Information designed for citizens of the EU-EEA:
In order to work in Spain, no visa, work permit or employment confirmation are required for nationals of the EU-EEA. There are no restrictions for nationals of new EU member states.
Since 2006, nationals of the European Union can travel to Spain as tourists and register with local or national employment agencies (Instituto Nacional de Empleo - INEM).
Citizens of the EU-EEA can apply for a resident card in Spain. This card includes the "N.I.E." number (Foreigners' ID number) needed to file taxes, open a bank account, etc.
Note however, that the resident card ("Tarjeta de Extranjeros") is no longer mandatory for EU-EEA nationals, but the NIE number remains mandatory if one intends to seek for employment or register with employment agencies in the country.
To apply for a resident card, visit the Gobierno Civil - Secretaría de Extranjeros or simply go to the nearest police station with your passport, proof of employment (if required) and several passport-sized photos. Fees apply.
Good to know:
If you have financial interests in Spain, or if you own a property in the country, you will need to apply for a NIF number ("Número de Identificación Fiscal"). As a landowner, you must pay land and property tax and the NIF is required in order to file taxes.
For more information, visit the Spanish Ministry of Home Affairs at http://www.mir.es.
Information designed for citizens from outside the EU-EEA:
In order to live and work in Spain, citizens from outside the the EU-EEA must apply for a work permit, a visa and (or) an entry visa.
Work visas in Spain:
- If the foreign worker is employed:
Visa type "A" - temporary work permit - seasonal job. The visa is granted for a specific job in a definite geographic area. The maximum duration of a "A" visa is 9 months, including all possible renewals.
Visa type "b" - initial work permit. The visa allows foreign workers to work in a specific economic sector within a definite geographic area. The maximum duration of a "B" visa is one year.
Visa type "B" - work permit renewal. This visa is granted to holders of "b" visa upon expiration of their visa. Visa "B" holders can take up employment in various industries or sectors for a maximum period of two years.
Visa type "C" - work permit renewal. This visa is intended to holders of visa "B" upon exiration of their visa. There are no employment restrictions with visa C.
- If the foreign worker is self-employed in Spain:
Visa type "d" - initial work permit. Visa "d" allows foreign workers to undertake economic activities within a specific field for a maximum period of one year. Geographic restrictions may apply.
Visa type "D" - work permit renewal. This visa is designed for holders of visa "d" upon expiration of their visa. Visa "D" allows foreign workers to undertake activities within various economic sectors for a maximum period of two years.
Visa type "E" - work permit. This visa is designed for holders of visa "D" upon expiration of their visa. Visa "E" allows foreign workers to undertake any economic activity, anywhere in Spain, and for a maximum period of three years.
The permanent work visa: allows foreign workers to undertake any activity in any sector and is designed for holders of "C" and "E" visa upon expiration of their visa. The permanent work visa is renewable every 5 years.
How to apply for a work permit?
Foreign workers already in Spain must apply for a work permit at the nearest "Oficina de extranjeros" or at the Provincial Ministry of Labor. It is necessary to provide several key documents such as passport photocopies, extract from criminal records, official medical certificates, three passport-sized photocopies, copies of the job offer or employment contract, details of the job as well as additional information on the employer. Fees apply.
If the foreign worker is not in Spain, the application must be filed to a Spanish embassy or consulate abroad.
Once the work permit application is filed, foreign workers must wait until the provincial labor office (Direccion Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales) makes a decision (within two or three months).
Illegal immigration being a major problem in Spain, immigration procedures are constantly modified that's why it is so important to regularly check with the Spanish embassy or consulate to get the latest updates.
Ministerio de Trabajo y Emigración - Ministry of Labor and Immigration