Healthplan Spain


Residency Options For American Citizens In Spain Expat Tips

Every year, Spain attracts thousands of immigrants from different corners of the world. With a diverse landscape, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and pleasant year-round weather, it's an ideal destination to start a new life.

However, before this dream can become a reality, one must first navigate the hurdle that creates many uncertainties: obtaining a residency permit.

According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), at the end of 2022, there were more than 40,000 U.S. nationals living in Spain.

So what are the available options for an American citizen to obtain Spanish residency and what steps should be taken to acquire it?

This article will explore the various residency options available to U.S. nationals and delve into the requirements for each permit, so you can determine the best path for you.

Let’s take a look.

What are the advantages of getting residency in Spain?

Before we look at the different residency options, let's take a look at the benefits of obtaining a Spanish residency permit.

There are several advantages to obtaining residency in Spain. These include:-

  • Opportunity to work: With some residency permits, you will be legally allowed to work in Spain and have the same employment rights as Spanish citizens.
  • Education: As a resident, you and your family will have access to Spain's public education system, which is also highly regarded.
  • Travel: Spain's location in Europe provides easy access to other European countries, and as a resident, you can travel freely within the Schengen area without a visa.
  • Quality of life: Spain offers a high quality of life with its pleasant climate, vibrant culture, delicious food, and friendly people.
  • Residency in the EU: Spain is a member of the European Union, and obtaining residency in Spain can make it easier to travel and reside in other EU countries.
  • Investment opportunities: Spain offers a range of investment opportunities, including real estate, that can provide residency benefits to foreign investors.
  • Family members: Most residency permits allow the partner and children to join them here in Spain.

Overall, obtaining residency in Spain provides a pathway to a new lifestyle, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and the chance to experience all that Spain and Europe have to offer.

What are the different residency options for Americans?

So now we have seen the many benefits on offer to those wishing to obtain Spanish residency. Let's have a look at the different residency visa options available to Americans in Spain.

Before you apply for any of the Spanish residency visas, it is important to understand that the permit you go for will depend on three factors. These are:-

  • Your country of origin (EU or non-EU national)
  • The amount of time you wish to spend in Spain
  • Whether you want to work or not.

As this article is focused on American nationals, we know that your options will be similar to other non-EU nationals.

As for the time you wish to spend in Spain, this will depend on whether you want to live here permanently or spend a few years here, for example studying at one of Spain’s universities.

If you only want to come here as a tourist and spend up to 90 days, then you will not need to obtain a visa.

However, if you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for one of the long-term residency visas.

Below we cover each of these options and include links for further information.

There are several residency visas available to Americans wishing to live in Spain, these include:-

Non-Lucrative Visa: This visa is for individuals who do not intend to work in Spain and can prove they have sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents while living in the country. The visa is initially valid for one year, renewable for up to two years, and can lead to permanent residency.

Learn about the non-lucrative visa for Spain.

Golden Visa: This visa is available to individuals who invest in Spanish real estate, stocks, or other assets. The investment amount must be at least €500,000. The Golden Visa initially grants one year of residency, renewable for two years, and can also lead to permanent residency.

Learn more about the Golden visa for Spain.

Self-Employed Visa: This visa is available to individuals who plan to start a business or work as a freelancer in Spain. The applicant must prove that their business plan is viable and sustainable and have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their dependents.

Learn more about self-employed visas.

Digital Nomad Visa: Another option for U.S. nationals looking to obtain residency in Spain is the new Digital Nomad visa which was approved by the Spanish parliament at the end of 2022.

The digital nomad visa was introduced as a part of the new Startups Law with the intention of attracting remote workers and new businesses to the country.

The visa which is known in Spain as the ‘Visado para teletrabajadores de carácter internacional’ not only allows non-EU freelancers to obtain residency rights in Spain but also offers significant tax benefits with a flat rate of 24%. However, the benefits don’t end there. Nomads will also have free movement within the EU, can bring their family members with them, and can even leave Spain for up to six months and still retain their residency rights.

Discover more about how to become a digital nomad in Spain.

Student Visa: This visa is available to individuals who plan to study in Spain. The applicant must be enrolled in a recognized educational institution in Spain and provide proof of financial support and private health insurance. At HealthPlan, we can provide you with a suitable policy.

Get more information on student visas for Spain.

Work Visa: This visa is available to individuals who have a job offer from a Spanish company. The employer must provide proof that they could not find a suitable candidate in Spain or the EU.

Find out more about Spanish work visas.

Family Reunification Visa: This visa is available to individuals who have a family member who is a Spanish citizen or permanent resident. The applicant must prove their family relationship and provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents.

Learn more about Spain’s family reunification visas.

Family Member Of An EU-Citizen: Finally, another way for an American and non-EU citizen to secure residency in Spain is by way of being a family member of an EU citizen.

If you happen to be a relative of a European Union citizen, obtaining a residence and work permit in Spain may be easier than you imagine. In this case, you can obtain a family member residence permit based solely on your kinship connection.

This is why many non-EU individuals who have an EU partner choose to get married or form a civil partnership ("pareja de hecho") so that they can be eligible for this process as a relative of an EU citizen.

Learn more about securing Spanish residency as a non-EU family member.

It's important to note that the specific requirements and application process for each visa may vary.

It's recommended to consult with a Spanish immigration lawyer or the Spanish consulate nearest to you in your home country, to determine the best visa for your situation.