How to get a Social Security Number in Spain?

S’affilier à la sécurité sociale en Espagne

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Registering to the Spanish social security system is one of the most important steps when you relocate to Spain.

The social security number allows you to start working legally in Spain and to have access to all the corresponding benefits.


1. Why do you need a Spanish social security number ?

The Spanish social security system provides benefits in some cases such as illness, maternity or unemployment. 

It is a complex system with 2 main types of benefits:

  • Contributory benefits for people who have paid a minimum amount of contributions. Within this category, we find the following benefits: retirement pensions, family benefits, invalidity benefits, maternity and paternity benefits, sickness benefits, survivors’ benefits and unemployment.
  • Non contributory benefits for persons who face a specific situation of need and whose income is below a certain legally prescribed level. They may be entitled to this even if they have never paid social security contributions, or have done so but are not entitled to the resulting benefits under the contributory system. They include : medical assistance, retirement and disability allowances, special assistance for the unemployed, family allowances, con contributory maternity allowance.

Finally, to access the Spanish public healthcare system, you will be required to have your social security number. 


2. Social security number and benefits

Whether you are an employee or self-employed, it is mandatory to be registered under the Spanish social security system before starting a professional activity in Spain.

You only need to apply once as the social security number is unique and remains the same for all your working life. Employers will then use this number to register you in the social security system so that you can receive benefits and are legally allowed to work in Spain.

Once a person has registered with the appropriate social security scheme and started to work, s/he begins to pay social security contributions and is automatically insured. Changes in a person’s employment situation – for instance, change of jobs, or a period of unemployment – affect the insurance status. Periods when a person is working and paying contributions are called “altas”, and those when a person is not working are called “bajas”. 

As a general rule a person must be employed and paying contributions in order to be entitled to benefits. There are, however, several situations that are treated as insurance contribution periods (“alta asimilada”), even if the person is not actively employed.


3. Documents to bring

You will need to prepare the following documents in order to get your Spanish social security number:

  • The affiliation form modelo TA1. 
  • ID or passport and its photocopy.
  • NIE and its photocopy.
  • Residency and visa papers (Non-EU citizens only).


4. Where do you need to apply to get your social security number ?

  • Online if you have an electronic certificate.
  • In person by going to your local TGSS (Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social) office. All major cities have many social security offices which can be found here. In many offices you will need to book a cita previa and to get there early to check-in. 


5. You are going to work in Spain, who needs to register you with the Spanish social security system ?

A- Your employer

If you start working in Spain for a Spanish company, it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure you are registered with the social security system. 

B- Yourself 

If you start working in Spain as a self-employed person, you must do it yourself. However, we can help you throughout the process.


6. Conclusion

If you work or own a business in Spain, you must get a social security number to start paying Spanish taxes. In exchange, you will be entitled to some Government benefits, including free Spanish healthcare.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected], we will be more than happy to help you.

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