Residence Permit

At Spain Homes we’ve complied a reference guide on residence permits, types and requirements to help you prepare for your new life under the Spanish sun.

Reader’s Note: f you are a citizen from the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland, you simply need to apply for your foreigner’s identification number (commonly known as “NIE number” or “Número de Identificación de Extranjero” in Spanish) to stay longer than ninety days in Spain. For non-EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens, the below information applies.

How Long Can You Live in Spain as a Non-Resident?

Any visit longer than ninety days per one hundred and eighty days requires a visa. However, if you have a Spanish residency permit, you are considered a non-resident in Spain if you spend less than than 183 days on the Spanish territory per fiscal year (Jan 1 – Dec 31), including short travels during these 183 days. The only exception to this rule is when Spain is the territory where the majority of your direct or indirect economic interests lie, regardless of how little time you spend in Spain.

How Much is Non-Resident Tax in Spain?

The current tax rate for Spanish rental income earned by non-residents is twenty four percent (24%).

Residence Permit Types

There are a variety of different residence permit categories available for the purpose of long-term stay in Spain, and vary depending on the purpose of your stay. These residence permits are divided into three (3) main types:

1. Residence Permit

A holder of this type of visa is not permitted to be officially employed or to conduct any professional activity in the territory of Spain. This category of permit is called “visado de residencia” in Spanish.

2. Work and Residence Permit

This visa grants you the ability to work and reside in Spain in excess of 90 days (long term residency) and is known as “visado de trabajo y residencia” in Spanish.

3. Student Residence Permit

Allows one to live and study in Spain, as well as to carry out scientific research or participate in a studying internship with the possibility of working a maximum of 20 hours per week. In Spanish, this permit is referred to as “visado de estudios”.

Spain’s Visa Categories

1. Work Employment Visa

This temporary 2-year (renewable) visa allows you to live and work in Spain. It’s not a requirement, but an annual salary greater than 25,000 Euros will help strengthen the success of your application. You can apply in Spain (on a tourist visa) or apply from outside of Spain. As this visa category is for employees, your employer will apply on your behalf.

If you apply outside of Spain, the following applies:

  • Visa must be applied for in person at your local Consulate in your country of residence.
  • Your application must be submitted no earlier than ninety days prior to your expected date of travel.
  • Residence visas must be collected within a month, with the countdown commencing from the time of your approval notification.

Required Documents:

Reader’s Note: All documents that are not in Spanish need to be translated by a sworn translator. It’s important to present originals and photocopies of all documents and translations.

  • Completed and signed visa application form (original and photocopy).
  • One passport photo with a white background glued to the application form.
  • Your passport or travel document (original and photocopy of the main page). Passport should be no older than 10 years. Tip: ensure your passport has at least one blank page for the new visa.
  • A form of identification that proves your place of residence is within the jurisdiction of the Spanish Consulate that you apply (original and photocopy). Tip: check with your local Consulate on what they deem as acceptable identification.
  • Authorization of work and residence permit approval (comunicación de autorización de trabajo y residencia) issued by the Oficina de Extranjeros o Dirección General de Inmigración of the Ministry of Labor (Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración) in Spain. This document cannot be older than 30 days
  • Work contract proving the fulfillment of minimal economic funds during your time in Spain (original and photocopy).
  • Police clearance certificate for all applicants over the age of eighteen years of age (original and photocopy) translated into Spanish (by a sworn translator) with a photocopy of the translation.
  • Medical certificate issued within the last three months in original, photocopy and translated into Spanish (by a sworn translator). Note: medical certificate must include the letterhead and handwritten signature of a doctor.
  • Spouse of the main applicant should submit his/her own visa application for residence visa, with all required documents (plus the Marriage certificate authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague) and translated into Spanish by a sworn translator.
  • Children of the main applicant should submit his/her own visa application for residence visa​ with all required documents plus the birth certificates authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish by a sworn translator.

2. Entrepreneur Visa

Start a business in Spain to qualify for this one-year visa. Conditions require that the business project be of “public interest” which is defined as:

  • Creates new jobs.
  • Has a positive economic impact on the community.
  • Contributes towards scientific or technological innovation.

General Requirements:

  • Applicant is a not a citizen from the EU/EEA or Switzerland.
  • Older than eighteen years at the time of application.
  • Applicant must have no criminal record in Spain or any of the countries of residence in the past 5 years for offenses stipulated under Spanish Law.
  • Policyholder of public insurance or private health insurance with a Health Insurance Institution authorised to operate in Spain.
  • Applicant has sufficient financial means to support themselves and their family members during the period of residency in Spain (“sufficient” is defined as €2,130 EUROs per month for yourself and €532 for every family member that is in your care).

Required Documents:

  • Completed and signed application form (original and photocopy).
  • Proof of the payment of the application fee.
  • Economic independence. Documents showing you have sufficient funds to support yourself (and any dependent family members) including social security documentation.
  • Business plan detailing your activity and how it will contribute to the Spanish economy (beyond paying corporate taxes). Job creation, innovation and a positive impact on Spanish society are areas the Commercial Office (the decision-makers) will value and expect to see in your business plan.

Note: If the Commercial Office approves your application you will receive a document of approval to send to your local immigration office to process your Entrepreneur visa.

3. Investor Visa

One-year visa validity is available when investing 2 million Euros in Spanish sovereign debt or 1 million Euros in Spanish company stock or Spanish bank deposits.


Documentary proof of investment of the minimum amount required to be submitted within sixty days preceding the filing of the application based upon the following types of sanctioned investments:

  • Investment in unlisted shares or company shares, a copy of the statement of investment made in the Registrar of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness must be submitted.
  • Investment in listed shares, a certificate of a financial intermediary, duly registered with the National Commission of the Stock Market or the Bank of Spain, which states that the applicant has made the investment according to the standard rules.
  • Investment in government bonds, a certificate of the financial institute or the Bank of Spain has to be presented which indicates that the applicant is the sole owner of the investment for a period equal to or greater than 5 years.
  • For bank deposit investments, a certificate from the financial institution must be presented which states that the applicant is the sole owner of the bank deposit.

4. Golden Visa Program

This program allows you to legally work and live in Spain when purchasing Spanish real estate valued at a minimum of €500,000 (self-funded and paid in full - no debt financing allowed under €500,000).


  • A pathway for non-EU/EEA, Swiss Nationals.
  • Spouse and children under eighteen years can apply for residency.
  • Renewable every two years.
  • After five years, this visa is a pathway to gain permanent residence, provided at least six months per year is spent in Spain. After ten years, this visa category qualifies for Spanish citizenship.
  • Not necessary to live in Spain or spend extended time in country. You can visit Spain just once a year to maintain your visa status.
  • Processing time of ten (10) working days.

General Requirements and Documentation:

  • Applicant must evidence the purchase of property by presenting property registry filing certification from the Land Registry or notarised deeds and proof the deeds have been submitted to the Land Registry that contains information on the property and corresponding taxes.
  • Land Registry certification must be dated less than ninety days from the date of application of the residency visa for the Golden Visa Program.

    Note: If at the time of visa application the property purchase is pending registration at the Land Registry, certification attesting such with proof of payment for the property taxes will be sufficient to continue your visa application.
  • Applicant must show property investment meets minimum criteria (€500,000 Euros) to qualify for Gold Visa Program and said property is free of all charges, liens and encumbrances.
  • Applicant’s passport must have remaining validity for at least one year.
  • Two passport photographs.
  • Proof of financial solvency.
  • Valid medical insurance in Spain.
  • Police clearance certificate.
  • Marriage and birth certificates (if you are applying for residency for your spouse and children - under eighteen years of age).

5. Non-Lucrative Residence Permit

This category of residence permit is one of the most popular paths to residency in Spain by non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals. The non-lucrative residence permit is typically reserved for self-sufficient applicants who have no plans to work in Spain and are financially self-sufficient (bank statements or accountant declarations). The non-lucrative residence permit is valid for one (1) year and renewable for an additional two (2) years, renewable twice. That is, this category of visa will allow you up to five (5) years residence in Spain (year 1 + 2 years + 2 years). However, at the end of your first year you can apply for a work permit (self-employed or employed).

Note: nationals of the Philippines, Andorra, Spanish-American countries, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal and individuals with Jewish Sephardic origin may be eligible for citizenship after two years of legal residency.

General Requirements and Documentation:

  • A non-EU/EEA or Swiss Citizen.
  • Over eighteen (18) years old.
  • Valid medical insurance in Spain.
  • Medical certificate.
  • Police clearance letter.
  • Application form.
  • Proof of financial solvency and economic means to support your stay, including family without the need to find employment.

Note: “Financial solvency and sufficient economic means” is defined as income of at least €25,560 Euros per annum, plus €6,390 Euros for each additional family member. Income may be derived from investments, annuities, sabbaticals and any other sources of income.

6. Spouse and Family Reunification

Under The Citizens’ Rights (Directive 2004/38/EC) a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can live permanently in Spain with their EU/EEA/Swiss national spouse.

Within three months of arrival, the non-EU spouse/family member must register at the Foreigner’s Office (in person) to be issued with a Residence Card (Tarjeta de Residencia de Familiar de Cuidadano de la Unión).

Required Documents:

  • Your valid passport (with 6 months minimum validity).
  • A completed and signed application form.
  • Your proof of relationship with the EU citizen (birth, marriage, civil partnership certificates).
  • Your EU citizen’s spouse/family member’s ID.
  • Colour passport photos (the exact number depends on the person you speak to on the day).

Once successfully issued, the residence card will be valid for five years, and renewable thereafter.

7.Student Visa

To study in Spain for more than six months you can apply for a type D student visa and a student residence permit/card or Foreigner Identity Card (within 30 days from your arrival in Spain) from your local Foreigner Office or police station.

General Requirements and Documentation:

  • An acceptance letter from the educational institute you plan to undertake your studies.
  • Valid medical insurance in Spain.
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of funds for the duration of your stay in Spain (e.g. scholarship details, a Spanish bank showing sufficient funds or letter from parents/guardians assuming full financial responsibility).
  • Evidence of your Spanish residential address.
  • Recently dated police clearance certificate from your home country.
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