While the actual appointment itself can take as little as half an hour, the work in getting Spanish residency is the actual preparation of the file and documentation itself. The requirements can vary in different areas of Spain, as does the availability of appointments.
Areas with a higher expat population, tend to have more readily available appointments. During the Transition Period, Malaga put on extra staff and opened more appointments yet in other areas, appointments can run two to three months in advance. So, in terms of how long it takes, a lot depends on the location and actually getting the required paperwork in place in a timely manner.
Getting the paperwork in place for the appointment is a major consideration, as in some circumstances you may need translations to be done or you will need to request paperwork from your home country.
Translations can be quick, but in some situations, like pensioners requesting S1 forms or perhaps you need a marriage certificate from somewhere exotic, these can take a while to arrive through the post.
Checking that the paperwork is in order is vital. First of all, get a specialist to review your file and advise on whether your documents are in order. If you need some more documents, how long is it going to take you to get them? There’s no point booking an appointment until the paperwork is ready to go.
Second of all, check when the appointments are actually available. 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.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that the date of your residency can affect other aspects of your move to Spain. For example, if you are registering a vehicle in Spain then in some circumstances you can waive the special registration tax on the vehicle if the timeframe fits with getting your residency.
The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed/updated 17.06.2022