How to Get the Work Permit in Spain: A Complete Guide to Working Visas
Hiring and admission of non-EU workers in Spain (temporary work and residence permit as an employee)
What are the requirements for authorising their temporary residence and work permit?
• With some exceptions the national labour market situation must allow the hiring of foreign non-EU workers, either because the occupation is included in the National Occupation Shortage List (see https://www.redtrabaja.
es) or by presenting a certificate issue by the Regional
Public Employment Service.
• That the employer is registered with Social Security and
up to date with SS payments and Tax; they must guarantee the worker continuous employment and have adequate economic, material, and human resources to carry
out their business project. The employment contract
must comply with the current labour laws.
• That the worker status in Spain is not illegal, does not
have a criminal record and, if applicable, and has the
titles or qualifications required to exercise the profession
What must the employer do?
Submit an application for residence and work permit for the
worker, either in person or through a legal representative, to
the competent body in the province where the activity will be
carried out. This must be accompanied by:
• The employer’s national ID or tax ID number. If the
employer is a legal entity, then the public deed granting
legal representation for the person making the application.
• Evidence, if applicable, of exemption from consideration
of the national labour market situation.
• The original employment contract and a copy.
• Proof of economic, material and human resources for
the business project.
• A copy of the worker’s passport or valid travel document, and training or professional qualifications, if
applicable, for the job.
The initial permit is valid for one year and may be restricted
to a particular geographical area and activity. It is conditional
on the foreigner obtaining a visa, entering Spain, and registering with the Social Security system.
What must the foreign worker do?
Once the permit is granted, the worker must present the
visa application in person notwithstanding (notwithstanding
exceptions) at the relevant diplomatic mission or consulate,
in the month following notification to the prospective employer, together with:
• A copy of the employment contract, stamped by the
• A passport or travel document, valid in Spain and with a
minimum validity period of 4 months.
• A criminal record certificate issued by the authorities in
the worker’s country of origin or countries of residence
over the past 5 years, which must not include any acts
considered a criminal offence under Spanish law.
• A certificate stating that the applicant does not suffer
from any disease that could have a severe impact on
public health according to International Health Regulations.
While the visa is being processed, the applicant may be
required to appear in person to attend an interview.
Any foreigner who is in an irregular situation in Spain will not
be eligible to apply for a visa.
Once the visa has been issued, the worker must enter
Spain within the period stated on the visa (not further than
3 months). Within 3 months after entering Spain, the
employer requesting the permit must register the worker
with Social Security system.
Within one month of being registering with Social Security,
the foreigner must apply, in person, for a Foreigner’s Identity Number (NIE). If the established period to do so has
elapsed, and the foreigner is not registered with Social
Security, will be obliged to leave Spain. Failure to do so
constitutes a serious offence, for being in the country
Can residence and work permits be renewed?
Yes, on request from the worker, when their employment
continues or they meet certain requirements. The application period is 60 calendar days prior to expiry (application
can also be made 90 days after expiry, though it might
carry a fine).
Are there any exceptions to this procedure?
Yes. In some cases the national labour market situation is
not taken into account; in others, there are exceptions to
the obligation to obtain a work permit.
There are also special procedures for: fixed-term and
seasonal employment, the transnational provision of services, and cross-border workers, among others.
Hiring non-EU foreigners living in Spain without a work
As a rule, the employer should apply for the residence and
work permit for the employee gainful employment. A visa
will not be necessary, and the permit will come into effect
once the foreigner has registered with Social Security
System within one month of notification.
Requirements vary according to the foreigner’s situation:
1. Foreigners on a holding visa in Spain for
the purpose of study, research, or work
a) Foreigners may obtain a work permit if they meet the
requirements stated at the beginning of this leaflet,
except those related to the labour market situation and
the foreigner’s criminal record.The work activity must
be compatible with the foreigner’s study, research, or
training programme; it can be part time or full time, but
if full time the total employment time cannot exceed
three months. Their stay must not be dependent on the
income derived from the activity.
b) A residence and work permit may be obtained if:
The foreigner meets the requirements stated at the
beginning of this leaflet, apart from the national labour
market situation; have been in Spain for at least 3 years
for the aforementioned purposes; have passed the
necessary done a diploma or successfully completed a
training and have not received a scholarship or grant
from public or private bodies through cooperative
development programmes in or of their country of
2. Foreigners living in Spain who hold a residence permit in Spain
Foreigners may obtain a residence and work permit if they
meet the requirements stated at the beginning of this
leaflet, except the one related to the national labour market
situation. In addition, except in the case of holders of a
residence permit for family reunification, a year of ordinary
residence in Spain is required.
3. Foreigners living in Spain due to exceptional
Foreigners in this situation (holders of a residence permit
only), after a year’s residence, may obtain a residence and
work permit, and must meet the same requirements stated
at the beginning of this leaflet, except the one related to the
national labour market situation.
(Note: if the temporary residence permit for exceptional
circumstances is not issued with a work permit, this can be
applied for during the validity of the residence permit, providing that the applicant meets the requirements stated at the
beginning of this leaflet, apart from the national labour
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