Healthplan Spain


Applying for a Spanish residency visa with keyboard Guide To Residency Visas For Spain Expat Tips

Are you looking to move to Spain and live here permanently?

If so, and you are currently a resident of a country outside of the EU, you will need to acquire a residency visa for Spain.

There are several residency visas available and which one you apply for will depend on your situation and whether you want to work, retire or study here.

Firstly, it is important to understand that not everyone needs to apply for a Spanish residency visa.

Do I need a visa?

As a rule, you will fall into one of two groups.

  • EU Citizens - If you are a citizen of the European Union, you will not need to apply for a visa and will be able to travel freely within the Schengen area. You will only need to apply for your NIE tax number and an EU registry certificate.
  • Non-EU Citizens - Those who are not residents of the EU, EEA or Switzerland must apply for a visa to reside, work or study here. This group would also cover those from the United Kingdom which is no longer a member of the EU as of January 1, 2021.

What kind of visas are available?

There are three types of residency visas in Spain and which one you apply for will depend on how long you plan on staying and what you will be doing here.

  • Short-Term Visa - The short-term visa or Schengen visa enables a non-EU citizen to stay in the country for up to 90 days. The short-term visa is sometimes referred to as a tourist visa due to the time it permits you to stay in Spain.
  • Temporary Visa - If you want to live in Spain long term or at least for longer than 90 days consecutively, you will need to apply for one of the temporary residence visas. This visa generally provides residency for one or two years and can be renewed at the end of each period. Once you have renewed for 5 years or more, you may then apply for permanent Spanish residency.
  • Long-Term Visa - Once you have been legally resident in Spain for 5 years or more, you can then apply for permanent residency allowing you to live and work here indefinitely.

Below we provide you with an overview of each of the three main visas you may apply for, to stay in Spain temporarily with the view to becoming a permanent resident. We then offer you a link to a page for each visa type which provides you with more in-depth information including how to apply.

At the time of writing, the visa options below will also apply to citizens of the UK, however, much is still unknown at this stage about any future agreements that may be brokered between the UK, the EU, and individual member states including Spain.

We will continue to update this page, as and when we learn of any changes that may affect the process of applying for residency visas.

Visa application approved

Non-Lucrative Residency Visa

The non-lucrative visa is for non-EU nationals who would like to reside in Spain for longer than 90 days.

It is important to note that the non-lucrative visa is primarily for those who wish to retire to Spain which is why it is sometimes referred to as a retirement visa. You may work with this visa, however, your clients must be based outside of Spain.

After 12 months, you will be able to apply for a work visa which will enable you to do business within Spain and its territories.

Applicants will need to provide proof of a reliable and established source of income and/or a substantial amount of savings that will sustain themselves (and family members) so they do not become a financial burden on the state.

You can find out everything you need to know, including income requirements and the application process via our Spanish non-lucrative visa page.

Golden Residency Visa (Investor Visa)

Another popular Spanish residency visa option is the Golden Visa sometimes referred to as the Investor Visa.

The Golden Visa is for those with an initial investment of at least €2 million in Spanish public debt securities or who have made a sizable investment into Spain in the form of shares (€1 million), bank deposits (€1 million), real estate (€500,000), investment funds (€1 million) or looking to set up a significantly sized business in the country.

With the Golden Visa, you may live and work in Spain and its territories permanently and will be able to bring your family members with you including your spouse or unmarried partner, children and parents in your charge.

This particular visa is popular with wealthy individuals who are looking to gain residency quickly as a decision on your visa application is usually made within 10 days and the residency application within 20 days.

There is a requirement to have a minimum income to support yourself and your family and this will depend on whether you are an investor or an entrepreneur setting up a business.

You can learn everything you need to know about this Spanish visa option, including investment and income requirements, the cost of the visa, the application process, and more via our Golden Visa For Spain page.

Entrepreneur Visa

The entrepreneur visa serves as a residency permit intended for non-EU citizens seeking to reside in Spain for a period of three years. It provides an opportunity for individuals to pursue projects that align with the broader interests of the Spanish economy.

This visa is particularly tailored for those aspiring to establish their own startup within Spain's borders. In accordance with specific criteria outlined in the Spanish immigration law, applicants with innovative business ideas that contribute to the nation's advancement are granted residency privileges.

Learn more about the Entrepreneur Visa for Spain including requirements and how to apply.

Self Employed Visa

The self-employed work visa is a type of temporary residence authorisation for non-EU citizens. Its purpose is to enable them to establish their own business or work as independent professionals in Spain.

Initially, the residence authorisation is awarded for a duration of one year, accompanied by the issuance of a temporary card upon the initial application. If all the necessary requirements are still fulfilled at the end of the first year, the permit can be extended for an additional four years through the process of renewal.

Find out more about the self-employed visa in Spain.

Digital Nomad Visa

In late 2022, Spain introduced the Startups Law with the purpose of attracting remote workers, digital nomads, and new startups to the country.

A significant highlight of this law is the inclusion of the digital nomad visa, which has generated considerable anticipation and discussion. This visa enables freelancers and remote workers from non-EU countries to obtain entry and residency rights in Spain, along with certain tax advantages. In Spain, it is officially referred to as the "Visado para teletrabajadores de carácter internacional," translating to the visa for international remote workers.

One of the key benefits of this visa is that it permits non-EU citizens to live and work remotely in Spain for a period of up to five years. This sets it apart from other residency permits, such as the non-lucrative visa, which is popular among individuals from outside the EU seeking to settle in Spain.

It is important to note that the digital nomad visa requires that 80% of your business income is derived from sources outside of Spain. While it is possible to provide services to Spanish clients or businesses, such income should not exceed 20% of your total earnings.

This visa is primarily designed for individuals who wish to work remotely from Spain while serving their existing clients or employer.

Student Residency Visa

Perhaps you are looking to enrol as a student and study at one of Spain’s many great universities?

Spain is a popular destination for those wishing to broaden their horizons and study here while enjoying everything this fabulous country has to offer.

With some of the world’s best universities, historic cities, great nightlife, and the opportunity to learn the language while immersing yourself in the Spanish culture, it’s easy to see why Spain is so appealing.

If you are set on coming to Spain to study for more than 90 days, you will most definitely need to apply for a Spanish student visa.

Another option for those who live in Spain but want another family member to join them is the family unification visa.