Empadronamiento in Spain: what is it and how do I get it?

A guide on how to register where you live in Spain / Gtres
A guide on how to register where you live in Spain / Gtres
4 March 2020, Emma Donaldson

When you first move to Spain, there is a checklist of things that you need to do to become a fully legal resident. One of these important things is getting your “empadronamiento”, sometimes shorterned to “padrón”.

What is the meaning of all of this? And is it necessary? Getting your empadronamiento is basically the process of letting the local council know where you live. The process is simple and is necessary, whether you’re a Spanish native or an expat, because it adds your name and address into the census of the city you’re living in and is a requirement for many other administrative tasks in Spain, such as getting a social security number, public healthcare, applying for residency and getting married.

How can I get the empadronamiento?

To start this process, you need to fill out a form, known in Spanish as a "Solicitud de Empadronamiento" and hand it over to your local "Oficina de empadronamiento" or "Padrón Municipal". The form varies slightly depending on the region of Spain that you live in and in some regions, Madrid for example, you will need to make an appointment online. For further information just consult your local council’s website.

What documents do I need in order to register?

When you go to the local council with your filled-out application form, there are also some other documents that you will need to take with you.

  • Proof of identity, such as your passport
  • Proof of residence: this can be in the form of a utility bill or a rental contract

This process is also necessary if you have already registered and have a padrón but move house: as well as updating your “certificado de empadronamiento”, have a look at these official changes you must remember to make if you move house in Spain.

Find property in Spain

Before you head to your local council office to register, you’re obviously going to need somewhere to live. If you haven’t found the right home for you in Spain yet, then you’re in the right place: idealista can help!

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