Help with emigrating to Spain: what is 'el padrón'?

The first step to emigrate to Spain consists of registering in 'El Padrón'. This is the municipality's population register. In this article, you will therefore find more information about the population register and help with emigrating to Spain.

What is 'El Padrón‘?

The Padrón is the municipality's population register. You need to register in the population register of your place of residence so that the municipality can understand the number of inhabitants. You can also participate in local elections. After your registration, you will receive the 'certificado de empadronamiento‘.


Why do I need to register in the population register?

If you want to become a resident in Spain, registration in the population register is compulsory and the first step. After all, you need an official address.

For example, based on your official address, you can later transfer your driving licence to a Spanish one, get access to Spanish social security and health insurance. If you have school-age children, a school will be assigned based on your official address.

Without padrón, not older than 3 months, you are also not going to get your residency.

What documents do I need for the padrón?

The documents vary from municipality to municipality. In general, you will need:

  • an NIE number
  • a certificate of residence
  • identity card or passport.


Proof of residence means a title deed, rental agreement and/or utility bills.

What is a NIE number and how do I apply for it?

What are the next steps?

Once you are enrolled in the population register, you can register with the social security office so that you can access the health insurance. Your situation depends on your profession. There are different procedures for employees, the self-employed, pensioners or retirees.

Then you can register with the Spanish National Police and get your residency card.

Here you will find more information on the steps of emigrating to Spain.

Tax implications of the Padrón

By registering in the population register, you acknowledge that your permanent residence is in Spain. In that case, depending on your actual situation, you may be considered a tax resident. Your worldwide income and assets will then be taxed according to Spanish regulations.

Read more about the tax implications of emigrating to Spain.

Need help emigrating to Spain? If so, please feel free to contact at or take a look at our services for emigration counselling.

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