It can’t be denied that Spain is currently one of the best countries to live in: with more than 8000 km of beaches, sunny days all year round and delicious food, Spain is one of the favorite destinations for tourists from all over the world as well as for those people who wish to start a new life in a different country. And that translates into many ex-pats starting the legal process to get their residence permit, which can be a bit hard if you are not sure about how to do it. This is why the best option to get you started is to get help from an experienced immigration attorney in Spain, such as the ones you can find in ImmigrationSpain.es.
Another advantage of starting a new life in Spain is that you can find ex-pat communities easily to fit in -since they are everywhere. Either if you are Chinese, Moroccan, European or American, you will find many like-minded groups of people who also come from your country and who are in the same situation as you, Therefore, it will be very easy for you to start your new life here. And, since they all went through the same process, so you can benefit from their help.
However, to enjoy all the chances that this beautiful country has to offer, you will have to upgrade your legal status from ‘tourist’ to ‘resident,’ which means getting a residence and work permit. According to the Spanish Law on Immigration, in order to work in Spain you will need a work and residence visa, which enables you to have a job or develop a professional activity -both paid employed or self-employed and to legally reside in the country.
Work and Residence Visa in Spain
Paid employment jobs are those jobs where the incumbents hold explicit (written or oral) or implicit employment contracts, which give them a basic remuneration which is not directly dependent upon the revenue of the unit for which they work. Self-employed work implies that the applicant has a commercial project or work activity that will be carried out independently but duly authorized by the Spanish labor body.
Foreign citizens who intend to carry out any lucrative, labor, or professional activity in Spain must meet the following requirements:
- To be over 16 years old, unless the work activity is carried out as a self-employed person, in which case, it is required to be older than 18 years old.
- To have the corresponding authorization to reside and work in Spain. This document must be requested by the employer offering the employment contract. It is a step prior to the application for a visa by the foreign worker.
- The applicant can’t be in Spain for the initial part of the process. So it is not possible to get a work permit under a tourist visa.
- Obtaining a work and residence visa, once the residence and work authorization has been issued.
The foreign worker may present an application for a work and residence visa in Spain when he plans to start a business or enterprise in that country on his own account or when he has an offer of formal employment from a Spanish employer. In order to apply for this visa, the interested party must fill out and sign the corresponding petition form that is provided by the Spanish consulates. In addition, a number of documents are required to be submitted, which are listed below:
- Copy of the residence and work authorization notified to the employer or businessman in Spain. This document must be processed by the contracting company in Spain, prior to the presentation of the visa application by the foreigner.
- Valid passport.
- Two colour photographs on a white background (passport size).
- Criminal record certificate, or equivalent document, issued by the authorities of the country of origin of the interested party, or of the country or countries in which he/she has resided during the last five years. This document needs to prove that the person who applies for the job is not actually convicted or required by justice in another country.
- Medical certificates proving that they do not have a serious or contagious disease.
If the visa is approved, the foreigner must enter Spain within the period of validity of the visa. Once you have entered Spain, they must apply personally within one month for the Residence Card.
The application for a work and residence visa in Spain can also be submitted by a Spanish employer or businessman who wishes to hire a foreign worker to occupy a highly specialized position, which cannot be occupied by a Spanish or EU worker. In order to hire a foreigner, the employer must apply for the authorization of residence and work by presenting his offer of employment to the Foreigners Offices in the Work Areas of the delegations or of the sub-delegations of the Government of the province.
Other alternatives to start living in Spain legally
It is true that obtaining a regular work permit in the Spanish territory can be somewhat difficult, especially if we take into consideration all the requirements that must be met. Nevertheless, there are two different alternatives that many non-EU citizens use in order to establish themselves in the country with their families: the golden visa and the non-lucrative residency.
First of all, the investor permit (or golden visa), a residency that has gained huge popularity within Europe lately. The requirements are simple: to invest a minimum of €500.000 on real estate and to have private health insurance. Then, the main applicant will get a residence permit that also allows her to work in Spain, along with the residency for her family.
On the other side, the non-lucrative visa is the ideal permit for those not wishing to work in the country (for example, individuals who want to retire in the country). By just showing the possession of €26.000 on your bank account (and again private health insurance), this permit is granted. Another of its main advantages is that it can be converted into a work permit after the first year in Spain comes to an end.