travel and tourism

A blog that gives you insight into international travel and tourism


moving to Spain on a work visa

It is common for people to immigrate to Europe by way of moving to Spain while the whole time in search of better living conditions with a view to comparing civilizations. Whatever the reason for seeking a change in geography, Spain offers the quickest and easiest route to Europe.

Related article: UK sponsorship visa jobs that come with relocation packages

Related article: Netherlands work visa: How to move to the Netherlands as a skilled professional

Although known for its football fanatism, Spain is a country that has enjoyed huge rave reviews, rated as one of the top 5 countries to relocate to by expats the world over. For reasons related but not limited to its low cost of living compared to other countries.

So, whether people seek a country that offers a high level of convenience to study in as an international student or one with a stable economy offering competitive wages to foreign workers or free healthcare services for all, Spain has something beneficial to every cadre of applicant.

Spain is a member of the European union; this means that its economy is stabilized by both local fiscal policies and external EU regulations. Being the capital for Spanish speaking countries it offers a gateway to not just Europe but to a host of other countries in South America.

In this article, we are going to highlight the easiest way of moving to Spain with a work visa, its benefits, requirements and everything in between.

Table Of Contents hide

Conditions Of Moving To Spain

No matter the reason for entering Spain whether it’s for tourism, business, family visit, medical treatment, to carry out studies, non-work internships, volunteer activities for a short period or for other non-profit activities, then foreign nationals are required to adhere to conditions stipulated on the Schengen border code.


moving to Spain


Requirement For Entry Into Spain

  • Immigrants are required to enter the country through one of the authorized border entry posts
  • Identity must be proven using valid travel documents
  • Depending on an individual’s nationality, he/she might be required to be in possession of a visa duly stamped on a valid passport
  • Have proof of financial means as well as showing that conditions of intended stay in the country can be met
  • Intending travelers interested in moving to Spain must also prove that they are not under any travel ban

Exceptions For Moving To Spain With A Visa

Not all foreign nationals are required to get a visa before traveling to Spain, there are countries that are mandated to get a stay visa to legally move to Spain. A stay visa is not compulsory for foreigners that are in possession of a valid long-term visa or residence permit gotten from a Schengen state.


moving to Spain with a visa


A list of countries that need a stay visa to move to Spain can be viewed in Annex I Regulation (EU) 2018/1806

Moving To Spain On A Work Visa

Those interested in moving to Spain on a work visa are expected to have secured employment with a Spanish employer before they can apply for a work visa to Spain. This is the only criterion in which foreign nationals can be let into the country under this visa category.

There are 4 other sub categories of the Spanish work visa. These are;

  • Work Visa for others
  • Internship visa
  • Researcher visa
  • Highly qualified worker and intra-company transfer visa

Spanish Work Visa For Others

Foreign nationals interested in moving to Spain after securing jobs that pay between €950 to €1,000 per month which is the country’s revised minimum wage, will have to apply for this work visa category. This visa class includes people interested in doing seasonal work in Spain


Foreign nationals working in an office


To be granted this visa, applicants have to be at least 16 years and above and must have received an employer’s contract from a company in Spain to be eligible to apply.

Documents Required To Apply For A Spanish Work Visa

There are support documents that must be submitted with a paper-based visa application form or else applicants’ risk being denied this visa when they apply.

  • Photograph
  • Valid passport
  • Initial residence and employment authorization
  • Employment contract
  • Statement of financial means
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of residence in the consular demarcation
  • Proof of visa application fee payment


A passport sized photograph is required by applicants. The photography has to be recent, professionally taken, with a plain background, without dark glasses on, as well as with no reflections. Also, the snapshot must be completely visible with no part of the applicant’s face hidden.


passport photograph


Valid Passport

Applicants are going to be required to submit both an original and photocopy of their passport biometric page/pages. For temporary contract work, the passport has to have a validity period of at least 4 months and for longer term work, 6 months validity.

Passports have to be valid for the entire duration of time successful applicants will be contracted to work in Spain. There also have to be at least 2 blank pages in the applicant’s passport for a visa to be stamped. Issued passports from a decade ago will not be accepted.

For a travel document to be seen as admissible, it has to be valid for a period of 3 months after the expected departure date from the Schengen country. It is also paramount that the travel document be issued at least 10 years before the date of entry to Spain.

Initial Residence And Employment Authorization

The Spanish immigration services requires applicants seeking a work visa to Spain to submit both an initial residence and employment authorization. These are both going to be signed by the Spanish employer and are mandatory.


moving to Spain


Employment Contract

A copy of an employment contract from a Spanish company showing that the applicant has been gainfully employed is necessary to be granted a work visa to Spain.

Statement Of Financial Means

Individuals interested in entering Spain legally for work, might be requested by the appropriate authorities to submit a proof of adequate financial means to cater for their planned stay in the country. This must be a legally obtained document that has been certified.

From the year 2022, cost of individual upkeep per traveler to Spain per day is €100. Irrespective of the intended period of stay in the country, a statement of account that shows availability of funds to the tune of €900 or its equivalent in a local currency has to be submitted.


Statement of financial means


There are a number of ways in which this statement of account can be certified, in addition to funds being traveled with by way of cash, credit cards, traveler’s checks or updated bank books, foreigners are required to show proof of funds though certified documents issued by their bank.

Criminal Record Certificate

Foreign nationals of legal age are required to submit original as well as photocopies of certificate showing a criminal record background check obtained from the countries they had resided in during a period of 5 years prior to applying for a work visa to Spain.

The criminal record certificate has to be validated by the appropriate government ministries domiciled in the applicant’s country and by the consular arm of the Spanish embassy or high commission. Validation of this document has to be done by the applicant in person and not online.


criminal background check for a Spanish work visa


Medical Certificate

Spain is very big on public health. So, applicants are required to prove that they are in good health and not suffering from illnesses that might pose a risk to the general public, which of course is in line with the international health regulations of 2005.

Certain health requirements have to be met before foreign nationals moving to Spain on a work visa can be let into the country. Travelers will have to be properly vaccinated and show evidence of this or risk being denied entry into the country.

Original and photocopies of the medical certificate has to be certified by the right regulating authority and submitted together with a visa application. This document must be translated from every other language to either Spanish or English language.

Proof of residence in the consular demarcation

Upon securing employment with a Spanish company, a residence permit will have to be applied for. When this is received, original and photocopy of the green residence card has to be submitted as a supporting document.

If a resident permit is still being processed, then a photocopy of the applicant’s resident visa must be submitted at the port of entry in Spain.


Proof of residence for work visa to Spain


Proof of visa application fee payment

A proof of application fee payment is required to be submitted when submitting support documents. Without this piece of document, a work visa application to Spain might be denied.

Work Visa Application Fee For Spain

A visa application fee has to be paid before work visa application can be processed. The fee required to start this process varies. Individuals from the United States pay a different fee from people applying from Canada, whose payment is different from people from other parts of the world.

Visa type U.S.A citizen’s fee Canadian citizen’s fee Other nationalities fee
Work Visa €167 €100 €80
Work visa without permit €123 €507 €80

Foreign nationals have the option of paying an application fee for their Spanish work visa which is different from the work permit application fee or they could choose to pay them together. Also, payments can be made in the local currency of the applicant.


Spanish work visa application fee payment


The visa application fee has to be paid at the Spanish consulate in the applicant’s country or at the nearest visa application centre. In certain countries this payment can be done online.

How To Apply For A Spanish Work Visa

As soon as an employment contract is received by the applicant and a residence permit successfully processed, foreign nationals have a period of 1 month in which a work visa application together with all necessary support documents have to be submitted.

Depending on the country of the applicant, foreign nationals have the option of choosing between online applications and paper-based application. In countries where online visa applications are applicable, the work visa application has to be completely filled and support documents uploaded before submission.


Applying for a work visa to Spain


Paper-based work visa applications have to be submitted at the consulate or visa application centre. To do this, applicants are required to book an appointment, as they cannot randomly approach the Spanish consulate for submission.

For potential recipients of the work visa interested in moving to Spain with their family, applications for children or minors have to handed in by their parents or legal guardians before the due date.

Spanish Biometric Information

Foreign nationals applying for a work visa to Spain are expected to get a biometric capture done, so as to make sure that all information regarding their circumstance and reason for moving to the country is captured and entered into the Spanish immigration database.


biometric capture for a Spanish work visa


During biometric capture, the applicant’s face and fingerprints are taken at a visa application centre.

Spanish Work Visa Application Processing

When a completed Spanish work visa application form is submitted together with all necessary support documents, on average, a decision on an application should be expected in a month. For some countries, a decision could be gotten in 15 business days while others could as long as 60 business days.

For paper-based work visa applications, upon submission at the consulate or visa application centre, a receipt which holds a unique code will be given to the applicant. This will be used to track the progress of an application online by clicking here.

A consular representative might request additional information on an application or seek clarity on a missing support document to help in the decision-making process. In some cases, a personal interview might be scheduled for the applicant to come in.


Spanish visa application processing


Spanish Work Visa Collection

In event of a favorable decision, applicants have up to a month after work visa processing is concluded to collect their visa stamped passport from the consular unit of the Spanish embassy or high commission in their country. An appointment is not required to get this done.

After a decision has been reach on a minor’s visa application, their parents or legal guardians are required to collect stamped passports on their behalf.

What Happens When A Spanish Work Visa Is Denied?

When a work visa to Spain is denied, this is usually communicated to the applicant in writing. The grounds on which the denial is made is highlighted. Foreign nationals, can choose to appeal this decision and seek reversal.

If an appeal is to be submitted, this has to be done within 1 month from when the individual’s work visa rejection was received.


Denied Spanish work visa


What Happens When A Spanish Work Visa Application Is Denied While In Spain

If a work visa application is submitted while in Spain, a contentious administrative appeal can be filed before a superior court in Madrid. This must be done within a period of 2 months from the date in which the decision of denied was received or an appeal for visa reversal was rejected.

Conditions In Which Work Visa Application Can Be Denied

Foreign nationals interested in moving to Spain for work are expected to meet the entry requirements without which an entry to the country could be denied. Entrance could also be denied if the foreigner is under a travel ban at the time of entry.

There are other circumstances in which work visa could be denied and this is when visa applicants to Spain have exhausted a previous 90-day stay in a Schengen area within a 180-day period.


Conditions for Spanish work visa denial


It is import to take into account that filing an appeal for denied entry, does not overrule or suspend an entry refusal. The applicant will have to wait for a decision on this before trying to re-enter the country.

Spanish Work Visa Application Exceptions And Waivers

Citizens or foreign nationals from European Union member countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are authorized to enter Spain without any form of limitation imposed as long as they have a valid passport or travel document to prove country of origin.

Minors from the above listed countries and area, traveling without a guardian will require travel documents for identification as well as letter of authorization from one or both parents or legal guardian that grants permission to travel to Spain.


Spanish work visa exceptions and waivers


Individuals or family members who do not have documents that prove nationality of member country of the European Union or of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, depending on their country of origin can still enter Spain if they have a valid residence card owned by a family member who is a European union citizen.

Work Visa Validity Period While Moving To Spain

If a foreign national receives a contract to work in Spain for a period of 1 year, the work visa granted to this category of individuals last for a year, but a validity period of 90 days is factored in to make sure applications for change of status or visa switch can be made.

Foreign Identity Card For Foreign Workers Moving To Spain

Upon entering Spain with a work visa, foreigners are required to register with the social security department of any immigration office or a police station with an SS unit (social security) within the country for a foreign identity card, which holds the foreign national’s identification number or Número de Identificación del Extranjero. This must be done no longer than 1 month upon arrival and at least before resuming for work with the Spanish employer.


Spanish foreign identity card


Foreign Identity Card Exceptions

There are foreign nationals who do not require a foreign identity card upon arrival and thus are not mandated to register with a social security department in Spain. These are foreign individuals with employment contracts to do seasonal work in Spain.

The validity period of this type of visa takes into account the timeline in which the employment contract is drawn for in entirety, stipulating the timeframe the beneficiary will work and reside in the country.

Moving To Spain From The UK

Due to Brexit, the United Kingdom is no longer seen as a member of the European Union as such privileges that were enjoyed in the past in terms of immigrating to EU member countries has since been lost.


moving to Spain from the UK


UK citizens who plan on moving to the UK will need to apply to do so like non-EU citizens. They will be required to provide all support documents to prove eligibility to be granted visa to come into Spain. If entering to work for a Spanish employer, then a job offer and employment contract is required.

There are other means of gaining entrance into Spain using other visa categories, such as the stay visa (Schengen visa), visa for relatives of citizen of the EU, study visa, investor visa, non-lucrative resident visa. However, they will have to prove that they have sufficient financial means to be granted entry into Spain.

Countries That Do Not Require A Visa When Moving To Spain

There are countries whose citizens or permanent residents do not require a visa while contemplating moving to Spain. Citizens of these countries get a free pass to move to the country, no matter the reason of travel. These countries are;

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • A.R.Y.M.(Former Yugoslav Republic)


Spanish work visa exceptions


  • Macedonia)
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States


Spanish work visa country exceptions


  • Georgia
  • Granada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro


work visa country exceptions


  • Nauru
  • Nicaragua
  • New Zealand
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Solomon Islands
  • Samoa
  • Saint Christopher and Nevis
  • San Marino
  • S. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Saint Lucia
  • Holy See


Countries that don't need visas to enter Spain


  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • East Timor
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela

Individuals from the above listed countries have to be mindful that entering Spain is free, however there are certain criteria that still have to be met, such as showing proof that the traveler has secured a place, he/she plans to stay while in Spain. As well as a booking a return ticket to leave upon expiration of stay.


Moving to Spain


Documents That Convey Purpose And Condition Of Stay In Spain

Sometimes foreign nationals might be required by Spanish immigration to show documents that convey information on reasons and conditions of planned stay in the country. If this is the case, then the following documents could act as proof;

  • A tourist circuit or return ticket, whichever might be the case.
  • In event of a professional trip, an invitation from a company or authority to take part in meetings or documents that could act as an article of association showing existing relationships linking professional activity or access cards to fairs and congresses that might be taking place.
  • In the case of a tourist or private trip, a confirmation of hotel reservation for an organized trip or proof of accommodation. An invitation letter from intending travelers (an invitation letter goes to show availability of accommodation and does not replace the accreditation of the rest of the entry requirements). The proof of lodging goes a long way to show how prepared the applicant is, in terms of personal upkeep while in Spain.


Hotels and accommodation in Spain


  • For individuals traveling for the purpose of studies, training, non-employment internships or voluntary work that could keep them in the country for a period of up to 3 months, documents showing registration, proof of admission to a teaching center, internship agreement or proof of admission to a volunteer program will suffice.
  • Foreign nationals traveling for other reasons, are required to provide documents showing invitations, reservations, programs to be attended or participation in activities related to the trip, entrance cards or receipts.

Benefits Of Moving To Spain

Cost Of Living In Spain

Not taking into account rent or other forms of housing payments such as mortgages, foreign nationals who plan on moving to Spain will find out that this country is one of the cheapest places to live worldwide. With the lowest cost of living possible.

Although lifestyle of foreigners varies, but not withstanding, with an annual budget of €20,170.70 ($20,000) individuals from other countries relocating to Spain can afford to live a lifestyle that’s above average. This translates to a meal for the family with drinks at just €30.21.


Restaurants in Spain


When it comes to grocery shopping for the family, cost is a bit difficult to estimate, however with as little as €100.74 families of foreign nationals will have more than enough financial resources to shop for all home essentials.

Spain is a country located in the Southwestern part of Europe, characterized by a temperate weather condition. This warmth makes it easy for the occurrence of bountiful agricultural activities which in turn drives down the cost of household food items.

Housing And Accommodation

Compared to cost and standard of accommodation obtainable in other European countries, Spain offers one of the most affordable high-quality housings in this region of the world. However, it is worth mentioning that the living quarters of houses in Spain is smaller than other countries.


Housing in Spain


It is not out of place to see an apartment that houses a family of 4 taking up real space of a thousand square foot. Particularly in small to mid-sized cities. Most single expatriates take up the option of living in one-bedroom apartments.

The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Spain starts from €400, there are areas that charge lower than this sum. So, foreigners have the luxury of choosing from an array of housing types that suits their standard of living.

It is worth mentioning that renting or buying a house in Madrid or Barcelona is cheaper than most cosmopolitan cities around the world like London, New York or Paris, but both destinations boast higher cost compared to other cities located in Spain.

Buying a house in Spain worth €500,000 could make a foreign national eligible for permanent residency granting him/her resident permit under an investor status which is known as a golden visa. This helps an applicant relocate to Spain without a job offer.


Apartment building in Spain


Healthcare In Spain

9% of Spain’s annual GDP is allocated to healthcare alone. This makes it one of the best destinations for foreign nationals looking to relocate to Europe. It offers free healthcare for people living and working within their borders irrespective of nationality. The country runs a decentralized healthcare system, this means different terms apply for different regions.

And in some islands, one might need to travel a long way to get access to free healthcare services offered in another city.

Foreign nationals can get access to free healthcare while living and working in Spain, whether working for a Spanish employer or self-employed if they contribute towards social security. As well as being entitled to state benefits which would be stated in their terms of employment.


Healthcare in Spain


There are also individuals who automatically get healthcare cover as long as they live within the borders of Spain. These are;

  • Newly divorced or separated partner with social security
  • Young people under the age of 26 studying in Spain
  • Pregnant women living in Spain
  • Children living in Spain
  • An individual living in Spain under a temporary status or in possession of a EHIC card
  • A pensioner who had previously worked for the state

Individuals moving to Spain can be sure to find city that caters to their healthcare needs free of charge. However, if they still choose to allocate financial resources to mitigate circumstances that might arise, then a budget of €2,000/year/family should be made for this purpose.


Healthcare services in Spain


Work Life Balance To Consider Before Moving To Spain

Spain is a country known for its extroverted approach towards life, thus leaning towards life in relation to its balance with work. It is home to a family-based society, which is evident in its monarchy system one still in place till this day.

A typical work day starts are 9am Mondays to Fridays and on each work day, there is a huge lunch break that starts at noon time where there are different social gatherings of clients, friends, work colleagues and family members of an informal nature. This is a key part of the Spanish work culture.

Football is a huge part of the Spanish culture. If match days fall in the middle of the week, its common to see employees close from work earlier than expected to prepare for their favorite football team’s game that evening. Towns in Spain are usually empty during game time as everybody is cramped into the stadium to watch the game.


lunch time in Spain


Taxation Laws For Professionals Moving To Spain

It is important to be mindful of tax policies as they affect professionals moving to Spain for work on a work visa and plan accordingly to this effect. For instance, staying in Spain for a duration of 183 days in a year makes a foreigner living in the country a tax resident.

This invariably means that all earnings or income that accrues to the Spanish work visa recipient worldwide will be taxed by the Spanish internal revenue services. So, people interested in relocating to Spain from countries around the world must be mindful of tax treaties their countries have with the Spanish government.


taxation in Spain


Language Requirement

Spanish is the predominant language spoken in Spain. There are other foreign nationals domiciled in Spain so most companies have an English only policy, but during informal meetings Spanish is usually the only language spoken.

Foreigners interested in working in Spain are advised to take language lessons in Spanish to brush up on their Spanish speaking skills to be able to properly integrate with the locals.

Other Work Visa Subcategories For Moving To Spain

Internship Visa

An internship visa to Spain is a work visa subcategory for foreigners who are seen to have obtained a higher education degree in the last 2 years or who are taking part in studies which will lead to a higher education degree in Spain or abroad.

These individuals are interested in participating in an internship program in Spain in order to improve their knowledge, practical ability and experience in a professional environment. They are expected to submit an internship agreement or contract together with an internship visa application.


Internship visa


Wherever conditions of an internship visa cannot be met, potential applicants can apply for a study visa to take part in internship programs in Spain.

Researcher Visa

Another work visa subclass that can be exploited by professionals interested in moving to Spain for work is the researcher visa, which is mandatory for foreign nationals interested in taking part in training, research, development and innovative activities in public or as part of private entities in Spain.

Highly Skilled Worker Or Intra-Company Transfer Visa

A highly skilled worker visa is one required by an expert with intentions of moving to Spain to take part in a professional capacity while working in the country as a top-level expert in a related field of expertise. Experts that qualify under this visa subclass are directors of companies that are required to meet certain conditions established in current immigration guidelines. Others are graduates or postgraduate scholars from recognized prestigious universities and business schools.


Highly skilled work visa to Spain


Intra-company transfer visa are for individuals moving to Spain to work in Spanish companies as managers or a specialist moving to the country to take part in a training. It could also be used by foreign nationals who have a business-to-business executive contractile obligation to fulfil between a subsidiary of a company located in another country and its other branch in Spain by virtue of skill transfer.


Moving to Spain by way of a work visa is by far the easiest avenue to immigrate to Europe, as there are a lot of benefits that accrue to this visa category. To make this possible, an applicant has to secure a job offer from a Spanish employer and with the employment contract apply for a resident permit.

As soon as this is done, there are supporting documents that need to be submitted together with a completed work visa application form which in most cases has to be submitted in person at the Spanish consulate present in the applicant’s country.

Spanish work visa applicants could be granted or denied visa to come into the country, depending on the amount of documentary eligibility they meet. If denied, an applicant can appeal this decision in other to get it overturned.

When a foreign national successfully relocates to Spain, he/she is required to register in the social security department of the immigration office nearest to them within the first month of arrival for a foreign identification number, without which it will be difficult to take advantage of the benefits that holders of this visa are eligible for.

Even though there are companies in Spain hiring employees who are multilingual, it is important for beneficiaries of this work visa to learn the Spanish language to aid their integration with the locals in the target city they will be living in Spain.

What do you think about Spain? Is this a destination you might be interested in?

Share this post
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

Related articles

fuse chronicles


travel and tourism blogger

Chinedu Okoronkwo known fondly by friends as Fuse is a Father, biochemist, certified business administrator and entrepreneur specializing in supply chain management and logistics, with vast experience in founding and building businesses in this space. Having worked in an embassy for a number of years and with a passion for traveling, he started Fuse Chronicles, a platform that offers information on everything related to global travels and issues confronting cultural acclimatization around the globe. 


My personal favorite