Every municipality in Spain (much like a county in the UK and Ireland) holds a “padron” at its Ayuntamiento (Town Hall). This is a list of the municipality’s occupants, much like an electoral roll.
Why do I need one?
If you are buying a car, getting finance, or having certain other legal things carried out, this is a document that will certainly help you. Many schools also give priority to children that have been registered.
Is it law to have one?
No, it isn’t compulsory. We’ve already listed the benefits to you, as above… but there are also benefits to the municipality. They receive funding based on the number of people living in the area. This is to provide essential services such as health clinics, post office services and staff, street cleaning and maintenance, as well as policing. Many foreign residents do not bother to register, and this can have a real impact in the area’s funding. Don’t be selfish… you moved to Spain for a better life… so help maintain it!
Update: Spring 2013 – we are being advised that you are not entitled to free State healthcar unless you are listed on the Padron
How do I get one?
To be included on the Empadronamiento, visit your local Ayuntamiento, with the following documents:
- Proof of ID – Passport
- Proof of address as living in that relevant area – rental contract, house deeds, utility bill
- A completed registration form (they will give this to you as you arrive)
The turnaround for this was around three weeks for us when we first moved to Spain – and about 15 minutes when we changed our address a couple of years later, but this may vary between Ayuntamientos. The cost was negligible too – just the price of a stamp. It’s a painless process – good luck!
Update: Spring 2013 – we changed address on ours recently. Very fast and simple. €2 per person.