If you want to start working in Spain, benefit from the public healthcare system or receive unemployment benefits (as well as many other procedures), you will need to get your Social Security number. In this article, you will find out how to do it step by step, why obtaining it will be one of the most crucial procedures you can carry out in the country, and all the other things you MUST consider.

What is the social security number?


The Social Security number is the number any foreigner (as well as Spanish national) obtains at the very moment she starts to work in Spain, and that links and identifies herself with the Social Security for all related procedures with this institution.

That is, if you plan to work in the country (being for a company, as a self-employed worker or as a student taking an internship), your work permit, NIE or passport won’t be enough.

In order to legally be employed by a company, you must have this Social Security number, allowing the Spanish Social Security to identify you properly.

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

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

Therefore, this number is the second most important number in Spain besides your NIE or Spanish ID number.

Bear in mind that you may also see it referenced as “úmero de Afiliación de la Seguridad Social” or “SSN”. The next thing worth considering is who and how it should be obtained.


Who can apply for it?


This section is of utmost importance.

Usually, and provided that you don’t yet have this number, it will be the company hiring you who will apply for this number on your behalf after you sign the job contract.

If that is the case, good news: you won’t have to do anything, as the company is required by law to do it.

But what happens if you plan to start working as a freelancer or self-employed?

If that is the case, and as there is no company hiring you, you will be the one who must initiate and complete the whole application process.

The next section provides all the steps required for that.


How to obtain the Social Security number


Currently, you have 2 different options to get your social security number: online or in person. Even though we suggest you go for the first path (as it is much more comfortable), next we detail how both options work.

But, before diving into the process, bear in mind that once you obtain it, this number will stay with you forever. It does not expire, and you will always hold the same number.

Apply online


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

Before starting, make sure to have a digital certificate or cl@ve, so that you can sign any online documents required. Learn more about how to obtain your digital certificate here.

The process is quite simple and straightforward.

First, you will have to download and fill out form TA-1. You can download it here.

You can just find this document in Spanish. Also, you must make sure to fill it out just with capital letters, something you will find at the beginning of the document, in which all instructions for a proper completion are set.

  • In case you don’t have a digital certificate, you can submit the TA-1 form properly completed through this link. In this case, the system will require you to scan and upload your NIE.
  • In case you DO have a digital certificate, you must use this submission link.

Apart from that, you must also submit the following documents together with form TA-1:

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


Apply in person


If you still want to do things the old way, it is entirely possible to get this number in person too.

How does the process work in this case?

You must attend your closest Tesorería de la Seguridad Social (find out which is the nearest one here) after making an appointment first (cita previa).

Bear in mind that, most likely, no worker there will speak English, so usually it is better to bring someone who can translate for you and make sure to have all documents ready and fillet out before your appointment.

You must submit the exact same documents we saw in the prior section (TA-1 form, ID and scanned copy, residency card, padrón), and your Social Security number will be issued at that very moment.

Also, some offices may also require you to bring a job contract before issuing the number.


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