New Regulation For Interns In Spain & Social Security Starting January 2024


The changing labor landscape in Spain is set to incorporate interns into the Social Security system starting in 2024, as part of the Pension Reform Royal Decree Law. Initially scheduled for October 2023, its implementation was postponed, raising expectations and questions about how it will affect interns, especially those from non-EU countries. This article explores the details of this new regulation and provides solutions to address its implications.

From January 1, 2024, all companies must register interns with Social Security, regardless of whether the internships are paid or unpaid. There is uncertainty regarding the application of this regulation to foreign interns, raising crucial questions about the future of Erasmus+ scholarships and the implications for non-EU nationals.

Under the current Royal Decree, effective from January 1, 2024, all non-employment internships, regulated by an internship agreement, must contribute to Social Security. Regardless of the nature of the internships (whether curricular, extracurricular, paid, or unpaid), the application is universal, creating a common framework for both Spanish and foreign interns.

Detailed Scenarios and Solutions:

Spanish National:

  • Obtain a Social Security affiliation number (NAF).
  • Be registered for the entire internship period.

EU National:

  • Obtain a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE), regardless of the duration of the internship or whether it is paid or unpaid, in cash or kind.
  • Obtain a Social Security affiliation number (NAF).
  • Be registered for the entire internship period.

Non-EU National (Internships Longer than 90 Days):

  • The company must request a residency permit for internships.
  • Obtain an internship visa, once the above authorization is granted.
  • The internship visa should include the NIE.
  • Obtain a Social Security affiliation number (NAF).
  • Be registered for the entire internship period.

Non-EU National (Internships Shorter than 90 Days):

  • The greatest uncertainty existed here, as people coming to Spain for less than 90 days need only a Schengen visa, or even belong to a nationality exempt from requesting this type of visa. In either case:
  • Obtain the NIE in the country of origin or residence or in the province where the internships will take place.
  • Provide the passport, NIE, and internship agreement from the educational institution, duly completed and signed by all three parties (educational institution, host company, and intern).
  • It is recommended that if the internship agreement is originally in a language other than Spanish, the company should provide an acceptance letter in Spanish highlighting the conditions of the internship, duly signed and sealed.
  • The company requests the assignment of the NAF and registers for the duration of the internship.

While initial uncertainty persists, the proposed solutions offer a clear framework for companies and interns. Staying informed about possible additional regulatory developments is key, and seeking specialized advice will ensure compliance with the regulations. At Piktalent, we remain committed to international mobility and will continue to provide support to companies and interns in this new phase.