How to obtain your Spanish social security number in 2019

This article tells you how to get a Spanish social security number in 2019 (the process has recently changed), and gives you tips to help you complete the form even if you don’t speak Spanish.

Spanish social security number

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


There are two ways to get a Spanish social security number: either in person or online. If you speak Spanish,  have a Spanish NIE and a digital certificate, you can click here to apply online. Click on the the symbol in the upper right hand corner that says “Tu Seguridad Social” and follow the instructions. The social security agency has also developed an app, which you can download here.

If you don’t speak Spanish and have a NIE, we recommend you go in person to get your Spanish social security number. As the Spanish Government is shockingly efficient when it comes to getting money, the process if very straightforward and usually quite quick. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Fill out the Spanish social security number form

You will have to fill the TA-1 form, which you can download here. Here is a little “cheat sheet” you can use if you don’t speak Spanish.

Section 1 of the Spanish social security form

1.1 Last name, first name

1.2 Sex (M for women, H for men). Double check you do this correctly because if you are a native English speaker, it is easy to automatically check M if you are a man.

1.3 Type of ID. Choose Tarjeta de Extranjero if you have a TIE, or Pasaporte if you are using your passport

1.4 The number of the above documents

1.5 Leave this blank and don’t think too deeply about it

1.6 Leave this blank unless you are disabled. If you have a disability, we recommend finding a Spanish gestor and asking them for help.

1.7 Maiden name. You only need to fill this out if you are a European national and are indeed married.

1.8 Address. Type of street (Calle, plaza, etc), name of street, number, municipality (eg: Madrid), province (eg: Madrid)

1.9 Electronic data. Email address, then check the box “sí” if you wish to receive email communication from the social security office. Mobile phone number.

Section 2 of the Spanish social security form

2.1 Reasons for variation in your social security data. Unless you are in a special situation (which you likely are not if you don’t know about it), leave this blank.

Complete the form to your best of your ability, and print another one for your trip to the social security office.

Do you need help filling out your Spanish social security form? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send us an email!

2. Get your papers in order

You will need to bring the following documents with you to the social security office:

  • Spanish social security number application (see above). Print out two copies and bring them both.
  • Your passport and your NIE.

3. Go to the closest Tesorería de la Seguridad Social

You now need to go directly to your closest social security office, or Tesorería de la Seguridad Social. You will find a complete list for Madrid here. It also has a search function where you can find an office that will help you get a security key, if you wish to apply digitally.

If you are in the centre, we recommend the office located at C/ Santa Cruz de Marcenado, 22. We don’t know anyone that has applied at this office who has had to wait more than a half an hour. Take a ticket at the entrance and wait for your number.

Check before arriving at the office that you have all the papers you need, originals and copies. This is important because sometime officials will make you queue again if they don’t want to make a photocopy (even if there is a machine right behind them).

4. Be patient, positive but inquisitive

Now you have everything you need to obtain your Spanish social security number.

Typically, the staff is very helpful. However, someone might be having a bad day, or your very specific case might be a little tricky.  In this case be patient and positive. If anything is wrong or missing, smile and say: “So sorry, I did not know. What do I need to do?” 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. Don’t forget to smile. Most Spanish bureaucrats aren’t used to that reaction and it usually confuses them so much they will go out of their way to help you.

What if I don’t have a Spanish NIE?

If you don’t have a Spanish NIE, you need to get one before applying for a social security number, a health card or basically anything else. Obtaining a Spanish NIE still must be done in person. However, the process changed dramatically in 2018. Most of the information on getting a Spanish NIE that you find on the interent is currently very out of date. To learn the current way to get a NIE, please read How to get your Spanish NIE in 5 easy steps.

The Spanish bureaucracy in 2019

The Spanish Government is making great strides to modernize the bureaucracy. Although this is a very welcome change, people need to note that it is in a moment of great transition. All transactions are moving to a digital format. Some things, like applying for residence permits, have now been completely digitized. Others, like getting a Spanish Spanish social security number, can currently be obtained both in person and electronically. During this period of transition, please remember that things are changing very quickly. It is important to have patience and keep yourself fully informed. Keep checking this blog for the most up to date information available about how to navigate the Spanish bureaucracy.

If you have questions about moving to Madrid, or need help finding an apartment to rent or buy, don’t hesitate to arrange a FREE CONSULTATION.




Posted on 5 January, 2019 by Pierre-Alban Waters in Paperwork, New? Start Here


43 responses to “How to obtain your Spanish social security number in 2019”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Thanks a lot. This was very helpful!

  2. Brian Mosbeux says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Did you try to go to Calle de Montalbán, 6 office for your digital certificate?
    They are open. Normally you need an appointment for that but you should be able to get it anyway if you go early.
    Please do not hesitate to reach us by email if you still need help to get your documentation sorted.
    All the best,

  3. Jonathan says:


    Wondering if anyone can help me / shed some light on this conundrum:

    I’m an Irish (EU) national just moved to Spain & trying to get all my documents in order prior to starting a job at the beginning of September.

    I’ve successfully obtain my NIE and got a bank account opened etc. The only thing left is the social security number (which according to all the online blogs is apparently the easiest part of the process!).

    Unfortunately all the offices in which you can obtain this are closed due to COVID. You also can’t seem to do it online as to start you need a digital certificate (which you need to validate in person in the aforementioned closed offices).

    SW! How does one go about getting this number? Is it perhaps something my employer should be able to obtain on my behalf?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. maryclare says:

    Hi! You don’t need to renew it. The number never changes.

  5. Janet Martin says:

    How do I renew my social security card here in Spain

  6. maryclare says:

    Hi Monika! No idea, actually. If you apply in person it is instantaneous. Given how efficient the Spanish Government is at collecting money, my guess is you will receive it right away. Please let us know your experience so we can share it with others! Thanks and good luck- Mary Clare

  7. Monika says:

    Hello, I have tried to find information about how long it takes to receive the Social security number online, but have found mixed information so I am trying to confirm what is correct. Is the SSN revealed right away if applying online? (after first getting NIE and digital certificate). Or does it take a while to receive? Thanks!

  8. maryclare says:

    Haha! Glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful 🙂

  9. DMich says:

    “1.5 Leave this blank and don’t think too deeply about it”

    Lol, I opened up the form, got to 1.5, thought deeply about it, came back to your page, read that (1.5), and had a good laugh. I’m glad you knew.

  10. maryclare says:

    Hi- You just get a piece of paper with your number. If you are referring to your health card, bring the paper with your SS#, your NIE and a copy of your empadronamiento to the clinic nearest your house. Good luck!

  11. Shay says:


    I have the social security number but how do I get the actual card?


  12. maryclare says:

    Yes, of course that is what I meant to say. In the article, I included a link to the social security site where you could read the instructions and access the system. As mentioned in the article, you also must have a digital certificate. If you have one, go here and you can apply online:

  13. Robin says:

    From the article I thought you could apply online if you have digital certification. I couldn’t find how to do that. Is that what you meant to say or not? Must I download the TA-1 form and go in person? I have an NIE and a residence card. Thanks!

  14. maryclare says:

    You need a NIE. If you have one, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  15. maryclare says:

    Hi- you need the NIE to get a social security number. Once you get your NIE, just bring it and the rest of the documentation to the social security office. They give you a piece of paper right there with your SS number. Good luck! -Mary Clare

  16. niloofar says:

    hi, thank you so much for all the great and useful information. i have a question, I am a student here in Madrid and I want to know if i ca get social securuty number or no. thanks

  17. Florin Mihalcea says:

    Hey Pierre,
    I will come to Madrid for my internship and i have an appointmet with the police station in order to get my NIE. The problem is that i cannot start my internship until i have the NIE and SSN. I was wondering if i can get the SSN even if i dont yet have an NIE or maybe it works with a receipt that shows that i applied for NIE.
    I am very confused because the company told me that getting these is really easy and does not take a lot of time.
    After i apply for SSN will i get it right away or do i have to wait more for it.

  18. maryclare says:

    Pleased you found the article useful!

  19. Tina says:

    Thank you so much for this post, it was very helpful. I went today to one of the 4 locations in Barcelona (arc del teatre 63-65, marie curie 22, rocafort 174, industria 114). It was very simple and they do not require a NIE. They only required 1 copy of the TA-1, copy of my passport (which they verified with my real passport), and a contract letter from my employer. It was a very simple process. Thanks again!

  20. maryclare says:

    I have never heard of them sending someone back! I recommend contacting BSI Relocation services and asking their help: Good luck!

  21. payal says:

    HI, my name is Payal and I need a social security number I am a student here please let me know how do I get it.i went to the social security office and they send me back I don’t know why .

  22. maryclare says:

    Hi Elizabeth . . . sorry for the delayed response. It was slow due to the holidays. Thanks for the heads up- as the Spanish Bureaucracy has become increasingly digitized, they have introduced new forms. Try this:

    I have alos updated the links in the article.

    Best- Mary Clare

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Hello, I tried the link for downloading the TA-1 form but it didn’t work..where can I download it? many thanks

  24. maryclare says:

    Haha! . . . . but seriously, sorry you had to deal with that. At least it’s only every couple years . . . Why did she say it wasn’t the “right” kind of NIE? Curious . . .

  25. Gabrielle says:

    I just my very first “staff with bad attitude” episodes that so many people talk about, when trying to get my Social Security number. In fact the woman was downright rude. Apparently my NIE number wasn’t the right kind of NIE number (and judging by the way she looked at it, also smelled of dog poo).

  26. maryclare says:

    Thanks Morgan. My guess is that the employers with which you spoke don’t realize the law has changed. In my experience, the last people you want to ask about immigration issues are regular Spanish citizens as they’ve nver been through the process before. Let’s take a step back and start with the NIE. Until very recently you did not need an employment contract to get a NIE. However, the rules have changed. Now, if you’re in this country more than three months you do need one. As an EU citizen there are a few documents you can show. One is an employmnet contract or pre-contract. You can also get one by demonstrating you have a monthly income of 600€ or more, 5000€ or more in the bank and private health insurance. Then, once you get your NIE, you bring that to the Tesorería to get your SS number.

  27. Morgan says:

    Thank for a great blog Pierre, it’s been very useful.

    I went to my local Tesorería today with my passport (British) and the person I spoke to there said that I need a contract / pre-contract of employment. However, a couple of employers I am in contact with have said this is wrong and that am entitled to one without employment. (I don’t have a NIE yet either.) What do you think?

  28. maryclare says:

    Hi Marwan! Thank you for the comment. Unfortunately you need to make a property investment of 500k€ or more to get Spanish residence if you purchase an apartment. Here is a link to a recent blog article I just wrote about precisely this topic. I hope you find it useful!

  29. marwan gemayel says:

    hello, i am a lebanese citizen and i want to buy an apartment in madrid. my budget is around 250000 euro for such apartment.can i obtain the residency when i buy such apartment? thanks in advance

  30. Louise says:

    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!

  31. Ning says:

    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!

  32. Ben P says:

    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

  33. Natalie says:

    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.

  34. Naveen says:

    Thanks much Pierre for the expert answer.

  35. 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 !

  36. Naveen says:

    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!

  37. El says:

    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 😛

  38. As I indicate in my post, it’s either passport or NIE.

  39. Mirko G. says:

    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.


  40. Marta says:

    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,


  41. marisol says:

    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

  42. 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,

  43. gaurav says:

    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.

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