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How to apply for “pareja de hecho” (civil union) in Spain

If you’re living in Spain (or thinking of moving here) and are in a relationship with a local, you’ve probably heard of “pareja de hecho.”

“Pareja de hecho” means something like “official couple” and is roughly the equivalent of a “civil union.” It gives you many of the advantages of being married, without many of the obligations.

One of those advantages is being able to live and work in Spain if your “pareja” (partner) is a European citizen.  Once you have official pareja status, you’re able to apply for a residency permit under the “reuniting with family” process, exactly as if you were married.

Here are the steps to follow:

Request an appointment

The first step is to go right now to Calle Gran Via, 18  (if you’re in Madrid) and request an appointment for the PdH Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM.  The wait for an appointment can be six months or more. This must be done in person but the process is simple and takes about 5 minutes.  Be sure to bring your TIE or passport with you.  You’ll end up with a little piece of paper with your appointment date and a sheet of instructions, which brings us to…


The requirements for PdH vary by community, so verify what the requirements are in the area where you will be filing.  In Madrid, the requirements are as follows:

  1. You must be over the age of 18.
  2. You must have lived together for 12 uninterrupted months. In Madrid, this is confirmed through the written statement signed by your witnesses.
  3. At least one member of the union must be “empadronado” in the Community of Madrid.  You do not have to be be “empadronados” together.
  4. You must be single, divorced, legally separated or widowed.
  5. You must not be related.
  6. You must not be already “pareja-ed” with someone else.
  7. You must be mentally capable of entering into the union.


One month before your appointment, you must present the following documentation, original and photocopy, in person in the same office where the appointment was requested Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. These documents must all be a maximum of 3 months old at the time of your appointment, so plan accordingly!

  1. A completed “solicitud” –
  2. Proof of the paid “tasa” – Modelo 030.  You could wait and turn this in the day of your appointment.  The cost is currently 82.12€.
  3. Valid NIF or NIE, passport or residency card for both members of the pareja and two witnesses. For the witnesses, you can provide a photocopy of their IDs when you turn in your paperwork.  On the day of your appointment, your witnesses will need to come in person with the valid IDs.
  4. Certificate of Empadronamiento – Not a “volante”.  You can request this online and have it mailed to you at
  5. Proof of marital status – Basically an official paper that says you are single. Spain regularly provides this to its citizens but there is no U.S. equivalent.

For Spaniards – If you live in Madrid, go to the Registro Civil at Calle Pradillo, 66.  You don’t need an appointment, just your ID.

For Americans – You must make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy for “notary services”. The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle Serrano, 75.  Appointments can be made here.  At the appointment, you will sign a sworn statement, in Spanish, that you are single.  The consul will then stamp the document. All you need to bring is your passport and 40€.

Because this document is from a foreign government, it must be “legalized”. This means another appointment, which can be made here, at the office of legalizations in Calle Juan de Mena, 4.

Once you have your “pareja de hecho” status, then it’s time to apply for residency, which will give you the right to live and work in Spain.

The process for applying for residency, along with all the requirements, can be found on this official information page (in Spanish).

One thing to keep in mind is that, you shouldn’t have any problem doing “pareja de hecho” with your partner; however if at least one of you is not gainfully employed you may have trouble being approved for residency. If neither of you are employed, it is possible to make up for that by showing funds in the bank (rule of thumb I’ve heard is around 10,000 euros at minimum).  That issue could be the topic for another post!

I hope this helps some of you through this process.  It’s definitely one of the simplest ways to gain the right to achieve Spanish residency.

A special thanks to Elise Horn for compiling the information used in this post.


  • Lyle 27 weeks ago Reply

    Hello! I was wondering if you can still apply for pareja de hecho and get the tarjeta comunitaria with an expired TIE. Like not expired for a few weeks or months but like expired for at least a year.

    • Shaheen S. 17 weeks ago Reply

      Yes, you absolutely can! Residency status before obtaining pareja de hecho (or marraige) doesn’t matter when applying for the tarjeta comunitaria.

  • Mary Stuart 23 weeks ago Reply

    Hi! Once you have residency through Pareja de Hecho, is it possible to take jobs outside of Spain within those 5 years?

    • Shaheen S. 17 weeks ago Reply

      Hi Mary,
      Generally, unlike marriage, Pareja de Hecho is only recognized inside of Spain. However, if you have a job offer in another EU country, there is likely an avenue under that country’s laws for you to change your residency status.
      I should also note that*after* being a resident of Spain for awhile (I believe five years) you can apply for permanent residency, which would then allow you free movement to live and work anywhere in the EU. I would double check with extranjeria or an immigration lawyer for definitive information. You can set up an consultation with an English-speaking lawyer here:

  • Dave 17 weeks ago Reply

    Hi there – is it possible to apply for Pareja de Hecho status at a Spanish Consulate in another country. One of us is a Spanish citizen, and the other is not. We have leases, etc., to show that we have been together for three years.

  • Mradul Yadav 16 weeks ago Reply

    My girlfriend is a natural born Spanish citizen. She is living in Madrid.
    I am living in India, and we have decided to together, in her home.
    How can i get residence and work permit through Pareja de hecho???
    Plz do response
    Thank you.

  • Caitlin 15 weeks ago Reply

    Thanks for the info! Quick question. My Spanish partner and I, American, have been living in The Czech Republic together. So we have a lease contract there as well as gainful employment in that country. We’re looking at going through this process and eventually moving to Spain, would our Czech documents suffice as proof? I suppose we’d need them translated which is fine.

  • Bella 14 weeks ago Reply

    Hello,it’s possible to renew Phd in another city,because I did my Phd in Almeria,later will now move to Alicante.please help me with this question.

  • Eddie 9 weeks ago Reply

    Hi, my partner and I want to have a civil union.
    He is Italian and I am Irish. We have live in Barcelona for three years own a property and are now residents here.
    What documents will we need to have a civil service?
    Thank you

  • Haroon 9 weeks ago Reply

    I just wanted to ask if anyone knows about pareja de hecho in tarragona cataluniya.
    I am living with my English girlfriend in tarragona for 1 year and 8 months,she is from England and I am from Pakistan.
    Can I apply for pareja de hecho?
    If I can then what’s steps I need to follow? And what documents I need.
    Because as far as I know requirments are different for Madrid and cataluniya.
    If anyone please do reply.

  • Erin Greene 8 weeks ago Reply

    Do you know if you can apply for citizenship after you are pareja de hecho? Like after a year you can apply when you are married. Anyhing like that for pareja de hecho?

  • Joep 7 weeks ago Reply

    Would it be possible to apply for an “pareja de hecho” while your partner has an expired Visa?

  • Megan 6 weeks ago Reply

    The place to legalize the certificate of single status after the Embassy has changed location. It is now at Calle Pechuán, 1.

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