Residencia en España

Residing in Spain

Residence in Spain can be temporary or permanent. 

Temporary residence is the situation authorizing a stay in Spain for a period longer than 90 days and shorter than five years. Authorizations for a period not exceeding five years may be renewed regularly.

Long-term residence is the situation authorizing indefinite residence and work in Spain, under the same conditions as Spaniards.

Foreigners who have been temporary residents in Spain for five uninterrupted years and meet the conditions established by regulation shall be entitled to long-term residence. Prior periods of uninterrupted residence in other Member States, as an EU Blue Card holder, shall be counted for the purpose of obtaining long-term residence. Residence shall be considered uninterrupted even if for holidays or other reasons established by regulation the foreigner has left national territory temporarily.

Student Residence Permit
(Empadronamiento: This document will make you a citizen of the city in which you reside.)

NON-EU: This residence permit allows non-EU citizens to study, do an unpaid internship or conduct research in Spain. The student visa is not a regular residence permit, it is just an authorization to live in Spain while study. Because of that, when counting the years needed in order to get the permanent residency or the Spanish nationality, the years lived under the student visa count half.

If the duration of the studies is not more than six months, the visa will be sufficient to document the stay. If the stay is longer than six months, the applicant must apply for Foreigner identity card (TIE) within one month from the entry into Spain. This means that if your academic year lasts more than 6 months, you will be given a residence card. But if it is shorter than that, you will only get a stamp on your passport. Student visa can be requested for 2 years (it was only 1 year before) and if needed it can be renewed.

Before the new immigration law, students were only allowed to stay in Spain until the time of their studies were finished or till the date of the student residence permits (TIE) expired. Possessing a student visa allowed foreign students to legally be in the country for just that period of time. After the new immigration law has been approved, allowing them to stay in Spain for a maximum of 12 months to look for a job or create their own business project.


A student visa application must be made to the consulate or embassy in the country of origin. As a rule, visa applications cannot be made in Spain. However, it is possible to enter Spain with a tourist visa and then apply for a student visa. (it wasn’t possible before?)

Application must be made personally by the person requesting a visa. Fee of a visa is 60 Euros.

Required documents for student visa are; 

·         Copy of the passport

·         Criminal records

·         Medical certificate

·         Acceptance letter from the academic institution

·         Proof of the required fee payment

      ·         Proof that the applicant has sufficient means 


If you are staying in Spain for more than six months to study, you must apply for a student residence permit within 30 days of entering Spain. You apply for it at your local Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station. If the duration less than 180 days, you won’t be able to get a residence card/ tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (TIE) (Foreigner Identity Card) that will allow you to work in Spain.

You’ll need to show the following documents:

·         passport or national ID valid for at least six months;

·         completed application form (available from the office);

·         photocopy of the passport stamp showing your entry into Spain;

·         acceptance documentation from the educational institution confirming the course;

·         three recent passport photos;

·        letter of residency or census registration (empadronamiento), which is merely confirmation that you’re a resident in a particular place in Spain. You can get this from the police station if you present them with your passport, rental contract or utility bill.


Rights of student visa:

The Spanish residence permit entitles to work either part-time or in a temporary position, so long as the student is not using the money earned to support him/herself while the stay in Spain. Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week while studying, as long as it doesn’t interfere the studies. The company who employs the student will need to get a work permit from the Foreigner’s Office. Your employment contract cannot exceed the duration of the study visa.

Students who have completed their studies may obtain permission to stay in Spain for a further 12 months from the end of study as part of a student residence permit to find a work or establish their own business. This procedure may be started 60 days before or 90 days after finishing studies in Spain. Once that year ends, this person will be able to get the work permit.

If you have studied for more than 3 years in Spain, you can switch from a student visa to work permit. For that, you must have a job offer that lasts more than 1 year and consists of a minimum of 30 weekly hours.

EU CITIZENS: EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can study in Spain without a permit. However, in 2012 the Spanish Government introduced new legislation requiring all EU citizens wishing to stay in Spain for longer than three months to prove that they have the sufficient financial means to support themselves and any dependents. They may also be required to provide proof of private or public healthcare insurance.

Under Spanish law any EU citizen intending to stay in Spain for more than three months is obliged to register within three months of arrival in Spain, application for a Residence Certificate must be made at the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence. This document certifies residence in Spain and includes the holders name, address, nationality, and foreigners tax identification number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero – NIE) along with the date of registration. Once issued this certificate is valid indefinitely as long as the applicant’s personal circumstances stated on the application remain the same.

The following documents are required in order to apply for a Residency Certificate:

·         Valid passport or national identity card

·         Photocopies of a valid passport or national identity card

·         Two passport sized photographs (although these may not be required)

·         Proof of address in Spain

·         application form EX18 (Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)

·         Proof that payment has been made (10,50 euro).

·         Proof of valid healthcare insurance

Entrepreneur residence permit 

The entrepreneur visa is a residence permit that allows you to live in Spain during a two-year period provided that you start a project in the country that goes in line with the general interest of the Spanish economy.

In order to be accepted, you must fulfil the following conditions:

·         Valid passport or national identity card

·         Photocopies of a valid passport or national identity card

·         Two passport sized photographs (although these may not be required)

·         Proof of address in Spain

·         application form EX18 (Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)

·         Proof that payment has been made (10,50 euro).

·         Proof of valid healthcare insurance


The process will differ depending on whether you are abroad or legally in Spain:


In this case, you will need to apply for the Spanish entrepreneur visa. It consists of a one-year residency permit.

This distinction is not just important by the fact that with the entrepreneur visa you can just live for one year in Spain (you can extend it afterwards).

File should be submitted to the Economic & Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in the current country.


Whether holding a residency permit (like the entrepreneur visa mentioned before) or a simple tourist visa, you should apply then for a residency authorization. The main difference is that with this option you will be able to live legally in Spain for two years (plus renewals).

In this case, the required documentation must be sent to the Large Business and Strategic Sector Units.


·       Applicants must be from non-European Union countries.

·       The entrepreneur must be over 18 years old (legal age in Spain).

·       Clear criminal records background. That must hold both for Spain and for any other
country during the 5 years prior to the application.

·      The applicant cannot be in an irregular situation in Spain.

·      The one starting the company must have social security (public or private) with full
coverage on the Spanish territory.

·      Having sufficient means for her/his and family (if they apply jointly) is also needed. The required amount is 2.130€ for the main applicant and 532€ for each family member that she is in charge of.


Documents needed: 

·        Application form. (the form differs depending on which of the two paths you follow)

·        Proof of the payment of the corresponding fee.

·        Proof that you meet all the necessary requirements (that you have sufficient economic
means, social security, etc.)

·       Business plan. (which you carefully detail your activity and how it is going to benefit the Spanish
economy. It must be sent to the Commercial Office.)

·      Favourable report. (If the business plan gets approved by the Commercial Office, your project will be considered
as of economical interest for Spain. Then you will have green light to send
that approval document to the corresponding Immigration Office in order to get
your entrepreneur visa.)



·       Theentrepreneur visa operates as a work permit in Spain.

·       There is noupfront investment needed.

·       Even though it is highly valued that your project creates employment in the country, it is
not a strict requirement. This means that the Commercial Office won’t deny your
application if you start by your own (with no other employee).

·        With the entrepreneur visa, you will have free movement inside the countries that form
the Schengen area.

·        No presence needed for the application

·       Joint application. You can apply for your Spanish residence permit as long as the one for your family,
with just one member of the family starting a project.


Permiso de residencia por cuenta ajena (work permit in spain as an employee)

Citizens from a European Union country, from Switzerland, or from a country member of the European Economic Area (EEA) don’t need to apply for a working visa.

In that case, you will just need your identification number (NIE), and to prove that you have sufficient funds and health insurance that offers full coverage in Spain. Which means that this permit is only for non EU citizens.

One of the main requirements to apply for a work permit is to start the procedure from outside the country. This means that you cannot be in Spain to manage all the relevant paperwork once you find a suitable job offer.

But there is an exception. If you have been living in Spain for more than 3 years under an irregular situation, you can get your work permit through the process called arraigo. This is an extraordinary procedure that will allow you to get a residence permit provided that you fulfill certain conditions, which are completely different.

This type of work permit is for those individuals who have already found a suitable job offer in Spain. It is one-year residence authorization that can be renewed if the required conditions are still met during the following year.

There are two main requirements:

·        Applicant can not be inside Spain for the application process.

·        The proposed job must be one of the jobs on the Shortage list.


In order to apply for a work permit in the country you must be in your country of origin. Being in an illegal situation Spain won’t enable you to go through a successful application.

Spanish Government makes it compulsory for companies to hire first Spanish nationals or EU citizens rather than foreigners for certain positions.

You must make sure that the working category you are being offered is on the Shortage Occupation list.

It contains all the job positions which are mainly with more difficult coverage options, as there is a lack of specialized personnel for that sector, for example.

However, there are two conditions what is called a preferantial regime. It means that you can skip the shortage occupation list and start working in positions outside from it.

·       When the specific job position has been offered to Spanish nationals or EU citizens first and none of them has accepted.

·       When you are the children of legal residents in Spain or the spouse of legal residents in the country.


The 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 employee’s behalf.