Companies intending to employ nationals from non-EU countries must obtain permission to do so from the Spanish labour authorities….

EU Citizens

The Free Movement Of Workers agreement entitles all citizens of full EFTA and EEA-member countries to live and work in Spain without a visa or work permit.

The exceptions are the new accession EU countries. Citizens of these countries require a work permit.

  • For further information on who may need a work permit and where: Click here

Full entitlements and details can be found on the European Union website.

Non-EU Citizens

Non-EU nationals entering Spain to work are required to hold a national visa as well as a valid work permit. A work permit is usually applied for by the employer as the process requires the company to provide a great deal of information. The application process can be lengthy.

To apply for a work permit for a non-EU worker, an application is made by the company through the Dirección Provincial de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales. The following information will usually be required:

  • Employer-signed work permit application form
  • Employer’s original company CIF document
  • Employer’s original social security registration documents
  • Employer’s original documents proving that the company is current with its tax and social security contributions
  • Official certification that the job has been advertised in Spain and no suitable candidate from the EU was found
  • Company explanation as to why a non-EU citizen is required for the role
  • Passport photographs of the employee
  • Employee passport (the original may be required)
  • Employee education certificates with approval from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture in Madrid
  • Employee criminal background check translated into Spanish
  • Medical certificate for the employee

Once the work permit has been granted, the applicant, while still in their country of residence, must apply for a visa from the Spanish authorities, as well as providing a criminal background check and original birth certificate, the process will include filling out the Visados Nacionales form.

There is usually a non-refundable fee for the visa.

Work permits for non-EU self-employed workers

Usually submitted at the Spanish consulate, the following documents are required when applying for a work permit:

  • Passport (copy and original)
  • Criminal record check
  • Medical certificate
  • Comprehensive description of the job, company description and activity
  • Proof of qualifications or NIE number
  • Passport photos

For the visa, self-employed workers are required to fill out the Visados Nacionales form. They are required to select the box “Residence – Self-employed” in section 20.

Types of Work Permits

  • Type A: Seasonal work with a maximum validity period of 9 months
  • Type B: Allows the holder to work in one specific geographic location, in one specific profession for one year. Once renewed, the holder can work in various professions for a further two years
  • Type C: Issued once a type-B permit has been renewed once. The type C permit allows the holder to work throughout Spanish territory in a variety of professions for three years
  • Type D: Issued to the self-employed. Usually restricted to a specific geographic location, the permit lasts one year. Once renewed, the holder can work for a further two years usually with fewer limitations
  • Type E: Issued when a renewed type-D permit expires. The holder is entitled to perform any professional activity throughout Spanish territory for three years
  • Type F: Issued to workers that reside outside of Spain but cross a Spanish border to work. The worker must return across the border daily. The permit usually lasts 5 years

Permanent work permits may be granted to holders of a Type C or Type E permit once it expires. A permanent work permit allows any type of activity.

Residency Permits

Citizens of non-EU countries wishing to stay in Spain for more than three months must apply for a Residency Permit/Card (Tarjeta de Residencia) within 30 days of arriving in the country. The application must made at the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence.

Further Information