I am a French national and am spending a few days here on holiday on the Costa del Sol.

I have just retired in France and am thinking of buying a home in Malaga and taking up temporary residence here for part of the year and spending the rest of the year back in France.

Could you please tell me whether I need to attend to any particular procedure as far as the Spanish authorities are concerned in order to prove my temporary residence here?

How, if at all, is this affected by my status as a citizen of the European Union? Also, how could this situation affect my wife and children?


The first step that you should take is to apply for a Foreigners’ Identity Number (Spanish abbreviation: NIE) which is a personal, unique and exclusive number assigned only to one person and which should be recorded on all official documents issued in Spain.

It is necessary to obtain and quote this identity number in any dealings of a financial, professional or social nature which you may have in Spain. You should apply for this number from the main police headquarters which is the authority responsible for assigning it.

If you intend to purchase a property in Spain you should quote the NIE number on any documents submitted to the Spanish authorities for example transfer tax assessment papers or in relation to business performed with private institutions such as banks.

In addition to an NIE you may also wish to obtain a Residence Card. As an EU member you no longer need to obtain a visa or Foreigners’ Identity Card. However if you intend to stay in Spain for more than three months you will require a Residence Card which may be temporary if you spend less than one year in Spain. For residence periods exceeding 12 months, the Residence Card is valid for five years and is automatically renewed. You may not need to have a Residence Card if you have a permanent residence entitlement in which case you would have to prove, amongst other circumstances, that you have earned income as an employee or self-employed person in Spain.

As far as your family is concerned this same regime would be applicable to them also regardless of their nationality, provided that you are joined by ties of cohabitation and stability your family relates to your spouse from whom you are not legally separated and underage dependants, or those of your spouse, or other dependants such as grown-up children or ascendants dependant on you.