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How can I get a social security number in Spain?


If you want to start working in Spain, benefit from public health or collect unemployment (in addition to many other advantages), you need to obtain a Social Security number. In this article you will discover how to do it step by step, why doing it will become one of the most important procedures you will do in Spain, and everything else you need to take into account.


What is the Social Security number?

The Social Security number is the number that any person, including foreigners and Spanish nationals must obtain when they start working in Spain, and that links and identifies them with the Social Security for all related procedures with this institution.


To carry out any work activity, it is obligatory to have the Social Security number, which allows this institution to identify you correctly. In other words, if you plan to work in the country (either for a company, as a freelancer or as an internship student), your work permit, NIE or passport will not be enough.


This, in turn, will allow you to enjoy many advantages.


For example, you can benefit from healthcare in Spain, receive unemployment or disability benefits, receive a pension in the country, and many other things that are related to your monthly contributions when working legally in the country.


Therefore, this number is the second most important in Spain, after your NIE or DNI.


Keep in mind that you can also find it referenced as "Social Security Affiliation number" or "SSN".


Who can request it?


Normally, and as long as you do not yet have this number, it will be the company that hires you that requests it on your behalf after signing the employment contract.


If that's the case, good news: you won't have to do anything, as the company is required by law to do it for you, and it will take care of the entire process.


But, what happens if you plan to start working as a freelancer?

If that is the case, and since there is no company that hires you, you will be the one who must initiate and complete the entire application process.


In the following section you will find all the necessary steps to do it successfully.


How to get the Social Security number


Currently, there are 2 how you can apply and get your Social Security number: online or visiting social security office in person.

Although I suggest that you opt for the first route (since it is much more comfortable), below we will detail how both options work, but you need to have a digital certificate for doing it or ask an adviser to help you with.


Request it online


The fastest and easiest way to obtain the number is to do it online through the Social Security website.

Before you start, make sure you have a digital certificate or cl@ve, to be able to sign any online document that is required. Find out more about how to obtain your digital certificate. The process is quite simple and straightforward. First, you will need to download and fill out the TA-1 form. You can download it here.


Make sure to fill it all in capital letters, something that you will find at the beginning of the document, where all the instructions are established to complete it correctly.


If you do not have a digital certificate, you can submit the duly completed TA-1 form through this link. In this case, the system will ask you to scan and upload your NIE. If you DO have a digital certificate, you can use this link (in Spanish)


In addition, you need also submit the following documents along with the TA-1 form:

Your ID or passport

Your TIE or physical residence card on which your NIE number appears

Your registration certificate (volante o certificado de empadronamiento, in other words - padron) 

Employment, Commercial (in case of being a freelancer, or autonomo in Spanish) or internship contract

And that's it! You would get your Social Security number in just 24 hours.


Get Social Security Number in person

If you still want to do things the old fashioned way, it's totally possible to get this number in person as well.

How does the process work in this case?

In this case you need to request an appointment (una cita) for a Social Security office.

If you are a foreigner, keep in mind that most likely no workers there speak English, so it is usually better to bring someone who can act as a translator, as well as make sure you have all the documents prepared and filled out prior to the visit.

You must present exactly the same documents that we have seen in the previous section (TA-1 form, DNI/NIE and scanned copy, residence card, certificado o volante de empadronamiento or in other words padrón), and your Social Security number will be issued at that very moment.


Keep in mind that once you get it, this number will be with you forever. It does not expire and you will always have the same number, which will accompany you throughout your life.

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