A new card for expats is being issued by the government to replace green EU residents' certificate.
National police explain that it will be smaller in size - measuring 8.6cm by 5.4 cm - and has been designed to be portable.
However the initiative falls short of providing photographic ID which would enable expats to leave their passports at home when they need proof of identity.
The National Police say that the Spanish authorities are not allowed to issue ID cards to EU nationals.
They would be breaking the directive governing the free movement of EU residents within Europe. According to this directive, EU residents do not have to apply for a residence license and therefore the former residence card had to be replaced with the certificate.
The smaller certificate is currently being piloted in the region of Castilla y León. It will be introduced progressively in all other regions.
Apart form the painstaking process of obtaining one, the photo ID card was perfect. Pam and I still have ours and even though they have expired, shops, hotels etc will accept them.
The last thing we want to carry around with us is our passports. Apart from the fact that they are too important a document to loose, the replacement costs are unbelievable.