The social security number (numero de seguridad social) in Spain is like the National Insurance number issued in the UK. You must have one to enable you to pay taxes or claim any benefits. There is no cost associated with obtaining this number. Unless, of course, you ask someone to organise it on your behalf.
The social security number (SSN) is linked to all transactions and contributions made within the social security system. It is necessary to have before you can work or become self-employed. It is also needed when using the health care services, unemployment, retirement, maternity, and various other support mechanisms.
Valid throughout Spain
Once you are allocated a social security number, you can then officially register on the system as the number is activated when you begin working. When you have this number, it does not change. You never need to renew it and it is valid throughout the whole of Spain.
There are two ways to apply for your number. Either online, or in-person. The second option is quicker as the number will be issued to you immediately. In this article, we look at attending a social security office in person to obtain your number.
As with all formal applications within Spain, it is necessary to take your original documents with you as well as copies of everything. This will save you having to find a photocopy shop near the Social Security Office.
Documents required will be passport and TIE. See our previous article on how to apply for the TIE as this is necessary for anyone from the UK who wishes to work in Spain.
As with many such matters in Spain, each Social Security office will be slightly different in format and layout. You should attend the one in the area where you live, or where you will be working from. Consult the official website to find out which Social Security offices are available near you. Normally, it is not necessary to make a previous appointment, however it is advisable to check this on the website in advance as some changes may apply due to Covid restrictions.
The TA 1 form
If an appointment is not required, on arrival you will be asked to take a ticket for your turn in the relevant queue. You will be requesting nuevo número de seguro social (a new social security application). You will then be given a form to complete while you are waiting. It is possible to download the TA1 form prior to your visit.
Although the form is in Spanish, it is fairly straight forward. You should fill out the form using capital letters. It asks name, contact details, date of birth and parents’ information, place and date of birth. It then asks you to tick a box for the reason for your application. To gain the social security number, simply put a cross (X) in the box which says “ASIGNACIÓN NÚMERO DE SEGURIDAD SOCIAL” then sign and date.
When your number is shown on the screen, simply go to the relevant desk and hand over the form and your paperwork. The process takes less than 10 minutes usually, and you will leave with your certificate which will have your new social security number on it.