Year after year, thousands of foreigners from all around the world move to Spain. A varied landscape combined with nice people, plus delicious food and good weather 365 days per year make it the perfect place to start a new life. But just before that can become a reality, one faces the same obstacle that seems to generate many doubts: the need to obtain a residence permit.
So, which is the easiest way to live and work in Spain? How can I get a Spanish residency card?
In this article we will go through all the different residency options you have in the country and we will analyze all the requirements for each permit so you can finally understand what is the best path for you.
How to live and work in Spain?
Which is the easiest way to live in Spain? How can you get a Spanish residency card? In this article we will go through all the different residency options you have in the country and we will analyze all the requirements for each permit so you can find the best path for you.
There are mainly two different ways to classify all the different Spanish residence permits, and depending on which group your chosen residency visa is in, the path to obtain it will drastically change.
First one to consider is our country of origin (EU or not), and second one is the amount of time you are willing to spend in the country.
Types of visas and residency permits
EU citizens that wish to live and work, legally in Spain must apply for what is called “certificado de registro de la Unión Europea“, a permanent residence permit that does not expire. In order to obtain this permit, you, as an EU citizen, must demonstrate the possession of approx. 6.000€ in a bank account, and a private medical insurance. Alternatively, you get a job in Spain and the salary would work as proof of possessing sufficient economic means and health insurance.
Tourist visa VS. Residence permit
The so called short-stay visa /Schengen visa /Tourist visa, allows you to stay from 90 to 180 days in the country, without the legal capacity to work.
The long-term residency – if you intend to live in Spain for over 6 months, or plan to work in the country, then you must apply for a regular residence permit.
Non EU Citizens
For Non EU citizens, there are different paths available in order to obtain legal residency in Spain.
Applying for residency is not complicated, but rather a mechanic and straightforward process.
You just need to understand which are all the available options, the requirements for each, and understand which one is the best option for you and your family. If you meet all the requirements, the residency card will be yours.
1. Student visa
This type of residency was created for those who are interested in studying or conducting research in Spain. In that sense, you can apply for the student visa for an undergraduate course, Master’s, Ph.D., and other short-term courses (as long as they are held in valid institutions). For the Student card application procedure, you will mainly need to provide your criminal record, a bank statement with a minimum of 10.000€, and proof that you have enrolled in a course that takes, minimum, 20 hours per week for one year.
2. Business residency
If you are willing to start a business in the country and obtain the Spanish residency while doing so, you have two different options:
In the case that your business idea is innovative and involves a high technological component in its operations, you can apply for the entrepreneur visa. Bear in mind that, to get the permit under this visa, you will need a pre-approval from the ministry of economy, and they are really strict and selective with the selected projects. That is why carefully working on your business plan will be essential.
If your project is not that innovative, you could also apply for a regular self-employed work permit, this time in your country of origin (at the Spanish Embassy). Although under this option submitting a business plan is also required, the institution in charge of approving it is not as rigid as in the prior case.
3. Non-lucrative residency visa
If you want to start living in Spain without conducting any kind of economic or professional activity, this card is for you. The non-lucrative visa will allow you to live in Spain for a period of 1 year from the moment it is granted, renewable as long as you still meet the initial requirements.
4. Work permit as an employee of a Spanish company
In case you want to find a job and work for a Spanish company, then, the work permit as an employee (“por cuenta ajena” in Spanish), will be the right option. But you can do it under two different paths:
Highly qualified professionals: The 14/2013 law states that those receiving a job offer in a highly qualified position can get a highly qualified worker visa. The position is a managerial or similar one, and that the salary is higher than 40.000€ per year. In this case you can start the application procedure also while in Spain.
Regular jobs: Those who receive a regular job offer must apply in their home country for a regular work permit. This option is really difficult to complete, as the specific job position you are applying to must be inside a shortage list that respects the national situation of unemployment in the country. So not all jobs will be valid or easy to get. The main requirement is to first find a company willing to hire you, and it will be your new employer the one starting all the paperwork with an immigration lawyer.
5. Golden visa
Due to the low requirements that characterize this permit, the Golden Visa is one of the most demanded residency cards in Spain. We are talking about a permanent residency visa, issued to individuals who invest in the country. That investment is usually undertaken through the purchasing of a property. The permit will be given to those non-EU citizens who invest at least 500.000€ in Spanish real estate, by possessing 1M€ in shares of a Spanish company, or public debt worth at least 2M€.
6. Family member of an EU citizen visa
If, you are the relative of a European Union citizen, then getting a residence and work authorization in Spain is easier than what you may think. You can get your residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen, just because of your kinship relationship. That is why many individuals from outside the EU who have a partner who is an EU national constitute marriage or civil partnership (“pareja de hecho”); as they will become eligible to this procedure as now relatives of an EU citizen. This is one of the most beneficial Spanish residencies, as it is granted for 5 years.
7. Family reunification visa
For all those foreigners who have obtained their residency in Spain, have stayed for a minimum of 1 year, and have sufficient economic means, can proceed to the family reunion process, and bring their relatives to the country. This applies to their spouse or fiancé, children, and parents (even though the extended family reunification, which applies to other relatives, could also be an option if certain conditions are met).
8. The arraigo procedure
For people falling into an irregular situation and have spent minimum 3 years in Spain, there is also the alternative of the arraigo procedure, many used for hundreds of foreigners who can’t find an adequate path with the beforementioned options. You can apply for what we call arraigo social or social roots after 3 years in Spain, either because you count with a job offer or economic means to support yourself. Other types of “arraigo” like “laboral” or “family” are also contemplated, depending on each person’s situation.
9. EU blue card
Finally, there is the case of the EU blue card, similar to the highly qualified professional in terms of requirements, but with the main difference that it allows you to work in any European Union country.
10. Research residency
If you want to carry out research activities in Spain in any university or company (public or private) the residence permit for researchers will be your right choice. It is a 2 year residency that will allow you to include your family too.
Those are the main ways to get a Residency in Spain. Still, there are more than 130 different procedures in Immigration, so our Experts can always find the most suitable way to help you find yours.
Start your residence permit application now
Now you know exactly how to get your residence visa or permit in order to start your new life in Spain, so feel free to Contact us, our Immigration lawyers are happy to help you.