This article is reviewed regularly by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Updated May 2024

Dreaming of a new life under the Spanish sun? Spain, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm climate, is a popular destination for immigrants from all over the world. Whether you’re drawn by the picturesque landscapes, the bustling cities, or the promise of a slower, more relaxed lifestyle, Spain has something to offer everyone.

But moving to Spain is more than just packing your bags and buying a plane ticket. It’s about understanding the local customs, navigating the legal requirements, and finding your place in a new community.

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In this article, Wego will guide you through the essentials of immigrating to Spain, making your transition as smooth as possible.

Immigrating to Spain

Obtaining the appropriate visa or residence permit is a mandatory step for individuals intending to reside and work in Spain for an extended period. While EU citizens are exempt from visa requirements due to their presence in the Schengen area, non-EU citizens must navigate a complex visa application process.

Whether your stay in Spain is temporary or permanent, acquiring a temporary residence permit is essential. This permit grants one year of residency, with the option to extend it for up to five years.

After this period, individuals become eligible for the tarjeta comunitaria permanente (permanent residency card). However, it’s important to note that during the five-year residency period, individuals should not leave Spain for more than six months in a single year or exceed a total of 10 months of absence.

Spain work visa

A Spain work visa allows individuals aged 16 and older to work as employees in Spain. This visa is necessary for those who have secured a job offer and work contract with a Spanish employer. It also covers seasonal work activities, making it a versatile option for various employment opportunities in Spain.

Obtaining a work visa is a crucial step for those looking to live and work legally in Spain.

Documents required

When applying for a Spain work visa, you will need to prepare and submit the following documents:

  • national visa application form
  • recent, passport-size colored photograph
  • valid passport: Both the original and a photocopy of the passport’s biometric data pages. The passport must be valid for at least four months (or the duration of the work contract) and have two blank pages. Passports older than 10 years are not accepted. Your passport will be retained by the consulate during the visa processing time.
  • copy of the AUTORIZACIÓN DE RESIDENCIA Y TRABAJO POR CUENTA AJENA
  • work contract
  • criminal record check certificate
  • medical certificate
  • proof of residence in the consular district
  • proof of the representative’s identity and capacity (if applicable): For minors, this includes the parent’s identity document or passport and proof of kinship, legalized or apostilled, and translated into Spanish if required.
  • payment of the visa fee

The consulate may request additional documents or data and may ask you to attend a personal interview as part of the assessment process.

Application process

To apply for a work visa in Spain, you need to complete the following steps:

  • schedule an appointment at the Consular Office by sending an email to [email protected]. In the subject line, specify the type of residence visa you wish to apply for. The text of the message must state:
    • given name and surname
    • passport number
    • email address
    • phone number
    • place of residence in the UK
    • type of residence visa you wish to apply for
  • submit the application in person at the Consular Office. If the applicant is a minor, a parent must submit the application on their behalf.

Please note that the application must be submitted within one month from the day after the employer receives notification of the favorable decision regarding the initial residence and employment permit.

For more information, please refer to the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation in Spain website.

Alternatively, you can also refer to our dedicated article on the Spain work visa.

Living in Spain

Living in Spain offers residents a multitude of benefits and support from Spanish authorities.

Here’s what it’s like:

  • residents can easily open a bank account, facilitating financial transactions and management.
  • visa-free travel to Schengen areas, making exploration of Europe hassle-free.
  • access to financial security and wealth preservation options ensures peace of mind.
  • set up a business, fostering innovation and economic growth.
  • obtain a Spanish driving license for convenient transportation within the country.
  • access government health services and health insurance.
  • residents have opportunities to work and invest in various sectors.

Residency in Spain

In Spain, the path to permanent residency is straightforward: after legally residing in the country for five consecutive years, you gain the right to become a permanent resident. However, certain individuals can secure permanent residency before completing the full five-year term. This special provision applies to various groups:

  • workers or self-employed individuals eligible for pension: Those who reach pension age upon retirement from work in Spain and have lived in the country for over three years.
  • self-employed individuals taking early retirement: If self-employed individuals retire early and have been employed in Spain for the preceding 12 months while residing in Spain for over three years.
  • workers or self-employed Individuals with permanent incapacity: Those who have lived in Spain for more than two years and have to stop working due to permanent incapacity.
  • workers or self-employed Individuals working in another EU State: After three years of working and living in Spain, individuals who start working in another EU member state while maintaining their residency in Spain.

Spain student visa

A Spain student visa allows individuals to stay in the country for more than 90 days to pursue studies, training, internships, or volunteer work. This visa is also available for au pairs and teaching assistants.

Furthermore, family members, including spouses, civil partners, and minor or dependent children, can also obtain visas to accompany the student. However, these visas do not permit the family members to work in Spain.

Documents required

The following are some of the documents required for a long-term Spain study visa application. You can find out the complete list of documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation website:

  • national visa application form
  • recent, passport-sized, colored photograph.
  • valid passport: Must be valid for the duration of your stay and have at least two blank pages.
  • proof of acceptance: Documentation proving acceptance into an accredited educational program, training center, exchange program, internship, or volunteer activity.
  • proof of financial means
  • health insurance
  • criminal record check
  • medical certificate
  • proof of residence
  • proof of identity for minors: If applicable, documents proving the identity and kinship of the applicant’s parent or guardian..

Please note that additional documents may be required depending on the applicant’s situation. Hence, make sure to consult the authorities for an accurate list of documents required for a study visa.

Application process

The application procedure for a Spanish student visa involves several steps:

  • determine if you need a visa based on your nationality and program duration.
  • submit your visa application in person, through one of your parents if you’re a minor, or via a duly accredited representative to your nearest Embassy/Consulate or visa application center
  • ensure you submit the application well before your study program’s start date.
  • attend a visa appointment at the Consular Office.
  • provide additional documents or attend a personal interview if requested.
  • wait for a decision on your visa application
  • the consular office or visa application centre will further inform the applicant regarding the procedure for collection of the visa.

Please make sure to consult your nearest Spain Embassy/Consulate or visa application center for details regarding the Spain student visa application procedure.

For a more comprehensive visa guide, please refer to our dedicated article on the Spain student visa.

Spain family reunification visa

The Spain family reunification visa allows family members of non-EU foreigners with legal residency in Spain to join them. This visa is not available to family members of EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens. It facilitates the reunification of families by permitting spouses, unmarried partners, children, and parents to live together in Spain.

Documents required

To apply for a Spain family reunification visa, the following documents are required:

  • national visa application form
  • recent passport-size, colored photograph
  • passport: Original and copy of the passport pages with biometric data, valid for at least 4 months with two blank pages.
  • initial family reunification permit: Original and copy of the initial permit issued by the Spanish government.
  • resident’s residency card: Certified copy of the resident’s unexpired Foreigner Identification Card.
  • proof of family relationship:
    • spouses: Marriage certificate and, if applicable, proof of divorce from previous marriages.
    • unmarried couples: Registration certificate or proof of long-term relationship.
    • children: Birth certificate and, if applicable, proof of sole custody or parental authority.
    • parents: Birth certificate of the resident or spouse, proof of financial dependency, and additional supporting documents.
  • criminal record check certificate
  • medical certificate
  • proof of residence
  • representative’s identity and capacity: For minors, identity proof of the parent or guardian and relevant legal documents.
  • visa fees
Application process

The application process involves several steps:

  • book an appointment with the Consular Office in your country.
  • submit your application in person within 2 months of receiving the family reunification authorization. If the applicant is a minor, a parent or legal guardian must submit the application.
  • the consular office will provide a receipt with a tracking code to check your application’s status online.
  • the consular office might request additional documents or a personal interview if needed.
  • once approved, collect the visa in person or through a representative (if the applicant is a minor) within two months of notification.

For more information, please refer to the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation in Spain website.

Spain non-lucrative residence visa

The Spain non-lucrative residence visa allows individuals to live in Spain without engaging in any work or professional activities. Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their stay.

This visa does not grant permission to work. Family members, including spouses, unmarried partners, dependent children, and dependent relatives, can also obtain this visa.

Documents required

To apply for a non-lucrative residence visa in Spain, the following documents are necessary:

  • national visa application form
  • non-working residence visa application form (EX-01 Form)
  • recent, passport-size colored photograph
  • passport: Valid and unexpired, with original and photocopy of the data pages.
  • proof of financial means: Evidence showing at least 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM), approximately EUR 27,792.96, plus an additional 100% (around EUR 6,948.24) for each accompanying family member.
  • health insurance
  • criminal record check certificate
  • medical certificate

Additionally, applicants must demonstrate they will not engage in any work while in Spain.

Application process

The application process for the Non-Lucrative Residence Visa involves several steps:

  • schedule an appointment with the Consular Office in your country.
  • submit your application in person within 2 months of receiving the family reunification authorization. If the applicant is a minor, a parent or legal guardian must submit the application.
  • the consular office will provide a receipt with a tracking code to check your application’s status online.
  • the consular office might request additional documents or a personal interview if needed.
  • once approved, collect the visa in person or through a representative (if the applicant is a minor) within two months of notification.

For more information, please refer to the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation in Spain website.

Spain NIE

The NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) or foreigner identity number serves as the primary identification in Spain, akin to the national identity document for Spanish citizens (DNI). It is essential for various processes in Spain, including:

  • opening a bank account
  • enrolling in health insurance
  • accessing social security benefits
  • filing taxes
  • applying for residency
  • receiving packages
  • using services like bike-sharing

Please note that obtaining an NIE within 90 days of arrival is mandatory, but it can also be acquired before relocating to expedite the process.

Documents required

To obtain an NIE in Spain, you will need the following documents:

  • valid passport or national identity card (EU citizens only)
  • copy of your passport
  • completed EX-15 form (submitted in Spanish, with English translation available)
  • document certifying the reason for applying for an NIE, such as a letter from your employer, pre-purchase property contract, or visa valid for over 90 days.
Application process

The application for an NIE in Spain can be completed through various methods:

  • Spanish consulate in your home country: Apply online or through in-person appointments, providing documents justifying the need for an NIE, such as proof of employment or a long-stay visa.
  • through a representative: Grant someone in Spain power of attorney through a notary, along with a notarized copy of your passport, saving time and stress.
  • in Spain: Visit a Comisaría General de Policía (national police station) for a first-come, first-served appointment or book online for convenience.

For more information, please refer to the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation in Spain website.

Financial aspects of living in Spain

Living in Spain offers an appealing lifestyle with lower costs compared to many other countries. Housing is affordable, dining out won’t break the bank, and public transportation is reasonably priced. Thus, it’s a place where you can enjoy life without straining your wallet.

Spanish income tax

In Spain, residents are typically liable for Personal Income Tax (PIT) on their global income, irrespective of its source. The standard PIT rate stands at 24%, while residents from other EU or European Economic Area (EEA) nations with effective tax information exchange face a reduced rate of 19%.

Additionally, capital gains resulting from asset transfers are subject to a 19% tax rate.

Salary expectations

In Spain, the minimum salary for a full-time employee working 40 hours weekly is EUR 1,323 per month. If wages are received over 14 payments, including extra payments in July and December, the minimum monthly salary equals EUR 1,134, resulting in an annual income of EUR 15,876.

Furthermore, the average gross salary in Spain stands at around EUR 2,250 per month or EUR 27,000 annually. However, it’s important to note that this figure represents the average, with 25% of the population earning less than EUR 1,600 and 75% earning below EUR 7,080. Compared to other European nations, Spain’s average net salary falls within the middle range.

 

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