Padron certificate – What is it, how to get one and why do you need it?

In a nutshell, the Padron is roughly equivalent to the Electoral Register in the UK; a list of people resident in a town or area.

What is the padron?
In a nutshell, the Padron is roughly equivalent to the Electoral Register in the UK; a list of people resident in a town or area. 
Its full name in Spanish is Certificado de Empadronamiento. If you are registered on the Padron you are considered to be Empadronado.

How do I register on the Padron and get a Padron  certifcate?
To get the Certificate, you need to visit your local Town Hall (Ayuntamiento). Some offices have an online appointment system (called a cita previa), some need a phone call to arrange the date and at others, you can just turn up and wait. Remember to arrive early as most Town Halls close at 2pm.

Why do I need a Padron for residency?
One of the requirements for any residency application is proof of living in Spain – a Padron Certificate is official proof of address. We are advising all our clients who are registering for the first time as residents, to get on the Padron as soon as possible. Clients who are already on the Padron need to get an updated certificate. It is also advisable that the Padron Certificate shows the first date of registration as well. This is often referred to as a Padron Historico. 

What paperwork will you need?

  • Proof of who you are – PASSPORT and NIE (if you have one) for each applicant
  • Proof of where you live – property deeds, IBI receipt or nota simple if you are a property owner. If you rent, then a valid rental contract in Spanish and utility bill showing address 
  • Minors – Libro de Familia or Birth Certificates (some Town Halls may request these translated if not in Spanish)
  • Single parents/step-families – if the child has a different surname to the parent registering, the Town Hall may ask for additional documents e.g. signed custody agreement, death certificate

*Town Hall will want originals and copies*

If you want to register at an address that you aren’t renting and don’t own, (e.g. staying with family) then the named owner either needs to go with you to the appointment, or provide you with authorisation.

This a general guide and it’s always a good idea to check the requirements with your local Town Hall first. Most also provide the information online. 

How long does it take to gt the Certificate and what’s the cost?
Some places issue the Padron Certificates on the spot, and some take a few days so you will need to pop back to the Town Hall to collect it. People who are changing their address from one town to another generally take a little longer. 
Some Town Halls provide Certificates for free while others charge a nominal fee, normally between €1 and €3 each.

What else do you need a Padron Certificate for?
Because the Certificate is official proof of address, it’s one of the most requested pieces of paperwork for many Spanish processes – registering with your local Health Centre, buying a car, renewing or your Spanish driving licence, to name just a few. The Certificate needs to be dated within 90 days to be valid.

When do you need to renew it?
EU citizen residents need to renew their registration every five years, non-EU every two years, and as soon as possible when changing address. 

Important to remember!

Some Town Halls can take a while to issue a padrón certificate, and some may even ask the Local Police to check that you are living in the property. It varies widely from Town Hall to Town Hall, so it’s worth checking the details when creating a timeline to move to Spain. 

Are there any other benefits of being on the Padron?
Short answer – yes! Funding is allocated from the central and regional government based on the number of people on the Padron – so more people equals more money for public services, which everyone benefits from! On a more personal level, you could benefit from things like:

  • Discounts on IBI 
  • Register to vote in local or European election (*subject to Brexit)
  • Register for healthcare (if eligible)
  • Access to social services/senior care
  • Enrol children in school
  • Join the local library (not just books – events, free language courses etc)
  • Access special deals for over 65s (over 65s card in Andalucia) discounted travel around Spain with certain companies

All in all, registering on the Padron is essential if you intend to live in Spain.

As part of our visa package, Upsticks will make the Padron appointment for you if required, complete the solicitud and in some locations in Malaga we can provide a translator to assist.

 Check out our YouTube video

How to get your Padron Certificate in towns in Malaga province – links to articles:


The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last updated 16.02.2024

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