VISAS (also for individuals)

 Information on Spain - obtaining your residence permit

Once you have lived in Spain for more than six months, you are no longer considered a tourist and should apply for a residence permit. Fortunately, the revised foreigner´s law, which went into effect on 1 March 2003, makes it easier for European Union citizens to apply for residence; also, those EU citizens who are working in Spain, do not need to renew their permits.

The normal residence permit is renewed once every five years and renewal is usually a fairly straightforward matter.

Normally, you apply for your residence card at your local police station or oficina de extranjeros. As laws constantly change and vary slightly from region to region, it is best to pop along first and find out exactly what will be required.

How long can you expect to wait before receiving your card? This also varies, but you are talking of about six months. However, you are given a document showing you have applied for residencia, and this can be used in place of the residence permit.

Information on spain - eu citizens

Since 1 March 2003, two groups of EU citizens no longer need to hold residence cards: people legally working in Spain and paying Spanish Social Security; also, retired workers entitled to a Spanish State pension who have lived in Spain for more than three years and have worked in the 12 months prior to retirement.

Everybody else should apply for residencia.

EU citizens no longer need to show proof of income or medical insurance. However, they will need to present:

    completed application form
    four photographs
    passport plus photocopy

Information on Spain - non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens will need:

    the visa or visado de residencia obtained from the Spanish consulate in your home country;
    proof of financial means;
    certificado de antecedentes penales showing you have no criminal record;
    medical certificate - necessary for obtaining the visa;
    consular inscription;
    medical insurance with a company which has offices in Spain;
    passport plus photocopy;
    three passport-size photos;
    payment of fee (not high);
    Spanish bank statement showing income arriving from abroad;
    deeds to Spanish property or a rental contract, plus photocopy;
    completed application form.

 

Do you need a work visa for Spain?

If you’re from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can live and work in Spain without restriction, with the exception of Croatians who will need a permit until 30 June 2020.
Most non-EU citizens will need a work permit to live and work in Spain although there are some exceptions, such as academics or scientists working on specific projects, or close relatives who are joining family members who have been working in Spain for a year or more.

Working in Spain as an employee

In most cases, you’ll need to get a work permit if you are hired as an employee in Spain; see below for exceptions to this rule. Before you can get a work permit, you must first get a job.
After you have secured a job, your employer must request authorisation – a work permit – for you to legally work in Spain.   Once authorisation to work has been granted, which will be combined with your residence permit, you can apply for a visa.
Your employer will submit an application for a work permit to the provincial office of the Ministry of Labour (Delegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración) on your behalf. While this is being processed, you’ll be sent a copy of the application with the stamp from that office and file number. You can send it onto the Spanish embassy or consulate as part of your application for a work and residence visa. The embassy will inform the regional labour office that it has your application and the labour office will start to process your application. It can take up to eight months to process a work permit application, so plan well ahead. Once the labour office has approved the work permit, the embassy or consulate will issue your work and residence visa.
The work permit is valid for one year and is renewable as long as you still fulfil the conditions.
Permits are granted for specific sectors so it’s usually possible to change jobs as long as you’ll be working in the same field. ).

Exemptions for employee work permits in Spain

Some people don’t need a work permit to undertake employment in Spain, however, they may still need to apply for a visa or residence permit to come to Spain. These include university professors, technicians and scientists, those invited to Spain to develop scientific or cultural programmes, foreign journalists, artists coming for specific performances, clergy and internationally recognised trade union officials.
There are no visa or work permit restrictions if you want to come to Spain to carry out voluntary work.

Employed as a seasonal worker in Spain

To work in seasonal employment in Spain, you’ll need to obtain a work permit and visa in the same way as other workers. However, in addition, you’ll need to show that:

  • you have suitable accommodation,
  • your travel costs are covered, and
  • you will return to your home country after the seasonal contract ends.

The permit lasts as long as the duration of the contract.

Employed as an au pair in Spain

You must apply for an entry visa (if necessary) and get the special residence permit for au pairs from the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country before coming to Spain.

You must also fulfil certain conditions, for example, you must:

  • be between 17 and 30,
  • possess an au pair agreement between you and the host family setting out details of the work and financial recompense, and
  • have proof that you can support yourself as well as medical cover.

The year-long permit may be renewed.

EU Blue Card: Work permit for highly qualified workers in Spain

If you have a higher education qualification that took at least three years to complete (for example, a bachelor’s degree) which allows you to work at a high level in a professional capacity, or have a minimum of five years’ professional experience at the same level, then you can apply for an EU Blue Card. You also have to have a work contract or legally binding job offer. The job must have a salary of at least 1.5 times (or 1.2 times for jobs that are in particular demand) the average wage in Spain.

The employer submits the application on your behalf along with documentation about the job, evidence (where appropriate) that no Spaniard or EU citizen was available to fill the position, as well as information about your qualifications and passport/ID and health insurance.

Once the EU Blue Card work/residence permit is granted, you must apply to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country for a visa. You’ll need your passport, medical certificate, no criminal record certificate and a copy of the job contract. When you have the visa, you have three months to come to Spain.
The Blue Card is valid for a year and is renewable for as long as you still meet the conditions.
Once you have an EU Blue Card, you can travel to other EU states for up to three months within a six-month period. After 18 months, you can move to another EU state but you will have to apply for an EU Card in that country.
If you have held a Blue Card issued by another EU member state for 18 months, you have the right to move to Spain and apply for a Spanish EU Blue Card. You or your employer can apply either before you arrive in Spain or within a month of entering the country.

Self-employed and freelance workers in Spain

If you want to come to Spain and work independently, you have to apply for a work permit from the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. You’ll have to provide certain documents, which may include the following:

  • a business plan (if appropriate);
  • evidence that you have the appropriate finances to invest in it or support yourself;
  • proof that you have the skills or experience to do the work;
  • any contracts or commissions from companies;
  • any licences or registrations required to carry out the work in Spain;
  • information about potential to create employment in Spain.

Work permits, which may be limited to specific activities and locations, are valid for a year and are renewable if you still fulfil the conditions. After five years you can apply for long-term residence (see link to Staying on in Spain).

Students working in Spain

If you have a student residence card, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week for the duration of your study in Spain as long as it does not interfere with your studies. Your employer must arrange a work permit on your behalf.

Family members – who can work?

Family members can join non-EU relatives who have been living and working in Spain for one year and hold a residence permit for a further year, by applying for a family reunification residence permit. Once approved, family members can work without a work permit.

Non-EU relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can come to Spain without waiting for a year and can also work without a permit. However, if any of these family members wish to stay in Spain on their own separate residence permit and work, their employer will need to apply for a work permit on their behalf. 

Family members of EU Blue Card holders can apply for a temporary residence permit without waiting for a year, as long as the conditions for reunification are met. They can also work without a work permit.

Once you arrive in Spain

Foreigner’s Identity Card (TIE/NIE)
When you arrive in Spain, you must apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card/number (TIE/NIE) through the local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or Police Station within 30 days. The NIE is needed for all financial and administrative procedures in Spain, including opening a bank account, being paid for employment, registering for social services, paying taxes, buying a property and applying for a driver’s licence.

Social security

Everyone working in Spain must register with the Spanish Social Security authorities, the General Social Security Fund (Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social – TGSS). If you are an employee your employer will do this for you; if you are self-employed it is your responsibility. 

General required documents for a Spain Visa Application:

    Firstly, download the application form, fill it completely and with sincerity. You can also fill the Spain Schengen Visa application form electronically and then print a hard-copy.
    2 photos must be attached; the photo should be of passport format – a recent whole-face capture with a light background. Learn more about photo requirements and specifications for a Spanish Visa.
    Your passport and copies of your previous visas – valid for at least 3 months beyond return date – are required. Your passport must have at least two blank pages.
    A copy of your return-ticket reservation. It is not recommended to purchase the ticket before obtaining the visa – if not otherwise required
    Schengen Travel Insurance confirmation of minimum 30,000€ coverage within Spain and the entire Schengen area
    A cover letter stating the purpose of visit to Spain and itinerary
    Hotel and flight ticket reservations (if applicable)
    Proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable)
    Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay (means of subsistence)

Spain Visa for Business Purposes:

  • Invitation letter from the Spanish company you will be visiting and their detailed address accompanied with the dates of your visit
  • A certificate from your employer stating/allowing your business travel
  • If there were previous trade relations between the two companies, proof of such events must be provided
  • Business bank statement of the latest 6 months
  • Memorandum and Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies) Trade License (first issued and present renewal), Proprietorship/Partnership documents
  • Regarding the applicant’s expenses during stay in the Schengen zone, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.

General required documents for a Spain Visa Application:

Firstly, download the application form, fill it completely and with sincerity. You can also fill the Spain Schengen Visa application form electronically and then print a hard-copy.
2 photos must be attached; the photo should be of passport format – a recent whole-face capture with a light background. Learn more about photo requirements and specifications for a Spanish Visa.
Your passport and copies of your previous visas – valid for at least 3 months beyond return date – are required. Your passport must have at least two blank pages.
A copy of your return-ticket reservation. It is not recommended to purchase the ticket before obtaining the visa – if not otherwise required
Schengen Travel Insurance confirmation of minimum 30,000€ coverage within Spain and the entire Schengen area
A cover letter stating the purpose of visit to Spain and itinerary
Hotel and flight ticket reservations (if applicable)
Proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable)
Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay (means of subsistence)

Spanish Tourist Schengen Visa:

  • Invitation letter with the address and phone number from family member or sponsor – if applicable
  • Bank statement of the last 6 months
  • Passport copies
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