ResidentSocial Security


Foreigners who are living and working in Spain must typically register and pay into the Spanish Social Security in exchange for certain Government benefits, including free medical healthcare.


If you are working for an employer in Spain you must be registered with the Spanish Social Security Service, and pay contributions into the Spanish system in order to access its benefits.  As a general rule, you must be employed and be paying contributions in order to be covered for illness, injuries and accidents at work, unemployment, maternity and paternity leave. The overall rate is very high approximately 40% of your salary but your employer pays the majority of this (approx.36% maximum contribution base 3606 euros).

If you are self-employed (autónomo) you must pay Spanish taxes and contributions into a state scheme especially for self-employed, which offers the same benefits apart from unemployment or work-related illness and accidents benefit. You must make your own arrangements for these.

After you’ve paid into the scheme for 15 years, you can benefit from a state pension. If you have paid in to the Spanish Scheme for less than 15 years but can prove you have made contributions in another European Country then you will still be entitled to a small pension in Spain. You can pay more than the basic amount to get a higher pension – or choose private pension funds – or make additional contributions to be covered for accidents or sickness at work.

It is sometimes possible to pay less. For example, if you have not registered as an autónomo in the past five years, you can apply for an 80 percent discount for the first six months, 50 percent discount for the next six months and 30 percent discount for the last three months. Those under 30 can benefit from similar discounts. Women returning after maternity can claim 100 percent discount for 12 months.

Special Agreement for Spanish Healthcare: Convenio Especial

Spanish authorities offer a special agreement pay-in scheme, known as Convenio Especial, available to those who may have issues accessing free Spanish healthcare. It is essentially a public health insurance scheme which provides cover in exchange for a monthly fee that is calculated on a number of factors. The previously announced package consisted of a monthly fee of EUR 60 for those aged 65 or under, while those over 65 must pay EUR 157, although variations may exist between regions. However, prescription costs and health transport services do not form part of the cover, nor health transport. The scheme is currently being rolled out in a number of regions with a view to being available throughout the country, mainly Southern Spain.

Information by E.B.F Consulting S.L.  E.B.F Consulting has been providing tax and accounting services to expatriates in Europe since 1999. Office is based in Lanzarote, Spain.  Visit for more details. Copyright © E.B.F Consulting 2016 All Rights Reserved