EU Citizens and Family Members

In case of EU citizens and their non-EU family members, a special regime applies, the so called EU regime. Obtaining a residence permit is a lot easier, since they are subject to the rights of free movement within the EU. 

EU Citizens & Family Members

EU citizens are in a privileged position since they have the right to freely move through and reside in EU countries and those that have signed the treaty on the European economic community.



Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway*, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom***, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland**

* Countries part of the Treaty on the European Economic Space

** Treaty of June 21st 1999, between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation, on free personal movement

*** Applies until the end of 2020



In order to obtain the corresponding residence permits (which contain the NIEs, the foreigner identity numbers), any EU citizen, has to register as a resident in Spain, obtaining the (1) EU Certificate. Then, their non-EU family members can apply for their (2) Residence Card as a Family Member of an EU Citizen.


(1) EU Registry Certificate


Any EU citizen who wishes to stay in Spain for more than 3 months has to register and obtain the corresponding certificate which contains their NIE (foreigner identity number).

In order to obtain the EU certificate, the EU citizen has to accredit disposing of sufficient economic means and having the required health insurance coverage. We also recommend the registration with the census ("empadronamiento"), since many offices ask for it.


The process to obtain the EU Registry Certificate is usually quite fast and only requires one appointment during which the thin green card is issued. Depending on the region in Spain where the applicant resides, more than one appointment may be required (for example Zaragoza).

(2) Residence Card for Family Members of EU Citizens


As Family Members of an EU Citizens, non-Eu citizens have the same right to reside in another EU country, as long as they accompany the EU citizen and comply with the requirements. This applies to children, spouses and also parents of EU Citizens. 


The EU citizen has to show that they can maintain themselves and any accompanying family members. Furthermore, the whole family has to be covered by a comprehensive health insurance policy.

The Residence Card for Family Members of EU Citizens allows the holder to reside and work in Spain and is initially issued for 5 years. After said five years residing continuously in Spain, it is possible to apply for permanent residence permits.


The EU citizen has to show that they have sufficient economic means and can maintain themselves and any accompanying family members. Furthermore, the whole family has to be covered by a comprehensive health insurance policy.


Additionally, the applicant has to be registered at an address in Spain with the EU citizen and present the corresponding certificate ("empadronamiento") and the family relationship with an EU citizen has to be accredited (usually via marriage, stable couple/civil union certificate or birth certificate). 

It is very important to obtain a recent extract of the marriage certificate and to have it legalised and translated if it is not in Spanish and has not been issued in the EU (in that case, your civil registry should be able to issue a multilingual marriage certificate that does not need to be legalised or translated).




The application can be presented online and a resolution should be issued within 3 months. Once a positive resolution has been received, the applicant has to make an appointment at the police station in order to apply for their foreigner identity card. This last step can take longer since these appointments are rather difficult to get.

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