The procedures and conditions for the issue of these visas are set out in Organic Law 4/2000 and its Regulations, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011.
Important: The information provided is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from an expert or consult your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country.
Long-term visas enable foreigners to live, work, study or research in Spain.
Unless you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, all foreigners wishing to enter Spain to live, invest, work or study need a long term visa.
The application for a long-stay visa must be submitted using the corresponding application form, duly completed (original and copy), which can be downloaded free of charge from here or can also be obtained free of charge from the Spanish diplomatic missions or consular offices abroad
You must always apply for a visa in person, although you may also apply with a duly accredited representative if you do not reside in the town where the diplomatic mission or consular post is located and there are proven reasons for impeding your travel, such as distance from the mission or post, transport difficulties that make the journey particularly difficult or proven illness or physical condition that significantly hinders your mobility.
When applying for a long-stay visa, you must pay the prescribed fee without any refund if your application is rejected. See official fee list. However, in certain cases, after consultation with the relevant Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office, the regulations in force provide for a reduction or exemption of the fee
In order to know the rest of the requirements needed to obtain a long term visa, we recommend that you consult the diplomatic mission or consular office where you are going to apply for the visa because the requirements may vary depending on the reason for the trip and the country of origin of the applicant.
The maximum time limit for deciding on applications for long-stay visas is 1 month from the date of submission of the application, except in the case of non-lucrative residence visas, where the maximum time limit is 3 months.
If the visa is issued, you must collect it in person from the relevant diplomatic mission or consular post within one month of notification of the granting of the visa.
In cases where the visa is refused, the Spanish authorities will always notify you. In this case, you may file an administrative appeal with the Madrid High Court of Justice within two months of the date of notification or, alternatively, an appeal for reconsideration with the same diplomatic mission or consular office within one month of the date of notification of the refusal.
Links of interest
Visa procedures are not easy, so getting advice can guide you through the whole process to make it easier and less tedious. You may also be interested in the following resources:
- Investing in Spain: Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I carry out training, research, development and innovation activities in Spain?
- Entrepreneurship Support Act. Ministry of Employment and Social Security
- Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Employment and Social Security of Spain
- Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office
- Main Civil Registries
- List of States signatories to the Apostille Convention
- Other agreements exempting from legalisation
- List of the Legalisation Units of the Autonomous Communities
- List of Notarial Associations in Spain
- List of the High Courts of Justice of the Autonomous Communities
- List of Banco de España branches
- List of Medical Associations in Spain
- List of Spanish Veterinary Associations
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