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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 a number of 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 actually 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 a TIE residency card.
  • Non-EU Citizens - Those who are not residents of the EU, EEA or Switzerland must apply for a visa in order 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 for each of the three main visas you may apply for, in order to stay in Spain on a temporary basis 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.

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. 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 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, cost of the visa, the application process and more via our Golden Visa For Spain page.

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 into 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.