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Local Elections in Spain

Election_MG_3455This month Spain goes to the polls for the local elections and you will see a lot of campaigning on the streets, posters, flyers and events to gain support from the town for a particular party.  The date of the election is 24th May and if you are living in Spain and registered on the electoral role and the padron then you’re entitled to vote, even if you’re renting long term.

Local Town Halls are finally realising the importance of the foreign residents’ votes and making it easier for them to vote, as well as offering incentives such as reduced IBI tax for property owners, which you apply for whilst also applying to vote. The Mayor of Marbella wrote a letter to the foreign residents of their district back in April, encouraging them to get involved in the elections. In this letter she also introduced the new mobile app “Marbella vota” where you can find your local polling station and get involved.

If you’re out of the country but would like to cast your vote, you can do so before 14th May in any post office. You may have received an electoral census to your address, but don’t worry if you haven’t you can find your nearest polling station by asking in your Town Hall. Please note that if you plan to vote on 24th May, you must take photo ID.

Costa del Sol long term renters and foreign property owners are an important part of the community and if you work here, use the health system, or schools, then go and have your say on 24th May.

Unfortunately, if you didn’t register on the electoral roll then you won’t be eligible to vote, so you will have to wait until next year. However, check at your Town Hall if you’re not sure, as many official processes obliged you to register, so you may have done it without realising.  

New Foreign Residents’ Office Opens in Marbella

Foreigners OfficeBack in June, we wrote a post about the great services available to foreign residents on the Costa del Sol through the different Town Halls, and the lengths they are going to in order to ensure that we are happy, well-looked after and can get the help we need in our own language.

One of the new services we mentioned then was the opening of a new, dedicated office for foreigners in Marbella and I am pleased to say that it is now open in the area of La Patera – Calle Duque de Lerma 3.

This office has been created by the National Police to improve the quality of services for foreign residents and adapt to the interests and needs of the highly international community in Marbella. The large 180m2 building will make it a lot easier to process documents such as invitation and nationality letters, residence certificates, return authorisations or student cards, amongst others, and will reduce the load on the general police station by giving a dedicated centre for these activities.

Please note that this does not replace the foreign residents’ department office in Glorieta de la Fontanilla, s/n 29602 Marbella (in the tourist office by Da Bruno on the Paseo Maritimo), but is an additional resource for processing documentation.

The Town Hall also have created a useful information hub particularly for foreign residents which you can review here http://www.marbellaexclusive.com/en/international-residents-community.html

In other foreign residents’ news, the Marbella foreigners’ department has been running a campaign to improve the amount of people registered on the Town Hall census (empadronamiento) and is making it even easier to do.

If you’re renting long term in Marbella, we would highly recommend registering on this, as it gives you access to council services such as health care and schooling and you can often get discounts on state services such as sports and language classes. It will also improve your area, as the budgets are allocated depending on how many people live in a certain district, so if you want better roads, services or activities, then registering will help you to get them! Click here for information on how to do it, or contact your local foreigners’ office and they will help you to do it, quickly and easily.

Marbella’s campaign to encourage residents to register

empadronate_ayto-marbellaIf you are living full time in the Marbella district you need to register on the municipal register known as the “padron” in order to show where you live and be able to access services such as healthcare and schooling.

It is really important if you want to see investment in the area you live in, as the number of people registered on the padron is how public funds are allocated to certain areas. The Costa del Sol has suffered for this because there have been such a high number of foreign residents which have not registered and you can see that reflected in the quality of the roads, the schools and the health centres.

Once you have registered you are also able to vote in local or European elections, but you will need to ask for a separate form for this when you are at the office, as you are not automatically added to this list.

It’s easy to register and the Town Halls are really improving the amount of information available to help. There’s a great page on Marbella Exclusive all about registering to live in Marbella and the different ways to do it. There are several offices to register for your padron in the Marbella municipality including in the Plaza de los Naranjos in the Old Town Marbella, Las Chapas, Nueva Andalucia and San Pedro. You need to take your passport, your NIE if you have one, proof of ownership of the property or if you’re renting long term in Marbella a rental contract and in some cases utility bills to prove you live there. Make sure you have copies of all of these and the information for all the people living in the house as everyone will be listed on the padron.

Once you have registered you are on the council’s list, but the physical certificate is only valid for three months, so if you need to register for school for example you will need to go back and request to be issued with another one.

If you have any more questions about renting long term on the Costa del Sol, rental contracts and registration requirements check out our frequently asked questions.