Visas and residence permits in Spain. Immigration laws in Spain

15 February 2018

The requirements for relocating to Spain are very different depending on whether you are a citizen of a European Union country or not.

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Immigrating to a new country is rarely a simple process, and things become even more complicated when you have a business to worry about. Depending on your circumstances and the type of business activity you wish to carry out in the country, the process of getting a residence permit, work permit or visa for Spain will vary.

First of all, the requirements for relocating to Spain are very different depending on whether you are a citizen of a European Union country or not.

How to immigrate to Spain from EU and non-EU countries

For EU citizens who wish to immigrate to Spain, this process is much easier. With few exceptions, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter the country, nor do you need a work permit in order to legally work in Spain. Upon arrival, you will have to apply for your residence card (NIE: Número de Identidad de Extranjero) within 30 days, and that will usually have to be renewed each year unless you secure a longer-term residency.

Non-EU citizens will have to apply for a visa in their home country before relocating. There are several different types of visas that can be used for this purpose, each with different requirements. A legal professional with expertise in Spain immigration laws can ensure you choose the correct visa and help you get all the necessary documentation and paperwork in order.

Spain immigration laws for business owners

Many business owners who are looking to begin operations in Spain will be good candidates for the so-called “investment visa”. Once your business is established in the country, if you need to relocate any employees, a “corporate visa” may be the simplest way to get your people into the country with work permits. Also, residence permits in Spain will need to be extended to any family members who will also be moving.

The requirements for the investment visa for Spain are fairly extensive, so this is definitely a case where a lawyer who is familiar with Spanish immigration laws and has experience in expatriation for business owners will be invaluable. For example, you will need a detailed business plan explaining how your new business in Spain will benefit the country, how much capital will be invested in mounting the business, and how many jobs are expected to be created.

Keep in mind that even if you employ the services of a law firm, you must appear in person at your local Spanish consulate or embassy in order to apply for the visa.

Residence permits in Spain for real estate owners and investors

If part of your business plan entails a sizeable real estate purchase, you may be a candidate for a “golden visa”, also known as a property visa for Spain. The advantage of this visa is that the documentation requirements are less involved than they are for an investor visa, but even so, this visa is not attainable by most business owners. Recently, the minimum value of the property purchased was increased from €160,000 to €500,000.

Based on the type of visa you apply for and the nature of your business, you may be eligible for fast-track residency under laws that have passed since immigration reform in Spain went underway. The best way to expedite the entire process of applying for visas, work permits and residence permits in Spain is to seek help from a lawyer who knows the intricacies of Spain immigration laws and all the associated paperwork and red tape. One wrong step could set you and your business back months as you scramble to restart the process, so it pays to guarantee it is done right the first time.