Work permit Spain

As with most information regarding bureaucracy in Spain, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.

Always double check!

Work permits for European Union nationals

If you are an EU national you do not need a work permit to work in Spain, you can enter Spain as a tourist and register with the Spanish national employment office (Instituto Nacional de Empleo – INEM) to look for a job, you then have 90 days to find employment, you can obtain an extension after that date or leave Spain and re-enter for a further 90 days.

Once you get a job, your employment contract will be necessary in order to apply for your residence card.

Work permits for  non-EU  nationals

General information

People from outside the European Union who wish to work in Spain must obtain a work permit after also obtaining a visa, before they move to work in Spain. They need to apply for the visa at the Spanish Consulate in their home country.

An application for a work permit needs to be sent to the Foreigners’ Office (Oficinas de Extranjeros) or at the provincial office of the Ministry of Labor (Delegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo), if the foreign applicant is in Spanish territory. If the foreign applicant is not in Spain, an application for the work permit needs to be sent to the Consular office of the foreign applicant’s home country.

The Provincial labor offices (Direcciones Provinciales de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales) will decide whether the work permit will be issued or not.

Documents you must present at the time of work permit application

The documents you will be required to present upon application for work permit are the following:

• If you are an employee:
o Copy of your valid passport.
o Certificate of criminal records issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country, except when it was presented upon application for the visa.
o Official medical certificate.
o Three passport-size photographs.
o Fiscal registration number (NIE or CIF) and the Social Security registration number of the employer.
o Offer of employment where there appear the labor conditions.
o Full description of the job and the company activity.
o Proof of the employer’s solvency could also be required

• If you are self-employed:
o Copy of your valid passport.
o Certificate of criminal records issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country, except when it was presented upon application for the visa.
o Official medical certificate.
o Three passport-size photographs.
o Full description of the job and the company activity.
o Proof of the foreigner’s professional qualification or that he meet the requirements needed to perform the professional activity in Spain, such as the appropriate licences to perform the activity or the registration to the Spanish Social Security system, your NIE.
o Any other documentation the Spanish Administration requires from time to time.

Types of work permits

• Where the foreigner is an employee:
o Type A work permit: for seasonal or time limited work. This may entail a specific contract or a specific geographic area. The maximum duration is 9 months, including renewal.
o Type b initial work permit: It enables the foreigner to work in a specific profession, activity and geographic area for a maximum period of 1 year.
o Type B renewed work permit: This is issued to those b initial holders once it has expired. It entitles him to carry on various professions or activities within a maximum period of 2 years.
o Type C work permit, this is issued to the B renewed work permit holders once it has expired. This entitles the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish Territory.

• Where the foreigner is self-employed
o Type D initial work permit: To carry on a specific activity for a maximum of 1 year. Spanish authorities could limit this to a specific geographic area.
o Type D renewed work permit: This is issued to those d initial holders once it has expired. It entitles him to perform various professional activities for a maximum period of 2 years. Spanish labor authorities could limit this to a specific geographic area and/or a specific activity.
o Type E work permit: This is issued to those holding the D renewed work permit once it has expired. This entitles the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish Territory for a maximum period of 3 years.

• Where the foreigner is an employee or is self-employed
o Type F work permit: To perform professional activities in the Spanish borders, provided their daily return to the foreign borders where they normally reside. This is issued for a maximum period of 5 years, after that it may be renewed.
o Permanent work permit: It enables the foreign worker to perform any professional activity where he has the qualification required. The type C or E work permits’ holders may obtain this work permit once theirs had expired. It is mandatory to renew this work permit every 5 years.
o Extraordinary work permit: this is issued to the non-EU foreign citizens who had helped to the Spanish economic and cultural progress. It enables the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish territory where he has the qualification required. This must be renewed every 5 years.

You might have to hire a skilled lawyer to handle your application, as they know the ins and outs of the paperwork.

The Residence Permit

Community Cards
European Union citizens can freely enter, exit, travel and remain in Spain, and are not obliged to get the residence card (the European Community registration card), in order to live or stay for longer than 3 months in Spain. The residence card is no longer a formal requirement for EU citizens to establish their residence in Spain, although they can apply to get one if they wish to obtain it (in this case, the government employee must inform the EU citizen about the non obligation to get the card).

Temporary residence cards are issued for periods between 3 months and 1 year, the permanent residence card is issued for 5 years, which is automatically renewable.
You must apply for your residence card in person at the foreigners’ office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or the national police station (Comisaría de Policía Nacional) with Foreigners’ department from the city where you are going to live.

You will be required to present the following documentation:
• Your passport valid for at least six months.
• Three photographs of the correct size.
• Medical certificate, when required.
• Proof of family relationship, when applying for reuniting family members.
• Proof of your financial support while you are in Spain, your pension, or copy of your work contract if you are going to be employed in Spain, or documented proof that you meet the necessary requirements to work on your own account, when you are going to be self-employed in Spain.

You should carry your residence card with you at all times as it constitutes a mandatory identity card for foreign residents in Spain.

The Residence permit for non-EU foreigners

Non-EU foreigners need a residence permit to live in Spanish territory. To enter the Spanish territory the foreigner would be required to show his valid passport and the corresponding visa. In order to remain in Spain after a period of time exceeding 90 days, it is necessary to obtain either an extension or a residence permit.

There are different types of residence permits:
• Temporary residence permit: This allows you to remain in Spain for a period of time between 90 days and 5 years, your residence permit may be renewed after that limit.
• Permanent residency permit: This is available to all foreigners who have held a normal residence permit for a continuous period of 5 years. It should be renewed every 5 years.
• Residency permit for special circumstances such as for non-EU foreigners “”moved considered”"; for non EU-foreigners whose asylum application had been rejected and whom the Spanish Ministry of Interior has authorised them to remain in Spain…
• Residency permit for reuniting families: This permit entitles the non-EU foreigner residing in Spain to apply for Spanish residence of his closest family. The applicant shall have been legally residing in Spain for at least 1 year and must have authorization for another year residing in Spain.

The residency permit application needs to be made in person to the Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or at the National Police Station with a foreigners’ department nearest to the city or town where you are going to live, you will be required to present some documentation depending on the type of residence permit applied.

You must present the following documentation:
• Valid passport.
• Residence visa in force.
• Proof of previous legal residence of the foreigner in Spain e.g. a long-term rental contract or receipts for rent;
• Certificate of criminal record issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country.
• Some passport-size photographs.
• Medical certificate (certificado medico), in the cases that the applicant had not presented it when obtained his visa residence.
• Proof of financial income to support you during the period of residence in Spain, such as pensions, work salaries…
• Proof that your health assistance is guaranteed during your residence in Spain.
• Marriage or divorce certificate or other papers relating to your marital status, plus a Spanish translation will be required when applying for reuniting your family.

Renewals of residency permits are available, provided that neither the personal or the economic situation of the non-EU foreigner have changed. The renewal needs to be made at least a month before the residence permit has expired, otherwise the foreigner could be fined.

Residence permits are issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio del Interior). You should carry your residence card with you at all times as it constitutes a mandatory identity card for foreign residents in Spain, it shows your fiscal registration number (NIE).

Visas

Foreigners from the EU do not need a visa to enter Spain, but just a passport or an official ID.

Non-EU foreigners, on the other hand, do need a visa to enter Spain, except if there is an agreement between Spain and the foreign country, by means of which the requirement of a visa is eliminated for citizens or residents of such countries when they will be staying in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6 month period, or for a transit stay of maximum 5 days.

You may apply for a visa to the Spanish Consulate located in your home country before you leave, visas are handled by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its consulates abroad.

There are different types of visas, which are issued depending on your purpose for entering Spain: studying, working, holiday, investment …. You should apply for your visa according to your needs, you cannot enter Spain on a tourist visa and then apply to stay as something else without returning to your home country and obtaining the appropriate visa first.

You should be required to produce some specific documentation, depending on the type of visa you need. The visa process will take some weeks and varies from case to case.

Genrally spoken, there are four types of visas:

• Transit visa:
Consists of two types:
o One for individuals or groups of foreigners passing through Spanish ports or airports without entering Spanish territory.
o One that allows foreigners to pass through Spanish territory with a maximum of 5 days.

• Temporary stay visa:
Consists of two types:
o Short-duration visa: issued for foreigners who wish to stay in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6-month time period. There are different categories, such as:
• Group visas for short stays (no longer than 30 days).
• Visas to study in Spain.
o Multiple-stay visas: issued for multiple stays adding up to 90 days within six months during one year

• Residence visa
It should not be confused with the Residence permit, which is also necessary in most of the cases. This is initially granted for 1 year, and it may be renewed for an additional 2-years period, once it has expired, you may apply for permanent residency visa, which must be renewed every five years.

There are specific categories:
o For reuniting a family: It could be given to the spouse provided that his matrimony is valid; to the descendants of the principal, provided that they are not married and are under 18 years of age.
o For working in Spain for at least one year without having criminal records when the foreigner needs a work permit or when the foreigner is a professional who does not need a work permit such as university professors, when professionals are hired by a Spanish university, or scientists, when they are hired by Spanish Government.
o For asylum, this is issued for foreigners with refugee status.

• Courtesy visa:
Visas for Diplomatic personnel or similar