Bureaucracy in Spain

Bureaucracy in Spain

Spain is a fairly bureaucratic country. A bureaucracy with a long tradition. The main reason for this is the amount of public servants that need to generate work between them. You cannot avoid encountering some large paperwork projects when living on the Costa Blanca in Spain.


The empadronamiento is the process of register as a citizen/resident of the municipality. There is no charge for this but if you own your own home you will pay tax on this every year to the municipality. There is no need to have your residency papers in order to do this.

The authorities stress the importance of the empadronamiento because they get their funds for running the city based on the amount of registered citizens. In the tourist areas on the Costa Blanca in Spain there are many foreigners that have not gone to the town hall to register. Both for the town’s sake and yours (Your little part of making sure everything works in your town.) you should when living here take the time do register yourself as living on the Costa Blanca. Nowhere is bureaucracy fun. When you on top of this have a language problem and do not really understand why all this paper work is necessary it is even harder. The following advises will help you in your way to get things done and in order on the Costa Blanca in Spain.

1. The first step is to find out were to go to get what you want done. If you do not want to ask your neighbours or friends the best to do is to go to the town hall or the local police station and ask there.

2. When heading out remember to bring a map of the town with you. It will make it easier when people try to explain were to go. Many times you will be sent around the town to get further documentation required for your purpose. Be optimistic don’t let it bring you down!

3. Bring with you as much documentation as possible and a lot of patience. A good advise is to bring with you a book as well. You might have to wait in line to get to talk to the right person. Bring with you 3 photocopies of each document. You will find that there is normally no chance of getting anything photocopied at the office you are going. When making a copy of a card for instance make sure that both sides of your card appear on the same side of the sheet of paper.

4. Bring with you photos if you are applying for any type of residency card or drivers license or anything else. One of the main things when approaching a bureaucratic office is to always stay calm. A good advise is also to dress as nice as possible. (Forget bathing suits) You will in most cases be treated better if you are properly dressed. Do not forget to be polite. You will get no were with being rude!

During this process you can be sure to have improved your skills in Spanish. If all this puts you off there is another option. Go to a local Gestor and get them to do it all for you. Check out their fees first there might be large differences between different Gestores.

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