To get empadronat means to register in the neighbourhood where you live. Though not compulsory, it makes you an official member of the area and benefits both you and the community. The community gains, because they get funds based on how many people they have registered with the local council, which goes into healthcare, schools, security, etc. It benefits you because you are now a member of the community (although this is not to be confused with becoming an official foreign resident of Spain) and can enjoy benefits like your own doctor at the local surgery, numerous discounts at leisure centres and other places, gives you the right to vote, getting your children into the local school, etc. It is also necessary for a variety of administrative procedures.
To get your Padró Municipal d’Habitants you will need to go to your nearest Ajuntament (town/city hall) or Oficina d'Atenció al Ciutadà (neighbourhood administrative office)—find yours at www.bcn.cat (which has some information in English). When you go, you need:
- to fill in the requisite form (which you are given once there)
- Your passport and/or NIE
- Proof of where you live: e.g. house deeds (escritura), rental contract, or a recent utility bill in your name, or, if you rent a room, you will need your landlord to come with you or provide you with a signed document as proof of where you live.
It is a quick procedure and usually only takes a few minutes if there is not a queue; and, more importantly, it’s free.
You can be issued either an individual certificate, or one that covers your whole family.
If, for any reason, they cannot issue a certificate on the same day, you will receive a temporary one (volant), which proves you are registered. However, while it's not obligatory to have a certificate, it is necessary for some processes, such as getting a public health card. The certificate is valid for three months, though your registration is indefinite, but you will need to get another certificate for certain processes, such as applying for a wedding licence. EU citizens only need to re-register if they move home. Residents from outside the EU need to renew their Padró Municipal d’Habitants every two years, if they don’t have a permanent residence permit. The Ajuntament will send a reminder to your registered address when it is due for renewal.
You can also apply by phone or on the internet through the Ajuntament de Barcelona website (www.bcn.cat), though this process is a bit more complicated and requires you to send your documentation by post.
More information (in Spanish) can be found on the Ajuntament de Barcelona website at: