At Work in Madrid

Social Security in Madrid

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Número de la Seguridad Social (Social Security Number) is a unique and personal reference number that gives you access to social welfare benefits, public services and information.

Foreign citizens with residence and work permits in Spain who work as employees in industry or services and carry out this work in Spain are included in the General Regime.

All foreign employees working for Spanish companies and self-employed foreigners in Spain must usually contribute to Spanish social security.

Generally if you're an employee in Spain, you will be insured under Spanish social security legislation and won't have any liability for social security contributions in your home country or country of domicile. However, social security agreements exist between Spain and over 40 countries, including all EU countries and the USA, whereby expatriates may remain members of their home country's social security scheme for a limited period.

EU nationals transferred to Spain by an employer in their home country can continue to pay social security abroad for one year (form E-101 is required), which can be extended for another year in unforeseen circumstances (then form E-102 will be needed). However, after working in Spain for two years, EU nationals must contribute to the Spanish social security system.

You cannot apply for a "Social Security Number" before you land in Spain. You must be settled in the country in order to apply for it.
For all relevant questions, have a look at

Registration in Spain

The Social Insurance Fund is made up of a current account and an investment account managed by the Ministry of Work and Social Security.

If you're working in Spain, your employer will usually complete the necessary formalities to ensure that you're covered by social security. If he/she doesn't do it, you must obtain an attestation that you're employed in Spain and register at any social security office.

You might be asked to bring your passport and (certified) birth certificate, as well as a marriage certificate (if applicable). You may also need to provide copies with official translations, as well as proof of residence, such as a property deed of sale or a rental contract.

After you have registered, you will receive a registration card (cartilla de la seguridad social or tarjeta sanitaria), usually by post around four to eight weeks later.

A married couple with one partner working, they are both covered by the same social security card and number, as they are considered dependants. The same situation applies for children under 16, who will be listed on your social security card.

Full list of what you need to apply for Social Security in Spain

Social Insurance Classes and Contributions in Spain

Social insurance contributions are divided into different categories, known as classes or rates of contribution. The class and rate of contribution you pay is determined by the nature of your work.
The different affiliation agreements are:

  • General Regulation
  • Special agreement for workers who reduce their working day to care for a minor, a disabled person or a family member
  • Special agreement of workers with part time contracts
  • Special agreement for recipients of the unemployment subsidy for workers over 52 years of age
  • Special agreement during the situation of special contributor status as a result of legal strike or employers lockout
  • Special agreement for workers who cease providing services or performing activities
  • Special Agreement for non-professional carers of dependent people, R.D. 615/2007

Depending on your affiliation and contribution you will be entitled to pay more or less taxes to the Ministry.

To check the Social Security special agreement visit the Special cases link

Where to apply:
Ministry of work and social security
Paseo de la Castellana, 63
28071, Madrid

Calle Agustín de Betancourt, 4.
28071, Madrid

Tel: (+34) 91 363 00 00 (All services)

Update 8/06/2018


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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).