How to Get Empadronado (Registered) in Santiago de Compostela


One of the least-discussed aspects of living abroad in Spain is getting empadronado whenever you move to a new city. Oh, everyone will have their (horror) stories to tell you about dealing with the Spanish bureaucracy—don’t get me wrong!—but I’ve barely heard boo about this simple act of going to the town hall and registering as living in the city.

My certificate of residence a.k.a. empadronamiento

In Spain, the padrón is a registry office that is coordinated by the local council for people who live in the municipality. When you move to a town in Spain, it’s a good idea to go and register yourself (empadronarse) at the town hall, because you need the certificate of residence—the empadronamiento—to sign up for a library card, among other things, but also because you need it to prove you are actually living in Spain when you go to apply for your NIE and TIE (residency). Not all provinces require that you present your empadronamiento, but many do.

If you happen to be living in Santiago de Compostela, the capital city of the Galicia region, this is how you can go about getting empadronado once you’ve moved in to your new apartment.

Where to go

Entrance to the padrón office in the town hall

It’s pretty straightforward: go to the town hall (ayuntamiento in Spanish / casa do concello in Galician), a.k.a. the Raxoi Palace on the west side of the main Obradoiro square opposite the cathedral. Head down the steps on the north (left) side of the building and enter a nondescript door on the ground floor. You’ll find the office of the padrón within.

What to bring with you

  • your passport
  • your apartment contract or rental agreement

What to do at the office

During business hours on weekdays only, go up to the window in the padrón office and ask to register yourself (“quisiera empadronarme en Santiago”). Present your passport and contract, sign a form if asked, receive your certificate, and you’re good to go. That’s it! No fees, taxes, nada. If you lose the empadronamiento (empadroamento in Galician), you can go back and get another one for free—no worries!

I hope this simple process goes smoothly for you. If not, post any questions (or horror stories) you may have below!

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