If you’re a non- EU citizen and joining a family member in Spain who is an EU citizen, you’ll need to apply for an EU family residence permit. In order for your application to be successful, you and your EU family member need to fulfil a series of requirements as follows.

What’s the first step for the EU family residence permit?

You are permitted to accompany or join an EU citizen in Spain if your family member fulfils the following conditions:

Has the right to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months for employment reasons (employed or self-employed) and medical insurance and sufficient funds to support you.


Is a student in Spain with medical insurance and sufficient funds to support the family unit.

To apply, you must be related to the EU citizen in one of the following ways:

  • Spouse and currently married.
  • Partner and registered as legal partner in an EEA country.
  • Son or daughter of an EU citizen or their spouse or partner, under 21 or over 21 if financially dependent.
  • Parent of an EU citizen or their spouse or partner.
  • Any relative dependent on the EU citizen in the country of origin.
  • Any relative who lived with the EU citizen in the country of origin. In this case, you must prove at least 24 months of continual cohabitation.
  • Any relative whose serious health or disability reasons mean the EU citizen must take care of them.

What documentation do you need?

As is the case with all residence permits in Spain, the list of documents for registering as a non-EU citizen in Spain of an EU citizen is long! You will need the following:

  • Official form EX-19, completed and signed by the non-EU family member.
  • Valid passport.
  • Three recent passport-size colour photos.
  • Documentation that proves your family tie with the EU citizen, e.g. marriage or birth certificate.
  • Document identifying the EU citizen (passport or national ID card).

If the EU citizen is employed:

  • Certificate of employment that includes the name and address of the employer, fiscal ID number and social security code.
  • Employment contract registered with the State Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo) or proof of job contract and conditions via the CONTRAT@ platform.
  • Certificate stating that the EU citizen is signed up with the Spanish social security system.

If the EU citizen is self-employed:

  • Certificate stating that they are signed up with the Employment Activity Census (Censo de Actividades Económicas).
  • Certificate stating that the EU citizen is signed up with the Spanish social security system.

If the EU citizen does not work in Spain:

  • Certificate stating that they have state or private medical insurance.
  • Proof that they have sufficient funding to support themselves and the non-EU family member. This may take the form of property deeds, certificates of income or credit cards with proof of the credit limit available.

If the EU citizen is a student:

  • Certificate of study at a recognized state or private educational centre or institution.
  • Proof that they have state or private medical insurance. The European Health Card valid for the period of residence is sufficient in this case.
  • Declaration of sufficient funds to support themselves and the non-EU family member.

Note that you must present a copy of all documentation and the originals when you apply for the residence permit.

Note also that all certificates not in Spanish and not standard EU documents must be translated into Spanish (sworn translation). They must also carry the Hague Apostille or be legalised by the Spanish consulate (except documents issued by Spain, which will not require to be legalised).

What happens next?

Once you have put together all the paperwork, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Your EU family member must present the application at the Foreigners’ Office or National Police Station in the province where you intend to live. You can see a list of offices, contact details and opening hours here. The application must be made within three months of your arrival in Spain.
  2. You receive a document confirming your application. This is valid as proof of legitimate residence until you receive your residence permit. You should receive your residence permit within three months of the date of application.

How long is the residence permit valid for?

The period of validity depends on how long the length of the EU citizen’s residence permit is. In most cases, permits for non-EU family members of EU citizens are valid for five years.

Maria Luisa Castro

Director and Founder
María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English-speaking clients with legal problems in Spain. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, initial legal orientation.
María Luisa De Castro - Costaluz Lawyers

10 thoughts on “How to register as a non-EU family member of a Spanish resident or EU citizen resident in Spain”

  1. Hi can you pls help me to get a family visa
    I am British married to a EU citizen living in Spain
    I have an NIE number already we live in Almoradi
    And how much will you charge ?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Zareena,

      You would only need to register as your spouse’s non-EU family member in Spain. We can submit your application electronically.

      We will be very pleased to help you. A member of our team will contact you with all the details.

    2. Hello Maria and team,
      My wife and I are US tax residents. My wife is also an EU dual citizen of a member state. If we register as EU citizen in Spain with myself as a family member of EU citizen (with resident card), can we still maintain non-tax resident status in Spain, by obtaining US tax resident certificate. How is this done practically? Thank you.

      1. Maria Luisa Castro

        Dear Gary,

        Thank you for contacting us.

        Please be informed that if you live more than 183 days in Spain in a calendar year or you situate then main base or centre of your activities or economic activities, directly or indirectly, in Spain, you would be considered as a tax resident in Spain, you will be levied with Personal Resident Income Tax, and in general terms, you will pay tax on all your income, no matter where in the world they were earned. However, you can be subject of exemption/deduction.

        We can offer to study your case with your real situation, checking thoroughly the Spanish tax legislation, the Double taxation agreement signed by Spain and US and give you a proper answer. We will be pleased to offer you our tailored consultancy, which is a written reply or a tax legal report.

        Therefore, if you like, you can send us all your questions you would like us to answer you and we will send you a quote.

        At your disposal for any further clarification.

  2. I have searched the net for the particular case (or similar) below but find no easily understandable solutions, even from your excellent description, with regard to visa requirements as the 90/180 rule does not seem to work for our preferred pattern of visiting Spain.
    My wife and I are both retired (though she does occasional temp work in UK that is easy to stop/start). I am a UK citizen (70y). she (61) has UK and Cypriot (so EU) citizenship. My pension income meets the requirements for residency though currently (if ignoring the temp work) my wife’s does not.
    Ideally (ie as we could have done prior to Brexit) we wish to start splitting our time between UK and Spain starting on a ‘day count’ that has the majority UK (late Spring to early Autumn + a couple of of weeks at Christmas) and minority Spain. Then, over a few years starting to increase Spain time to become the majority and decrease UK time while always maintaining property in both (still to be purchased in Spain – may rent to start).
    I would have thought this preferred pattern was not out of the ordinary.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Keith,

      Regarding your plans, as an EU citizen, your spouse can exercise her right to freedom of movement. Therefore, there are no restrictions for her. However, if you -as a non-EU citizen- would like to spend more than 90/180 days, your spouse would have to register as EU citizen in Spain and once registered, you would have to register as her non-EU family member.

  3. ello, I was born in Iran. Then I moved to the UK and got a British passport 5 years ago. Then I moved to Spain and got residency here. I work as a teacher online. My sisters are Iranian but currently been living in Turkey. Can you help me bring them to lve in Spain?


      Unfortunately, as they are your sisters, it is not possible to register them as your family members in Spain.

      However, we can find the perfect visa for them.

  4. Hello,

    I am married to a Spanish national, however, I overstayed my stay here in Spain (Canary). Though my husband is employed, I am unemployed and don’t have NIE, I only have empadrionamiento. Am I eligible to apply for Tarjeta comunitaria?

    Best, M

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Subject: Eligibility for Tarjeta Comunitaria for Spouses of Spanish Nationals

      Dear Mary:

      Thank you for reaching out regarding your situation in Spain.

      Being married to a Spanish national indeed gives you a pathway to apply for the ‘Tarjeta de Residencia de Familiar de Ciudadano de la Unión’, commonly referred to as the “Tarjeta Comunitaria”. This card is granted to family members of EU/EEA citizens who are exercising their right to free movement in Spain.

      Here are the key points to consider:

      Overstay Concern: The fact that you have overstayed might complicate the application process. It’s possible that the Spanish authorities might view it as an infringement of immigration rules, which could impact your application. However, given that you are married to a Spanish national, there might be some leniency.

      Employment Status: The employment status of your Spanish spouse can play a crucial role. As you mentioned he is employed, this helps satisfy one of the requirements for the application, which is proving that the EU/EEA national (your spouse in this case) has sufficient resources not to become a burden on the Spanish social assistance system.

      Documentation: To apply for the Tarjeta Comunitaria, you will typically need:

      1. A valid passport
      2. Proof of your marital relationship (marriage certificate)
      3. Proof of your husband’s employment (like a work contract or recent pay slips)
      4. Your empadronamiento
      5. NIE: While the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is crucial for various administrative processes in Spain, it isn’t strictly necessary for the initial application of the Tarjeta Comunitaria. However, once approved, you will be assigned an NIE.

      Application Process: The application for the Tarjeta Comunitaria typically involves submitting the required documents and attending an interview. The authorities will assess your application, and if approved, you will be granted a temporary residence card, valid for 5 years.

      Given your specific situation (especially the overstay), it would be wise to consult directly with an immigration lawyer in Spain, who can guide you through the application process and provide tailored advice based on current regulations and practices.

      If you’d like to proceed with the application or have more in-depth questions, please let us know, and we’ll be here to assist you.

      Warm regards,

      Maria L. de Castro
      General Director, Costaluz Lawyers

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