If you are going to spend some time living in Madrid, you must carry out a series of legal procedures. In addition to avoiding problems with the law, it is necessary to make use of some public services.

These are some of these procedures:

1) “Empadronamiento”

The “empadronamiento” is not the inscription in the registry of the City Council. This document certifies that you live at a certain address. Once we do so, you are entitled to enjoy many municipal services such as swimming pools, libraries, etc.

Any person residing in Madrid is required to do it. Both Spaniards and foreigners can be registered, regardless of whether or not they have regularized their immigration status.

The procedure can be carried out through the Internet or in person and you will need:

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2) Health care Card (“Tarjeta Sanitaria)”

The health care card is a document that certifies that you are entitled to the benefits of the Spanish public health system.

It can be requested by existing social security members (self-employed, pensioners, if you receive any benefits or if you are appointed as a job seeker). If the following conditions are not met, minors under 18 years of age, pregnant women, refugees legally residing in the country, among others, may apply.

For European citizens from other countries, it is advisable to apply for the European Health Insurance Card before coming to Spain. This card entitles them to benefit from the Spanish public health system without having to apply for the Spanish health card.

3) Driver’s license

European citizens can drive in Spain normally with the driving licenses of their home countries.

For countries outside the European Union, if you have an international driving license issued in your home country (according to international conventions and treaties), you can drive in Spain for the first 6 months you live here. The document must be valid and you must be of legal age to drive in Spain (18 years or older). After that, you will have to request the change of your original license for a Spanish one at the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT).

Tourists with a valid driving license can also drive in Spain, but only for 3 months, in case they do not have an international driving license.

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4) Banks

If you are going to be in Madrid for a short stay, it is not necessary to open a Spanish bank account. You will be able to withdraw cash from thousands of ATMs all over the country with your country’s bank card.

However, for longer stays or if you plan to continue living in Spain at the end of your Spanish course, it is highly recommended that you open a Spanish bank account. First of all, because of the costs. The banks in your country and the local ones can charge you high commissions for all the transactions you make with credit cards or for international transfers. Secondly, because of the convenience. With a Spanish bank account, you will be able to direct debit many payments such as supplies (electricity, gas, etc), taxes, and others.

Things to consider when opening a bank account in Spain

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