Nationals of non-EU countries require a visa to enter Spain, if the stay is intended to be more than 90 days. The Schengen visa in most cases cannot be used to apply for residency in Spain.
There is an exception when an immediate family member is joining a family member who already lives in Spain and holds Spanish residency. In all other circumstances a citizen of a non-EU country must apply for, and obtain a long stay visa through the Spanish Embassy in their home country.
Since UK has now left the EU, UK citizens / British nationals also have to apply for a visa if they want to live or work in Spain.
Once the visa has been issued, the applicant can travel to Spain and apply for residency and get their TIE, ‘tarjeta de identidad de extranjero‘.
The following is a summary of the main types of long stay visas that citizens of non-EU countries can apply for.
Non-lucrative residence visa
The non lucrative residence visa is for those who have means to support themselves without working whilst residing in Spain.
Residents with this visa, cannot engage in any economic activity in Spain, and to obtain the visa must have private medical insurance and prove that they have either sufficient capital to fund the duration of their residency, or adequate secure income, e.g. pension.
There are numerous different types of Spanish Work Visas. In most cases the applicant is required to apply in person through the Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country. Some countries have special schemes, for example for Canada, the Youth Mobility Program.
Highly skilled non-EU nationals can apply for jobs for which there is a lack of suitable candidates within the EU. The employer requests a Work Visa from the Ministry of Labour.
These applications can take 6 to 9 months to so forward planning is needed. Once the Ministry of Labour has approved the application, the embassy or consulate issue the work visa. The applicant can then travel to Spain and apply for their Spanish residency card.
Seasonal Workers Visa
The process of obtaining a visa for seasonal work, is similar to the process for highly-skilled workers, the employer applies on behalf of the worker.
Seasonal workers have to have suitable accommodation arranged, all travel costs are covered, and proof that they will return to their country once the job has finished, as the visas is only valid for the duration of the seasonal work contract.
Self-employed & Freelance Workers Visa
This is a one year visa which is renewable if conditions continue to be met.
A business plan is required to demonstrate that the self-employment / freelance activity will generate sufficient income. This has to be supported by evidence, e.g. pre-signed contacts, or proof of an existing business activity that will continue, e.g. online marketing or teaching online.
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is Europe’s answer to the US Green Card. It is for people who spent at least 3 years completing a higher education qualification which allows them to work as a skilled professional. People who have a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience at a high level are also eligible.
The prospective employer submits an initial application for a temporary residency and work permit on the behalf of the employee.
A valid work contract under the scheme, is one that includes a salary which is at least 50% more than the average wage in Spain (or 20% more if the skills are in demand). Once approved, the applicant then applies through the Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country for a residence and work permit as an employee. When they arrive in Spain they then apply for their TIE. Spanish residents foreigners ID card.
Blue cards are valid for one year and can be renewed if conditions are still met.
Au Pairs Visas
Individuals aged between 17 and 30 can apply for a special Au Pairs visa via the Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country before coming to Spain. Applicants need to have an Au Pair agreement with a host family stating the salary and conditions, (proof of sufficient finances to self-support), and private medical insurance.
Those with a high-tech, high-growth business idea and the qualifications to pull it off can apply for an entrepreneur visa. The business plan has to be approved by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the applicant must have the financial means to start the business. If you are in Spain already (legally – including on a tourist visa) you can apply, or through the usual route of the Spanish embassy in your home country.
The entrepreneur visa is a temporary work residency, valid for two years and renewable.
The Spanish Residence Permit Program, more commonly know as the Golden Visa, allows investors and their families who meet the requirements to secure Spanish residency by investing in Spain.
Any of the following are the defined qualifying investments:
*€500.000 or more into real estate
*€1,000,000 bank depositor or purchase of share in a Spanish company
*€2,000,000 into Spanish Government bonds
In addition, starting a business that creates employment, contributes to technological or scientific innovation or that has a strong socio economic impact will also qualify the investor
The ‘Golden Visa’ doesn’t impose a minimum period of residence. An initial residency card is granted for one year (or two years if you visit Spain), and can then be renewed every five years, and then again for another five years. Permanent residency can be applied for after you’ve actually lived in the country for a period of five years. Please note that applicants will be required to visit Spain to collect their biometric data.
While it is not necessary to live in Spain in order to obtain and renew the residency visa permit, the pathway to citizenship does require the investor or qualified family members to live at least 6 months per year in Spain for ten consecutive years. Investors must also travel to Spain twice a year, leaving no more than 5.5.-6 months between each visit. This will then allow eligible investors and/or their families to apply for Spanish citizenship. Some nationalities, including former Spanish colonies, can benefit from a reduced length of full-time residency in order to be able to apply for nationality.
Pre-requisites for the investor visa applicants must:
*have a clear criminal record.
*not be on the nation’s list of undesirable people.
*hold valid medical insurance and an official health certificate
*not have previously been refused visas or entry into the Schengen zone.
*have enough funds to support themselves in Spain.
As the name suggest, this visa allow Spanish residency for those coming to study in Spain. You can apply for the student visa for undergraduate courses, Masters, Ph.D. and other short term qualifying studies.
The student visa is valid for one year and renewable. It also allows work for up to 20 hours per week on an internship, gives easy access to getting a work permit once your studies have finished. Student visas also allow the students family members to get Spanish residency subject to the conditions of financial means being met.
Canada Youth Mobility Program
The Youth Mobility Program offers Canadians aged between 18 and 35 the opportunity to live and work in Spain. There is a limited quota of 1,000 per year, and successful applicant get the opportunity to gain work experience related to their area of expertise, complement their post-secondary training with an internship, and improve their knowledge of the Spanish language, culture and society.
Eligible applicants must first get an NIE, and unlike most other visas, the application doesn’t need to be made in person at the Spanish Embassy and can be made by post.