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EsSpain Visas
& Permits.






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Euro (€) (EUR)

If you decide to expand your company into Spain, it can take months to fully grasp the country’s complex labor laws. One of the main challenges is figuring out which visas employees will need. That’s why we’ve gathered a few useful tips to get you started.

Types of work visas in Spain

The first step to obtaining a work visa in Spain is knowing which employees need one. Since Spain is part of the European Union (EU), EU citizens, EEA, and Swiss citizens do not need a work permit to live and work in the country. However, when staying longer than 3 months, they will still be obliged to apply for an EU registration certificate at the Spanish Central Register of Foreigners.

In order to hire an international worker in Spain, the job must be listed as a shortage occupation, meaning there were no suitable candidates in Spain or the EU.

Authorization to work in Spain is combined with an employee’s residence permit. Once they receive this authorization, employers must submit an application for a work permit on behalf of the employee. Work permits are generally valid for 1 year, depending on the type of visa, and employees can renew them as long as they meet certain conditions. Permits typically apply to specific sectors, and some options include:

  • Highly Qualified Worker Visa
  • Seasonal Work Visas
  • Au pair Visas
  • EU Blue Card
  • Self-Employed Visas

After 5 years of holding a work visa, employees can typically apply for long-term residence.

Requirements to obtain Spain work visas

As soon as employees arrive in Spain, they must apply for an identity card/number — tarjeta de identidad (TIE) and número de identidad de extranjero (NIE) — with a local Foreigners Office within 30 days. They must use their NIE for all financial and administrative processes in Spain, including employment.

Employers are responsible for applying for work permits on behalf of employees and must go to the nearest Oficina de extranjeros or the Provincial Ministry of Labour. Employees must provide photocopies of their passport, criminal record, medical records, 3 passport-sized identification photos, and copies of their job offer. If the international worker is still in their home country, employers must file their application with a Spain embassy or consulate in that country.

Employers are required to sign all initial work and residence applications submitted to the Large Companies Unit with their company’s digital certificate.

Application process

After submitting a Spain work visa application at the Ministry of Labour office, employees will get a copy of the application with a stamp and file number. The embassy will then inform the regional labor office that it has the application, and the labor office will process it. Keep in mind that it can take up to 8 months to process a work permit application, so it’s best to plan ahead. As soon as the labor office approves the work permit, the embassy or consulate will issue the employee’s work and residence visa.

Outside of the application process, all employees in Spain must register with the Social Security authorities and the General Social Security Fund. Employers will typically do this on behalf of the employee unless the individual is self-employed.

Other important considerations

Many employees will also want to bring family members to Spain. Family members of those who hold an EU Blue Card and a Highly Qualified Worker Visa can apply for a temporary residence permit without the customary 1-year waiting period, provided they meet the conditions for reunification.

Discover how G-P can help you manage your global teams.

At G-P, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to global business, enabling opportunity for everyone, everywhere, and helping companies tap into the fullest potential of their workforce. We help you maintain full compliance with local laws and ensure everything from hiring and onboarding to paying employees is quick and easy, regardless of where they are in the world.

Find out more about how our Global Growth Platform™ can help you grow your team across the globe.

For this particular location, G-P may offer support in the processing of certain work visas and permits. Contact us today to assess your specific needs.


THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. You should always consult with and rely on your own legal and/or tax advisor(s). G-P does not provide legal or tax advice. The information is general and not tailored to a specific company or workforce and does not reflect G-P’s product delivery in any given jurisdiction. G-P makes no representations or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information and shall have no liability arising out of or in connection with it, including any loss caused by use of, or reliance on, the information.

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