Spanish Visas and Work Permits

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Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO service, we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.

Spanish visa, residency and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the country foreign nationals live in – the European Union, the European Economic Area and other foreign nationals are all affected by these complex regulations.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on Spanish visas and work permits – therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in Spain in no time.

What types of Work Visas and Permits for Spain are there?

Applicants must decide on the type of visa or permit needed before entering Spain. This will depend on whether the reason for travel is to visit, work, to study or for business.

Spain is a member of the European Union (EU) and citizens of the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland are exempt from requiring visas or work permits.

Nationals from other countries will need one of the following to visit Spain for short-term stays:

  • Transit visa – when people need to pass through Spain
  • A Short Stay Schengen visa – for up to 90 days
  • A Spanish Business visa – for business purposes but not paid work

Most nationalities will need to apply from their home country. However, work is not permitted.

Citizens from Australia, US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand do not require a visa for the first three months.

Longer stays for work or study will require a National Visa (visado nationale) and/or work permit unless they are citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland.

Types of work permits/visas include:

  • Combined Residence and Work Permit – for living and working in Spain
  • Student – for a training or educational course
  • Seasonal work – (Type A)
  • Residence – for retirement or family reunion
  • New Fast-Track Visa – for investors, entrepreneurs, and highly qualified professionals 
  • An EU Blue Card – residence permit for qualified non-EU nationals to work in an EU country

Regarding Work Permits, legally companies cannot employ individuals without a work and residence permit which is issued by the Ministry of Labor in Spain. These permits relate to a specific person and a specific job and allows employers in Spain to recruits foreigners from outside the EU.

It is the responsibility of the employer/company to apply for the work permit on behalf of the employee after offering a job and contract. When this has been accomplished, the employee can apply for a visa to enter Spain to work.

How to obtain a Spain Work Visa?

EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals do not require a Spanish work visa or permit. Non-EU foreigners, in their home country, can apply for a number of permits, which include:

A Highly-Skilled Workers’ Permit

  • Applicants can look for employment in ‘Shortage Occupations’, with a scarcity of appropriate candidates within the EU.
  • The employer then requests a work permit and residence visa from the Ministry of Labor, which can take up to eight months to process.
  • After approval, the embassy or consulate issues the permit, and the employee can apply for the work entry visa at the embassy.

A Regular Work Permit

  • Requires a job offer and work contract for highly qualified professionals
  • The employer obtains approval for work residence and permit for his employee
  • The embassy can issue a work entry visa

Non-EU foreigners already in Spain can apply for:

  • A European Blue Card: A work permit for highly qualified professionals e.g., corporate managers, university graduates
  • An Entrepreneur Visa: For business start-ups

How to Apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in Spain

The employer needs to apply on behalf of the employee with the required documents for a Standard National Work Permit. These include:

  • Copy of passport
  • Proof of clean criminal record
  • Medical certificate
  • Three passport-sized photographs
  • Qualifications needed for the position
  • Proof of accommodation
  • NIE ID number if already in the country (Número de Identidad de Extranjero)
  • Employer’s social security number
  • A job offer with contract including labor conditions
  • Full description of job and the company’s activity
  • Proof of employer’s financial assets (if needed)
  • Corresponding Spanish work permit visa application form

Other documentation may be required from the employer. Once the employer has provided all relevant paperwork and the application has been successful, the employee applies at the local embassy or consulate for a visa providing the following:

  • Original valid passport
  • Two photographs
  • Visa application, printed and completed
  • Confirmation of the work permit
  • Medical certificate
  • Payment of visa fee
  • Criminal records or a police conduct certificate of past five years

When documentation is submitted, the visa takes about 72 hours and is stamped in the passport. The worker can now enter Spain legally. Once in Spain, a NIE (national identity card) must be applied for and then a residence card (TIE).

You may also obtain more information from the Immigration department regarding regulations and requirements for highly-qualified professionals, as well as application forms and templates.