01. What is the Municipal Register and what is it for?
02. Why register with a Local Council?
03. Residents’ rights
04. Requirements, documentation and procedure
05. Revising the Municipal Register
06. Documentation for the registration (empadronamiento)
07. The Register and the Electoral Roll
What is the municipal register and what is it for?
The Municipal Register is an administrative register listing all the residents in a given municipality.
The Register will include at least the following information:
- Names and surnames
- Habitual residence
- Place and date of birth
- National ID Card Number (Documento Nacional de Identidad, DNI), or the corresponding foreign national ID card number. For European residents in Spain, this refers to the number on the Certificate of Inscription in the Central Foreigners Register (Registro General de Extranjeros). In the absence of this Certificate, the register will record the number of the identity document or valid passport issued by the authorities of the country of origin.
- The resident’s academic or school certificate or title.
- Other information that may be required to draw up the Electoral Roll (Censo Electoral), in full compliance with the fundamental rights recognised in the Constitution.
The resident may also consent to the inclusion of the following information:
- List of people that can represent the resident before the Municipal Administration for registration purposes.
- Telephone number.
All residents must inform their Local Council (Ayuntamiento) regarding any changes in their personal circumstances that modify the above information.
Being listed in the Register demonstrates residency and habitual residence in the municipality. Nevertheless, it does not constitute proof of legal residence in Spain, neither does it confer on the listed citizen any right that is not conferred by current legislation.
Registration with a local council is intended for counting and identifying the residents of a municipality for the purpose of providing public services (health centres, education centres, public transport, etc.) and to ensure they can sufficiently service the population. By law, each Local Administration has to provide certain municipal services to the citizens. The more inhabitants in a municipality, the greater the number of mandatory services.
Thus, the Municipal Register basically stands as a design and planning instrument for policies and municipal services and as a guideline for drawing up the Electoral Roll. The number of Councillors in a municipality is directly related to the number of people listed in its Municipal Register.
The Local Council is in charge of creating, maintaining and revising the Register. The National Statistics Institute (INE) has a recognised ex officio role in ensuring that the Register is maintained properly. The Register is continuously updated. The official number of residents in each municipality is established for all administrative and other purposes at the beginning of each year.
Why register with a local council?
All Spanish residents must be listed in the Register of the municipality where they habitually reside.
Apart from being a legal requirement, registration is highly advisable and both important and useful for the citizen. Registration grants a resident status, and therefore confers the rights implied by this condition, as will be seen in the next section of this information guide.
Registration is a necessary requirement for access to essential services such as schooling, primary health care and obtaining the Healthcare Card (Tarjeta Sanitaria).
Being registered in a Municipality of the Community of Valencia also provides other benefits for the citizen such as, for example, fiscal benefits in the matter of inheritance or specific fiscal reductions in acquiring
the habitual home.
The Statute of Autonomy of the Community of Valencia establishes in article 3 that all Spanish citizens who have or acquire administrative residence in any of the Municipalities of the Community of Valencia will have the political status of “Valencian”. In the same article, citizens of the European Union who are resident in the Community of Valencia will enjoy the same rights and will be subject to the same obligations as Valencians, with the exceptions envisaged in the Constitution or the Laws of the State.
The condition of Resident bestows on the citizen a series of rights in their relations with their Local Council and generally in social participation and in public affairs. The most important of these rights are:
- The right to vote and be voted for in municipal elections as set out in electoral legislation.
- The right to participate in municipal management as set out in the laws and when voluntary collaboration is requested by government bodies or the Municipal Administration.
- The right to use municipal public services and access communal land as set out in applicable regulations.
- The right to contribute legally established financial and personal support to the exercise of municipal powers and responsibilities.
- The right to be informed, following reasonable requests, and to direct applications to the Municipal Administration in relation to all municipal files and documentation.
- The right to request a referendum under the terms set out in the Law.
- The right to demand the provision and, where appropriate, the setting up of public services, provided that these are mandatory services that fall within the municipal powers.
- The right to take part in a referendum under the terms set out in the Constitution.
- Other rights and obligations established by the laws.
In relation to the activities of the Local Council, residents enjoy the full right of access to information in various spheres of municipal action such as approving the Budget, town planning, approving local ordinances and regulations of the Local Corporation and the content of the agreements adopted by the Municipal Council meetings. These rights of information and participation in Council decision-making and actions can be exercised individually by each resident or jointly through the Residents’ Association.
Requirements, documentation and procedure
Citizens should register in the municipality where they habitually resides. Citizens with more than one home in Spain, should to register in the municipality where they spend the most time during the year.
Being listed in the municipal Register is free of charge.
People living habitually in a municipality who are not listed in its Register must apply to be listed. They must declare that they are not listed or are unaware of being listed in the Register of any other municipality and ex officio agree to the cancellation of any listing in any Spanish Register prior to the date of application.
To proceed with the registration, the applicant must provide the original and photocopy of their DNI, Passport or Certificate of Inscription in the Central Foreigners Register (if available), provisional document of their request for asylum or valid identity document for non-EU foreign citizen issued by a Spanish Authority.
In any case, if the applicant does not have a document issued by a Spanish Authority, Spanish Law allows listing in the Register with the number of an identity document or valid Passport issued by the country of origin. This does not imply, however, that there is no further obligation for inscription in the Central Foreigners Register (certificate of registration as a citizen of the European Union).
Citizens need to provide evidence to demonstrate habitual residence at the address such as, for example:
- Deed of ownership of the property
- Rental contract
- Authorisation by the owner of the house to be listed using that address, together with a photocopy of the owner’s DNI, passport or other personal identity document. Sometimes, the presence of the house owner will be requested to demonstrate their agreement to the municipal officer.
- In some Local Councils, other means of demonstrating home ownership such as the latest utility receipts (water, gas, electricity, etc.) may also be accepted.
*Law 7/1985, dated 2 April, regulating the local system rules.
*Royal Decree 1690/1986, dated 11 July, approving the Regulation on Population and Demarcation of Local Authorities.
*Royal Decree 2568/1986, dated 28 November, approving the Regulation on organisation, operation and legal status of Local Authorities.
*Order of 11 July 1997 on electronic communications between the Public Administrations with reference to information on the municipal Registers.
Non-emancipated minors and disabled elderly people will have the same residence as those looking after them or those with custody, or in their absence, their legal representatives, except when these provide written authorisation for residence in another municipality.
For listing minors whose parents are separated or divorced, authorisation from both parents or the original and photocopy of the court ruling or regulating agreement demonstrating custody or guardianship must be provided.
Revising the Municipal Register
Local Councils perform the actions and operations necessary to keep their Registers updated to guarantee the authenticity of the information. They provide the National Statistics Institute with a monthly list of changes made to their Municipal Registers.
If Local Councils fail to check the authenticity of the information, the National Statistics Institute can ex officio proceed to check the accuracy of the Register information.
The Municipal Register is also updated monthly with the information provided by the Civil Register regarding changes in name or surname, gender and nationality; by the Ministry of the Interior regarding changes to the DNI or residence cards; and by the Ministry of Education and Culture regarding school and academic titles that are issued or recognised. In these cases, the affected residents must be notified of the change so they can make any appropriate declaration.
For a change of address that involves transfer to another municipality, citizens must request in writing to be listed in the municipality where they wish to set up their new residence. The new municipality will notify the old municipality for removal of the listing from the old Register within the first ten days of the following month.
Applications occurring as a consequence of a change of address within the municipality will simply result in a change in the listed details in the Municipal Register without the need to be removed from the Register and subsequently listed again in the Register.
Non-EU foreign citizens must renew their listing every two years even if there has been no change in their personal circumstances. If they fail to do this, they will be removed from the Register.
Types of REMOVAL from the Register:
- Removal after death. Deceased residents will be removed from the Register after presentation of the Family Book or the Death Certificate. The INE provides information to each Local Council about deceased citizens who should be removed from the Register.
- Removal after Change of Residence. Change of Residence is understood to be change of address to another Municipality or Country. Once notification has been received of inscription in another municipality or listing in the Consular Office or Section in the destination country, the resident will be removed from the previous Register.
- Removal after inappropriate listing (duplicate). The Local Council will remove duplicate listings from their Register, keeping only one listing. If such a duplication is identified by the National Statistics Institute or the Local Council, an administrative file will be initiated and sent to the listed addresses. The affected resident will be informed that one of the listings will be removed from the Register. If the resident responds and declares their wish to appear listed in one municipality, the correct listing will be maintained, and the listing in the other Registers will be removed. The National Statistics Institute will communicate to Local Councils where duplications have been identified when comparing the Registers of different municipalities.
- Removal after inappropriate ex officio listing. When the Local Council has made an ex officio listing of individuals (e.g. minors or disabled citizens who have been ex officio listed in the Register in the municipality where their parents or tutors reside), it will remove these listings after verifying the mistake.
- Ex officio removal of listing. If the Local Council discovers that the person no longer resides in the municipality, it will initiate a file to remove that person from the Register. Periodical checking by the Local Councils is often performed for this purpose.
Documentation for the registration (empadronamiento)
Certificates issued with Registration information are considered to be public documents and authoritative for all administrative purposes.
The Certificate of Registration (Certificado de Empadronamiento) is the document that demonstrates residence and the habitual address. It is often requested when undertaking certain official procedures with certain public bodies such as:
- Judicial bodies (courts and tribunals)
- Military bodies or foreign authorities
- Civil Register (marriage, nationality, change of name and/or surname, adoptions, etc.)
- Declaring heirs
- Registration of common-law partnerships
- Other Official Registers, prisons, Customs, Universities, Employment Offices (INEM).
The Registration Slip (Volante de Empadronamiento) is a purely informative document that indicates residence and the habitual address.
Both Certificates and Slips are issued free of charge and are valid for a period that depends on the specific official procedure for which they are required, although maximum validity is usually 3 months from the date of issue.
Registration Certificates and Slips of non-emancipated minors must be requested by the parents or legal representatives with whom they are registered.
The register and the electoral roll
The Municipal Register is the guideline used to draw up the Electoral Roll.
Local Councils send a monthly list of the changes occurring over the previous month to the corresponding Provincial Delegation of the Electoral Census Office for the purpose of updating the Electoral Roll. Such changes include new listings and removals of listings of adult residents with respect to the last day of the previous month as well as changes of address and other modifications regarding data included in the Electoral Roll.
For Spanish citizens with the right to vote, being listed in the Municipal Register implies inclusion in the Electoral Roll, provided that they have not been deprived of the right of suffrage for any of the reasons described in the next section of this guide.
By contrast, nationals of other EU Member States must declare their wish to exercise the right of active suffrage in Spain in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament, citing the local body or Member State voting district where they were last registered in the electoral roll.
This declaration is made by completing the form CERE.DFA-1 in the Local Council where they are registered. This declaration is made once only and does not need to be repeated for each electoral process. So if a European resident has previously declared their intention to vote in municipal elections in Spain, they remain on the Electoral Roll permanently until they formally request otherwise.
Other citizens with the right to vote in local elections must also request their inclusion in the Electoral Roll when they fulfil the following requirements:
- They have a residence card.
- They have resided in Spain legally and without interruption for the minimum specified for each country.
- They are listed in the Register of the municipality where they habitually reside.
- Law 7/1985, dated 2 April, regulating the local system rules.
- Royal Decree 1690/1986, dated 11 July, approving the Regulation on Population and Demarcation of Local Authorities.
- Royal Decree 2568/1986, dated 28 November, approving the Regulation on organisation, operation and legal status of Local Authorities.
- Order of 11 July 1997 on electronic communications between the Public Administrations with reference to information on the municipal Registers.
Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Statistics Institute) http://www.ine.es/
Ministerio del Interior (Ministry of the Interior) http://www.interior.gob.es/
Junta Electoral Central (Central Electoral Board) http://www.juntaelectoralcentral.es/
Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces) http://www.femp.es/