VISAS AND RESIDENCE PERMITS
1. Residence and work permits for citizens under the EU regime
Citizens under the EU regime
Citizens under the EU regime can enter, leave, remain in and move freely around the whole of Spain.
It is necessary that for their economic, professional, or social interests they request, for identification purposes, a personal, unique, and exclusive number, of a sequential nature, that is, the NIE.
People from the European Union, Switzerland or the European Economic Area who intend to stay in Spain for more than 3 months will need to request the corresponding Union citizen registration certificate within one month of entering Spain.
Scope of application
The EU regime applies to:
- All the citizens of the current 27 member states of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are fully covered by the EU regime.
- The nationals of any other State who are a member of the family of the nationals of the aforementioned States are also covered by the EU regime. Article 2 of Royal Decree 240/2007, of 16 February establishes to which members of the family of EU citizens, nationals of other Countries, the EU regime will apply, and under which conditions.
The family members of an EU citizen who have the right to reside in Spain, regardless of their nationality, are as follows:
- Their spouse, as long as they are not legally separated.
- The partner with whom they maintain a relationship analogous to that of a spouse entered in a public register established for those purposes by an EU Member State which excludes the possibility of their simultaneously being two entries in that Country if this entry has not been annulled.
- Their descendants and those of their spouse, if they are not legally separated, under 21 or older but financially supported by them.
- Their ascendants and those of their spouse, if they are not legally separated, financially supported by them, except for the ascendants of students and their spouses, who will not have the right to reside in Spain.
- To enter Spain, if their family members are nationals of third-party countries they must, in addition, hold the corresponding entrance visa, obtained in advance from the Spanish Diplomatic Mission or Consulate in their country of origin or residence, without prejudice to that set out in the international treaties and agreements to which Spain is party.
Family members of a Spanish citizen or of another Member State of the European Union, or of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Switzerland, who do not hold the nationality of one of said States, when they meet with him or accompany him, and they are going to reside in Spain for a period of more than three months, they must request and obtain a family card of a citizen of the Union. This will be requested at the Immigration Office of the territory in which you reside.
Where to apply the NIE & Card
Calle Olaguibel, 1
01071 – Vitoria
Tel.: 945759480 (Customer service and appointments)
Calle Barroeta Aldamar, 1 (Ground floor)
48071 – Bilbao
Plaza Pío XII, 6 (Independent entry by Javier de Barcaiztegui)
20010 – San Sebastian
To undertake economic activities, citizens under the EU regime will be subject to the regulations in place in this area, with the same conditions that apply to the Spanish. Their spouses, descendants and those of their spouses have the right, if they so request, to undertake any economic activity under the same conditions as the Spanish, without the need for any independent work permits. For this, they simply need their residence card (as a member of the family of the EU resident).
Access to the Public Administration
EU citizens have the same rights as Spanish citizens to work in the Public Administration, except when this involves direct participation in the exercising of public power and for functions designed to safeguard the interests of the State or the Public Administrations. Royal Decree 543/2001 of 18 May provides a list of bodies and ranks that the nationals of other Countries cannot access.
2. General conditions of entry, residence, work, stay of third countries’ citizens
Within the General Immigration Regime of the Spanish State, we highlight 2 laws: Law 14/2013 of September 27, to support entrepreneurs and their internationalisation, and Organic Law 4/2000. Depending on the particularities of each case, it will be governed by one or another law:
Law 14/2013 of September 27, to support entrepreneurs and their internationalisation
This Law includes the entry and residence conditions for foreign citizens who want to invest and undertake in Spain, as well as those who work as highly qualified professionals, intra-company transfers, researchers and professors hired by universities, bodies or centres of higher education and research or business schools in Spain.
It is processed by the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit. Applications for authorisations regulated by this Law must be submitted electronically, through the Electronic Headquarters of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.
- Highly qualified professionals
- Intra-corporate Transferee Workers (ICT)
- International teleworkers.
- Workers in audiovisual and cultural productions.
- Relatives of the above cases
Organic Law 4/2000
This Law includes the conditions of entry, stay, studies, residence, family reunification, residence and work and other authorisations that foreign citizens from third States may obtain, without prejudice to the provisions of special laws and international treaties in which Spain be part.
Royal Decree 629/2022 of 26 July amending the Regulation of Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, following its reform by Organic Law 2/2009, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April.
Temporary residence and work:
- Authorisations to reside and work in Spain.
- Employed Work.
- Self-employment Work.
- Temporary residency permit with work permit exemption.
- Students, research or training stays, student mobility, non-work placements and volunteering.
- Amendment of an authorisation.
- Long-term residence.
Depending on the case, they are presented at the Immigration Office of the province where the services are to be provided or at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office of their demarcation of residence.
Foreigner Units in the Basque Country:
FOREIGN OFFICE IN VITORIA – GASTEIZ
FOREIGNERS’ UNIT IN VITORIA – GASTEIZ
Calle Olaguibel, 1
01071 – Vitoria-Gasteiz
Tel.: 945759490 – 945759480
FOREIGNERS’ UNIT IN BILBAO
Calle Barroeta Aldamar, 1 (Planta Baja)
48071 – Bilbao
Tel: 94 450 94 35
FOREIGNERS’ UNIT IN DONOSTIA – SAN SEBASTIÁN
Plaza Pío XII, 6 (Entrada independiente por Javier de Barcaiztegui)
20010 – Donostia/San Sebastián
STAY & ENTRY
The entry of a foreign citizen onto Spanish territory is conditional upon the fulfilment of the following requirements:
- Possession of a valid, current passport or travel documents.
- Visa if required.
- Justification of the purpose and conditions of entry and stay.
- For study trips or those involving other kinds of training some of the following documents may be requested: Matriculation document from an education centre to participating in theoretical and practical training courses or Certificates related to the courses in question.
- For scientific, professional or scientific trips or for other purposes, some of the following documents may be requested: An invitation from a research body, company or authority to take part in meetings, conventions, etc. of a scientific or technical nature; Document accrediting the existence of scientific, industrial, commercial relations, etc.; Access cards for congresses, conventions, fairs, etc.; or Invitations, entry cards, bookings or programmes with an indication, where possible, of the name of the inviting body and duration of the study or any other document indicating the purpose of the visit.
- Proof, where applicable, of sufficient monetary means to cover the stay in Spain or of being in a capacity to obtain them, and of moving on to another country or returning to the country of origin.
- Presentation of the corresponding health certificates.
- Not being the subject of a ban on entry.
- Not posing a threat to Spain’s public health, public order, national security, or international relations, or those of States with whim Spain has an agreement to such an effect.
Definition and Categories of visas
The visa or prior authorisation of entry is a legal instrument (attached to the passport or included within its pages) bestowed by the destination country, in this case Spain, through its consulate or embassy in the country of origin or residence of the person who is due to travel, which authorizes cross-border circulation of foreign citizens.
Its objective is to control entry of people to the country in accordance with the authorisation they possess, and it authorises them for various kinds of stay by duration or activity to be conducted. There are various kinds of visa depending on the duration and purpose of the stay in Spain:
- Short-term visas: these authorise stays in Spain of up to 90 days per six months. EU legislation establishes the list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from the need to obtain a visa for stays in the Schengen Area29 for under 90 days per six months and for nationals of third countries subject to this requirement.
- National or long-term visas: when the stay in Spain exceeds three months, a national or long-term visa needs to be obtained. In this case, there are no exceptions by nationality except for the special regime for nationals of EU Member States, the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
Visas issued for the undertaking of professional activities with a duration of less than 90 days per six months are also national visas.
Procedures to carry out
- Check that you are required to apply for a visa in order to enter Spain.
- Apply for a stay or residency authorisation: this permit enables a foreigner from a country outside the members of the European Economic Area to stay in Spain for a period of over 90 days.
- Apply for the visa (once the authorisation has been obtained).
- This permit does not authorise travel to Spain; the applicant must wait until he/she obtains the visa.