Registering on Your Local Padron

When you move to Spain there are many things that you know you will need to do straight away: finding somewhere to live, getting a new job, even securing a new mobile phone number, for example. Other things might be less obvious, but they are just as important. One of this is registering on your local ‘Padron’, which is mandatory for all foreigners living in Spain. But what, exactly, is a ‘Padron’? And how do you register to be included on it? Here’s everything you need to know:


What is el Padron?

In simple terms, el padron is a census; a population register which enables the Spanish authorities to better understand population numbers and where their citizens live. It is a legal requirement that you are included on el padron, and there are certain civil procedures that you can’t carry out until your name is listed on it (in a similar way to being on the Electoral Register in the UK). When you are added to the padron list, you will be given your el padron certificate: it is important that you keep this safe. In Spanish, this certificate is known as the ‘certificado de empadronamiento’.

It is important to note that, even if you are lucky enough to own several properties in Spain, you can only be included on one Padron register, so choose that of your primary residence.

What is el Padron for? Why is it Important?

This article assumes that you are reading this as a foreign national, rather than as a Spanish national. From the point of view of a foreign national, there are many reasons why it is important to ensure that you are on the padron. These include:

-Securing your Spanish residency. You need to prove your home address via registration on the Padron before you can secure your Spanish residency.

-Applying for a Spanish driver's license. For the same reason (to prove your home address) when you swap your UK driver’s license for a Spanish one, you will need to provide your padron certificate. 484150

-Registering your children at a local school. In order to apply for school places, the schools will need to know your home address. Once again, the padron certificate is what they will ask for this.

-To vote. You cannot vote in local, national, or EU elections unless you have been registered on your local padron.

-Securing your health card, securing your pensioners card, the list feels endless. If you need to prove your home address to the authorities for any reason then you will need a padron certificate.

Do I Have to Register on the Padron?

The simple answer to this question is yes! If you would like to become a permanent resident of Spain and apply for a residency certificate then you need to also register on the padron, as you cannot receive a residency certificate without a padron certificate. In fact, it would be impossble to live in Spain without it! 

 OK, So How Do I Register?

The good news is that registration is much simpler than you might think, however the registration requirements will vary slightly from district to district. Best advice is to visit your local town hall armed with your along your passport, property title deed (if you are a homeowner) or rental contract if you are renting a property, electricity or water bill, and proof of Spanish residency. It is likely that you will need all or a combination of these documents to complete your registration.

An extra layer of bureaucratic confusion occurs, because you cannot become a Spanish resident without a patron certificate. But you cannot apply for a patron certificate without proof of Spanish residency. This cycle of confusion is circumnavigated thanks to a loophole which allows you to receive your patron certificate and then the patron office gives you a set period of time in which to present your Spanish residency (this will vary from region to region). It’s important to note that if you don’t take your residency certificate to the patron office within the period of time, however, you will be removed from the patron register.

 Thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Spain? The first step is finding your dream home! Why not get in touch with our local property experts who can help you to take that first step in the right direction today.