Inspiring Approaches

BarcelonaDocumento de vecindad (neighbourhood document) – strengthening residence security

What is inspiring?

Since 2017, the “documento de vecindad” (neighbourhood document) issued by the city council can help people without documented residence status in Barcelona. Application requires that the applicant is living in an ‘irregular’ situation, is at least 18 years old, can prove to have been living in Spain for at least 12 months and is registered (“empadronamiento”) with the municipality of Barcelona without interruption before the application is made.


How does it operate?

The neighbourhood document is valid for one year. It can be used as evidence in cases of detention and deportation and can be taken into consideration by judges and courts making decisions on such matters. The city certifies the document, which is evidence of the holder’s residence in the city. In contrast to the New York City ID, which allows holders to access public social and cultural services, the “documento de vecindad” is primarily used to prove residence in Spain for at least 12 months, which is the minimum length of time that Spanish law requires to regularise one’s legal status. The document isn’t, however, legally binding, so whether immigration authorities accept it or not remains a matter of discretion.

What is the outcome?

The consequences of the “documento de vecindad” are undoubtedly positive from a political and symbolic point of view. Barcelona’s neighbourhood document can be considered to be one of the first proper protection measures in Europe drawing inspiration from the US Sanctuary City model.

All inspiring approaches