Got your visa? What you need to do first when you arrive in Spain

non lucrative visa_what happens when you come to spain

Getting a non-lucrative visa in your Passport is no mean feat, and it’s the start of your new journey in Spain. Find out more about what comes next and what you need to do first when you arrive in Spain.

VERY IMPORTANT: make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. Pretty straightforward if you’re flying into Spain, but if you’re driving, on the ferry or on the train for example, you may have to go and search for Border Control. 


TOP of your to-do list: As soon as you arrive, apply for your TIE card.
Find out more about how Upsticks can help with the TIE application process here .

You have 90 days from the issue of your visa to travel to Spain and apply for the TIE card (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) and 30 days from arrival in Spain to attend an appointment at your nearest National Police Foreigner’s Office to “ratify” your residency.

At the appointment, you’ll need your passport, visa, entry stamp, padron certificate, two photos and provide your fingerprints. Once you’ve presented your documents, you’ll be given a receipt (resguardo in Spanish) – keep this safe as it’s official proof that you have made your TIE card application.

It takes around 4 weeks for the TIE card to be ready to collect, and in the meantime, you can use the resguardo for many administrative processes. Without this key piece of paper, you will be treated as a non resident and may find it hard to do anything with just the Visa in your passport. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll get an appointment straightaway, so you’ll have time to get the necessary paperwork together beforehand, which brings us to …

Next on your list – Register on the padron
If you already own property in Spain then you should have no problem registering on the padron. It’s a good idea to make sure all bills are up to date and paid – IBI, utilities, rubbish collection etc and have an up to date (dated within 90 days) Nota Simple 

If you are renting a property, then the process is a bit more involved: 

  1. Make sure your rental contract is available in Spanish
  2. Check with the agent/landlord that you can register on the padron at the address
  3. Your landlord will need to supply the latest paid IBI bill (in the same name as landlord on the rental contract)
  4. Use these documents to register on the padron using your passport and NIE (this number will be on your visa)
  5. Make sure all people living at the property are listed on a Padron Familiar

It really depends on your local Town Hall as to the length of the contract they will accept to register on the padron. It can also vary as to whether the National Police in your area will accept anything other than a Padron certificate as proof of address when applying for your TIE card. If you’d like our help, Book a Call

Number 3 – Open a bank account
Although digital banking services like Revolut and N26 are available in Spain, you’ll need a Spanish “high street bank” account to register with most utilities and local authorities.

While you can open an account with just your passport and NIE number, if you don’t have the resguardo from your TIE appointment, the bank may treat you as a non resident and extra banking charges could apply. Once you have your TIE, be sure to tell your bank so they can keep their records up to date and if necessary, you can swap to a resident account.

Are you buying a car?
Buying a vehicle in Spain is more complicated than many other countries. The process requires both the buyer and seller to complete a ‘transfer of ownership’ with the DGT – Direccion General de Trafico, Spanish traffic authorities.

If you are buying via a dealership, then this process is normally completed for you as part of their service. However, if you are buying privately, then it’s your responsibility to arrange this and most people use a Gestor to process the relevant documents. 

Key point: You will need your ‘resguardo’ or TIE card to complete the paperwork.

Good to Know
Although this may look like a bit of a challenge, getting to grips with the various public authorities in Spain will stand you in good stead for making the most out of your “new life in the sun”.

How Upsticks can help
We’ve been where you are and completely understand that it can seem a tad daunting, so let us help.

We can make TIE card appointments for you, advise where and how to get your Padron Certificate (and make these appointments too!), provide translators and recommend service partners for transfer of ownership, import of vehicles/household goods and much more. 

You’re welcome to book a call or send an email to – we’ll be happy to help.

The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last updated 08/09/2021

Share this page on social media