Spain is one of the most attractive places in Europe. It has a very rich history, lots of beautiful buildings and architectural work. In addition, it is also characterized by its great cultural legacy, with important painters, writers, and musicians. Spain offers a high quality educational service, which has allowed it to become the third European country with the highest rate of students from different parts of the world. In fact, a survey conducted in 2018 by Omio (GoEuro) stated that Spain was the number one destination in Europe for students wishing to study abroad.

Before its integration into the European Union, Spain was a country with economic crises and high unemployment rates, civil war consequences and a dictatorship. This context, which caused the emigration of the Spaniards to Europe and America, began to change strongly after 1993, when Spain became part of the European Union (EU).

reside in Spain without being a citizen of the European Union (Image)

Professionally architect vertical. © GETTY

Since joining the EU, Spain has benefitted culturally and economically. It has a highly developed economy maintaining a high quality of life for its citizens. Factoring in the enviable temperate and Mediterranean climate, Spain has become one of the most attractive countries for migrants, not only from Latin America, Africa and Asia, but also for migrants from the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Russia and northern Europe.

In general, foreign citizens from outside the European Union, who wish to reside in Spain, must be previously authorized to do so. Once this authorization has been obtained, they must apply for the corresponding visa that allows them to enter Spain.

Residence in Spain can be temporary or permanent. For example, temporary residence is the situation that authorizes you to stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days and less than 5 years. Authorizations lasting less than five years may be renewed periodically, at the request of the interested party, taking into account the circumstances that motivated their approval.

A long-term residence is the only option that authorizes you to reside and work in Spain indefinitely, under the same conditions as the Spaniards.

How to Reside and Work in Spain Legally? 

If you are a citizen of the European Union, or if you are a US citizen, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swiss, you will not need to apply for a visa if you wish to move to Spain, regardless of the length of your stay. But if you don't belong to this group, you need to get the proper authorization or visas.

Since 2013, Spain has been performing. The Law to Support Entrepreneurs, amended in 2015, with its International Mobility section of Law 14/2013, it is a very important liberalizing effort. It establishes the procedures and requirements necessary to obtain a residence and work permit for being self-employed.  In addition, it regulates certain cases in which, for reasons of economic interest, the granting of visas and residence permits is facilitated and expedited.

The new regulations revolve around 5 categories of beneficiaries, who, for reasons of economic interest, are facilitated (including their family nucleus) to enter and stay in Spain, more agile and safe.

  • Investors: Investors are considered those foreigners who make a significant investment in Spain, either directly (as natural persons), or through a legal person who (i) is domiciled in a territory that is not considered a tax haven and (ii) provided that the beneficiary owns (ii.1) the majority of the voting rights therein and (ii.2) has the power to appoint or dismiss the majority of the members of its administrative body. 
  • Entrepreneurs: Includes all foreigners who want to come to Spain to develop an innovative entrepreneurial activity, with special economic interest for Spain. Such interest is assessed, in practice, during the visa process by the Economic and Commercial Office of the area or area where the entrepreneur submits his initial visa application.
  • Highly qualified professionals: The following groups of professionals fall into this category: a) Management or highly qualified personnel of large companies or groups of companies or small and medium enterprises (SMEs, hereafter) of strategic sectors. b) Management or highly qualified personnel who are part of a business project. c) Graduates, postgraduates of universities and business schools of recognized prestige.
  • Researchers: Includes foreigners who intend to enter and / or remain in Spain to carry out training, research, development and innovation activities in public or private entities.
  • Workers who carry out intra-business movements: Foreigners who travel to Spain are part of this category within the framework of a labor, professional or vocational training relationship, with a company or group of companies established in Spain or in another country, always that accredit: a) The existence of a real business activity. b) Higher or equivalent degree or, where appropriate, minimum professional experience of 3 years. c) Existence of a previous and continuous 3-month work or professional relationship with one or more of the group companies. d) Documentation of the company that accredits the transfer.

Note: The content of this page is merely indicative. Only the provisions of the regulations in force at the time the application is submitted is applicable.

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