Ten Questions on Immigration into Spain   

Warning: The information set out below is a general guideline provided by DOMENECH ABOGADOS. Specific advice should be sought before any action in reliance on it is taken, as explained more fully in this website's legal notice.

1. I am a national of a country belonging to the European Union. Is there any formality I should comply with in order to visit Spain and remain there for a short stay?

No. EU nationals or nationals of countries belonging to the European Economic Area need only a valid passport or identity card stating their nationality if they wish to remain in Spain as tourists for a period not exceeding three months.

2. And if I wish to stay in Spain for more than three months?

In that case, you’ll have to register within the Central Foreigners’ Registry, within the three month period following your entry into Spain. After submitting your details and paying the relevant fee, the Registry will provide you with a certificate evidencing your status as a Spanish resident (not an id card).

3. Can I stay in Spain without working?

Yes. You can stay in Spain even if you aren’t employed.

4. What formalities must I comply with if I wish to work in Spain?

Just get a job! As an EU national (or national of a State in the European Economic Area), you’re entitled to work in Spain, either on a self-employed basis or as an employee, under the same conditions as a Spaniard. That said, certain professions may require a previous validation of foreign qualifications.

5. Can my family move with me to Spain?

Yes, as long as they’re also nationals of the EU or the European Economic Area and they’re also registered in the Central Foreigners’ Registry. 

6. What happens if they’re not nationals of any of those countries?

They’ll have to obtain a visa to enter Spain and, once here, they’ll have to apply to the relevant authorities, within a three month period, for a residency card for relatives of EU citizens.


7. What formalities must I comply with to enter Spain if I don’t belong to the European Union or the European Economic Area?

You’ll first need to get an appropriate visa stamped in your passport –unless you’re a national of a country having agreed the suppression of the visa requirement for stays not exceeding three months.

8. And if I want to stay more than three months and become a resident in Spain?

In that case, in addition to the entry visa, you’ll need to get a residency authorisation and, once in Spain, to apply for a foreigner’s identity card.

9. How long will that authorisation allow me to remain in Spain?

In principle, such authorisations are temporary, for periods of over three months but less than five years.

10. And after those five years?

Foreigners who have been resident in Spain continuously and have fulfilled all legal requirements for a period of five years can then apply for an authorisation of permanent residency.

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