Nearly 15,000 Irish citizens live in Spain because of reasons such as cheaper cost of living, high quality of life, and sunny beaches. This makes them the third biggest English speaking group in Spain. If you’re considering moving to Spain, read this guide where we’ll cover:
Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter Spain if the visit lasts less than 90 days (3 months) within a period of 180 days.
Are you from Northern Ireland with only a British passport? You'll need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver from 2023 to enter Spain for trips shorter than 90 days.
Irish citizens can stay in Spain for up to 3 months without needing to obtain Spanish residency. If you plan to live in Spain for more than 3 months, you’ll need to get a Certificate of Registration after arriving in Spain. Alternatively, you can leave before the 3-month mark and and re-enter Spain after 180 days.
Irish citizens can live in Spain with an Irish passport as the Republic of Ireland is part of the EU. So you’ve got the freedom to move and live in any other EU country, such as Spain. You only need to meet certain conditions to apply for Spanish residency.
If you’re from Northern Ireland and only have a British passport, you’re subject to the same rules as British citizens. In this case, read our guide on how to move to Spain after Brexit.
Irish citizens can apply for Spanish residency if they meet the following criteria:
*Family member refers to direct ascendants, descendants, and spouses or registered partners.
To legally reside in Spain as an Irish citizen, you need to apply for a Certificate of Registration (Certificado de Registero de Ciudadano de la UE) within 3 months of your arrival. This certificate will contain the important NIE number– foreigner identification number – that you need for various activities such as applying for health insurance or buying a car.
In case of no Foreigner’s Office, apply at the nearest police station.
If you’re working-
If you’re self-employed-
If you’re a student-
If you’re unemployed or not planning to work-
If you’re a dependent family member of an EU citizen in Spain-
Remember that you cannot laminate your Certificate of Registration and that it is not a substitute for a valid ID as it doesn’t contain your photo.”
It is valid as long as you indicated in your application or until there’s some change in your details, such as an address, marital status, etc.
To start your new life in Spain, there’re some important things you need to arrange.
This is an important step for Irish citizens living abroad. Doing so means the Irish embassy or consulate has your contact details and can provide you with assistance when needed or in emergencies.
Spain’s housing market can be quite competitive and so we recommend starting your search early and online.
With a platform like HousingAnywhere, you can look for housing in Spain stress-free by setting up an alert about new rentals and filtering by city, price, size, amenities, etc.”
If you’re curious, most Irish citizens live in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia, Las Palmas, Basque County, Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands.
To help you find your ideal apartment, studio or room in Spain, we’ve curated a list of the best neighbourhoods in the top 4 Spanish cities:
It is mandatory for all residents in Spain to register at the town hall (ayuntamiento) and receive an empadronamiento. Registering will put you on the padrón (census) and make you an official resident of the neighbourhood.
An empadronamiento is useful when you need to prove your address for official purposes. Learn more about how to apply for empadronamiento.
If you’re an Irish citizen working in Spain, you’ll need to register with the tax authority called Agencia Tributaria to pay your taxes.
Bring these documents with you:
After registering, you’re obliged to file your annual tax return between April to May of the following year using Modelo 100. You need to remember to declare your income and assets in Spain and abroad as both are taxable. But due to the double taxation agreements between Ireland and Spain, you can get some tax reliefs.
The tax system in Spain is complex and we highly recommend reading more about the different taxes and tax reliefs.”
All working individuals are required to contribute to social security. This offers great benefits, such as coverage for health insurance, unemployment, parental leave, work injuries, and contribution to pension.
You can register for social security online or in person at the TGSS office (Tesorería de la Seguridad Social). Bring the following documents with you:
Registering for social security will issue you with a certificate that entitles you to healthcare in Spain. You need this to apply for public health insurance.
It is mandatory for every citizen in Spain to have health insurance. Since your EHIC will only cover you for 3 months, you’ll need Spain’s public health insurance.
But only working individuals and their dependents get free access to Spain’s health care system since they contribute to social security, which funds the healthcare system.
If you’re unemployed or retired, you’ll likely need private health insurance to cover you during your stay. Irish students can continue using their EHIC until they’re 26.”
To use the healthcare system for free, apply for your personal health card (TSI- Tarjeta Sanitaria Individual) at a local health centre. Bring your:
Although your Irish bank account already has euros, we still recommend opening a Spanish bank account. It has several benefits, including signing up for utilities in Spain, direct debit of monthly social security contributions, ability to start your own business, buy a property, access to loans, etc.
Bring the following documents:
Having a Spanish SIM can certainly help as local rates for calling and data packs are much cheaper.
You could get a pre-paid or contract by showing the following documents:
Irish citizens can vote in Spain if they’re:
Do keep in mind that as Irish citizens living abroad, you cannot vote in any local elections or referendum in Ireland, unless you’re an Irish official or direct family member of an Irish official.
You’re obligated to exchange your Irish driving licence for a Spanish one if:
To exchange or renew your driving licence, you need to hand in your Irish licence to the DGT or Provincial Traffic Headquarters. Bring the following documents:
In all other circumstances, you can continue using your Irish driving licence in Spain until it is valid. Or exchange it for a Spanish one voluntarily.
Note that if you had a British driving licence, it is no longer valid in any EU country since 31st December 2020.
There’re certainly big expat communities in Spain’s big cities. Although it’s easy to get by with English within those immigrant communities, we highly recommend learning Spanish if you don’t want to miss out on making local friends, have more job opportunities, fill in governmental forms with ease, understand announcements, visit the doctor, etc.
We’ve listed some language schools throughout Spain’s big cities to get you started.
It’s easy to get Spanish residency for Irish citizens who want to spend more than 3 months in Spain. You just need to show proof of funds, healthcare, and residency. After arriving in Spain, follow the 11 tips to make the most of your life as an Irish citizen living in Spain.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.