My "Tarjeta Sanitaria", or Health Card, with my social security number on it

How to Obtain your Spanish Social Security Number in Madrid in 4 steps

My "Tarjeta Sanitaria", or Health Card, with my social security number on it

My “Tarjeta Sanitaria”, or Health Card, with my social security number on it

You have moved to Madrid, and are thinking of getting access to Madrid’s public health care system.

The first step is to obtain a social security number, with the goal to obtaining the card you see above: the Spanish Healthcare Insurance Card.

1. Fill the form

You will have to fill the TA-1 form, which you can download here.

It looks impressive, especially if you do not speak Spanish, but is in fact quite easy to fill in if you know what you are supposed to do: give your name, ID details and reason for requesting for a social security number.
Fill the form to your best, and print another one for when you will go to the relevant office.


2. Prepare the papers

For now, prepare also all the originals and copy for all these papers:

  • National ID and Passport if you have both,
  • Residency papers:If you are a EU citizen, only the NIE number if you already have one. For non-EU, Residency and/or Visa.
  • Not required officially but always good to have with you if you have them: rental contract, employment contract, escrituras if you have bought a property in Spain.


3. Go to the closest Tesorería de la Seguridad Social


You now need to go directly to the relevant administration, here the Tesorería de la Seguridad Social. You will find a complete list for Madrid here.

If you are in the centre, I recommend the one located at C/ Santa Cruz de Marcenado, 22. I never spent more than 30 minutes there to get it done. Take a ticket at the entrance and wait for your number.

Check before coming that you have all the papers you need, originals and copies (this is important because some will make you queue again just because they will not make you a photocopy, even if there is a machine right behind them).


4. Be patient, positive but inquisitive – “Inspector Colombo” style

Now, you have everything you need to obtain your Social Security number. The people there will even help to fill the form.

But someone might have a bad day, or your very specific case might not fit in their robotic forms.
Be patient, always smiling and positive, and if anything is wrong or missing, smile and say: “sorry, i did not know, What can I do to make sure everything is OK to have the number ?”. Do not accept “no” or “no idea” for an answer. They might say you are missing something, but you have to be inquisitive, and always ask exactly what is missing to obtain what you want. That’s what I call being inquisitive Colombo style: “Sorry Madam, I am a bit slow, but could you explain me again how should I do to get the number. Thank you for helping me”


If you need help to ensure a zen move to Madrid, do not hesitate to send us an email !


Madridly yours,
Pierre – Moving2Madrid.comGoogle+Twitter



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This post is also available in: French, Italian

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by in Healthcare, Red Tape !

15 responses to “How to Obtain your Spanish Social Security Number in Madrid in 4 steps”

  • VERY NICELY WRITTEN. you really are helping a lot…. I am an Indian, here in ;Madrid since 2 years. my wife (not working) just joined here with (on a dependent VISA) I want to get here social security number for the health card to be done. For the SSN will just the NIE number be sufficient as we have not yet even gone for NIE thumbprinting, (so its in process) what we have is the stamped copy of the NIE application with the NIE number on it hand written by the oficina personnels. I need to get this ssn done for her. NIE card will take a long time to come…. Please help me if you are not bothered. thanks. liked the way you explained how to not to loose patience and talk nicely to the people. I know it has been quiet frustrating at times in the offices.

    • Hi Gaurav, and thank you for your comment.

      Getting a SSN is the easy part. Just follow the steps.

      The hard part will be to demonstrate that you have the right to have access to healthcare here.

      And it’s very logical: if you pay social security taxes here, you are entitled to social security services.

      Your wife also will be entitled to social security services if you pay taxes here.

      If it’s not your case, then Sanitas have 80 € / month coverage which is very good value for the price tag.

      I recommend therefore you go to ” La tesorería de la seguridad social” (as indicated above) and ask all your questions to confirm everything.

      If you liked what you read, and appreciated the time I took to help you, please take 30 seconds and review Moving2Madrid on google here:

      All the best,

      • I know this comment is from a while ago, but if anybody has the same issue, YES you can get your SSN just with the NIE number and some sort of stamped form to show that you have applied for your card.

        I went to get my SSN today, and wasn’t sure if I would be able to with an expired NIE but this wasn’t a problem. I followed Pierre’s steps today and all went well – it is one of the few bureaucratic processes in Spain which is actually very easy :P

  • Hi, would just like ask if you know the process of getting my social security number if i misplaced this? Last year, I obtained my social security number and have failed to have a photocopy made. Do I have to fill up the form again? Thanks

  • Hi Pierre,

    First of all, congratulations on your blog, it has helped me a couple of times.

    I have a question,
    Is it necessary to have you NIE in order to get your Social Security Number?
    I mean, can we do it just with our passport our identity card ( from our country ).

    Thank you so much,


  • Thank you Pierre,

    I am about to relocate to Madrid and I didn’t know where to start… Very nice of you!
    I’m going to Madrid in a week to try and get it.


  • Hola Pierre,

    I have gone through your site (moving2madrid), it is extremely useful and very well written. Thanks so much for all the clear and detailed steps.

    I have one question regarding Social Security Number. I already have Social Security Number which i got in Zaragoza (Student card) three years ago but recently I moved to Madrid (work permit). Do I need to apply for security number again in Madrid? or can i use the same number to proceed further to apply for “El Pardon” and then “Tarjeta Sanitaria”?

    Please let me know this information.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Social security numbers are valid for life and everywhere in Spain, in most cases.
      It’s like an ID number. It doesn’t mean though you have automatic rights to social security services.

      Use the same number then for your future redtape !

  • Hi! I would like to ask if I must have that social security number. I am a EU citizen and I have been living in Spain for 2 months. I am looking for a job. I have the EUropean health insurance card.

    • Hi Natalie,
      You can live in Spain as EU Citizen and receive health support. However the social security for foreigners NIE, will grant you access to 20+ services that require you to have this unique number. As it costs 11€ and takes you 1hour we strongly suggest you to get it

  • Hi, I will be a postdoc working in UAM, i want to know whether my wife and my child(they cannot work) need an SSN. Thanks!

    • Hi Ning,

      Thanks for getting in touch and congrats on the job :)
      Your wife and child will both need a social security number to be able to access the Public Health System. It’s recommended that they both have one, even if they’re not going to be working. It’s a fairly straightforward process, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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