How to get residency in Malaga as an EU citizen?


Officially, if you were staying in Spain longer than 3 months, you had to register yourself as a resident, but actually no one checks it or one cares about it that you are registered not. I know people who were living in Malaga for years without registering anything anywhere, they just stayed as tourists. In the EU we don’t have borders, which means you can leave Spain and come back whenever you want, which makes it impossible to track that you were in Spain continuously for 3 months or not.

If you registered yourself as a resident, then the government knows that you are here, your data is in the system which can have benefits and drawbacks too. First of all, the Spanish government is not interested in getting any tax from tourist, while residents’ world-wide income is taxed, no matter if they earnings were from abroad.

There are several ways how you can become a Spanish resident in Malaga:

  • You work in Spain
  • You study in Spain
  • You have enough money to live in Spain

Depending on your situation, you have to prove your claim with documents. For example employment contract, documents proving your enrollment in a Spanish school or your prior 6 month bank statements proving that you have enough money to support yourself. All documents must be Spanish or have official Spanish translation. If you include bank statements, the balance must be in euros or you have to attach an extra statement of the conversion rate.

Obviously, you will need an accommodation contract, proving that you have a place to live in Malaga, your passport or EU national ID and a full coverage health insurance that doesn’t require additional co-payment from you to use the health/medical services.


With all these papers you have to go to the Comisaria (Plaza de Manuel Azaña, 3) which is the main police station of Malaga by the way, but to go there you have to have an appointment online. You can get an appointment on their website. Unfortunately, the website is only available in Spanish and the available menu items are far from obvious as you will see later.

Personally, I had to go to the Comisaria six times before I managed to get my residency, because I managed to fuck up everything possible. Here is my story, so you can learn from my mistakes:

How to get your Spanish residency certificate in Malaga

To make it as quick and easy as possible, I decided to ask for professional help, so I went to a small lawyer/translation office in Malaga, specialized in immigrants and their issues, asking for their professional help to get my residency fast and easy. I paid about 40 euros for their consultation.

I asked them for a detailed, step by step guide on; how to get my residency? I explained that I want to know where to go, what to bring, when, what to say or ask for, including everything necessary. I explained that I don’t work or study here, so I go for the third option to get the residency: I am wealthy enough to support myself in Spain.

They promised that I will get an email the next day with all the information in English and Spanish.
It sounded great, I was happy that for my 40 euros, I will get all the necessary information.

Next day of course, I didn’t receive any email, so I asked them, what is going on? They promised again to send the email the next day in the morning. As you might guessed, I didn’t receive anything the next morning either, so I contacted them again. They told me that I will get the email the next day… and surprise, this time I actually got their email! It was only Spanish, there was not a single English Word in it, and it was only a few lines of text, so here is the full email (translated to English by google for your easier understanding):

“I am enclosing information that you requested with regard to the Citizen Registration Certificate of the European Union. You need to submit the following documents within 3 months:

– Application form
-Security of Health
-Certificate of economic means: can be accredited by land titles, land, certified checks, credit card bank, money in checking account, periodic income …. Amount more than 5,200 euros per year.”

Well, it was not English as promised and far from something that I would call “detailed”, so I replied to their email:

“What application forms do I need to fill, what are the names of those forms, where can I find them? If I visit the police station tomorrow with only my passport, health insurance and bank account statement, they will laugh at me. I want complete information as I explained on our meeting.”

Surprisingly, I got a quite prompt response (again, in Spanish of course), so here is the google translation of the complete email:

“In the police station they have the forms, but I indicate link:
4) Situation in Spain
Temporary residence:
You have to indicate: Not active with insurance and sufficient resources”

Since it was a very short and not detailed email, and I was quite sure that I need more things, for example a proof that I have somewhere to live and maybe photos. So I replied, asking specifically, if I need to bring my accommodation contract and also asked if I need to bring passport size photos or anything else. In their reply they confirmed that yes, I will certainly need a contract of my accommodation, but I don’t need photos because I am from the EU.

The “security of health” mentioned in the email is a private health insurance. There are several options if you search on the internet. It is important that for the residency they only accept a health insurance which comes with full cover and doesn’t involve co-payment. Obviously that is the more expensive kind, when I signed up for one it was around yearly 500 euros, but here is a trick for you to get it free.

How to get free health insurance in Spain for the residency

When you apply for residency or you do anything that involves bureaucracy and presenting documents, then you have to prove your current situation at the very moment of the application. Let me explain that: You can have a work contract for example, but you get fired next month. You can have an accommodation but the landlord can cancel the contract and ask you to move out next month as well.

So if you want a full health insurance without spending money, then you can just sign a contract with any insurance company for the fully covered health insurance, go to the police station with the valid contract and as soon as you got your residency, just cancel the contract. Many companies has a “cool down period” which means within 2 weeks of signing the contract you have the right to cancel it without any consequences. Again: When you apply for residency, you have a valid health insurance contract, but after that you are free to cancel.

Ok cool, so I went to the police station with all documents, health insurance, etc. YEAH!

At the police station they told me that I can’t get in because I need an appointment. I told them that I am here to make an appointment then. But they told me, I can’t get an appointment in person, only on their website.

I went home, opened the page, selected Malaga, then selected something like “certificado residente…” because I want to be a resident. Some more clicks here and there and I had my appointment, but not to the police station, but to the immigration office at another place. Anyway, for me didn’t matter, I go where they tell me to go.

Two weeks later, when the day of my appointment came, I went to the immigration office with all documents, where they asked where am I from? I told them that I am from the EU. They told me, in that case I am at the wrong place, I have to go to the police station. So I told them that I tried that, but they asked me to register an appointment, I did that online and I ended up here. They told me that it doesn’t matter, I need a new appointment to the right place.

I went to the police station and I managed to get inside even if I didn’t have an appointment, so I was able to ask the receptionist what is wrong, because I need an appointment here, but the website is only giving me dates to the other place, where they say that I have to go elsewhere… so we had this conversation (in Spanish):

– You need an appointment from the website.
– I know, but the website only gives appointment to the wrong office.
– No, all these other people could get appointment here, so it’s working properly.
– Well, not for me.
– Try again.
– Could you help me? Here is my phone, I have internet, let’s book an appointment now.
– No, you need a computer.
– Well, phones are actually small computers and I use the same Google Chrome browser on my phone as on a computer. There is no difference. (btw, I work in IT… more or less)
– No, you need a normal computer.
– Why?
– Because the website only works correctly with that.
– Otherwise it sends me to the wrong office?
– I don’t know… maybe.
– Then I think the problem is on your website don’t you think?
– No. You need a computer.
– You have one in front of you, could you please book me an appointment?
– No.
– Why?
– Because I am not allowed to do that.
– Then how should I get an appointment if you don’t help me?
– With a computer.
– I tried that already, that is how I ended up in the wrong office.
– Try again.
– And what will be different this time?

At this point she told her colleague that I don’t understand what is going on because I don’t speak Spanish good enough) so I replied (of course in Spanish).

– Yes, I understand everything even if my Spanish is not that good. I understand that your website doesn’t work correctly and you don’t want to help me, even if you have a computer in front of you. You just want me to go home, keep struggling with getting my residency, but that is not your problem so you don’t care. Do I understand it correctly?

After looking at me with an angry/surprised face, finally, she opened the website on her computer went to the appointment booking page and selected NOT the “resident certificate” but the “POLICIA CERTIFICADOS UE” which totally doesn’t make sense, because I don’t need any police EU certificate, I was born in the EU, there is nothing to certify about that. So I asked… (in Spanish)

– Why did you select that?
– Because you need to select that to get a residency certificate.
– So to get a residency certificate I need to choose NOT the “resident certificate option”?
– Yes.
– Well… that is kinda confusing in my opinion, but at least it explains why did I get different results when I tried to select the menu item that would totally make sense. Thank you, now I know what to do!

So I went home, opened the page, booked the “POLICIA Certificados UE” appointment, got the new appointment, waited two weeks again, and went back to the police station.

I managed to get in valid appointment, then the receptionist looked at the documents that I brought, and then we had this conversation (in Spanish):

– Did you pay the …whatever… fee?
– What fee?
– You have to pay 10.71 euros to get the residency.
– No I did not, but I have 10.71 euros… here you go.
– No no, you have to pay it in a bank.
– Which bank, to which account?
– On our website where you made the appointment, there is a form, you need to fill that too, and pay the 10.71 in the bank.
– Oh fuck… thx.

So I went home, opened the website, looked for the stuff, of course I didn’t find the form or the fee, nothing. I wrote a kind of angry email to the lawyers:

“I still can not apply for the residency, because I need to pay 10.71, but I do not know where and how? In the police station a receptionist told me this page: and there should be some info, but I can’t find it.

Please tell me the correct information. I asked your office exactly to avoid this situation, because I do not want to visit the police station more than necessary, because I lack some documents of fees or whatever.

So far, without any results:
1. Day: They couldn’t help me, because I do not have an appointment (no appointment, nothing possible)
2. Day: They couldn’t help me because I am at the wrong place.
3. Day: They couldn’t help me too, because I did not pay 10.71 euros.”

I got a short email reply next day (in Spanish as usual):

“You have to fill out this documentation go to a bank to pay it:

I filled the online form, printed the documents that the form generated, I went to the bank, paid the fee, booked another appointment, waited another two weeks, went back to police station. I got the appointment, the documents, the fee paid, everything is fine! Now I was let from the reception to the actual office where they examine the documents and give me a residency certificate. In that office a woman looked at my documents… (in Spanish as usual):

– What is this?
– That is a statement from my bank, saying that I have more than 5200 euros on my bank account.
– This is not good.
– Why?
– Because we are not interested in your current balance, we need the bank statements from the last 6 months.
– But I didn’t even have a bank account here in Spain six months ago.
– No problem, any other account is fine from your home country, with official Spanish translation.
– Damn it!

I went home, printed my last 6 month statements from my bank at home, contacted a translator office, got the translation within a week for more than 300 euros, which is ridiculous considering that it’s a stupid bank statement with numbers and transaction numbers that I will need it only once and then never again.

Please note: About the bank statements, it’s important that it must show that you have enough income coming in to support yourself. If they look at your bank statement and they see your nearly zero balance, they won’t be happy with it. If you have a nice salary coming in monthly, that should do the trick.

With my translated bank statement I booked another appointment, waited another two weeks and went back to the police station. The woman looks at the bank statements… (in Spanish as usual):

– What is this amount?
– That is how much money I have.
– But it’s not in euros.
– Yep, because we don’t have euros at home.
– But it has to be in euros!
– That is not possible. The bank can’t give me a statement in euros since the account is in another currency, as well as all the transactions.
– So, how should I know how much money is this?
– Check the exchange rate on the internet, or I can also check it for you on my phone.
– No, that is not good, I need an official statement about the exchange rate during that time.

…This was the point when I lost it.

– Goddammit, this is the sixth time I am here at this stupid police station and you just keep bitching about anything possible instead of helping me out. I’ve spent more than two months getting this fuckin’ residency… (fortunately they didn’t speak English, but they got the point anyway)

Luckily, I brought the documents of my Spanish bank account too, even if that was not required. I thought it’s better to have more documents than necessary than fewer. As a colleague of her come there to check out what is this rage about, she spotted that with all the time I wasted here by requesting new appointments again and again, my Spanish bank account become five and a half months old in the meantime! So they can accept those statement instead of the ones from my country that I got translated for more than 300 euros.

Finally, I got my residency certificate. They gave it to me on the spot. It’s a small green piece of paper with some printed info on it, including my NIE number. It’s not a plastic card that people from outside the EU get, it doesn’t have my photo, fingerprint or anything, it’s just a little green piece of paper with some of my personal data printed on it.

Before I left the office, I asked the woman:

– What happens if I lose this little thing? How can I get a new one?
– You will need ALL documents again and do the same procedure again.

…and I left.

As you can see, if you don’t know what to do (even if you asked for professional help from an immigration lawyer) getting your residency in Malaga can be a painful and time wasting process. That is why I summarized the whole thing for you:

This is what you need to do (in order) to get your residency in Malaga/Spain:

  1. Get all documents ready
    – Passport or EU national ID and photocopy of it.
    – Filled EX-18 form (and a blank copy just in case).
    – Private health insurance contract (with full coverage that doesn’t need co-payment).
    – Last 6 months bank statements in Spanish with EUR currency or with exchange rates.
    – Booked appointment at the police station.
  2. Pay the application free for the residency certificate.
    – Go to the police station’s website to fill the form
    – Print the generated PDF document and go to a bank to pay the fee.
    – Keep the stamped documents, you will need that at the police station.
  3. Book an appointment on the police station’s website“POLICIA Certificados UE”
  4. Go to the police station to present all documents.
  5. Pray.
    … be happy with your new residency certificate.


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Written by Surviving Malaga


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