In 2012, Spain (in violation of EU law, as far as I know) started requiring EU citizens wishing to establish residency to "produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves."1

What do I need to bring to the table to satisfy their requirements? What kind of evidence are Spanish officials known to accept, or reject, as sufficient proof?

Evidence of health insurance may also be required. How is this handled if you don't yet have health insurance in Spain? Can you get health insurance coverage prior to applying for the residencia?

  • Could somebody add the "Spain" tag? Thx
    – Pekka
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:48
  • This should be several separate questions.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:56
  • 1
    @Flimzy hmm, do you really think so? They basically boil down to the same question: "what do I need to show when applying for residency in Spain?"
    – Pekka
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:57
  • You might try rephrasing it that way, then... as it's written, it is 5 distinct questions :) (Some not really at all related to your core question)
    – Flimzy
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:58
  • I don't know about the details but requiring sufficient financial means is definitely OK under EU law.
    – Gala
    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


I don't know this part of EU law well enough to give a definitive answer regarding its interpretation and application in practice but requiring sufficient resources is definitely allowed.

My reading of the relevant directive and my understanding of the general logic of the system is that non-economically active EU citizens should not be a burden to the host state. The criteria would therefore seem to be that your wealth and/or income are above the threshold to receive welfare benefits in that particular country. Similarly, you could be required to already have health insurance and not to get it in Spain (for example retirees are typically covered by the country they receive a pension from, not by the country they live in).

If that's an option for you at all, a practical solution around this issue could be to get a job (almost any job should do, freedom of movement for workers is very thorough and largely distinct from other provisions) but I imagine it might be especially difficult in Spain at the moment. Establishing yourself as a self-employed service provider could work as well (it will cost you something but it can sometimes be even more open, e.g. for Croatian citizens who are subject to restriction to the freedom of movement for workers in many countries).

If you don't want to work but can't show that your needs are covered, e.g. by the pension and health systems of your country or origin, you might be able to reside somewhere else in the EU but you don't have a right to do so.

This press release from the EU commission provides an overview.

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