In order to work and reside in Spain you need a permit or a work visa or residence visa. The first work request must be formulated from your country. There are different types of permits depending on whether they are permits for paid employment (with a contract or hiring offer by someone from Spain) or self-employed economic activities (if you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer) or if it is the first time you make your request.



Initial authorization for employed work (with a contract)

If you wish to be hired by an entrepreneur in Spain, the person who is going to offer you a contract needs to formulate an initial request of temporary residence and employed work at the corresponding Aliens Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in the province where you will be working.

You can download the official request forms at knowing that:

a) It must be requested by the employer in person and by the legal representative in the case of enterprises.

b) You cannot be residing in Spain ilegally at the time of the request.

c) The request may be limited to a certain position and geographic area.

d) It is valid for one year and it can be renewed once in Spain.

You must know that Spanish citizens who are unemployed come before at the time of getting a job. This is why, in order to authorize your request, some of the following aspects will be taken into account:

– If there is little workforce in Spain for the profession or activity for which they want to hire you. If unemployment is high for your work but there is a lack of workforce in the province where your employer is located you can also opt for an authorization.

– If there are no Spanish, Communitarian or foreign workers that are legally residing in Spain registered as job seekers at the corresponding geographic area and for the requested activity you will also have an advantage to obtain the job.
– The reciprocity regime in the foreigner’s country of origin.
These considerations give way to the rejection of many requests on the grounds that the national employment situation gives preference to unemployed Spaniards and that Spain is going through one of the highest unemployment rates of the last 50 years.

Other preferences covered by the law to hire foreigners

The Law also provides the following preferences to authorize a position without taking into account the national employment situation:

  • If the worker is demanded to cover a position of confidence according to the provisions set by a regulation.
  • If your partner or parents are already legally residing in Spain and their work permit is renewed.
  • I you already have a previous work permit and wish to renew it.
  • Workers requested for the assembly of a facility or productive equipment for renewal purposes.
  • If a person resides in Spain by virtue of a permit for being a refugee.
  • People under the calification of stateless, who are not recognised by any country.
  • If you are a foreigner and you have dependent children or parents that are Spanish nationals.
  • Foreigners born in Spain residing in Spain.
  • A Spanish national’s children or grandchildren.
  • Foreign minors of working age with a residence permit in order to encourage their social integration.
  • Foreigners who have been holders of a work permit for seasonal activities, for four calendar years, who have returned to their country. Citizens of countries who have entered into a convention with Spain also benefit from the same status. (Chile and Peru at present).
What is the Catalogue for Posts of Difficult Coverage (Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difícil Cobertura) or the Negative Certificate of the Public Employment Services (Certificado Negativo de los Servicios Públicos de Empleo)?

2 .Catalogue for Posts of Difficult Coverage (Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difícil Cobertura) or Negative Certificate of the Public Employment Services (Certificado Negativo de los Servicios Públicos de Empleo)

The Aliens Act stablishes a quarterly Catalogue for Posts of Difficult Coverage  ( for each province of Spain. If the position you are requested for is included within this catalogue for the province in which you wish to work the criteria ‘National employment situation’ will not apply for the granting of a work permit.
If the post is not included within the Catalogue for Posts of Difficult Coverage an extra enquiry can be made before the employment agency, who will then give a positive answer if it verifies there are no job seekers for such a post.

What papers should I present if they accept my hiring in Spain?

Since the moment you receive a positive answer you have a month to request the residence and work permit before Spain’s Consulate or Consular Office by submitting the following documents:
1.      Visa request form duly filled-in and signed (Download at
2.      Granting resolution of residence and work permit.
3.      A passport-sized photograph.
4.      Valid passport or Travelling ID, must have a minimum validity equal to the work period for the requested postition.
5.      ID or any other document that serves as accreditation of your identity and your country of origin.
6.      Criminal Records Certificate in case you are of age, filed by the authorities in your country of origin.
7.      Medical Certificate filed and sealed by a health centre duly legalised and translated where appropriate.

If you are granted the visa, you must collect it in person within one month since notification. Otherwise, you will lose it.
Furthermore, once you have collected your visa, you must enter in the Spanish territory maximum three months after the period for which you have been granted residence.

Remember that once you enter in Spain you have one month to personally go obtain your Foreigner Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero- TIE).

Should the applicant be legally residing in Spain, they have a month to register and come have their TIE issued since notification of resolution whithout needing to request the visa.

“Unemployed Spanish workers come first at the time to get a job. Thus, possibilities to get a job if you are from outside the EU are scarce, except if your occupation has a low demand among Spaniards and Europeans”.

“EU citizens can obtain a residence permit if they have a job and if they have a minimum income so as not become a burden for the Spanish social services or if they are students that have enrolled at a Spanish education centre. Also family members and escorts”.

“For a non-lucrative residency you will mainly need a high level of financial income in order to get your visa accepted”.



Financial requirements for a non lucrative residence

This authorization is given to people who wish to reside in Spain without working or developing professional activities. With this authorization you can stay in Spain for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 5 years.

You must fulfill the following requirements that must be supported by certificates and legal proof.

  • Not living in Spain in an irregular situation (without papers)
  • Lacking a criminal record.
  • You must not be qualififed as rejectable in countries with whom Spain holds conventions in that sense.
  • Having enough financial means without the need to engage in a professional activity or employment. These means will be considered sufficient when they represent 400% of the IPREM monthly, and index that was set at 532 euros for 2016. Therefore, in 2016, you should justify that you have more than 2100 gross euros  per month to live on. If you come with your spouse or children you must add an available amount of 532 monthly euros per family member.
  • Not finding yourself within the commitment period of not returning to Spain for three years.
  • Not having any of the diseases that carry implications for the public health.
  • Having settled the processing fee.



What are the requirements to work in Spain as an entrepreneur or a self-employed worker?

In order to request residence authorization or work authorization to work on your own (entrepreneurs and self-employed workers) you must either be in a regular situation in Spain or, if you are in your country, submit a request at the Spanish Consulate or Embassy (You can learn which is the Consulate or Consulate office at

The documentation you will be requested to submit is the following:

  • Official request form (you can download it at
  • Passport (original and full copy) with a validity of 4 months minimum.
  • A project on the activity you wish to carry out in Spain.
  • Registration at the Spanish Tax Office (Form 036 Treasury Office)
  • Proof that nothing impedes you to do business according to Spanish legislation.
Can I modify my residence and work authorization as a self-employed worker or an entrepreneur?

Yes, you can change the orientation of your business, but you can do so provided you have been working in Spain for one year with a residence card as a hired worker.



How to obtain a residence permit in Spain for EU citizens

A national from a EU member country that wishes to stay in Spain for a period superior to three months must request a communitarian resident certificate. The right to residence will be acknowledged if:

  1. You are a hired worker in Spain or,
  2. You have enough financial means both for yourself and your family members so as not to become a burden for the social assistance in Spain during your residence, as well as a health insurance that covers all the risks.
  3. You have enrolled at a private or public centre that is acknowledged or financed by the administration, with the main aim of pursuing studies, including vocational school, and if you have a health insurance that covers all the risks in Spain and guarantees before the competent national authority, by means of an affidavit or any other equivalent means of your choice, that you have enough financial means for yourself and your family members so as not to become a burden for the social assistance in Spain during your stay in Spain.
  4. You are a family member accompanying a EU citizen or the citizen from any other State that is part of the Agreement on the European Economic Area or if you are going to meet them and you fulfill the aforementioned requirements.