At the moment getting Spanish residency, the actual appointment itself can take as little as half an hour. The work in getting Spanish residency is the actual preparation and paperwork itself. The requirements can vary in different areas in Spain as does the accessibility of appointments.
Areas with a higher expat concentration, tend to have appointments which are more readily available. In Malaga, they have put staff on extra staff and opened more appointments during the transition period. In some areas you can actually get appointments day-to-day. In other areas, the appointments are running in two to three months time. So, in terms of how long it takes, a lot depends on the availability of the appointments and your situation regarding actually getting the paperwork that you need in place for the appointment.
Getting the paperwork in place for the appointment is a big one as in some circumstances you may need translations to be done or you will need to request paperwork from the UK.
Translations can be quick. but in some situations, pensioners for example, may have to get an S1 form or some letters from the pensions office in the UK or whatever country they’re coming from, and that can take awhile to arrive through the post.
You need to plan ahead if you’re planning on taking residency. First of all, get a specialist to revise your file. Checking that the paperwork is in order is key. If it’s not in order, how long is it going to take you to get that paperwork in order, because there is no point booking an appointment until that paperwork’s ready. Second of all, check when the appointments are actually available.
If there are appointments available in two or three days time, then there’s no point attending those appointments if you haven’t got your paperwork in sorted, because they would just knock you back. If the appointments are in a few months time, it’s a good job to book them up now, and get your paperwork ready in the meantime.
Its also a good idea to keep in mind that the date of your residency can affect you other aspects of your move to Spain. For example if you are registering a vehicle in Spain then in some circumstance you can waive the special registration tax on the vehicle if the registration fits within the time frame of getting your residency.