Healthplan Spain


Entrepreneur Visa: A Path To Business And Residency In Spain Expat Tips

Many entrepreneurs from across the globe choose Spain as their base of operations to grow their projects or startups. The country's main cities have become significant European hubs for entrepreneurial activities.

To embark on this journey, obtaining a valid residence permit is a crucial requirement. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of setting up your company and acquiring residency in Spain, focusing on the entrepreneur visa. We will discuss the necessary documents, requirements, and application process involved.

Understanding the Entrepreneur Visa in Spain

The entrepreneur visa is a residence permit designed to allow non-EU citizens to live in Spain for a three-year period while initiating a project that aligns with the general interests of the Spanish economy. It caters specifically to individuals who wish to establish their startup in Spain. Under certain requirements, the Spanish immigration law grants residency to applicants with innovative business ideas that contribute to the country's progress.

To be eligible for the entrepreneur visa, your project must fulfil the following conditions:

1. Job creation: Your project should generate employment opportunities and positively impact the Spanish economy in the long run.
2. Investment opportunities: It should present viable investment prospects.
3. Technological involvement: The operation of your project should involve advanced technology, such as algorithms or machine learning, contributing to the socio-economic development of Spain.
4. Supporting evidence: Possessing patents, recommendation letters, or existing clients can strengthen your application.

To ensure your project meets these requirements and demonstrates its innovative nature, a well-crafted business plan plays a vital role. We will delve into this aspect further in the upcoming sections.

The 14/2013 Entrepreneur's Law: Relevant Legislation

The entrepreneur law, enacted on September 27, 2013, aims to support entrepreneurs in establishing new ventures and internationalising their businesses. While it primarily relates to the entrepreneur visa discussed in this article, it also regulates other permits, such as the investor residence permit or the highly qualified visa.

One significant advantage of any visa under this law is the possibility of obtaining it while in Spain. Unlike most residence permits governed by the general immigration law, these permits grant a three-year period with the option for renewals, providing greater stability.

Additionally, the entrepreneur law offers faster processing times for applications, further facilitating the entrepreneurial journey.

Facilitating Business Setup and Residency: Key Benefits of the Entrepreneur Visa

The entrepreneur visa introduced in 2013 aimed to streamline the process for entrepreneurs relocating to Spain. Unlike many other countries, Spain does not require an upfront investment to qualify for the visa, making it an attractive opportunity for startup founders. Here are some key benefits of obtaining a residence permit as an entrepreneur:

1. Simplified work permit: You can obtain a work permit without encountering the complex requirements of a regular work visa.
2. No upfront investment: Unlike several European countries, Spain does not demand an initial capital amount for the entrepreneur visa.
3. Flexibility for individual entrepreneurs: While it is favourable for your project to create employment in Spain, it is not mandatory. You can apply and renew the visa even if you do not hire additional employees initially.
4. Free movement within the Schengen area: The entrepreneur visa grants you the freedom to travel and reside in other countries within the Schengen area.
5. Representative application: You can appoint a representative to apply for your Spanish residence permit, eliminating the need to travel to Spain for the application process.
6. Joint application for family: You can apply for residency permits for both yourself and your family members, allowing families to move together to Spain. The family members can include parents, spouse, and dependent children.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining the Startup Visa

To provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the entrepreneur residence permit application process in Spain, we will differentiate between two scenarios: applying from outside Spain and applying while already legally residing in the country.

1. Applying from outside Spain:

If you have never lived in Spain and are currently residing in your home country, you will need to apply for a Spanish entrepreneur visa. The process involves the following steps:

  • Complete the application form provided by the Spanish Embassy's Economic & Commercial Office in your current country.
  • Submit the required documentation specified in the application form.
  • Send the application to the Economic & Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy.
  • Wait for the confirmation or denial of your business plan within 10 days.
  • Once approved, apply for a visa to travel to Spain, where you will obtain your residency card. To do this, you will need to make an appointment online.

2. Already legally residing in Spain with a tourist visa or residency card:

If you are already legally living in Spain, the process differs slightly as you can skip the visa application step and proceed directly to residency authorisation. However, it is essential to ensure you are not in an irregular situation in the country. The steps involved are as follows:

3. Ineligibility for the entrepreneur visa:

In case your residency application is rejected, either due to the Spanish Immigration Office's assessment of your project's socio-economic interest or your failure to meet the requirements, there are alternative options available:

  • Apply for a temporary residence permit and work as a self-employed worker using your NIE number. Although similar to the entrepreneur visa, the self-employed visa does not require an innovative business.
  • Invest in real estate under the Golden Visa scheme to obtain residency.
  • Another option is the newly formed Digital Nomad Visa.

Requirements for the Entrepreneur Startup Visa in Spain

To successfully obtain an entrepreneur visa in Spain, you must meet three primary requirements in addition to the general requirements applicable to any visa application:

1. Professional profile: The relevant authority will evaluate your professional profile, including your education, qualifications, and experience. It is crucial to demonstrate how your background relates to your project and how it contributes to its successful implementation. Higher experience, knowledge, and skills increase the likelihood of approval, particularly if you possess degrees or masters in areas relevant to your startup's core activities.

2. Entrepreneur visa business plan: The business plan is a critical document in your startup visa application. It serves as the basis for evaluating the innovative component of your business idea. Your business plan should include:

- Market analysis: Demonstrating a genuine market opportunity for your project.
- Product/service analysis: Explaining the value your product or service offers to the target customers.
- Financial analysis: Presenting financial projections and specifying the financing sources for your business operations.

To maximise your chances of success, it is advisable to seek assistance from specialised business lawyers who can analyse and refine your business plan.

3. Value to the Spanish economy: It is crucial to establish that your startup contributes value to the Spanish economy, represents an investment opportunity, and exhibits high innovation potential. The business you establish should not be a typical shop or cafe but rather something novel that fills a gap in the market, benefiting both Spain and potential foreign investors.

Furthermore, the general requirements for obtaining an entrepreneur visa in Spain include:

- Non-European Union citizenship.
- Age over 18 (legal age in Spain).
- Clear criminal record in Spain and other countries over the past five years.
- No irregular situation in Spain during the application.
- Health insurance coverage in Spain with comprehensive territorial coverage.
- Adequate financial means to support your family (if applying jointly).

Financial Means

The entrepreneur must provide original and verified documents that demonstrate their adequate financial means. These documents should either prove that the entrepreneur possesses sufficient personal financial resources or establish a consistent and reliable source of income, which can support both themselves and any accompanying family members.

The minimum required amount is equivalent to 100% of Spain's Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM). Additionally, an extra 50% of the IPREM must be added for each accompanying family member. If the documents are issued by foreign authorities, they must be legalised or apostilled and accompanied by an official translation into Spanish.

Note that in 2023, the monthly IPREM is €600.

Required Documents for Obtaining Residency as an Entrepreneur

Assuming you meet the necessary conditions, you can begin your application process by gathering the specific documents required. The documents typically include:

1. Application form: The document indicating your intention to apply for an entrepreneur visa or residency authorisation, depending on the path you are following.
2. Passport: A valid and complete copy of your passport.
3. Proof of payment: Evidence of payment for the applicable fees. Note that the standard fee is 80 euros, however, some countries will have reciprocal arrangements with varying amounts.
4. Compliance with requirements: Documentation verifying that you meet all the necessary requirements, such as sufficient economic means and social security coverage.
5. Business plan: A detailed business plan highlighting the innovative nature of your project and its positive impact on the Spanish economy. Submit this plan to the Commercial Office.
6. Favourable report: If your business plan receives approval from the Commercial Office, you will obtain a report stating that your project is of economic interest to Spain. This report must be submitted to the corresponding Immigration Office to obtain the entrepreneur visa.

You can see the full list of documentation here.

Choosing the Right Company for Your Startup Visa

Selecting the right company for your entrepreneurial venture can be challenging. Your project must be innovative and incorporate a technological component.

It has to be a venture that doesn’t already exist in Spain. So starting a new hair salon or bar would not see your application approved. However, if it is a new concept to Spain and likely to create employment and investment into the country, then there is a greater chance that your application will be successful.

Renewing Your Entrepreneur Visa

To renew your entrepreneur visa, you must continue to fulfil the requirements met during the initial application. This primarily includes demonstrating that your project enhances the Spanish economy and stimulates job creation. If your business shows promising growth potential, renewing your entrepreneur visa will be a straightforward process. Renewal allows you to legally reside in Spain for an additional two years.