Registering on the padrón

What is the Padrón (empadronamiento) and do I have to register?

The padrón is a list of all the people who live in a certain municipal area similar to the electoral roll in the UK. “Empadronarse” means registering yourself on this list at your local town hall. You’ll find you will need your empadronamiento certificate to process various administrative tasks, such as apply for or update:

❖ Certificate of residence registration 

Register for healthcare

Purchase a car

❖ Register your car with Spanish number plates

❖ Enrol your children in school

Who should register?

It is obligatory by Spanish law to register on the padrón at the Town Hall where you habitually reside, yet many British ex-pats still have not done so – there are no dire consequences in doing so it is just a way for the Ayuntamiento (local council) to know how many people live in their area.

They are not interested in delving into a person’s financial affairs, but may well distinguish between holders of a green residence certificate or those in the process of applying and those who do not have one (Purely because some local discounts or benefits are only applicable to residence certificate holders).

How to register

You don’t have to own your house to register, just be able to prove the address where you are living.

Some Ayuntamientos require you to go to the main Town Hall to register, others, particularly on the south coast of Tenerife have conveniently located sub offices.

All applicants must provide their passports and a photocopy as well as;

  • If you are an owner you will need to provide your deeds and a copy.
  • If you rent you will need to provide a copy of your rental contract in Spanish along with proof of payment of the rent.
  • If you live with family or friends, the household member who is already registered can add you to the entry for that property.
  • Your Green certificate of Residence or TIE if you have it – if you are in the process of obtaining this you may need to return a second time to update the Town Hall’s records when you have obtained it.

Some town halls make a small charge for issuing a ´Certificado de empadronamiento’  others are free.

What is the information used for?

Better public services: Central government allocates money to the different municipalities according to how many people are on their padrón. Therefore, if you are not registered, your town hall is losing money for the provision of health centres, police officers, fire fighters and schools.

Access to benefits and social care: You must be on the padrón for a certain period of time in order to access some income-related benefits such as subsidised school books and other aspects of social care available through social services at your town hall.

A reduction in taxes: Depending on the town hall, registration on the padrón could mean reductions in certain community charges and inheritance tax. Furthermore, those on the padrón can also often enjoy discounted courses, leisure and cultural activities run by the town hall.

Discounted travel: A current ‘Certificado de Bonificaciones’ can allow European residents of Spanish islands to receive discounts of up to 50% on air fares and ferry tickets between the islands and the mainland. (Since BREXIT this discount is only valid for long term resident UK citizens, i.e. those who have resided here over 5 years).

Voting rights: In order to register to vote in local or European elections, you must first be registered on the padrón.

An easier life: You’ll find you need your padrón certificate to carry out various administrative tasks, such as register for healthcare, register your car with Spanish number plates or enrol your children in school.

Padrón status checks

In certain municipalities in Tenerife there is an exercise to check the accuracy of the padrón registers. This means you may be contacted by letter to confirm your status on the padrón. If you are contacted, you will be asked to answer to remain active on the padrón and if you don’t then you may be removed from the register. If you are not contacted, you could do worse than confirm your status at least every five years.

For certain applications you must show a recent padrón certificate which is less than 3 months old. This is normal procedure and is not related to the above.