Most people are familiar with the resident certificate. It makes sense if you live in a country to have a certificate that registers the fact. However, many non-residents are not aware that a non-resident certificate exists or why they might need to have one.

The non-resident bank account

If you have a financial interest in Spain then you should already be in possession of an NIE. This is a very important tax registration number that is needed by foreigners whether they live in Spain or not but have a financial interest here. It’s what separates you from the tourists.

In addition, if you have bought a property in Spain or spend a significant amount of time here, perhaps in rented accommodation, you will also have a non-resident bank account. Unlike some other countries, in Spain you can have an account as a non-resident but your status must be declared when you open it.

If you do have a non-resident bank account you will need a non-resident certificate to confirm your status. Banks have to be clear for taxation purposes about whether the account is for a resident or non-resident. But don’t worry, you don’t have to obtain this yourself.

If you are a non-resident then at some point you will receive a letter from your bank asking you to confirm your non-resident status. This usually happens approximately every two years. The bank then uses this to apply on your behalf for your non-resident certificate. They then send this to the Spanish tax authority so that the funds in your account are not taxed in Spain.

The bank does not routinely issue you with this certificate. In fact, you may not even know that you have one. It is kept on file and it will stay with the bank until it needs replacing in a couple of years time.

One way that you might discover that you have this certificate or that it has been applied for on your behalf is that you will be charged a fee of around 30€ for the privilege. This will be taken directly from your account.


Do you need it for anything else?

The short answer is, no. The issue of non-resident certificates was raised fairly recently as some non-residents were being told that they needed to keep a non-resident certificate in their car to prove their residential status.

This caused a great deal of confusion and we know that some people have obtained one from their nearest national police station. However, it seems to have been a very localised practice that originated in response to a law passed in 2011. This particular law does not seem to be enforced by the vast majority of police officers.

So, at least this is one certificate that you don’t have to queue for.