There is a bit of a kerfuffle going on at the moment about banks freezing English peoples bank accounts. It’s always English, for some reason.
I’ve been looking into this, and had a chat with Matteo from Cajamar, among others. Here’s the story:
The Banco de Espana and the tax office have decided upon a crack down on non resident bank accounts (cuentas bancarias de no residentes). This is to prevent a) money laundering and b) to weed out people living in Spain but who are committing tax evasion by not registering as resident in Spain, a legal requirement if you spend more then 6 months of the year here, and c) find illegal immigrants. The law was passed towards the end of 2007 and is now being implemented.
This especially seems to be affecting the Brits in the area because in the “olden days” the bank would just open you up a non resident bank account if you hadn’t yet received your Residencia. You were supposed to come back and switch it over once you had your NIE number, but of course so many people didn’t.
If you want to continue having a non resident bank account you are required to register as a “non resident” with the national police. In our case that means going to the National Police station in Almeria and presenting them with a certificate of residency in another country (such as your last tax return in the UK). They then give you a sheet of paper you present to your bank. If you are abroad then you need to send the paperwork to the local Spanish Consulate who will issue the form and inform your bank.
However, you are required to renew this every two years to maintain your Spanish non resident bank accounts.
If you are resident here (have a NIE) you need to change your account to a resident bank account. This is a simple process of swapping over your account.
The problem is that some banks (Cajamar seems to be one of the worst, from comments I’ve heard) aren’t telling people that they need to present the certificate of non residency. Instead, they are freezing the accounts without informing you – which can cause a whole load of problems with utilities, etc.
If you have a non resident account, either switch it over if you live here or talk to your bank.
I’m not going to translate it or even read it properly, but I’m told the full law is here: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2007/09/05/pdfs/A36512-36594.pdf