Now you’ve got your pareja de hecho document, and you’re ready for the next step – the tarjeta comunitaria. You’ve gotten through the first big hoop, now onto the next.
What is the tarjeta comunitaria?
The tarjeta comunitaria is a way for non-EU nationals to receive residency for up to 5 years. It allows one to work and live legally here in Spain, and it also allows access to social security and the public health system here. The pareja de hecho document is just one of the needed documents to apply for this. Here is the government page about it with the requirements that I’m going to explain.
First, as always, you must collect all the documents you will need to apply for the card. This could take some time, so as you’re waiting for your pareja de hecho to come back, start gathering this paperwork.
This list will change depending on where you are in Spain and how the government worker is feeling that day. It also depends on you and your partner’s working situation. At the time, I was working as an auxiliar de conversación and my boyfriend had a legal contract (aka alta in seguridad social) at a law office. My TIE was still valid. My boyfriend couldn’t come to the appointment with me as he worked the hours the extranjería was open. I needed to bring his actual DNI with me, and obviously have him sign all the paperwork before hand.
Know you situation and what paperwork it requires, and be prepared for anything. Bring copies of EVERYTHING. Be over prepared.
Note that you must make an appointment to turn in the paperwork. You can do this online by getting a cita previa from your extranjería office. I made an appointment online and was assigned to come in a few days after, but there are much longer waits in larger cities like Madrid and Barcelona. I would go to that website and go through the steps without confirming anything just to see the wait time to get an appointment.
After clicking on the link above, select your provincia from the first dropdown menu. Then select familiares de residentes comunitarios from the second dropdown menu. Click Aceptar.
It will bring you to another page with required documents for your province. Make sure you have everything they need, and click Aceptar again.
Then, you’ll have to put in your personal information and click Aceptar.
You’ll be taken to another page where you will click solicitar cita.
Then, you’ll choose what office you want to go to, put in more information, and then be able to see what appointments are available.
Remember to PRINT out the paper with your appointment information on it once you finish the process! You will need to bring this to extranjería.
Once you have your appointment, you will go in on said date with all your documents including the document with your appointment information. Here is a list of the documents I needed (and didn’t need but still brought) for this appointment in Málaga in April 2015.
- My original TIE, his original DNI (he didn’t go with me), and my original passport.
- A photocopy of my NIE, his DNI, and my ENTIRE passport (not just the first page)
- The original pareja de hecho document (no copy needed)
- The original empadronamiento colectivo (no copy needed)
- The form EX19 filled out and signed plus a photocopy
The worker didn’t ask me for anything else. I asked if he needed to see my health insurance card or my boyfriend’s social security card, and he said that he’d take the copies but they weren’t required.
He did NOT need, but I still brought the following paperwork. (I would advise to have these things incase they ask for them)
- Proof of health insurance (see above note)
- 3 photos (this is for the card – needed in the next appointment)
- The tasa (this comes later when you have to go back to the comisaría de policía to have them take your fingerprints and print your card – see part 2 below)
- The bank account movements for either of us. Since my boyfriend was working, alta in seguridad social, they didn’t need any of this. If your EU partner isn’t alta in SS, you will need to show this to prove you won’t be a “burden” to the country.
- My boyfriend’s work contract
- Proof that I was working
I left the appointment with the photocopy of the EX19 document stamped and with a long number written on it and another document, Comunicación de inicio del procedimiento y admisión a trámite, stating that my request is now in the registro civil.
The guy said that they would send us the letter, la resolución, in under a month if everything went well. He said that they do their part quickly. Then you wait.
This is the end of step 1. Now we’re off to step 2.
Once you receive the resolución, you have to go to the comisaría de policía with it and some other documents to poner las huellas – take your fingerprints and send for the actual card to be printed.
We got the resuelto favorable a month or so after I turned in the paperwork in Málaga. We thought that a letter would come in the mail since that’s what the man had told me at the first appointment, but no letter ever came. Why? It was online. Since my boyfriend has certificado digital, he gets access to certain government documents online instead of them wasting paper to send him a physical copy. So what happened was that I got a text message saying it was available. We then had to use my boyfriend‘s computer to sign in and see the document with his personal information because he has validated his computer by inserting his DNI into a special hook up that plugs into your computer and allows you to use certificado digital. If your Spanish partner has this, they should know because you have to sign up for it. If they do, just know you won’t get a physical copy of the resolución. So once you get that text message, go look for it online. You’ll need to print it from online. And if they don’t have certificado digital, then you should be expecting a physical copy in the mail.
Once I had the resolución with resuelto favorable, I waltzed into the comisaría de policía in Málaga without an appointment since you can’t make one for this step in Málaga (in other cities you need it), and had my fingerprints taken.
If you need to make a cita previa, you can do so on the same website from step 1. Similar to what you needed to do in Step 1 to make an appointment in extranjería, choose your provincia from the first dropdown menu and then choose expedición de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (huellas). Then, follow similar steps to complete the process.
Here’s what I brought to the comisaría and what they needed.
- My actual passport (no copies)
- The printed resolución with the barcode at the bottom (she only scanned it)
- My actual TIE (the one I had from being an auxiliar de conversación)
- 3 carnet sized photos (they’ll only take 1)
- Tasa 790 012 paid. This costs 10,60€ and you need to check Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familia de un ciudadano de la Unión. As with all other tasas, you must take the carbon papers (still all together) to the bank, filled out, and pay the 10,60€. You can’t pay this fee at the comisaría so save yourself time and have that paid and prepared.
She gave me a resguardo that served to pick up my card 40 days later. And on the resguardo it says exactly what you need to bring along.
I’ll repeat this again and again because it’s the only way to get through this bureaucracy fun. Make copies of everything and bring things you could possibly need. Since every person you talk to is going to tell you something different, bring it all. Be over prepared!
In around 40 days, I say “around” because I went after about 30, you can go back to the comisaría with your resguardo and your passport and pick up your shiny new purple card! EEP! Now, you can celebrate a small victory!
*If you need to leave the Schengen zone while waiting for your card, you’ll need an autorización de regreso.
Now that you’re an official resident of Spain, you need to get a few other things in line.
- A social security number. If you want to legally work, you’ll need to go to your local SS office and apply for a SS number.
- Health insurance. If you want public health insurance, you must register in the system. First, you’ll need a social security number though. Depending on your working situation, you may need to register yourself under your partner in SS.
- A driver’s license. Guess what? Your driver’s license from the states and/or your international driver’s license is no longer valid. Wahoo! *please note the sarcasm here* If you want to drive a car here in Spain, you’ll have to go through the entire process again – theory exam, behind the wheels, and the road test – costing you about 400-500€ minimum. I hope you know how to drive stick!
If you can keep your head up and deal with a little craziness, you’ll do alright. Little by little! You’ve finished the hardest part. The rest should be a piece of cake.