- Country Name: Kingdom of Spain
- Capital: Madrid
- Population: 46,439,864 (2015 estimate)
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: CET (UTC +1)
- Dialing Code: +34
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
This FAQ has been created as an introductory guide to immigration procedures for Spain. Since rules and requirements in every country are constantly changing and each case must be assessed on its own merits, for in-depth and up-to-date advice, please contact us.
Please note, we can only advise on matters relating to immigration and are unable support you with employment in a new region. We do however have a network of trusted partners that can support your move, so please visit Our Partners page for further information.
Tourism and construction are two of Spain’s most important industries today.
Spain is the world’s second most popular tourist destination and receives the world’s second largest revenue from tourism.
Construction and home-building, as well as the associated real estate market, have been important economic impetuses for Spain. Construction currently represents over 16% of Spain’s GDP and employs 12% of the Spanish workforce. A large percentage of current construction is dedicated to building holiday homes or second homes for affluent Spanish and foreign buyers.
Spain’s other important industries include manufacturing, clothing and footwear, food and beverages, and medical equipment.
There are three main options for long term assignments in Spain for assignees currently outside the EU:
Entrepreneurs’ Law ICT – applied for in-country or overseas – temporary residence and work permit for employees transferring to a Spanish office. Contract and payroll must remain outside Spain.. The foreign employee must have been employed by the sending company for at least 3 months (with any entity to which the Spanish company is linked by common ownership or service contract)., have a university degree or at least 3 years relevant experience
Entrepreneurs’ Law Highly Qualified Employees – in-country or overseas application for foreign employees with a university degree or relevant experience hired under contract by the Spanish company. The Spanish entity must meet one of a number of criteria including but not limited to number of employees, annual turnover, equity, foreign investment, stock held overseas or operating in an industrial sector considered of interest by the Spanish authorities. Salary thresholds apply and payroll must be in Spain. The position as listed in the employment contract must correspond with a position listed in Spain’s “Catalogo Nacional de Ocupaciones” (CNO) group 1 or 2.
Further criteria exist re creating and maintaining a very significant number of jobs; ensuring the investment has a significant socio-economic impact; or making a significant contribution to technological and/or scientific innovation.
Blue Card (Unidad de Grandes Empresas) – for highly skilled employees with three year graduate diploma or minimum of five years professional experience with a concrete job offer (local hire) from a Spanish company, a contract directly with the Spanish company, and paid at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary. This is an EU-wide with some exceptions) immigration process for highly skilled employees with higher professional qualifications.
For non-EU nationals already working in another EEA member state, there is also the following option:
Van der Elst (Assignment from Within the EEA) – for holders of a current, valid work permit for another EU member country, assigned to Spain short term. The employer must intend for the assignee to return to the country of original EU assignment following the Spanish assignment in order to qualify for this route, and contract and payroll must remain outside Spain.
Processes and requirements will vary according to the labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants – particularly as in some instances the application can be done as either an in-country or consular application. We therefore recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
Please note that Spanish residence permits are processed by the authorities in the area where the assignee will be living and as such processing times and requirements can vary.
The general process involves an application for Residence Authorisation and an entry visa, social security registration, biometrics and residence card application.
Note that some cities may still require migrants to register at the local town hall before applying for their residence card.
Processes and requirements will vary according to the labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We therefore recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal and corporate documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to: passport, CV or degree certificate, police clearance certificate, job description, assignment letter, employment contract, payslips, proof of social security coverage, travel tickets/ boarding passes, plus a number of corporate documents provided by the sending company and the sponsoring company in Spain such as: certificate of VAT number (CIF), Articles of Incorporation, Social Security Registration (Modelo 036), Company profile, Certificate from an independent accountancy firm certifying annual turnover of a certain amount (thresholds apply) and DNI of the Company Signatory.
Processing times will vary according to visa type, nationality and country of application. However an indication of processing times is as follows:
Entrepreneurs’ Law ICT – Typically takes 1 to 5 months until entry to Spain, and a further 3 weeks to 1 month before the whole process is completed.
Entrepreneurs’ Law ICT – Application in Country – Typically takes 1 week to 1 month until entry to Spain, and a further 2 to 4 months before the whole process is completed.
Entrepreneurs’ Law Highly Qualified Employees – Typically takes 1 to 5 months until entry to Spain, and a further 3 weeks to 1 month before the whole process is completed.
Entrepreneurs’ Law Highly Qualified Employees – Application in Country – Typically takes 1 week to 1 month until entry to Spain, and a further 2 to 4 months before the whole process is completed.
Blue Card (Unidad de Grandes Empresas) – Typically takes 2 to 6 months until entry to Spain, and a further 1 to 2 months before the whole process is completed.
Van der Elst (Assignment from Within the EEA) – Typically takes 2 to 6 months until entry to Spain, and a further 1 to 2 months before the whole process is completed.
Entrepreneurs’ Law – The residence card will be in line with the SS certificate of coverage, with a maximum validity of two years and is renewable
Blue Card (Unidad de Grandes Empresas) – Initially valid for up to two years
Van der Elst (Assignment from Within the EEA) – Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero, required only for stays of over six months, is valid for 12 months from the date of entry to Spain and is not renewable
Nationals from specified countries can enter Spain without a visa for tourism and business purposes, for short trips and restricted activities. Other nationals can enter Spain on a business visa, for a short trip, to carry out business activities. Check with Newland Chase before you travel to find out whether you need a work permit to undertake proposed activities.
It is prohibited to carry out any work on a business visa or under the visa-waver agreement for non-EU nationals. Therefore, while there is nothing to stop you from looking for jobs, you would not be able to commence any form of employment until you have acquired the appropriate work authorisation.
An Entrepreneurs’ Law work permit can be applied for in Spain, however the employee cannot start work until social security registration has been completed .
Both Blue Card and Van der Elst must be applied for outside Spain.
Holders of Entrepreneurs’ Law visas who have lived legally in Spain for a continuous five year period can apply for permanent residence.
Those who hold a Blue Card from another EU-member state, and have lived elsewhere in the EU for the same period, this also permits you to long-term residence in Spain once you have lived for two continuous years in Spain.
Requirements and procedures are subject to change, so please consult with your Newland Chase Immigration Advisor for current and detailed information.
The requirements for the entry visa vary greatly depending on the consulate of application and in some cases additional requirements may be requested.
You would be advised to start the visa application process well in advance of the desired date of relocation as the procedure for applying for a Work Permit can be lengthy, especially during the summer when the authorities in Spain tend to be short-staffed and processing times are therefore delayed.