The padrón is a list of all the people who live in a certain city or town. Empadronarse is the act of registering yourself on the list with your local Town Hall (Ayuntamiento). Once you have become a resident in Spain, it is obligatory by Spanish law to register at the Ayuntamiento where you are living.
Once you have become a resident in Spain, you need to register with your local Ayuntamiento. You will need to bring along official identification, such as a passport, and also your NIE or residence certificate/card, a recent utility bill in your name, and the deeds to your house or a copy of your rental contract. They will give you a form there which you will need to fill out. Although you may have to return to collect your certificate, the actual registration is completed on the same day.
When you have registered, this means that you are considered an official resident of the community, which is a necessity for a variety of administrative procedures. For example, you will generally need a volante or certificado de empadronamiento to do the following:
- Enrol your children in local schools
- Voting in local or European elections
- Register your car with Spanish number plates
- Get married
- Apply for a local health card (el carnét para la asistencia sanitaria)
You need to register on the padrón if you wish to vote in local or European elections.