Which documents do you need when going abroad? What are the regulations on visas and residence permits? Our legal guide will help you understand the paperwork you need to complete before moving abroad.
Who needs a visa and how to apply
If you are a citizen of the EU, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, you can enter Spain and stay for up to 3 months without registering. Citizens from Croatia, which has only recently joined the EU still need work permits, probably at least until June 2020. If you would like to stay longer, you will have to register with the local authorities. Things are slightly less straightforward if you’re from another part of the world.
How to bring your loved ones to Spain
Once you’ve been living in Spain for a year, you can request for your family to join you. If you have an EU long-term residence permit from another state, an EU Blue Card or you’re a student or researcher, you can request your family to join you as soon as you arrive. This does not apply to EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, who can live and work in Spain without needing a work permit or visa.
Requirements for a student visa
If you don’t come from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will need a student visa to come to Spain to study for more than three months. This also applies if you plan on carrying out research, doing an internship or take part in an exchange programme.
Non-EU citizens working in Spain
While EU citizens do not need a work permit, most non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens will need a work permit to work in Spain, but there are some exceptions, such as family members of people who already have a work visa or scientists or researchers who have come to work on a specific project.
How to get a social security number in Spain
A social security number is necessary to work and live in Spain, as well as to access the healthcare system. All foreigners in Spain are entitled to a social security number. Once you have it you can access the Spanish security system. It is strongly recommended to get a number if working or job hunting in Spain.
How to become an official resident in Spain
Even if you don't need a visa to stay in Spain, you might want to consider getting a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero - Foreigner Identification Number) and a Tarjeta de Residencia. These make you a legal resident in Spain and are necessary for employment and other matters.
How to become a Spanish national
Once resident in Spain for a certain time period, you have the right to apply for Spanish citizenship. The general requirement is a legal and continuous residency for 10 years, but can be as low as 1 year in certain circumstances.
The most important identity numbers and papers
There is confusing variety of identity cards and numbers in Spain. The following terms are the most common ones you will encounter.