Spanish Working Visas: Job Regulations and Requirements
Spain, with its vibrant culture, thriving economy, and diverse opportunities, attracts individuals from all over the world who aspire to work within its borders. However, understanding the intricacies of Spanish working visas is crucial for both citizens and foreigners seeking employment in the country.
Whether you’re an EU citizen or from outside the EU, our comprehensive guide provides invaluable information to navigate the Spanish job market. Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to achieve your career goals in Spain with confidence and success.
For EU citizens, working in Spain is a streamlined process, thanks to the freedom of movement within the European Union. However, to ensure a smooth transition and access to essential services, registering as a resident is highly recommended for those planning to reside in the country for more than three months. This guide outlines the registration process and highlights the benefits that come with obtaining the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión (Registration Certificate of Union Citizen).
EU citizens who plan to reside in Spain for more than three months should follow these steps to register as residents:
Valid Passport: You must present a valid passport that is not expired.
Application Form EX-18: This is the application form for the EU registration certificate.
Proof of Payment of the Corresponding Fee: You need to provide proof of payment for the corresponding fee, in this case, Tasa 790 012.
The exact requirements to apply for the EU registration certificate depend on your reasons for coming to Spain. Here are the specific requirements according to your plans:
Coming to Spain to find a work contract: You must demonstrate the employment relationship by means of the employment certificate or by a recruitment declaration from the employer. This must include, at least, the name, address of the company, contribution account code, and its tax identification number (CIF). In addition, submitting the job contract and social security registration document will also be essential.
Moving to Spain to work as a self-employed individual: If you are going to develop your economic activity in Spain on your own, the documents required are the registration in the census of economic activities in the case of having registered as self-employed, or registration in the Commercial Register if a company has been opened. In addition, again, registration with the Spanish social security system.
Please note that you must apply for your EU certificate during the first three months after you enter the country. After 5 years of residence, you can apply for a permanent certificate, which will last 10 years.
Benefits of Registration
Obtaining the registration certificate offers several advantages for EU citizens residing in Spain, including:
- Access to Public Services: Facilitates access to essential public services such as healthcare, education, and social security benefits. It ensures that EU citizens are entitled to the same rights and benefits as Spanish nationals.
- Proof of Legal Status: Serves as evidence of legal residence in Spain. It provides peace of mind and helps avoid potential legal complications.
- Simplified Administrative Procedures: EU citizens can navigate administrative processes more easily, such as opening a bank account, signing a rental agreement, or obtaining a Spanish identification number (NIE).
- Residency Rights: After five years of legal residence in Spain, EU citizens may apply for permanent residency or long-term residency, offering further stability and access to additional rights.
- Brexit Implications: Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, British citizens now fall under the non-EU citizen category. However, those who were legally residing in Spain before December 31, 2020, are eligible to apply for the new Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner Identification Card), allowing them to maintain their legal status and rights in Spain.
In addition to obtaining the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión, EU citizens planning to reside in Spain for more than a few months should prioritize completing the empadronamiento process. Being registered on the padrón offers various benefits, including access to public services, voting rights in local elections, and contributing to the community’s accurate population count. By ensuring both the empadronamiento and residency registration steps are taken, EU citizens can enjoy a smooth and fulfilling experience while living and working in Spain.
If you’re a non-EU citizen seeking employment in Spain, obtaining the right work visa is crucial. Spain offers various visa categories tailored to meet the specific needs and circumstances of different applicants. In 2023, there have been several updates to the Spanish immigration laws that you should be aware of.
Work Visa Categories for Non-EU Citizens:
Highly Skilled Professionals: The “Highly Skilled Professional” visa is designed for non-EU citizens possessing specialized skills and qualifications that are in high demand in Spain. The eligibility criteria are often based on a points-based system, considering factors like education, work experience, language proficiency, and salary level. Applicants must demonstrate that their skills are scarce in the local labor market and that their employment will have a positive impact on Spain’s economy.
Entrepreneurial Visas: Spain actively encourages entrepreneurship, making it an attractive destination for non-EU citizens who want to start their own businesses. To apply for an entrepreneurial visa, individuals need to submit a comprehensive business plan outlining their proposed venture’s feasibility and economic potential. Proof of sufficient financial resources and a commitment to job creation or technological innovation in Spain may also be required. In 2023, the initial residency cards under the Entrepreneur’s Law are now valid for 3 years instead of 2.
Employee Transfers: Multinational companies with offices in Spain often transfer employees from non-EU countries to work in their Spanish branches. The employee transfer visa streamlines this process, allowing non-EU citizens who are already employed by the company to work in Spain temporarily. The company sponsoring the employee must provide documentation to prove the need for the transfer and the employee’s work history with the company.
Seasonal Workers: For temporary labor demands in sectors like agriculture and tourism, non-EU citizens can apply for a seasonal worker visa. This visa permits them to work in Spain for a specific period, usually tied to the seasonal employment period. Applicants must provide proof of a job offer or contract from a Spanish employer.
- Digital Nomads: In 2023, Spain introduced a new residence permit for non-EU foreigners wishing to work remotely from Spain. This permit is valid for 3 years and offers a fast-track application process in just 20 days. It also allows the cardholder to enjoy great tax advantages, paying only a fixed 24% on their income.
Visa Application Process:
The visa application process remains largely the same, with some updates to the financial requirements for non-lucrative visas due to the increase in the IPREM (an income indicator used in Spain). For the main applicant, it will be necessary to prove the possession of €28,800 (400% of the IPREM), €7,200 (100% of the IPREM) for each family member included in the application, and €57,600 (800% of the IPREM) at the time of renewal, since the renewal is for 2 years instead of one.
Job Offer: Non-EU citizens must secure a job offer from a Spanish employer before applying for a work visa. The job offer should comply with labor market regulations, including appropriate salary and working conditions. Employers may need to demonstrate efforts to hire within the EU or Spain before considering non-EU candidates.
Documentation: Applicants need to gather the necessary documents required for their chosen visa category.
Application Submission: Visa applications are generally submitted at the Spanish embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence. The process may involve an interview and biometric data collection.
Processing Time: The processing time for Spanish working visas varies depending on factors like the visa category and individual circumstances. Applicants should start the application process well in advance and stay in contact with the embassy or consulate for updates.
Spanish Short-Term (Less Than 90 Days) Work Visa Requirements
To work in Spain for less than 90 days, non-EU citizens need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Fill out and sign the National visa application form.
- Provide a passport-sized photograph with a light background.
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of one year and two blank pages.
You should bring a special delivery envelope where is possible to find your name and address with the visa application filled up using this form;
During your application, it is required to leave the original passport in the consulate which will be returned once the process is finished;
- Proof of residence and work authorization for employees.
- Stamped work contract from the Foreign Nationals’ Office.
- Criminal Record certificate translated into Spanish, the certificate can not overcome 3 months of duration;
- Officially translated medical certificate in Spanish.
Spanish Long-Term (More Than 90 Days) Work Visa Requirements
For work contracts exceeding 90 days, non-EU citizens should follow the short-term visa requirements and additionally:
- Fill out the ‘Autorización inicial de residencia temporal fee self-assessment form 790-052’ and the ‘Autorización de estancia o residencia temporal con excepción de la autorización de trabajo’ document.
- Submit the application in person within one month of the job offer.
Greater Advantages for Foreign Students: The latest reform of the immigration law has brought significant benefits for students. Foreign students can now work directly with their student visa, without the need to carry out any additional administrative procedures. They can work up to 30 hours per week (instead of 20), as long as working hours do not overlap with lecture hours. Furthermore, they can modify to a work permit at the end of the studies regardless of the duration of the same (as opposed to the 3 years previously required).
Increase in the Self-Employed Quota: The monthly contribution that self-employed foreigners must pay to Social Security has increased. The contribution will vary according to the income expected to be received during the year, which must be communicated to the Tax Agency as soon as possible.
Understanding the requirements and application process for Spanish work visas is vital for non-EU citizens seeking employment in Spain. The country provides diverse visa categories to cater to different circumstances. By gathering the necessary documents and allowing ample time for processing, individuals can navigate the Spanish working visa system successfully and seize opportunities in Spain’s dynamic job market.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, as an EU citizen, you do not need a work visa to work in Spain. The freedom of movement within the European Union allows you to work in Spain without the need for a specific work visa or permit.
Registering as a resident in Spain is highly recommended for EU citizens planning to live in the country for more than three months. It grants you a Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión (Registration Certificate of Union Citizen), which serves as proof of your legal status and allows you to access essential services like healthcare, education, and social security benefits.
To register as a resident, you will typically need the following documents:
- A valid passport or national identity card.
- Proof of health insurance coverage.
- Proof of economic self-sufficiency (e.g., employment contract or bank statements).
- Evidence of accommodation (e.g., rental agreement or property ownership document).
To register as a resident, follow these steps:
- Gather the necessary documents.
- Visit the local immigration office or designated foreigner’s office in the province where you intend to reside.
- Submit your registration application and documents during the appointment.
The registration certificate offers several advantages, including:
- Access to essential public services such as healthcare, education, and social security benefits.
- Proof of legal residence in Spain, avoiding potential legal complications.
- Simplified administrative procedures, like opening a bank account or obtaining a Spanish identification number (NIE).
- Eligibility for permanent residency or long-term residency after five years of legal residence.
Empadronamiento is the official registration of individuals at their place of residence with the local town hall or padrón office in Spain. It is a mandatory process for all residents, including EU citizens. Being empadronado offers various benefits, including access to public services, voting rights in local elections, and contributing to accurate population count for administrative purposes.
Yes, empadronamiento, which involves registering with the local town hall, is mandatory for all residents in Spain, including EU citizens. It provides various benefits, such as voting rights in local elections and access to public services.
To complete the empadronamiento process:
- Visit the local town hall or padrón office in your area of residence.
- Provide necessary documents, including a valid ID and proof of residence.
- Fill out the padrón registration form.
- Receive the certificate of empadronamiento, which serves as official proof of your address registration.
The necessary documents for empadronamiento may vary slightly depending on the municipality, but generally, you will need:
- A valid identification document, such as a passport or national identity card.
- Proof of residence, which can be a rental contract, utility bill, or property ownership document.
- A completed padrón registration form, usually available at the town hall or downloadable from their website.
Yes, if you change your address within Spain, you must update your padrón information accordingly. To do this, visit the town hall or padrón office in your new area of residence and go through the same empadronamiento process.
Empadronamiento is required for all residents, whether they have a long-term or temporary stay in Spain. If you plan to live in Spain for more than a few months, it is essential to complete the empadronamiento process to access various benefits and services.
Empadronamiento is generally a free process for EU citizens. There should be no fees or costs associated with completing the registration.
British citizens now fall under the non-EU citizen category. Those who were legally residing in Spain before December 31, 2020, are eligible to apply for the new Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner Identification Card) to maintain their legal status and rights in Spain.
Yes, non-EU citizens need to apply for a Spanish work visa and a residence visa to work and reside legally in Spain.
A Spanish work visa is a permit that allows non-EU citizens to work legally in Spain. Any non-EU citizen intending to work in Spain, whether short-term or long-term, must obtain a valid work visa.
The most common work visa categories for non-EU citizens in Spain include:
- Highly Skilled Professionals
- Entrepreneurial Visas
- Employee Transfers
- Seasonal Workers
To qualify for this visa, you need to possess specialized skills and qualifications that are in high demand in Spain. Eligibility is often based on a points-based system, considering factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency, and salary level.
The required documents vary depending on the type of work visa, but generally, you will need a valid passport, proof of qualifications, employment contract, and other supporting documents specific to your visa category.
To apply for a work visa, you must first secure a job offer from a Spanish employer. Then, you can submit your visa application in person at the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
The processing time for work visas varies depending on factors such as the type of visa and individual circumstances. It’s advisable to apply well in advance to allow sufficient time for processing and avoid potential delays.
Yes, non-EU citizens can apply for a short-term work visa for stays of less than 90 days. This visa is ideal for temporary work assignments or projects in Spain.
The requirements include a valid passport, proof of residence and work authorization, stamped work contract, translated criminal record certificate, and an officially translated medical certificate in Spanish.
In addition to the requirements for short-term work visas, you need to fill out specific forms for the residence permit and temporary work authorization.
Yes, in some cases, work visas can be extended in Spain. However, the extension process and eligibility criteria may vary depending on the type of visa and your individual situation.
In some cases, family members of non-EU citizens with valid work visas can apply for family reunification to join them in Spain.