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Work Permit for Spain

Spanish work permits allow foreigners to work and live in Spain. The two main types of working permits used to legally work and live in Spain include the self-employed work permit and the employee work permit.

To get more information about Spain’s employee work permit, self-employed work permit, or make any other query relating to immigration to Spain, please reach out to trusted immigration advisers today. You may call Immigration Advice Service on +44 333 4149244 or contact us online.

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    Overview of Spain Work Permits

    One of the main types of Spanish work permits, known as the employee work permit, is given to those who are employed by companies to work in Spain. The other type of work permit, the self-employed work permit, is for those who want to be self-employed in Spain.

    Non-EU citizens and people that are not from Switzerland or the EEA who want to work in Spain have to go through the whole application process for the Spanish work permit. The application experience for Spanish work permits depends on several factors, including your residence status, your home country, and employment situation.

    The work permit is granted on the basis of the job offer and geographic location of the work for an applicant. After renewal, the limitations on where permit holders can work are lifted, which gives them more choice over the roles they fill in Spain and the regions they work in.

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    Eligibility Criteria for Spain Work Permit

    Eligibility for Employee Work Permit

    Individuals with a qualified job offer in Spain or graduates/postgraduates may apply for a work permit to work as employees in Spain. To apply for a work permit as an employee, you must have received a job contract for at least one year. The contract of employment should not have a start date as the date will depend on the work permit being granted.

    The job offer must provide for the payment of at least minimum wage and a 40-hour per week contract. The offer must take into consideration the situation of unemployment in Spain. A catalog of job positions that are difficult to fill in Spain shows the roles the company can hire a foreign worker for.

    Eligibility for Self-Employed Work Permit

    The be eligible for Spain’s self-employed work permit, you should:

    • Be able to present a business plan
    • Have the professional qualification and experience needed to run your business
    • Not have criminal records
    • Possess enough savings to run your business
    • Be over 18 years old
    • Have the licenses and/or authorisation required to run your business
    • Be able to demonstrate that your business has the potential to increase employment in Spain

    Arraigo Social Permit Eligibility

    If an applicant has been living in Spain for over three years, they may be able to get a Spanish work permit using a process called Arraigo.

    Arraigo can be used by employees and self-employed individuals. Applicants are required to have been in Spain continuously for at least three years. To meet the eligibility requirements, they should not have left Spain for more than 120 days in that time period.

    An individual applying for the work permit must be able to show they can speak Spanish fluently. They must also demonstrate that they have been integrated into Spain’s society. A background check also needs to be met to meet the eligibility requirements for the Spanish working permit.

    If you’re applying for a working permit in Spain using the Arraigo process, you will need to have a job offer and employment contract with a validity of one year. The job must pay at least minimum wage under Spanish law. The weekly hours of work carried out under the contract should be at least 40 hours.

    Find out if you meet the requirements for a Spanish work visa and start your application process today. Contact Us

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      Job Requirements for a Work Permit in Spain


      Before making a job offer to foreign workers, steps have to be taken by businesses to take Spain’s situation of employment into consideration. The company may inform the employment office of its particular needs to fill in roles, using specific profiles. For example, it may need software engineers. Following this, candidates may be sent by the regional government to interview with the company.

      If none of the applicants are successful in their application for the role or no one with suitable skills/qualifications is provided by the employment office, the foreigner may be hired. In this case, a certificate stating that there are no adequate candidates for the job in Spain is provided by the Spanish administration. The requirements of the role will need to be met for the foreigner to be hired.

      There are exceptions to the requirement for companies to consider the national situation of unemployment. The exceptions may apply if the prospective employee meets one of the following criteria:

      • Is a citizen from Chile or Perú
      • Is an EU citizen
      • Was born in Spain
      • Obtained working residency through the Arraigo procedure

      Other Requirements

      EU citizens are permitted to work in Spain without holding work permits. Citizens of countries that are member states of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) do not have to make applications for a working visa in Spain.

      If the role that a work permit applicant is meant to fill is found to be as specialised as those in the list of specialist occupations issued in each Spanish province, an employer may not have to make an application to the employment office to hire a foreign worker. Instead, they can apply to the immigration office in Spain to bring in a foreigner as a worker.

      Job offers received must be from companies that have been operating for at least one year or companies that can show that they need to hire foreign workers. The company giving you the job offer needs to be registered for social security and must have complied with its tax obligations to date.

      The company that gives you the job offer must meet requirements for the number of employees and working conditions. As an example, an application may be denied if it is found that 50% of the workers in the company providing the job offer, work part-time. To the authorities, this may indicate that the company is hiring a foreigner with the intention of not paying full-time salaries to nationals.

      Individuals applying for the work permit have to be over 16 years old. Applicants are often expected to have studied subjects related to the job position. They should not have any criminal records registered in Spain or outside of the country.

      How Do I Apply for a Spain Work Permit?

      Applying for a Work Permit as an Employee

      To apply for a Spanish work permit as an employee, you must have a job offer. Your employer will need to submit an application for a working permit to the Spanish Ministry of Labour on your behalf. They will have to start the application procedure and sign the document before it is submitted.

      If the company has over 500 workers, the initial application will need to be submitted to the Generalitat de Cataluña or the UGE (Unidad de Grandes Empresas). After the initial application is submitted, a resolution is given to the employer. A favourable resolution allows the applicant to proceed with the application process for the visa in their country of origin.

      The applicant will have 30 days to continue the application process with the Spanish consulate. The signed favourable resolution, applicant’s health insurance contract, and criminal records would need to be provided at this stage of the process.

      It can take 3 to 4 months before you receive a positive response. After receiving a positive response, you will get 90 days to go to Spain with your visa. In Spain, you will be able to get your residency card.

      It is important to note that you cannot apply for a work permit while you are in Spain. Applications for working permits done while in Spain will be turned down. You should only accept job offers outside of Spain and make your application from an embassy or consulate in your country.

      Applying for a Self-Employed Work Permit

      To obtain the self-employed work permit, you will have to make an application at your local Spanish embassy, using the required documentation. After your application is initiated, the consulate transfers the application to a corresponding office based on the region in Spain where you want to operate your business.

      Applying for a Work Permit Using Arraigo Social Process

      To prove that you have been integrated into Spain’s society, you will need to provide a certificate of social integration, which you must obtain from a Comunidad Autónoma. An interview is usually needed for people to be signed off as integrated in Spain. The interview involves an assessment of how the application belongs to the Spanish community and their Spanish language skills.

      A ‘Know your laws’ talk is part of the application process. During the talk, you may be told about your rights as a foreign citizen, the Spanish legal system, and your duties as a foreign citizen. After the talk, you get a certificate that shows you attended the talk.

      Don't wait any longer! Apply for your Spain work visa now and unlock endless possibilities for your career and personal growth. Contact Us

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        What Documents Do I Need to Provide?

        Document Requirements for Employees

        The documents employees may have to provide with their work permit applications include:

        • National visa application form
        • Valid, unexpired passport
        • Recent passport photograph
        • Copy of work contract stamped by the Foreign National’s Office
        • Medical Certificate showing that the applicant does not have a disease that could lead to serious consequences for public health
        • Criminal record check certificate
        • Proof of residence in the consular district
        • Evidence of knowledge and experience needed to do the job

        Document Requirements for Self-Employed Work Permit

        You will need to provide the following documents if you are applying for a self-employed work permit to live and work in Spain:

        • Application form for initial residence and self-employed work permit
        • Valid passport
        • Permits and licenses for business activity
        • Professional qualifications or training needed to operate the business
        • Business plan
        • Evidence of sufficient financial resources to conduct business and cover personal expenses
        • Criminal record check certificate
        • Medical Certificate showing that the applicant does not have a disease that could lead to serious consequences for public health.
        • Proof of residence in the consular district

        Document Requirements for Arraigo Work Permit

        The documents required to apply for a Spanish work permit, using the Arraigo process include:

        • Valid passport
        • Certificate of registration for municipal register
        • Proof of being in Spain for three years
        • Job contract
        • Certificate of Social Integration from a Comunidad Autónoma
        • Police background check from your country of origin

        As Spanish proof of integration is a very important factor in the Arraigo work permit application process, it can help to also provide the following types of documents that demonstrate integration:

        • Healthcare documents
        • Proof of gym membership
        • Documents from courses taken in Spain
        • Proof of your Spanish bank account
        • Public transportation documents
        • Correos & Western Union documents

        Discover the benefits of an Arraigo work permit and make your dream of living and working in Spain a reality. Contact Us

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          What are the Fees and Processing Times for the Work Permit?

          The fee must be paid before application. The cost of a work visa for Spain can differ, depending on the country you are applying from, your age, and other factors.

          The self-employed work visa can cost €219.10 while the employee work visa can cost €154.20.  In some regions, work permit fees can cost a much lower amount of €80. Fees for Arraigo can be €15.75.

          The legal period for deciding on a work visa application is one month from the date of submission. In certain cases, the time required to make a decision may be extended if requests are made for additional documents or an interview.

          What Happens After I Apply?

          If the visa is approved, it will need to be collected in person by the applicant or by their legal representative (if the applicant is a minor) within a month from the date the approval is granted.

          An applicant who receives a visa refusal will be notified in writing. The letter they are sent informs them of the reasons for rejecting their application.

          What Happens After My Application is Approved?

          After Approval of Application for Spanish Work Permit for Employees

          After your application is approved, you will be able to work in Spain with a 1 year-permit that you may renew to live and work in Spain for an additional 2 years. The permit may be renewed a second time, following the first renewal, to extend your stay in Spain for another 2 years. You can get permanent residency in Spain after this period. Long-term residency can only be applied for after 5 years of living in Spain.

          To renew your permit, you must have made social security contributions for at least 6 months. You will also need to present your job contract and TIE to show that the contractual relationship which was used to get you the work permit is still valid. This has to be done between 60 days before and 90 days after the expiration of the residency card.

          After Approval of Application for Spanish Work Permit for Self-Employed Work Permit

          Once your application for a self-employed work permit is accepted, it is transferred to the consulate which will issue your visa. Following this, you will be given 30 days to travel to Spain.

          In Spain, you will need to register your details with your municipality and request an appointment to provide your fingerprint and collect your TIE (Spanish Identity Card).

          You would also need to register with social security and the tax authorities to complete the process of registering as a self-employed person.

          After the working permit is granted to a self-employed individual, they may try to get a long-term residence permit in Spain. This can only be obtained after renewing your visa for 5 consecutive years.

          After Approval of Arraigo Social Work Permit

          Successful applicants who obtain their Spanish work permit through the Arraigo process will get:

          • Spanish Identity Card
          • Spanish Identity Number (NIE)
          • Spanish Social Security Number

          The permit will have to be renewed after one year. If the renewal application is approved, the applicant’s permit will be renewed for an additional 2 years. After 2 years have passed, another application may be made for renewal of the work permit.

          An applicant who successfully renews their working permit twice may be able to apply for a third application, after which they would have been in Spain for 5 years. If successful in their third application for renewal, the applicant would get a Larga Duracion Work Permit which is valid for 5 years.

          Get our expert help to increase your chances of getting approved for a Spain Work Permit. Contact Us

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            How Can IAS Help?

            Spanish work permits provide valuable opportunities for people who want to work in Spain as employees or self-employed individuals. The application process can be complicated for applicants.

            If you’re looking for help to apply for a work permit in Spain, Immigration Advice Service can help you. We can guide you through the key stages that determine the success of your working permit application, from the assessment of your eligibility to documentation.

            Our team of immigration experts is experienced in providing professional legal advice and the expertise needed to get Spanish work permit applications processed quickly.

            For more information about the services we offer and what we can do to help you, call us on +44 333 4149244, or contact us online today.

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                      Related pages for your continued reading.

                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      To work, using a student visa in Spain, you would need to make an application to your immigration office. People with student visas in Spain can work up to 20 hours per week. There is an expectation that work carried out using the visa is related to the studies of students.

                      Family members of an employee with a Spanish work permit may be able to apply for a family reunification residence permit which allows them to work without the type of permit the employee initially obtained. To successfully apply for the reunification residence permit, you must be able to show that the employee stays and works in Spain with their working permit.

                      To change employers under a residence and work permit as a highly-qualified professional, you will need to make a new application for the same permit with the employer you change to. Alternatively, you could change your residence permit as a highly-qualified personnel to one under the general regime.

                      Spain is introducing a digital nomad visa in 2023 to allow digital nomads to live and work in the country. Applicants for the visa will need to earn a minimum amount of money and should have lived in Spain for a minimum duration of time to meet the application requirements. The digital nomad visa application process has not been finalised at the time of writing.

                      You could use an EU Blue Card to work in Spain and other European Union countries. People who will work in qualified jobs that require special accreditation are eligible to apply for the EU Blue Card. They cannot be residents of Spain and also need to meet the requirements for a regular Spanish work permit.

                      You can show that you meet the accreditation requirements with 5 years of working experience in the field related to the job offer. Higher education qualifications for a minimum of 3 years may also be used to demonstrate that you have special accreditation for the job.