recent years the amount of finances required has understandably increased, but so have the variations between different police offices as to what proof has to be provided. I've only been monitoring the feedback in the Costa Blanca, so don't know if the situation is similar nationally. I'll start with information from those who applied in the latter half of 2019 and the early part of 2020.

The minimum requirements so far have been an income of €700 per month, or a balance of €7000, per person, in a Spanish bank, for a minimum of three months.

Where three or more family members apply together, for example parents and an adult son or daughter, the third and subsequent applicants only have to prove half of the above amounts (source Elche police station).

Bank statements have to be full statements, i.e. showing a running balance, and should be stamped by the bank to confirm their authenticity.

For applications made after the end of May 2020, it seems that the police are assuming that a new budget law is going to be passed, and that the requirements will be €900 p.m. or €9000 balance.

Things to check:

I'm a keen fan of doing things myself, but for anything as critical as a residency application, I think it's sensible to use a gestor to help you. A good gestor will know from experience what individual offices require, and should hopefully have developed a rapport with the officials. If you think you might have a problem meeting the requirements described in the previous section, then it would be helpful if the gestor could clarify questions like the following:

Do the amounts have to be in a Spanish bank, or will a UK bank be OK?

Are UK bank statements acceptable and, if so, do they need certifying by, e.g., your solicitor?

Do you need proof of pension income, like the DWP letter notifying the annual increase?

Do monthly payments into a Spanish bank have to come from pension payments, or can they just be monthly transfers from a UK account?

Do you need proof of regular income and also a capital balance, or will just one of them do?

You could try asking questions of the police or Ministry of the Interior online, using their general contact forms. Whether or not you would receive a reply is questionable but, if they did reply favourably, then you could print that or take a screen print, and produce that at your residency appointment. The contact forms are:

https://www.policia.es/formulario_contacto.php

https://sede.mir.gob.es/nfrontal/solicitud_informacion.html

Maintaining proof of funds:

Bear in mind that, once you've got a residency certificate, you don't need to maintain regular deposits or a bank balance in Spain. This means that you don't need to continue to make a regular transfer from a UK to Spanish bank, or maintain a capital balance. If you have enough funds to do so, make the necessary transfers to a Spanish bank, maintain them for the qualifying period, and then move them back to the UK if you wish. If you've got a true friend, then you could borrow money from them in order to get residency, and then return the money once you get your little green residency card.

After the end of the Brexit transition period, the financial requirements have not yet been cast in stone. The EU state that those of us with residency certificates will be able to exchange these for residencia cards without any additional bureaucratic procedures. However, Spain have not yet published what their requirements will be.

As I said earlier, a residency certificate does not have an expiry date, but a residencia card does. Again, Spain have not yet published what their requirements will be but, if we are treated the same as other non-EU citizens, then the proof of funds required will make renewal impossible for many people. See my guide to Moving to Spain and residencia for non-EU citizens for more details.


JillS

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 7:02pm

Posts: 104

46 helpful points

Location: Javea / Xàbia

Joined: 13 Nov 2019

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 7:02pm

Thank you Jim - as always, you are a godsend and I (along with thousands of others on this forum) appreciate and truely value everything you do for us.

Jxxx

Movingon

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 7:21pm

Movingon

Super helpful member

Posts: 1859

1477 helpful points

Location: Albatera

Joined: 7 Feb 2018

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 7:21pm

A mega read much of which I'll admit to glossing over as having both residencia and health care by virtue of an S1 it's of only academic interest. 

Something caught my eye though and appears to confirm what I have long thought, and written about, and that is that private health is a fiddle and a con. From the quote, and your own comments, how is it possible to conclude otherwise? 

"However, we had one single case in which the customer also delivered the policy documentation where the pre-existing exclusions are usually reflected, and was denied for this reason. A few weeks later and at a new appointment in the same residency office, he only provided the certificate and was approved."

The company in question appear to be perpetrating a fraud on the state.

Better hope nobody in authority is reading this because if the powers that be get wind of it it could end for ever the dreams of many hoping to be able to move to Spain but without the benefit of an S1 or the resources to be able to pay for genuine full cover health insurance. 

LeckyLes

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 9:12pm

LeckyLes

Legendary helpful member

Posts: 2111

2036 helpful points

Location: Cabo Roig

Joined: 3 Aug 2018

Posted: Fri Jun 5, 2020 9:12pm

Thanks Jim, brilliantly comprehensive and in an easy to follow language.

The qualifying level for Income being almost arbitrary  continues to be a worry and if others who have gained Residency in late 2019 or 2020 could ,as you say, kindly give feedback on their experience during the process, it would be really appreciated.

LeckyLes 

jimtaylor

Posted: Sat Jun 6, 2020 4:12am

jimtaylor

Original Poster

Legendary helpful member

Posts: 6314

8189 helpful points

Location: Mudamiento

Joined: 2 Feb 2017

Posted: Sat Jun 6, 2020 4:12am

Movington:

"The company in question appear to be perpetrating a fraud on the state."

I totally disagree.

1) Stating what happens in practice is not perpetrating anything.

2). The onus is on the official transacting the application to decide whether or not is is acceptable.

3) We know very well that the police apply their own interpretation of the laws, usually to the detriment of applicants, but in this case in their favour.

4) Using your stance, I could argue that the police, by requiring more finances than required by law, are themselves denying some people the dream of being able to move to Spain.

JillS

Posted: Sat Jun 6, 2020 9:01am

Posts: 104

46 helpful points

Location: Javea / Xàbia

Joined: 13 Nov 2019

Posted: Sat Jun 6, 2020 9:01am

Well said Jim. :)

julietony

Posted: Sun Jun 7, 2020 11:10am

julietony

Helpful member

Posts: 107

53 helpful points

Location: Algorfa

Joined: 30 Mar 2018

Posted: Sun Jun 7, 2020 11:10am

jimtaylor wrote on Fri Jun 5, 2020 2:22pm:

Note:

As from July 6th 2020, the application form has changed from the EX-18 to the EX-20 or EX-21. For links to these, see my guide 'First time residency applicants'. However, all other requirements, up to the end of the Brexit transition period, remain the same as in this guide.

INTRODUCTION

Now that appointments are freely available again, I've published this revised guide. I'd ask anyone who does apply for residency over the next few weeks to reply to the topic and give details of their experience, especially of the finances they were required to prove.

There is so much information on the internet, especially on the various forums, about residency, that a guide such as this should not be necessary. However, many people keep asking the same old questions, presumably because they either struggle to do an effective search, or don't always understand what they find. I can sympathise, as many of the articles about residency are out of date, incomplete, or lacking in detailed instructions. Although there is a lot of good information available, the problem is in knowing what is both good and, critically, up to date.

I decided therefore to produce this guide in an attempt to put all the necessary information in one place. I originally published it on a Costa Blanca forum a few years ago, but have had to make a large number of changes to make it topical. I consider this worthwhile, as there are a still lot of people who will want to obtain residency before the end of the Brexit transition period.

The legislation itself hasn't changed over recent years, but the requirements imposed by the various national police stations have changed a great deal.

To give an example, the online appointments system has gone through several changes. The reason to be given for seeking an appointment has changed three times; the offices at which an online appointment can be made have, in the Valencian Community, been reduced to one office in each provincial capital; and some police stations are still processing appointments although they're no longer in the online appointments system.

What has caused the most problems is the proof of finances, required by those not working here, to prove that they won't be a financial burden on Spain. It is understandable that the amount of finances one needs to prove should increase over time, but there is a large variation between the different national police offices as to not only the amount of finances, but also as to what is acceptable as proof.

In updating this guide I found that many of the links on the Immigration Office website are dead, so this guide is more up to date than they are. Links do have a habit of changing, so if any of my links don't work, then please tell me.

This is a long guide, so I suggest you make yourself a drink before settling back to read it.

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

'Residencia' is what many people call the green paper or card that we receive when we register as residents, and the word residencia does appear in the descriptive text about the subject, but what we actually receive is a certificate of residency. It is only non-EU citizens who receive a card with the word Residencia on it. Note that, although the UK are no longer in the EU, the EU citizen rules continue to apply until the end of the Brexit transition period.

You can stay in Spain for up to three months, and for that all you need is your passport. For stays of more than three months, it is a legal requirement that you register your presence.

You don't have to wait three months before you apply for residency - you can do it as soon as you make the move out here.

A residency certificate (CERTIFICADO DE REGISTRO DE CIUDADANO DE LA UNIÓN) is a document certifying that someone from another EU country is legally resident in Spain, and that the person is registered on the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros).

It used to be an A4 piece of green paper, but for some years now it has been issued as a credit card size piece of card. It contains the person's name, date and place of birth, nationality, address, NIE number, and date of issue. It does not have an expiry date.

It cannot be used as proof of identity, but the credit card size of certificate is easier to carry than the A4 NIE document, for occasions when you need to show your NIE number.

The major parts of the application process are that you have to prove that you will not be a financial burden on the state, by providing proof of an acceptable level of income, and have to provide proof of health cover. More on these topics later.

You don't need to have previously obtained an NIE number before applying for residency - the NIE number can be obtained as part of the residency process.

ADVANTAGES

In my opinion, the principal advantage is that you are complying with the law, and therefore legally resident.

After the end of the Brexit transition period, your length of stay in Spain will be monitored. That means that anyone who stays more than three months will be identified and, if found to be an undocumented resident, will have to apply for non-EU citizen residencia, and the proof of finances required for that is horrendous.

That proof of finances requirement is what led to a large upsurge in the number of people applying for residency, flooding the system and causing a significant backlog of appointments. Unfortunately, this delay caused by all the illegals creeping out of the woodwork has been to the detriment of those recently taking up residence here, as they have had difficulty in obtaining appointments.

Most of the material advantages revolve around the fact that if you're resident in Spain, then you pay resident tax here. If you're not legally resident, then you're classed as non-resident.

For examples:

Non-residents pay an annual tax based on the catastral value of their property. Residents do not pay this tax.

Non-residents with rental income have to do a quarterly tax return for any rental income they receive. Residents include rental income in their annual tax return. If you pay someone else to do your returns, then a non-resident pays for four returns whilst a resident pays for one. Also, a resident has the advantage of the various tax allowances. Post-Brexit, non-residents will be unable to claim expenses against property rentals, and will also pay a higher rate of tax.

Inheritance tax prior to Brexit is the same for residents and non-residents. Post-Brexit, unless the current law is amended (which may possibly be the case), inheritors will only receive the national tax allowance, which is very much lower than the regional Valencian allowance, and there may be differences between the IHT paid by residents and non-residents.

If a non-resident sells a property in Spain, then the buyer retains 3% of the price and pays this to the tax office. This can be recovered if it's more than the tax due, but it could be a lengthy process. For a resident, there is no retention.

Post-Brexit, non-EU non-residents who sell a property will pay a higher rate of capital gains tax than do EU citizens.

If a resident sells his principal residence and re-invests the proceeds in another property here, then he doesn't pay capital gains tax on the sale of the first property.

There are several other aspects as well, for examples:

A non-resident can potentially have his car impounded if stopped for a traffic offence or, if fined, has to pay the full amount on the spot. Residents can pay at a later stage, and if they pay within 20 days they get a 50% discount.

Some municipalities offer benefits to residents

Having a non-resident bank account incurs considerable charges that resident accounts do not have.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION

If you fancy a bit of light reading, the following is some of the legislation related to the subject:

E.U. Directive 2004/38/EC

Real Decreto 240/2007, with updates to 2015

Real Decreto 557/2011, with updates to 2018

Real Decreto-ley 16/2012

Real Decreto 1192/2012

Ley 6/2018, with updates to 2020

Orden PRE/1490/2012

Real Decreto 231/2020 (IPREM)

Where I provide quotes from the legislation in subsequent sections, these are my translations.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ALL APPLICANTS

Application form:

The application form is the EX-18.

There are a great many links to the EX-18 on the internet, and even active links to the old EX-16, which became redundant some years ago. Some of the links to the EX-18 are for old formats. The links provided by the Immigration Office frequently change. The links to the current format are:

Immigration Office:

http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/modelossolicitudes/mod_solicitudes2/18-Certificado_residencia_comunitaria_FEB20.pdf

National Police:

https://sede.policia.gob.es/portalCiudadano/extranjeria/EX18.pdf

Irrespective of which link you follow, both give the same form. This is an editable PDF. It can be completed online then downloaded or printed, or it can be downloaded as is and then completed in your PDF reader.

You need to take two completed copies.

See later for completion instructions.

Passport:

Valid passport and copy.

If it has expired and you've sent it back to the UK for renewal, a copy of both the passport and the renewal application must be provided.

NIE?:

There isn't any requirement to provide an NIE. However, as the various offices that issue residencies seem to operate to their own rules, then I suggest that you take your NIE if you've got one, just in case.

Padrón?:

As above, there isn't any legal requirement to provide a copy of your padrón, but the office at which you apply will require proof that you are resident.

If you own your property here, then simply providing a copy of your escritura isn't proof that you are resident. If you have a long-term rental contract then this would be proof, but I think you'd find that this might not be accepted, and it's the same with a long-term contract of employment.

To apply for a padrón, you have to provide a residency certificate to prove that you are actually resident, but you can't get a residency certificate without a padrón. This catch 22 problem is caused by a conflict between the laws concerning padrón and residency.

The solution to this is to ask your town hall to give you a temporary padrón to support your residency application. Having obtained the residency certificate, then go back to the town hall and they will issue a permanent padrón.

If you already have a padrón, and it's more than three months old, ask your town hall for a recently dated copy.

Take that padrón with you, although it shouldn't be needed, because the authorities will carry out an online check.

Photograph?:

This again is not required by the written procedure but, probably because of Brexit and the subsequent requirement to change residency certificates to residencia cards, which do have a photograph, then most offices are requesting two photos. These should be Spanish passport size - 32 mm x 26 mm - not UK passport size.

Other requirements:

Other things you need to produce all depend on what category of applicant you are. These are detailed in the following sections.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR STUDENTS

A student has the right to live in Spain whilst studying or undergoing professional training, for the duration of this, provided he/she produces documentary proofs of:

a). Enrolment in a  education institution (state or private) that is either funded or recognised by the Spanish education authorities.

b). Having public or private health insurance, contracted either in Spain or in another country, that provides complete cover in Spain.

The law states:

However, this condition will be deemed to be met if the student has a European Health Insurance Card that is valid for a period that covers the entire period of residence and that allows him to receive, exclusively, any medical assistance that is necessary from a medical point of view, taking into account the nature of the assistance and the envisaged duration.

I find this somewhat strange - it implies that the law considers anyone young enough to be a student to be healthy enough to only require cover for emergency treatment.

c). Provision of a sworn statement of having sufficient financial resources for oneself and any family members, so there is no risk of becoming a burden on Spain’s social security system during the period of residence.

Compliance with this requirement is considered to be met by producing proof of taking part in a EU educational exchange programme for students and teachers.

Note:

You could lose your right to residency if you complete your studies, and are unable to prove you are working or have sufficient financial resources to support yourself, and family members if applicable.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR AN EMPLOYEE

By employee, I mean legally employed with a contract and paying social security contributions.

You need to produce, from your employer, a contract or certificate of employment (certificado de vida laboral), to prove that you are employed here. The contract must include, at least, the name and address of the company, and its tax code and social security contribution code.

The length of time for which you need to prove that you have been paying social security contributions depends on the office you go to, and three months or six months seem to be the two options. Three months is more logical, because you have to seek residency after being here for 90 days.

If you are not yet working, you will need proof of a job offer that has been registered with the Ministry of Labour (Servicio Público de Empleo).

You may need to consent to checks being carried out about you with social security contribution records (Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social), to prove that you are paying social security contributions.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

By self-employed, I mean paying social security contributions and being registered with the relevant authorities.

You must provide evidence that you are self-employed (Autónomo) by providing one of the following:

a). Registration on the Economic Activities list (Censo de Actividades Económicos).

b). Proof that your business is in the Companies Register (Registro Mercantil).

c). Proof of registration with the Social Security system.

d). Giving consent to your details being checked in the Social Security General Treasury records (Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social) or those of the Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria).

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR A JOBSEEKER

I'm including this as a separate category because jobseekers seem to be treated differently under EU rules. However, I've been unable to find any mention of different treatment for jobseekers in Spanish legislation.

The EU view seems to be that a jobseeker can stay in another EU state for six months without having to register as a resident and without having to prove that he can support himself financially.

After six months without finding a job, the authorities could re-assess the entitlement to stay in the country, and the jobseeker would need to provide proof of actively seeking work and, moreover, of having a reasonable chance of finding a job.

As a jobseeker will not been paying into the social security system, there is no entitlement to non-contributory benefits, like health cover.

Bear in mind that I can't find the above information in Spanish legislation, so it appears that jobseekers should be grouped within the category of people not working in Spain.

Requirements here are that you must:

a). Prove that you have health cover, private or public, and covering all health eventualities.

b). Prove that you have sufficient finances for yourself and any family members.

For more details, look at the section later on regarding these requirements for those not working in Spain.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHILDREN

I can't find anything specific about this in the legislation, so the following is just a guess regarding the requirements. If anyone has done it, I'd welcome feedback. The child probably won't have an NIE number, but that will be allocated as part of the residency application.

Passport of both child and applicant parent.

Residency certificate of the parent making the application.

Marriage certificate.

Child's birth certificate - with an official translation if not born in Spain.

Libro de Familia if born in Spain.

SIP card, if the child has one.

You may need to provide a sworn statement (declaracion jurada) to attest to the family relationship.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR FAMILY MEMBERS

In this section, I am looking at family members who are unable to apply for residency in their own right - for example, their income may not be sufficient to meet the requirements. In that sense, this section deals with those who can be regarded as dependants. I'm giving the theory, from the legislation and relevant websites, and not the practice of what the police actually require.

If there are two or more of you applying as a family unit, and you don't all individually have income or capital exceeding the minimum, then it gets a bit more complicated, as it depends on the relationship between you.

If you live only with your spouse and/or second-degree blood relatives (brother-sister, grandchild or grandparent), then the present amounts are:

Two people: €8,803.62

Three people: €12,428.64

Four people: €16,053.66

Five people: €19,678.68

If among the blood relatives with whom you live, there is one of first-degree (parents or children), then the official amounts are:

Two people: €22,009.05

Three people: €31,071.60

Four people: €40,134.15

Five people: €49,196.70

The above figures are those specified by social services but, to me, seem ridiculously high in the context of qualifying for residency. I am of the opinion that the qualifying amounts will be simple multiples of the IPREM referred to later.

If you apply as a couple, and your spouse on their own doesn't meet the residency requirements because their income is below that required, and so makes the application as a family member, and your combined income meets the requirements for two people, then it might be helpful to take your marriage certificate, and produce this if it's requested.

This is potentially a very large topic, as there are so many possible permutations of family relationship, but I'm only going to cover the most common situations.

EU spouse or partner and other direct family members:

You need:

Your own residency certificate.

Proof of the applicant's family relationship with you, e.g. a marriage or birth certificate.

Proof that children or grandchildren are under 21 or dependent on you.

Proof that parents or grandparents are dependent on you.

Proof if they are seriously ill and need you to take care of them personally.

Proof you have sufficient means to support all the members of your family who are with you, including full medical cover.

If you're not married, you may need a 'certificado de convivencia' from the town hall (it's like a padrón). You need to prove stable cohabitation of at least one year unless you have children, in which case that is taken as providing the necessary proof.

If your family member is not an EU citizen, then they need to apply for a 'tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la UE', and for this the application form is Modelo EX19. It's a different procedure resulting in the issue of a plastic card bearing a photograph and thumb-print.

Death:

The death of a spouse will not immediately affect the right of residence of family members. However, after six months of the death (unless the family member has acquired the right to permanent residency), the family member must apply for a residency in their own right.

Divorce or separation:

In the event of divorce or legal separation, the family member retains the right to residency provided the couple have been legally resident for at least three years. However, after six months of the separation (unless the family member has acquired the right to permanent residency), the family member must apply for residency in their own right.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED IF NOT WORKING IN SPAIN

This category includes pensioners and those who have retired early. You need to provide two things:

1). Proof of health cover:

The law states:

You must also provide public or private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country, that provides coverage in Spain during your period of residence equivalent to that provided by the National Health System.

If you're in receipt of the UK state retirement pension, or an 'exportable benefit' like Disability Living Allowance, you need to get from the NHS Business Services Authority at Newcastle a form S1, which enables you to transfer your health cover from the UK to Spain. You can call them on 0191 218 1999 (option 5) if you are calling from the UK, or 0044 191 218 1999 (option 5) if you are calling from outside of the UK. Email: [email protected].

If anyone has a problem with their S1 being accepted, refer the official to the following Immigration Office website:

http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/informacioninteres/informacionprocedimientos/ciudadanoscomunitarios/hoja102/index.html

where it states:

Los pensionistas cumplen con esta condición aportando certificación de disponer de asistencia sanitaria con cargo al Estado por el que perciben pensión.

Nota importante: cuando se aporten documentos de otros países deberán estar traducidos al castellano o lengua cooficial del territorio donde se presente la solicitud.

Cuando se trate de formularios estándares de la Unión Europea no será necesaria ni su traducción, ni su legalización de conformidad con lo dispuesto en la normativa comunitaria que los ampara. Por ejemplo: modelos de asistencia sanitaria S1, E109, E 121...

This is a very clear statement that an S1 is acceptable, and that it does not need translating.

If you're not entitled to an S1, you need to have private health insurance, contracted in Spain or in another country, that provides full cover in Spain, equivalent to that provided by the Spanish National Health System (Sistema Nacional de Salud).

The emphasis is on full cover, i.e., it must cover pre-existing conditions, cover unlimited hospital stays, and not be subject to co-payments.

To avoid people taking out such a policy and then cancelling it after obtaining residency, you need to provide proof that you have paid for twelve months cover, or are committed to paying for this period.

The insurance company should be asked to provide a certificate confirming that the policy meets residency requirements and has been paid for one year, and you should present this certificate and not the actual policy - but take the policy with you just in case.

The practice:

Anyone who cannot transfer their health cover from the UK has to take out private health insurance, and this has in theory to provide full cover. This has been of considerable concern to many people, especially bearing in mind that anyone old enough to retire to Spain will probably have some sort of pre-existing condition, which would make it impossible to get full-cover PHI or, if possible, this might be prohibitively expensive.

Fortunately this seems to be one area where the police aren't as diligent with their checks as they are with checking finances - perhaps they simply don't like the idea of ploughing through the small print of an insurance policy to check for exclusion clauses. I've seen several references to them accepting the certificate referred to at the end of the last section, on face value. I've also seen a couple of reports of people who didn't obtain a certificate, and instead presented the policy, being refused.

I'll finish on this topic by including a couple of quotes - the first from Alfonso of Gran Alacant Insurances - someone of whom I've only ever seen glowing reports:

... the fact of having had a medical issue in the past is the most normal and frequent. But to date and according to the experience that we can share of all the cases processed in our office, the authorities have accepted the 'certificate' issued by the insurance company, stating that "private medical insurance has been purchased and paid in Spain for one year with coverage for outpatient and hospital treatments and no copays". In this certificate the companies do not usually identify possible excluded pre-existings.

When it says that the health cover (public or private) must be in force "during the period of residence", we are also not aware of having seen any verification for the following 4 years until completing 5 to renew the residency again.

However, we had one single case in which the customer also delivered the policy documentation where the pre-existing exclusions are usually reflected, and was denied for this reason. A few weeks later and at a new appointment in the same residency office, he only provided the certificate and was approved.

If you wish to contact Alfonso for any form of insurance, his website is:

https://www.granalacantinsurances.com/

And the second quote if from one of his satisfied clients (thanks Edwina):

Alfonso provided me health insurance and a certificate for my residency appointment in Alicante. All went fine they accepted the certificate, hardly glanced at it, or any of my other paperwork and gave a date to collect my card.

I only had my appointment in Jan although the health insurance was valid from November last year.

2). Proof of finances:

What you need to do is to prove that you have sufficient resources - including for family member(s) if applicable - that you're not going to become a financial burden on the Spanish social services. On this topic there is, unfortunately, a considerable difference between theory and practice. In other words a difference between what the legislation says, and what the National Police stations require. Because this is such an important topic, I'm going into considerable detail, so bear with me.

To quote from Orden PRE/1490/2012:

Accreditation of the possession of sufficient resources, whether by periodic income, including work or other income, or by the possession of capital, shall be carried out by any means of proof admitted by law, such as property titles, certified checks , documentation justifying obtaining capital income or credit cards. In this latter case, an up to date bank certificate proving the amount available by way of credit on the aforesaid card shall be produced.

The assessment of the sufficiency of means must be made individually, and in any case, taking into account the personal and family situation of the applicant.

The assessment of sufficient resources must be carried out on an individual basis, taking into account the applicant’s personal and family circumstances. The possession of resources that are more than the amount established each year by the State General Budgets Act (Ley de Presupuestos Generales de Estado) that justifies the right to receive non-contributory benefits, taking into account the interested persons’ personal and family circumstances, will be regarded as sufficient proof to meet this requirement.

To quote from the requirements laid down by the Immigration Office:

He has sufficient resources for himself and for the members of his family so as not to become a burden for social assistance in Spain during his period of residence.

The assessment of the sufficiency of financial means will be carried out individually and, in any case, taking into account the personal and family situation of the applicant. Sufficient accreditation for the fulfilment of this requirement will be considered the possession of resources that are greater than the amount established each year by the General State Budget Law to generate the right to receive a non-contributory benefit, taking into account the personal and family situation of the interested.

To quote from Real Decreto 240/2007:

As regards sufficient financial means, a fixed amount may not be established, but the personal situation of nationals of a Member State of the European Union or of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area must be taken into account. In any case, said amount will not exceed the level of resources below which social assistance is granted to Spaniards or the amount of the minimum Social Security pension.

To simplify the above, you need to prove that you have a regular income, capital, or own a capital asset. Acceptable income can be from a pension, salary, income from capital, property rental etc, and even from a large credit limit on a credit card.

If you own a property, then in theory it should be sufficient to produce the deeds, although, if the property is in the UK, these would need to be translated and bear the Hague Apostille, and the same would apply to bonds or shares etc. Documents can also be legalised beforehand by the Spanish Consular Office in the UK, or by the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación in Spain. However, I've never seen a report of anyone obtaining residency on this basis. That I can understand, as a property doesn't provide a source of income unless it's let out.

Similarly to the above, I've never heard of anyone being granted residency on the basis of a credit card but, if you want to try that route, then you'd need a bank certificate confirming the amount of credit available.

Unfortunately, the legislation does not specify the period for which you need to prove the regular income, and just refers to sufficient resources for ... his period of residence. That leaves considerable scope for the offices handling applications to decide over how long a period you need to prove income. If you're providing proof of finances by demonstrating a capital balance in a bank, the offices again have scope to determine how much this should be.

Even more scope is given to the offices by the assessment of the sufficiency of means must be made individually. In a worst case scenario, this means that two people with identical proofs of finance could be assessed differently.

As regards how you prove your finances, the loosely worded any means of proof admitted by law, and the lack of any definition as to how to prove income or capital, again leaves the offices considerable scope to decide what they regard as acceptable.

The obvious way to prove proof of income or capital is to provide bank statements. Some offices accept statements printed off from internet banking, some insist on statements printed by the bank, and some insist on the statements being stamped by the bank to prove they are genuine. I believe that the only way to overcome all the hurdles is to ask the bank to provide a 'certificado bancario' stating that you have a regular income or sustained capital balance with them. I think it would also be wise to have to hand - but not produce unless challenged - a document proving a regular income - like DWP's notice regarding the annual increase in your pension.

There is a further problem if your principal funds are in a UK bank. Some offices refuse to accept these, requiring that proof be of funds in a Spanish bank, and some will accept them provided they have an official translation and the stamp of the Hague Apostille confirming this.

The next problem is the length of times that deposits or capital have to be in a bank, with some offices accepting three months, and others insisting on six months.

The final problem is the actual amount of income or capital that has to be proved. Here we run into a conflict between two of the applicable pieces of legislation quoted above. One refers to the need to prove finances greater than the amount set in the budget law, and the other states that the amount will not exceed that amount. Once again this leaves scope for individual offices to select which criterion they work to, and they all go for the former, requiring proof of more than the amount set in the budget law. Not only that, but they interpret 'greater' as 'much greater'.

There is also a further conflict between the two pieces of legislation, with one saying the amount should be more than the amount below which Spaniards can claim social security benefits, and the other saying that the amount will be no more than the benefit ceiling or the minimum Social Security pension. I consider that this needs to be explained in detail.

Minimum pension amount:

The reference above to the state budget law - Ley de Presupuestos Generales de Estado - is important, as it is this law which defines the amount of the minimum non-contributory pension. Normally a new law is published every year but, because there wasn't a functioning government in 2019, the 2018 budget law (Ley 6/2018) is the one that is applicable. If a new law is published in 2020, then this would be in July.

Ley 6/2018, with updates to March 2020, states that the basic pension amount is €5178.60 p.a. or €431.55 p.m. Even in 2018, this was well below the amount that immigration and police offices required, and so does not appear to be what they base their requirements on.

Social Security benefit ceiling:

The benefits ceiling is set by another indicator, known as the IPREM - Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples. As well as defining the amount below which social security benefit can be claimed, it is also used as a reference for granting scholarships, housing aid and unemployment benefits.

Using the IPREM is perhaps understandable, as this is what the offices use as the criterion for residencia applications from non-EU citizens.

The IPREM is also set by the state budget law, and the 2018 figures for this were €6454.03 p.a. or €537.84 p.m.

The authorities were, in 2018, requiring proof of €600 a month, which I believe shows that they do use the IPREM. I can well understand the authorities rounding this up to €600 for the purposes of residency, to ensure that a person's income doesn't dip below the benefit threshold due exchange rate fluctuations. I'll cover present requirements in a later section.

Minimum wage:

As a follow on to the above, the authorities in 2020 are requiring much more than €600, which leads to me introduce another public indicator which is not mentioned in any of the residency legislation.

This is the SMI - Salario Mínimo Interprofesional - the minimum wage for a full-time employee, and is also set by state law, in this case the most recent law being Real Decreto 231/2020.

The SMI for 2018 was €735.90, but went by up 22% to €900 for 2019, and then to €950 for 2020. To make matters worse, these amounts assume payment every four weeks, so the calendar month amounts are greater than those detailed in the legislation, and the calendar month amount for 2020 is €1108.

Side note:

Both the IPREM and SMI were introduced in 2004, and at that time were identical. Since then, they have diverged considerably. This means that employers have had to pay more to employees, and thus more income tax has been paid into the Treasury. In contrast, the amounts that the state have had to pay out in benefits has increased much more slowly. That sounds to me as though Spain has been taking lessons from the UK!

Recent reports on requirements:

The above sections are, in essence, the theory. What is more important is the practice, and for that I have to rely on feedback from those who have obtained residency recently and, just as important, what reasons for refusal were given. I'd like to thank all those who provided feedback.

Over recent years the amount of finances required has understandably increased, but so have the variations between different police offices as to what proof has to be provided. I've only been monitoring the feedback in the Costa Blanca, so don't know if the situation is similar nationally. I'll start with information from those who applied in the latter half of 2019 and the early part of 2020.

The minimum requirements so far have been an income of €700 per month, or a balance of €7000, per person, in a Spanish bank, for a minimum of three months.

Where three or more family members apply together, for example parents and an adult son or daughter, the third and subsequent applicants only have to prove half of the above amounts (source Elche police station).

Bank statements have to be full statements, i.e. showing a running balance, and should be stamped by the bank to confirm their authenticity.

For applications made after the end of May 2020, it seems that the police are assuming that a new budget law is going to be passed, and that the requirements will be €900 p.m. or €9000 balance.

Things to check:

I'm a keen fan of doing things myself, but for anything as critical as a residency application, I think it's sensible to use a gestor to help you. A good gestor will know from experience what individual offices require, and should hopefully have developed a rapport with the officials. If you think you might have a problem meeting the requirements described in the previous section, then it would be helpful if the gestor could clarify questions like the following:

Do the amounts have to be in a Spanish bank, or will a UK bank be OK?

Are UK bank statements acceptable and, if so, do they need certifying by, e.g., your solicitor?

Do you need proof of pension income, like the DWP letter notifying the annual increase?

Do monthly payments into a Spanish bank have to come from pension payments, or can they just be monthly transfers from a UK account?

Do you need proof of regular income and also a capital balance, or will just one of them do?

You could try asking questions of the police or Ministry of the Interior online, using their general contact forms. Whether or not you would receive a reply is questionable but, if they did reply favourably, then you could print that or take a screen print, and produce that at your residency appointment. The contact forms are:

https://www.policia.es/formulario_contacto.php

https://sede.mir.gob.es/nfrontal/solicitud_informacion.html

Maintaining proof of funds:

Bear in mind that, once you've got a residency certificate, you don't need to maintain regular deposits or a bank balance in Spain. This means that you don't need to continue to make a regular transfer from a UK to Spanish bank, or maintain a capital balance. If you have enough funds to do so, make the necessary transfers to a Spanish bank, maintain them for the qualifying period, and then move them back to the UK if you wish. If you've got a true friend, then you could borrow money from them in order to get residency, and then return the money once you get your little green residency card.

After the end of the Brexit transition period, the financial requirements have not yet been cast in stone. The EU state that those of us with residency certificates will be able to exchange these for residencia cards without any additional bureaucratic procedures. However, Spain have not yet published what their requirements will be.

As I said earlier, a residency certificate does not have an expiry date, but a residencia card does. Again, Spain have not yet published what their requirements will be but, if we are treated the same as other non-EU citizens, then the proof of funds required will make renewal impossible for many people. See my guide to Moving to Spain and residencia for non-EU citizens for more details.


Many thanks Jim for the  time and trouble taken to post this guide, invaluable information all in one place.

Julie

Lesinfrance

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:54pm

Posts: 30

3 helpful points

Joined: 21 May 2017

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:54pm

Brilliant Jim, very helpful. I have one question though, we are British but French resident, and selling our house here to move to Spain full time ( have property/NIE/bank) but if we obtain residencia before we sell, would we then be liable to capital gains tax in Spain?

jimtaylor

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:09pm

jimtaylor

Original Poster

Legendary helpful member

Posts: 6314

8189 helpful points

Location: Mudamiento

Joined: 2 Feb 2017

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:09pm

Lesinfrance wrote on Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:54pm:

Brilliant Jim, very helpful. I have one question though, we are British but French resident, and selling our house here to move to Spain full time ( have property/NIE/bank) but if we obtain residencia before we sell, would we then be liable to capital gains tax in Spain?

Registering for residency/residencia and becoming fiscally resident are different matters.

The only way to avoid the risk of incurring CGT in Spain is to only move here in the second half of the year in which you sell the property. That way you don't become fiscally resident in Spain until the following year.

I Don't know what the France/Spain double taxation treaty says, but I'd guess that it probably uses the word 'may' when stating where CGT is applicable.

All the treaties are here:

https://www.agenciatributaria.es/AEAT.internet/Inicio/La_Agencia_Tributaria/Normativa/Fiscalidad_Internacional/Convenios_de_doble_imposicion_firmados_por_Espana/Convenios_de_doble_imposicion_firmados_por_Espana.shtml

Lesinfrance

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:10pm

Posts: 30

3 helpful points

Joined: 21 May 2017

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:10pm

Can anyone please recommend a good English speaking gestor in the Rojales area? I feel the need to get things moving.

Many thanks kind

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