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Work Visa in Spain.

Learn about work visas in Spain thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

Horizons is where real, local hiring expertise meets world-class customer service. Quickly and compliantly hire employees in more than 150 countries worldwide, without the need to open a local entity.

Types of work visas in Spain

There are two main types of work visas in Spain

  1. Employment visas for Spain
  2. Self-Employment Visas for Spain

It should be noted that EU citizens do not need a work permit to work in Spain. The Right of Residence allows EU citizens to live and work in any EU country.

Similarly, foreign nationals holding permanent residency in Spain (and holding a social insurance card), or foreign nationals holding an EU Blue card are considered local nationals for the purposes of employment opportunity. As such, they do not need a work visa to work in Spain.

1. Employment visas for Spain

Employment visas for Spain include several categories of visas including:

  • Spain Au Pair Visa
  • Spain Entrepreneur Visa
  • Spain Working Holiday Visa
  • Spain Highly Qualified Professional/Worker Visa (HQW)

2. Self-employment Visas for Spain

Self-employment visas for Spain are mostly for establishing a new company in Spain, investing in an already-established country in Spain, or working as a freelancer in Spain.

Required documents for a work visa in Spain

Most people applying for a work visa in Spain, and nearly all of those who are applying under an EOR model, will be applying under the Spain Highly Qualified Professional/Worker Visa (HQW).

For the HQW visa, the commonly required documents are:

  • Diploma: copy + English translation (sometimes legalization is required)
  • CV written in Spanish, with complete dates: month + year. All education and work experiences, even gap years should be filled
  • Passport copies, including all pages, even blank ones
  • Criminal Records of all countries where the applicant has lived in the past 5 years: legalized and apostilled

Process to get a work visa in Spain

Getting a work visa when the employee is based outside of Spain

The process for getting a work visa in Spain when the applicant is based outside of the country is:

  • Documents collection by the applicant
  • Application for the Approval Letter online: 20 days
    • The application is considered approved after 20 days. In Spain, no reply from the immigration bureau is considered good news for the application.
  • Application for visa at the Spanish consulate abroad: 10 days
  • Applicant enters Spain to activate the visa: 1 working day
  • Once the visa is activated, the applicant can begin working legally in Spain
  • The applicant then must apply for a Spain Residence Card within 30 days of arriving to Spain. The application can take up to 3 weeks
    • For this step, it can take weeks to receive an appointment

Getting a work visa when the employee is based inside of Spain

The process for getting a work visa in Spain when the applicant is based inside of the country is:

  • Documents collection by the applicant
  • Cancellation of previous work permit (if applicable)
  • Application for the Approval Letter online: 20 days
    • The application is considered approved after 20 days. In Spain, no reply from the immigration bureau is considered good news for the application.
  • Application for the Spain Residence Card: 3 weeks
    • For this step, it can take weeks to receive an appointment
  • Once approved for the Spain Residence Card, the applicant can legally start working

Special notes about work visas in Spain

There are several special notes about work visas in Spain:

  1. EU citizens do not need a work permit to work in Spain. The Right of Residence allows EU citizens to live and work in any EU country.
  2. Foreign nationals holding permanent residency in Spain (and holding a social insurance card). They are considered local nationals for the purposes of employment opportunity. As such, they do not need a work visa to work in Spain.
  3. Foreign nationals holding an EU Blue card are considered local nationals for the purposes of employment opportunity. As such, they do not need a work visa to work in Spain.
  4. For director-level positions, the minimum salary for Spain work visa success is €55,142.
  5. For other professional-level positions, the minimum salary for Spain work visa success is €40,077.
  6. UK Citizens need a work permit if they start working in Spain after Brexit.
  7. The minimum wage for expats in Spain is the same as for locals in Spain.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

The EU Blue Card allows holders to work and reside in any EU Country. Applicants of the EU Blue Card must have spent 3 years completing higher education in the EU, or have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the EU. Holders of the EU Blue Card must have a salary that is 20%-50% higher than the average.

Spain work visa holders must work a minimum of one year in Spain before bringing their family members to Spain. EU Blue card holders do not need to wait one year to bring their family members. 

How long you can stay in Spain depends on the type of work visa you have. For the Spain High Value Worker visa, the duration is 2 years, renewable for 2 years at a time.

A global EOR in Spain is legally able to provide a work visa to foreign nationals in Spain. However, successful application for a visa will depend on the hiring project specifics. In cases of global mobility, our global mobilitly and legal team will always check for feasibliity before engaging the project. Contact us for a free conslutation on your EOR + visa project in Spain.

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