Logo Guide to Business in Spain

12Visas and work and residence permits5 6

EU nationals and their family members may live and work (as employees or self-employed workers) in Spain without needing to obtain a work permit. However, in general they must obtain the relevant EU citizen registration certificate or EU citizen family member residence card.

Non-EU nationals must obtain prior administrative authorization to be able to live and work in Spain.

Law 14/2013, of September 27, 2013, to support entrepreneurs and their internationalization, provides for the following types of visas and residence and work permits among others:

  • Residence for investors: Where investors make a significant capital investment in Spain, deemed to be any of the following:
    • An initial investment for an amount equal to or greater than €2 million in Spanish public debt instruments, or for an amount equal to or greater than €1 million euros in shares in Spanish companies institutions, or a €1 million in investment funds, closed-ended investment funds or venture capital funds, set up in Spain, or a €1 million in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
    • The acquisition of real estate in Spain with an investment of an amount equal to or greater than €500,000 per applicant.
    • A business project to be developed in Spain and deemed and evidenced to be of general interest, having regard to compliance with at least one of the following conditions:
      • Creation of jobs.
      • Making of an investment with a relevant socioeconomic impact in the geographic region in which the activity is to be pursued.
      • Relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.
  • Residence for entrepreneurs: In order to pursue an entrepreneurial activity or to commence, pursue or manage an economic activity as an entrepreneur in Spain.
    • An entrepreneurial activity will be deemed to be any activity that is innovative and/or of special economic interest to Spain and with respect to which a favorable report has been issued by Empresa Nacional de Innovación, S.A. (ENISA).
    • The following will be taken into account when assessing the entrepreneurial and business activity: (i) the professional background of the applicant and their involvement in the project, (ii) the business plan, which will include a description of the project, the product or service to be developed, and its financing, including the required investment and potential sources of financing, and (iii) the elements that generate added value for the Spanish economy, innovation or investment opportunities.
  • Highly qualified professionals: For companies that need to hire foreign professionals in Spain who are graduates or postgraduates of renowned universities and business schools, holders of intermediate or advanced vocational training qualifications, or experts with at least three years of comparable professional experience.
  • For training, research, development and innovation activities: For foreigners looking to pursue training, research, development and innovation activities at public entities in the following cases:
    • The research personnel referred to in Article 13 and Additional Provision no. 1 of Science, Technology and Innovation Law 14/2011, of June 1, 2011.
    • Scientific and technical personnel performing scientific, development and technological innovation work at Spanish businesses or R&D&I centers established in Spain.
    • Researchers taken on under an agreement by public or private research bodies.
    • Lecturers hired by universities or higher education and research centers, or business schools established in Spain.
  • For intra-company transfers: For foreigners who transfer to Spain under a labor or professional relationship or for professional training reasons, within a company or group of companies established in Spain or in another country.
  • For digital nomads: In the case of international teleworkers.
    • Allows holders to stay in Spain to work or provide professional services remotely for companies located outside of the country, solely through the use of IT, electronic and telecommunications systems and means.
    • Where the holder is an employee, they may only work for companies located outside of Spain.
    • Where the holder provides professional services, they may work for a company located in Spain, provided such work does not exceed 20% of their total professional activity.


6(We refer to Chapter 2, section 3 on the Tax Identification Number (NIF) and Foreigner Identity Number (NIE) regarding the procedure for obtaining a NIF for directors not resident in Spain).