Immigration. Travel. Living.

Obtaining a work permit in Spain

In this article, I’ll be unveiling everything you need to know about getting your Spanish work permit.  After reading this article, you will have no problem obtaining a work permit in Spain.

Who Needs a Spanish Work Permit?

A lot of people get their application for a work permit in Spain turned down not just because of errors in application but also taking the wrong approach. You should know if you need a work permit or not. 

Some conditions allow foreigners to work in Spain without possessing a work permit. Knowing if you need a work permit in Spain will save you a lot of time and money.

Citizens from countries that are members of the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) do not need to apply for a working visa in Spain. Since 2006, EU citizens have been allowed to work in Spain without possessing a work permit.

But if you are a non-EU citizen, you must possess a Spanish work permit to live or work in Spain. Don’t be alarmed, I’ll walk you through the whole application process to make sure you have a stress-free application.

To work in Spain, citizens whose countries are not a member of the EU or EEA must apply for a work permit. Unless the applicant has been living in Spain for more than three years. 

If the applicant has been living in Spain for more than three years, he/she will obtain his/her Spanish work permit using a process called “Arraigo”. Arraigo allows you to obtain a residence & work permit in Spain if you meet certain conditions.

Types Of Work Permits In Spain

There are two major types of work permit in Spain. One allows you to live and work in Spain as an employer and the other allows you to live and work in Spain as an employee. Let’s take a closer look at both of them.

1. Spanish Work Permit For Employees (Por Cuenta Ajena)

This is a type of Spanish work permit that allows foreigners who have a job in Spain to live and work in Spain. This type of work permit is commonly called “Por Cuenta Ajena”. 

Before you can apply for this type of work permit, you must have a job offer from an employer in Spain. An organization must be willing to hire you or must have hired you before you can start the application procedure. 

Without a job offer, you cannot apply for a work permit in Spain. After you’ve found a job in Spain, your employer will request a work permit on your behalf that allows you to legally work in Spain for a year. 

Your one-year work permit can be renewed if you want. You can apply for long-term residency after residing in Spain for five years

2. Spanish Work Permit For Employers/Freelancer (Por Cuenta Ajena)

This is another type of work permit in Spain that allows you to reside in Spain as a freelancer, employer, investor or self-employed businessman. Also called “Por Cuenta Propia” is a work permit for those foreigners who want to start a business of their own in Spain.

Here, you can apply for a work permit that allows you to work in Spain as a freelancer or business owner if you still meet the requirements. Like the Por Cuenta Ajena, you can renew it if you want and obtain a long-term residence permit in Spain after renewing your visa application for 5 consecutive years.

The Royal Decree 557/2011 of Spain regulates the issuance of work permits for freelancers in Spain. Check the policies to see which one applies to your country. You can also apply for a work permit in Spain with Au Pair Visas or EU Blue Card.

man holding tool in front of table

Requirements For Work Permit In Spain

You cannot be in Spain at the time of your application. This is one of the major requirements you need to meet to apply for a work permit in Spain. You must start the application from your home country or anywhere outside of Spain.

The Spanish Immigration Office is very strict with this issue, any application done in Spain is labeled illegal and that application would be turned down. So, when applying for a work permit in Spain, apply from a consulate or embassy in your country.

Do not accept a job offer while you are still in Spain, no matter how hard your boss insists on hiring you. You have to leave Spain first before accepting the job and processing your application.

This does not apply to EU nationals. All EU nationals can work and reside in Spain without a permit.

Spanish Work Permit Registration Process 

Foreigners must apply for a Spanish work permit at the nearest consulate or Spanish embassy in their home country. The consulate will view their application before sending it to the Ministry of Labor and Immigration in Spain. 

The current price for a work visa in Spain ranges from $60 to $80, which must be paid before application. You must come with your business plan, application file, and other vital documents like your passport, criminal records, medical certificates, employment contract…

You should also know that it is your employer that will initiate the application procedure, not you. A Spanish work permit application can take up to 8 months to process. 

Once the Ministry of Labour approves your application, the embassy or consulate will issue your work and residence visa, then you can travel to Spain and start working.

If you are interested in moving to Spain, you may need a Spanish residence permit.

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