The Padrón is an administrative register listing all the residents in a given municipality. “Empadronarse” is the act of registering yourself on this list with your local town hall – you get your “Certificado de empadronamiento”
Registration with a local council is intended for counting and identifying the residents of a municipality for the purpose of providing public services (Health centres, education centres, public transport, etc) and to ensure they can sufficiently service the population. By law, each local Administration has to provide certain municipal services to the citizens. The more inhabitants in a municipality, the greater the number of mandatory services.
Thus, the Municipal Register basically stands as a design and planning instrument for policies and
municipal services and as a guideline for drawing up the Electoral Roll.
The number of Councillors in a municipality is directly related to the number of people listed in its Municipal register.
All Spanish residents must be listed in the Register of the municipality where they usually reside, yet many British ex-pats still have not done so. Perhaps some view the padrón as a means of vigilance by the state, in ‘big-brother’ fashion. However, in reality, it is simply a way for the town hall to know how many people live in their area, without entering into investigations as to a person’s official residence status or financial affairs. Apart from being a legal requirement, registration is highly advisable and both important and useful for the citizen.
The condition of Resident bestows on the citizen a series of rights in their relations with their Local Council and generally in social participation and in public affairs. The most important of these rights are:
The right to vote and be voted for in municipal elections as set out in electoral legislation.
The right to participate in municipal management as set out in the laws and when voluntary collaboration is requested by government bodies or the Municipal Administration.
The right to be informed, following reasonable requests, and to direct applications to the Municipal Asministration in relation to all municipal files and documentation.
The right to demand the provision and, where appropriate, the setting up of public services, provided that these are mandatory services that fall within the municipal powers.
The right to take part in a referendum under the terms set out in the Constitution.
In relation to the activities of the Local Council, residents enjoy the full right of access to information in various spheres of municipal action such as approving the Budget, town planning, approving local ordinances and regulations of theLocal Corporation and the content of the agreements adoptd by the Municipal Council meetings. These rights of information and participation in Council decision-making and actions can be exercised individually by each resident or jointly through the Residents´Association.
You don’t have to own your house to register, just have an address where you habitually live, no matter whether you are the owner, you rent, or live with family or friends.
To proceed with the registration, the applicant must provide the original and photocopy of their Passport, your NIE or residence certificate/card, a recent utility bill in your name, and the deeds to your house or a copy of your rental contract.
Once you’ve completed the simple process, you can begin to enjoy all the advantages being on the padrón offers, such as:
Better public services
Central government allocates money to the different municipalities according to how many people are on the 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 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.
A current ‘Cerificado de Empadronamiento’ can allow residents of Spanish islands to receive discounts of up to 50% on air fares and ferry tickets between the islands and the mainland.
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.
The Padrón is the guideline used to draw up the Electoral Roll.
Nationals of other EU member States must declare their wish to exercise the right of active suffrage in Spain in municipal elections and elections to the European parliament.
This declaration is made by completing a form in the Local Council where they are registered. This declaration is made once only and does not need to be repeated for each electoral process.
For certain services (eg. Social Services) you may be required to show a recent padrón certificate which is less than 3 months old. This is normal procedure and is not related to the above mentioned project.
Non-EU citizens are required to renew their padrón certificate every two years even if there has been no change in their personal circumstances. If they fail to do this, they will be removed from the Register.