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​Opening a bank account in Spain

If you plan on purchasing property in Spain or simply staying in Spain for a few months, one of the first things you must do is set up a bank account. In order to do this, there are a few requirements you should comply with:

- Applicants must be aged 18 or over.

- Photographic proof of identity (passport or National Identity Card from the country of origin for each of the applicants).

- Proof of occupation or status (payslip, letter from lawyer, pension or disability payment confirmation, student card). This is an extra requirement introduced in 2007 by the Bank of Spain as a measure to combat money-laundering.

- Residents also need to produce their Foreigner Identification Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros or NIE) and certificate.

- Confirmation of address (utility bill, driving licence or council tax bill; proof of address must have been issued within the last 3 months).

- Non-residents need to provide a passport or an identification document valid in their country (such as a passport or ID card). Besides, within 15 days after opening the account, you may be expected to justify your status by providing a "certificado de no residencia" collected at a local police station. In the event that you do become a resident after opening the account, you must notify the bank and give them a copy of your residence card.

Most Spanish banks charge a fee for servicing your account, while others offer fee-free accounts with certain conditions attached. The five big banks across the country are Santander, Banco Popular, BBVA, La Caixa and Sabadell.

Because all utility bills in Spain must be paid by direct debit, it is extremely important to keep your account topped up to avoid fines and threats to cut off the water, gas or electricity supply in your Spanish home.

Spanish banks have different opening times in summer and winter and may not be open on Saturdays. They are normally open weekday mornings until 2pm.

16 Nov 2015

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