Spain Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

movingtospainIMAGE200The government of Spain gives importance to the social integrity of the immigrant and gives them a chance to live as well as to work. The Spanish Government also supports immigrants by helping them to apply for their visas. Common examples of visas include visitor visas, business visas, student visas and working visas. To enter Spain, the applicant must have complete documents required by the government such as a valid passport, evidence of financial funds and 2” x 2” recent pictures. They must also be of legal and proper age to complete the signed application form.

As of 2007, there is approximately four and a half million foreign residents in Spain. This influx of foreigners into the country has caused social tensions in the country to increase, hence the latest moves by the Spanish government to curb the proliferation of illegal immigrants to the country.

Spanish Immigration Laws

The immigration law newly approved by the Spanish Minister states that illegal migrants cannot enter Spain for it will affect the Ecuadorian community. This law does not persecute migrants. Rather, it is intended to legalize their integration and their entrance into the Spanish territory.

The Organic Law of Spain focuses on the liberties and rights of the immigrants and provides social integration to foreigners. It also has rights to deport illegal immigrants who enter Spain.

Spain Labor Quota System

The Spain labor quota system was issued in the year 2002 to focus on small and long-term shortages in the Spanish labor market. The quota system was created to attract skilled workers, businessmen or businesswomen to establish their businesses in the territory of Spain. This system helps many immigrants to gain legal status. The new regulations has also set the tone for the curbing of illegal immigration into the country and thus prevent them from getting jobs set for legal immigrants.

Immigration Policy

The Spanish government modified their immigration policy in 2007 to enlarge the family criterion and expand time allotment. It allows undocumented immigrants who are under arrest to remain in the country.  It also makes provisions to assist immigrant’s returning to their country. This Spanish government policy also provides an incentive to immigrants returning to their country by paying their redundancy subsidy. Those immigrants who participate in this program will be paid 40% of their financial assistance in Spain, and the remaining 60% will be given when the undocumented applicant returns to his or her own country.

The change in visa requirements was shared in a post at the Spain Expat Forum last November 3, 2009:

What you are proposing to do is illegal. You are trying to work for your brother as a property/rental agent without any sort of permit, work visa etc, and if caught, you’ll be subject to deportation and ban from Schengen (not justSpain) for several years up to ten.

The proper way is to apply for a work visa in US at the Spanish consulate, but it will be very difficult – I’d say impossible – to get a visa to work as a property agent. There are tons of people with qualification and experience in that field in Spain who can’t get a job, so you (or rather your brother who has to sponsor you for the visa) cannot demonstrate lack of suitable applicants. All other questions are irrelevant, as you cannot do legally what you propose to do.
You can come over as a visitor but have to leave after 90 days and stay away from Schengen for 90 days before returning. You are too young for a retirement visa (still difficult for non-EU citizens). To get an artist’s visa, you need to have international reputation in your field which you need to demonstrate (publications, exhibitions, awards etc).

The only possibility is some kind of study visa, like learning Spanish, which allows you limited working rights. But you have to pay quite high tuition fees for 6 months to a year in advance, and you need to show sufficient funds in your bank account now to maintain yourself.
I cannot think of any other way of doing what you want legally. If it’s any consolation, it will be just as difficult for a Spaniard to do in the US what you are planning.

Types of Spanish Visas

Spanish Tourist Visa

This tourist visa is issued based on documents presented by the applicant and the purpose of their trip to Spain. The maximum limit of this visa is ninety days. Under the rules of this visa agreement, foreign nationals who want to travel to Spain must make a private visit to friends and family.  Any applicant for this Spanish tourist visa must have a variety of supporting documents and should demonstrate the reasons for visiting Spain and the ability of candidates to fund their stay. The Spanish immigration government officials discuss with the applicant the requirements needed for this visa. The basic process, simplified is discussed here.

Spanish Business Visa

The business visa issued is a Schengen visa similar to a United Kingdom business visa. This type of visa is intended for a foreigner who intends to visit Spain for business activities. This type of visa is perfect for those who want to attend meetings or conferences or even conduct negotiations in Spain. The holder of this business visa cannot start any type of employment while inside the Spanish territory, but they can participate in business meetings and other related matters while in Spain. The requirements for this visa are:

•    a letter from the applicant’s employer; and
•    a written request from the Spanish company involved in any business activity presented by the applicant.

Business visitors cannot receive any recompense from any sources in Spain and must have a realistic, pre-determined and specific plan for their stay in Spain.

Spanish Student Visa

Non-European applicants who want to take an academic course in Spain must obtain a study permit or student visa. Applicants who are under the Spanish student visa are allowed to have part-time work in Spain. Candidates for this visa will be assisted by the Spanish immigration lawyer in the execution and preparation of the needed requirements. The necessary documentation as well as the original papers need be submitted for grant of the visa. The immigration lawyer in Spain also assists applicants who are submitting the rules and regulations for the Foreign Identity Student Card.

Immigration Permits

Spain Work Permit

An authorization of the Spanish immigration suggests that non-European nationals who want to work in this country must obtain either a worker or a self-employed capacity permit to gain employment in Spain. The work permit has to be accompanied by:

  • a residence or visitor permit; and
  • documents that can show  the permit’s validity in geographical and occupational areas.

The process of the application takes time and is subject to many considerations. Granting work and permit renewal depends on several other factors like restrictions of the labor market or the potential for making jobs as well as mutual agreements with other countries.  Work permits have to be acquired from the regional office of the Ministry of Labor or to the Foreigners’ Office in case the applicants are already in Spain. If the candidates are not in Spain, work permits should be obtained from the Consular Office of the candidate’s home country.

European Nationals Permit

European nationals can work in Spain without a work permit. They can freely enter Spain as a tourist and register in the Spanish national employment office to seek work.   European citizens have ninety days to look for employment or get an extension. European applicants who want to apply for a residence permit in Spain should show their employment contract to gain a residency permit.

Non-Lucrative Residence Permit

The non-lucrative residence permit of Spain is granted to people who want to establish their own residence in this country. However, they are not allowed to make any commercial activities in the republic of Spain. To become a Spanish resident, the candidates must gain all the rights obtainable to European residents. This type of permit is not available to everybody. To have this permit, foreign nationals must have a minimum of 75 thousand US dollars as annual income and an extra 15 thousand US dollars per year for additional candidates.

Children under 18 years are included in the application. This income should have no related professional activity performed in Spain. Spanish migration authorities require candidates to submit evidence proving that they have a house in Spain. On the other hand, a residence permit visa merely grants the individual a three-month stay in the country.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

sarbjit November 30, 2009 at 9:21 am

i happy read u r site.Please me guide you, how many times clear the paper in spain.( my paper apply my husband in spain resident, and apply the paper in 16 month


cocoy May 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Have you ever heard of Filipinos with spanish decent can be eligible to apply as an immigrant to spain? I hope you can help me to get answers and clarifications. Thanks!


filipina October 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm

yes , i have heard it to. im now in spain but i never used the said program. but i guess you can make it.


Nhlanhla May 29, 2010 at 6:58 am

I am so disappointed. I am a South African studying in Spain on a tourist visa extended to 180 days especially for study purposes. Now I am stuck at the airport and cannot fly out because airport security does not know about this special regulation of that visa. And try and call any Spanish authority anywhere after hours, and all you get are people so unfriendly, they just hang up on you. Unbelievable.


Andy September 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Hi, my girlfriend is from the USA, I am British and live in Spain trying to set up a business. I would like my girlfriend to stay with me but she can only stay for 90 days is there any way she can stay legally? We could spend 3 months here and 3 months in UK or back in USA but my home is here. She does not want to work and has cerebral palsy so would not be looking for work. She has enough funds to support herself but not thousands spare in her account. Please help someone.


fedrick November 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Spain is the most unfriendly country in the whole of europe, yet they pretend to this fact, they claim to be sincere, reaching out to the
less privelege, yet demanding palm of flesh for return: In other parts of europe, immigrant right are of high priority; spain is the
only country that refuses immigrant the right to live with their wives, their embassador are so useless and demanding. One is compelled
to do useless transilation, pay per page, collect bribes, yet they claim to be perfect, after all they will turn down once application for flimzy
excusses. In no distant time, rape shall in no doubt become the order of the day.


arzoo December 29, 2010 at 10:39 pm

i want to know what time is required to get paper over there in spain


sadi March 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm


i would like to know how can my family and i get an immigration for spain..v have been visiting spain as tourist and wish to stay there for good…what is the best way for us???


mhay July 13, 2011 at 8:06 am

i want to know how many months to wait for the work permit? and i am non-European nationals. thank you , hope to hear your answer.


afshan aamir February 3, 2012 at 6:18 am

i am afshan iwant to know how many months and money for work permit visa i am pakistani marriedand have one baby iam neurophysiology technologist and my husband is physiotherapist here plz help us in this regard thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


jassi February 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

spain is nice country with nice culture and nice peoples i live in paris and lots of times i travel between both country i feel gud then i enter spain . yes its true spain is not good for work not good salary . but still i like


kangavefarouk September 6, 2012 at 7:21 am

I would like to know how long does it take . obtain a work permit. i got a potential employer in Europe but iam waiting for the work permit


amer shuja June 23, 2013 at 11:22 am

i want to buy a home in spain also for having a immigration visa with my family please contact me


Priyanka August 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

Hello Sir/Ma'am

This is Priyanka Thakor .
Please guide me how to get PR and Business visa in Spain and what kind of business can be possible there.


Jentony October 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Hi! I just want to ask if it is possible to switch a student visa into a working permit in spain? Hoping for your response.many thanks.


raj January 2, 2015 at 11:19 am

Hi this is Raj, I am student at Spain for 2 years and now my visa is about to finish. But thing is, I want to settle in Spain. So can you please tell me, Is there any way to apply for the residency of Spain for the student?


aron June 23, 2015 at 2:33 pm

hi for the persong holding student visa is not count to gain the residency in spain,you can switch your visa for working visa,or any kind of visa that allowed you to stay in spain,student is not included to get the residency…

thank you


Ayaz Ahmad Yazdani March 13, 2015 at 4:24 am

How much money requrired for getting business visa of Spain.


rozalie May 17, 2015 at 10:59 pm

I would like to ask you about my wedding troubles. Im from Czech Republic and my fiance is from Nigeria. His visa is already expired. We are living together in Czech Republic but is no problem to come .Is it possible to get married and start out life like all other people? Thank you very much for your respond.

Best Regards Rozalie


Kamran January 1, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Looking For Job And satale to your country


Vicenta Gomez March 3, 2016 at 7:46 am


I am Filipina and I have a Spanish fiancé. My schengen visa got approved and i can stay in Spain for 90 days. We are planning to get married in July in Spain so we can live together. I badly need an advise on the process of marriage of a Spanish to a foreigner (like requirement, duration of the process since i can only stay for 90 days). Should we get married before my visa expires?

Your response is greatly appreciated.


redouane menad April 24, 2016 at 10:23 am

I’m from Algeria a would like to visit and recidence thanks


Amrit December 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

I want to know that my husband came Spain on tourist visa and then he took political stay.In how many years he can apply his paper for residence


Darlene Evans July 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

I know a woman from Cuba who was seeking asylum and tried to enter the US in 2017. She has been held in detention ever since but because she has duel citizenship in Spain she is being deported from the US to Spain. She’s never been to Spain and does not know anyone there. I believe her citizenship was based on having grandparents from Spain, but they are long dead. She’s in her late 50’s. Is there any suggestions you can make for gathering information on what she can expect when she arrives, where she might go for help, who to contact, what will happen to her. She’ll need to find a place to live that is inexpensive but safe, and she’ll need some kind of work. I don’t beleive she has any work skills outside of cooking, cleaning, that sort of thing. Her family is not planning on supporting her. I’d like to help calm her nerves so she can survive and make a life for herself there. Any suggestions would be helpful.


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