Everything you need to know about the padron

We had heard that as we were living in Spain, we needed to register on the padron, however, we never really understood why. As such, with so many others things going on, it got put onto the back burner until it came time to register our Uk car in Spain.  It was at that point, that the gestor we were using for the process told us that a padron was one of the documents we needed to produce *sigh*

Everything you need to know about a padron


So off we toddled to the town hall, full of apprehension about trying to sort out another scary Spanish document. And you know what ? It was the most straightforward thing we have done so far 🙂


So we thought we would share our experience and try to take the mystique out of the whole process.

And as a bonus,  give you the lowdown on what a padron is, when you might need it and the often confusing issue of when you need to renew it.

So what is a padron ?

Firstly, lets clear up a potentially confusing issue – the difference between ‘the padron‘ and ‘a padron‘ !

The Padron is a re­gister kept by the Town Hall of all the people res­id­ent in the town/​area. Basically it is used by the gov­ern­ment and local au­thor­it­ies to keep a ‘head count’ on how many people live in the area.

A padron (short for empadronamiento) is a local certificate that you get when you register on the padron at the town hall in the area where you live in Spain. If you have several properties in different cities in Spain, you can only be registered in one padron system.  A padron is a complementary document that is required from certain organisations as proof of residence.

Hopefully, that clears that up then 🙂

Do you actually need to register on the padron ?

Everything you need to know about a padron


If you are staying in Spain for more than 6 months, then the British Embassy advises that you are required by Spanish law to register on the padron at the Town Hall where you live.

What does a padron show ?

It simple shows your name, NIE number, Nationality, date of birth and address.

What are the benefits of registering on the padron ?

There are two main sets of benefits:

  1. Benefits for the town in which you register.
  2. Benefits to you as an individual.

1. How registering on the padron benefits  your town.

By registering, you will actually be benefiting your community. Your local government receives funding depending on how many people are registered on the Padron.

Everything you need to know about a padron


Through the census, authorities calculate how many public services (health, police, administration, etc.) each area needs. So simply put, the more people registered on the padron, the more services an area receives.

2. How having a padron benefits you.

In the case of us foreigners,  a padron certificate is needed for all the following :

  • Importing a car into Spain – The traffic de­part­ment of Spain, require that to im­port a car into Spain from an­other coun­try you must be re­gistered on the Padron.
  • Purchasing a Spanish car/motorbike etc  To get a Spanish vehicle transferred into your name you have to show your padron.
  • Residency – you can’t become a resident without being on the padron, as the Spanish authorities need to know where your home address is. This is next on our list !
  • Spanish driving licence – the padron certificate is required when you exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one. Another thing for us still to do 🙁
  • Spanish health card – the padron certificate determines which medical centre you will attend depending on your home address.
  • Pensioner’s card – the padron certificate will show the local authorities where you live
  • School registrations – through the padron,  schools know where children live.

I am sure there are other instances whereby a padron is required. However those listed above are the ones you are most likely to come across. Simply put, a padron is es­sen­tial for many daily as­pects of life in Spain.

How do I get a Padron ?

There are no ‘national requirements’ to get a padron, so the best advice is to go to your town hall or relevant local office and ask which documents you need 🙂

We turned up at our town hall with a whole bunch of documents (to be on the safe side) and waited to be seen. As it turned out, we had to show  our passports, escritura (title-deed) *, a utility bill (we showed a water bill) and our NIE number (Numero de identidad de Extranjero).

* I am sure that if you are renting a property the you would show your rental contract instead.

The whole process literally took a couple of minutes.  They took photocopies of our documents, (I can’t promise everywhere will do that so maybe bring your own copies) and completed a form for processing, which we had to sign. We were told that within a couple of days we would be able to return to the office and request a copy of our padron (timescales will obviously differ).

The first stage was now completed – we were registered on the padron for our area.  It was a straightforward and stress free process 🙂

When we returned a couple of days later and asked for a copy, one was printed out for us, signed and stamped whilst we waited. There was a small administrative fee of 1 Euro charged by our town hall (I am sure fees will vary).

The second stage was even quicker and easier ! We now had a copy of our padron to take to our gestor, enabling him to complete the paperwork for registering our car in Spain 🙂

Must I renew my Padron?

A Padron certificate has a valid­ity of 90 days, however you do NOT need to up­date it simply if the date has run out. You only to update it when you ac­tu­ally need to prove that you are re­gistered.

When that time comes, simply go to  your Town Hall and asking them to reprint your padron.



And there you have it, everything you wanted to know (and probably more) about a padron 🙂

So … Who are one foot in the cave ?

We (Danny and Josie) have spent the last 10 years living and working in the Caribbean. In 2015 we decided we wanted to move closer to family and friends so bought a cave house in the Granada region of Andalucia, Spain. We moved there full time in January 2017. Now we write about our experiences of cave living and how we are adapting to life in Spain.
We also have a Facebook page full of pictures, experiences and information that we have found useful along the way. If it’s your thing, you can also follow us on Instagram 🙂


2 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about the padron

  1. John Burns

    From those that I know that have lived in Spain for some years, I am informed that registering an imported vehicle is very expensive and it is cheaper to buy a vehicle in Spain. What your view on this point?


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