In the event that you would like to live in Europe for an extended period of time and do not want to depend on tourist visas, you may consider applying for a residence permit in one of the European countries. This procedure in Spain is relatively easy, since the current immigration legislation in Spain is much more loyal to applicants than in other European countries. The most popular and easiest ways to become a Spanish resident are: prove that you have enough financial means to maintain your living in Spain for a year, or buy a property worth 500,000 Euros or more. In the first case, you get a non-lucrative residency permit and in the second case, the so-called investor’s visa gives its owner the possibility to obtain a working permit. The preparation of all necessary documents takes an average of 2-3 weeks. The whole process can usually be finished in 3 months.
You can contact us per e-mail or via telephone and we’ll consult you about the possibilities of getting residence permits for you and your family, as well as on the peculiarities of the Spanish taxation system, immigration laws, and choosing a suitable school for your children.
This type of residence excludes a working permit and allows a foreigner to live in Spain without performing any business or working activity. Under this visa, it’s not necessary to buy a house in Spain, you can rent a property and live on the income you get from the business you have in your native country: income from rent, etc. One of the most important things to take into account when applying for this type of residence, is to establish if you can provide enough money to support yourself and your family (in the case they also apply with you) for a year, at a rate of 2,130 Euros per month for the applicant, and 532 Euros per person and month for each family member. In this case, you’ll have to provide the necessary documentation proving your solvency. For this residence permit you need to apply in your native country or in your current country of residence. If you receive an approval from the Embassy, you have 3 months to enter Spain. Once there, you have a period of 1 month to obtain a resident card at your local police department. After a year, you can apply for a 2-year extension.
The Investor’s visa gives its owner the right to reside in Spain when buying a property of 500.000 Euros or more, or investing in Spanish economy. The Law of Entrepreneurs 14/2013, from the 27th of September, defines and regulates this new type of visa that is issued for a year. Owners of this visa may travel around all Shengen countries, and the investor’s closest family members (spouse and children till 18 years old) may also apply for this visa. The visa gives its owner the right to apply for a two-year working permit, which can always be prolonged so long as the property is still in your possession. The process of obtaining an investors visa is rather quick, and the visa gives its owner a wider range of rights than the more common non-lucrative residence permission.
The above mentioned law also provides this type of visa to those who invest in Spanish stocks – here the sum of investment needs to be a minimum of 1,000,000 Euros or in Spanish government debt at least 2.000.000 Euros. Investment projects are especially valuable if they create working places on the Spanish market or contribute to the economical development of Spain.
There are two ways of obtaining this status:
1. Work permit is requested by a foreigner who moves to Spain when hired as an employee. In this case, your employer must request a work permit authorization in Spain for you to legally work and reside in Spain. It’s important that the job requested is listed as a Shortage Occupation or that the vacancy has been advertised and there are no other suitable candidates from Spain or the EU. On the other hand, the applicant needs to provide necessary documentation proving his qualification for the job in question. The employer needs to submit an application for a work permit to the local office of the Ministry of Labour on your behalf, 3 months before the estimated start date of the contract. If the Spanish side gives them a positive answer, you’ll have 1 month from the day of approval to apply for a Spanish working visa from your country of residence and present all relevant documentation, including the work contract approved by the Spanish Migration Service. Once in Spain, you have 1 month to sign in at Spanish Social Security and obtain NIE (foreigner identification number). This visa can be prolonged.
Considering the current situation of Spain’s economy, it’s very difficult to obtain this type of work permit. This route is usually used by large companies who have quotes for employing foreign specialists, also for people with rare specific professions or for some sportsmen, scientists, musicians and artists.
2. Another way to obtain a work permit in Spain is by changing a student visa status after 3 years of studying at a Spanish University. In this situation, the applicant must study for 3 consequent years (on their own financial means, no grants) and successfully finish the course. Another condition is to have a work contract that is your motive for changing the status. When applying, your employer or you, with their written permission, must provide the Department of Business and Employment in the respective region with all documentation including a work contract for at least 1 year. The first work permit is issued for a year, and can then be prolonged twice for 2 years and after 5 years you can apply for a permanent residence in Spain. Family members can join non-EU relatives who have been working in Spain for one year by applying for a family reunification residence permit, when the presented documentation is correct.
To prolong a working visa it is necessary to have worked at least 6 months a year on a full day basis. After you’ve been approved for a work permit – you have 1 month to go to the local Police Office and receive a resident’s card.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to start their own business in Spain is quite complicated. It is necessary to prepare a business plan that contains the description of business activities, the amount of investment, the estimated income and the number of jobs created. For the realization of the project, the individual entrepreneur must be an adult and have sufficient professional qualifications or experience in this area, as well as a sufficient number of personal funds or financial credit organizations to invest in the project. The future entrepreneur submits all documents to the Spanish consulate in their country of residence. Business projects involving the creation of a large number of jobs have a better chance of acceptance. The applicant may also apply for a residence permit for his family (Reagrupación Familiar) always when all requirements are fulfilled and applicant proves necessary funds to provide for his living in Spain. The full package of documents is transmitted to the Spanish consulate. The applicant will be informed through the consulate of the decision from the Spanish side. Within 1 month from the date of notification of a positive decision, the applicant must request a work visa for entry into Spain, usually the first visa is issued for 3 months and during this period the applicant must register with the Public Service Social Security (Seguridad Social) and within a month after receiving a social security number he has to issue a residency card, which will allow him to live and conduct private business, along with the members of his family who have entered the territory of Spain.
The initial residence permit for conducting business in Spain is valid for 1 year with the possibility of extension. One of the main conditions for extending the permit is to confirm the success of the business with provision of the company’s tax documents.
Just as in the case of a work permit, a residence permit with the right to live and conduct private business in Spain can be obtained through the modification of student visa, upon the completion of 3 years of studying in a Spanish school. To do this, you must study for 3 years without a break in personal funding, i.e., not be the recipient of a scholarship, and successfully complete the course. Next step is to submit an application for a change of status along with their business plan to the local Department of Business and Employment. The members of the applicant's family, who are in Spain as close relatives of the student, are also eligible to receive residence as a reunited family (Reagrupación Familiar) upon compliance with all rules and completion of necessary documents. Within 1 month after the notification of a positive decision, you must contact your district police department (Comisaría de Policía) to obtain your resident registration card.
We should note that the private sector in Spain, in particular, has its pros and cons. One of the biggest advantages is the right for non-nationals to open a business by obtaining a residence permit on the basis of ownership of the company's actions, the ability to obtain credit in Spanish banks, and some state benefits, especially when creating jobs in the Spanish labor market. In regards to the ease of bureaucratic procedures, small (supermarkets, bars, restaurants, service companies) and medium-sized businesses (hotels, real estate agencies, construction companies) are considered to be the most attractive. You can register your business as a natural or legal person. One of the most common legal forms is that of a limited liability company, or Sociedad Limitada (SL) in Spanish. In both cases, you will need to register with various state institutions: the tax authorities, social security.
A Student Residence is given to students who are studying at a Spanish educational institution for more than 90 days. In this case, the applicant must meet the following conditions: non EU citizen, not on the list of persons banned from entering the country, have health insurance coverage for the full period of stay in Spain, be enrolled in a course at an educational institution in Spain, as well as have a sufficient amount of funds for tuition and accommodation. When applying as a minor, you must be granted permission by a parent or guardian. If planning to be in the country for more than 6 months, the applicant will need some additional documents. The full set of documents must be turned in to the Spanish consulate by the applicant personally or his representative (parents, guardian, teacher) if under 18 years of age.
The residence permit must cover the entire period of training. If your period of study in Spain exceeds 6 months, you will be issued a temporary student visa, valid for 3 months, which gives you the right to enter the country as a student, with your resident registration card (NIE) already in place. Within 1 month from the date of entry into Spain, you will need to contact your district police department (Comisaría de Policía) for the registration of an alien identification number. As part of the applicant's residency, they are allowed to receive family members including spouse, minor children and disabled children, upon the completion of the required documents, valid for the same period of the residence as the applicant.
An application for the extension of the student's residence permit, and that of his family members, if any, must be turned in 2 months prior to the expiration of the residence. The basic condition for the extension of student status is a confirmation of the successful completion of the previous course, and enrollment in a new one. The full package of documents should be turned in to the city Immigration Office (Oficina de Extranjería).
In regards to employment, student status does not allow for work in Spain or the EU, with the exception of unpaid or paid internships, designed as a special agreement between the educational center and place of employment. It is also possible to work part-time or as an individual entrepreneur, provided that the working hours do not coincide with the educational training and the learning process is not disrupted.