Spain Work Visa: Complete Guide to the Application Process

If you’re a non-EU citizen aiming to work in Spain, obtaining a work visa in Spain is your first step. This article provides clear, straightforward information on navigating the application process—what you need to be eligible for, the types of visas you can apply for, and how to complete your application correctly. With this practical guidance, you’ll be equipped to start your Spanish employment journey.
March 22, 2024
Dean Fankhauser
March 22, 2024

If you’re a non-EU citizen aiming to work in Spain, obtaining a work visa in Spain is your first step. This article provides clear, straightforward information on navigating the application process—what you need to be eligible for, the types of visas you can apply for, and how to complete your application correctly. With this practical guidance, you’ll be equipped to start your Spanish employment journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Non-EU citizens must secure a work permit and employment contract from a Spanish employer before applying for a variety of work visas, such as the EU Blue Card, self-employed visa, or seasonal worker visa, each with its own eligibility criteria.
  • The Spain work visa application process involves preparing a visa application, scheduling an interview appointment, and fulfilling post-approval requirements within specific deadlines, with standard processing times ranging from one to two months.
  • Family members can join non-EU citizens in Spain through family reunification visas, and there are special provisions allowing students, au pairs, and working holiday visa holders from certain countries to work in Spain under specific conditions.

Understanding the Spain Work Visa Landscape

Spain's Work Visa Requirements and Opportunities

Securing employment in Spain is an exciting prospect, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. One of the first hurdles is understanding the work visa landscape. Spain offers a variety of employment visas, including the fundamental employee visa, which combines a residence and work permit that non-EU citizens need to live and work in the country.

This means that non-EU citizens, including post-Brexit UK citizens, who wish to work in Spain must follow these steps:

  1. Secure a work permit and an employment contract before applying for a work visa.
  2. The Spanish employer starts the process by submitting an application for a work permit to the Provincial Aliens Affairs Office or a legitimate labor department on behalf of the non-EU citizen.
  3. The employer then lodges the visa application, providing documentation related to the employment, proof that no suitable EU citizens are available for the position, and details of the applicant’s qualifications.

Types of Spain Work Visas

Spain offers a wide array of work and residence visas, tailored to different employment scenarios. Some of the visas available include the Spain employment visa, such as:

  • EU Blue Card: designed for highly skilled professionals, it requires a signed job contract with a salary exceeding the average wage in Spain by at least 50%, or by 20% for skills in high demand.
  • Self-employed visa: for individuals who want to start their own business in Spain.
  • Seasonal worker visa: for individuals who want to work in Spain temporarily during specific seasons.

These are just a few examples of the visas available in Spain, each with its own requirements and benefits.

For non-EU/EFTA citizens seeking to work as freelancers, a Work Visa from a Spanish consulate or embassy is required. This self-employment work permit is initially valid for one year and can be renewed for up to five years, provided all conditions continue to be met.

Eligibility Criteria for Non-EU Citizens

The Spanish government frequently issues work visas to non-EU citizens for positions where there is a shortage of workers or when there are no suitable candidates from EU countries, frequently focusing on highly qualified professionals. For those seeking an EU Blue Card, non-EU citizens must have a higher education qualification that took at least three years to complete or possess at least five years of professional experience. Additionally, they must have a work contract or a legally binding job offer with a salary that is at least 1.5 times the average wage in Spain (or 1.2 times for in-demand jobs).

The minimum annual salary requirement for non-EU citizens applying for a Spain work visa is €33,908.

Application Deadlines and Submission Dates

Once you have a favorable decision notification, you can submit your Spain work visa application within one month. The latest permissible deadline for submission is no more than three months before your intended trip to Spain.

The standard processing time for a Spain work visa is generally around one month, although it may stretch to two months in certain instances.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Spain Work Visa Application Process

Spain Work Visa Application Process

Now that we’ve outlined the basics of the Spain work visa landscape, let’s proceed with the application process. The steps include getting your visa application ready, setting up a visa interview appointment, and following up after the visa is approved. Keep in mind that the employer should submit the work permit application on behalf of the employee to the provincial office of the Ministry of Labor.

The first step is to submit a work permit application at the nearest Spanish embassy. In order to obtain a one-year residence permit, the work visa must have a three-month validity period and include work authorization rights. This is a requirement for the application process.

Preparing Your Visa Application

Preparing your application is a vital step in the visa process. When filling out the Spain D Visa application form, include basic personal details like:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Nationality

Make sure that your surname or family name exactly matches the information on your passport or travel document.

You will need to duplicate the pages of your passport that include your biometric data. The photographs required for the application must be in color, measure 40mm x 30mm, have the head centered and cover the full face. They should also be recent, not older than six months.

Scheduling a Spain Visa Interview Appointment

When your application is prepared, the next step is to schedule your visa interview. This can be done through the call center of the Spanish consulate or a third-party visa-processing center. You can also schedule appointments online through the official website of the consulate or the website of the visa-processing center. Be sure to have all the necessary documents ready for your interview, including the Schengen visa application form, a photo affixed to the application form, a valid and unexpired passport, and proof of residence.

Keep in mind that you should ideally set up your visa interview appointment at least 15 days prior to the consulate receiving your full application.

After the Visa Approval

Your process doesn’t conclude with visa approval. Once your Spain work visa gets approved, ensure to:

  1. Collect the visa in person within a month.
  2. The visa permits entry into Spain within three months.
  3. Once in Spain, you’ll need to obtain a Foreigner’s Identity Number (NIE), which can be acquired either in Spain or at the Consular Office in your country of residence.
  4. The NIE functions as a personal identifier for foreigners participating in economic, professional, or social activities in Spain.

Upon your arrival in Spain on a work visa, make sure to visit the appropriate Spanish authorities to finalize the obligatory paperwork.

Financial Requirements and Visa Fees

Financial Requirements and Visa Fees for Spain Visa Applications

During the application process, you are required to demonstrate your financial capability and cover the necessary visa fees. Applicants are required to provide both the original and a copy of documents substantiating their possession of adequate financial resources.

The fees for a Spanish work visa can be found on the website of the Spanish consulate or embassy. For US citizens, the fee for a Spain work visa is US$515. Bear in mind that the fees for a Spain work visa can vary, so it’s always best to check for the most up-to-date information.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

Demonstrating your financial capability is an integral part of the application process. The minimum annual amount required for sufficient funds for a Spain work visa application is 28,800 euros, which is equivalent to 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM). Accepted forms of evidence for demonstrating sufficient funds include bank statements, rental income from properties, and job contracts reflecting salary.

Note that the financial requirements may differ depending on the specific type of Spanish work visa. Spain’s immigration department verifies proof of sufficient funds by requiring applicants to provide original and copied documents demonstrating their financial capacity to sustain themselves while residing in Spain.

Visa Fee Structure

The usual cost of a Spain work visa ranges between €60 and €80, although exemptions and reductions are available. For instance, children under six years of age are exempt, minors under the age of 12 have a reduced fee of €40, and adults are obligated to pay €80. There are additional charges for visa application centers.

For employed work visas, the charges vary from €167 to €100, and for self-employed work visas, they range from €238 to €674. Some centers may also impose a service fee of EUR 25 or USD $26.40. Keep in mind that the fee for a Spain work visa is non-refundable if the visa application is rejected.

Bringing Family Members to Spain on a Work Visa

Family Members to Spain on a Work Visa

If you’re planning to bring your family with you to Spain, there are options available. Family members are eligible to accompany non-EU citizens to Spain through the family reunification process, as long as the non-EU citizen has resided in Spain for one year and possesses a residence permit valid for another year.

Family members of EU Blue Card holders have the right to request a temporary residence permit without the requirement of waiting for one year and are permitted to engage in employment in Spain without the necessity of obtaining a separate work permit.

Residence Visa for Family Reunification

The Spanish Residence Visa for Family Reunification is designed for family members of foreign nationals who already possess legal resident status in Spain. To qualify, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Criminal records certificate for relatives over 18
  • Passport and residence card
  • A valid passport with a photocopy of the biometric data page
  • Criminal records certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport and residence card of the resident in Spain
  • Visa application form
  • Photograph
  • Proof of financial means
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Health insurance

The typical duration of the application process for the Spanish Residence Visa for Family Reunification is approximately six months. Once they’ve obtained their visa, family members are authorized to work, as they are provided with a residence and work permit.

Employment Rights for Family Members

Family members of individuals holding a work visa in Spain are entitled to engage in employment within the country, provided they secure a valid work permit. Family members are typically able to select their employment; however, they are required to first acquire a work permit, and specific limitations may be applicable based on their visa status and length of residence in Spain.

Special Provisions for Certain Applicants

Discussion on special provisions for specific applicants regarding Spain visa requirements

Spain also provides special provisions for certain applicants, including:

  • Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while they are studying. This gives them the opportunity to gain work experience and support themselves financially during their studies.
  • Au pairs, who can come to Spain to live with a host family and provide childcare in exchange for room and board.
  • Those eligible for a working holiday visa, which allows young people to travel and work in Spain for a certain period of time.

These provisions offer unique opportunities for individuals to experience life in Spain while also gaining valuable skills and experiences.

Au pairs can apply for a specific Au Pair visa at a Spanish embassy or consulate in their country of origin prior to their arrival in Spain. And for those aged 30 or below from certain countries, a working holiday visa is an excellent opportunity to temporarily reside and work in Spain.

Student Visa Holders Seeking Employment

While studying in Spain, students holding a visa are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week. This provides them with the opportunity to gain work experience while pursuing their studies. It’s the duty of employers to facilitate the arrangement of a work permit for students who possess a residence card in Spain.

Upon completing one year as a student in Spain, student visa holders have the option to transition to a work permit as a highly skilled worker with a job offer in a managerial role or specialized field.

Au Pair Agreement and Visa Requirements

Becoming an au pair in Spain is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Spanish culture while providing childcare services. Au pairs can apply for a dedicated Au Pair visa at a Spanish embassy or consulate in their country of origin prior to their arrival in Spain. The visa is valid for one year, with the possibility of extension if the applicant continues to meet the necessary conditions.

Au pairs from certain countries are allowed to travel to Spain for a period of 90 days without the need for a visa, enabling them to visit a host family in the country during this timeframe.

Bilateral Agreements and Working Holiday Visas

Spain has working holiday visa agreements with the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea

This visa allows individuals aged 30 or below from these countries to temporarily reside and work in Spain. The visa is generally granted for a one-year period and is not extendable.

To apply, individuals must submit a completed visa application form, a valid passport, photos, and copies of previous visas and passports. Additional requirements may include a birth certificate, travel insurance, a medical certificate, and a demonstration of adequate financial resources for their stay.

Legal Assistance and Resources

Securing legal assistance is highly recommended when applying for a Spain work visa because of the complexity of the process. Professional advice is crucial to meticulously preparing applications and maximizing the chances of approval. There are several ways to find a proficient immigration lawyer to assist with your Spain work visa application, such as conducting an online search, seeking recommendations from acquaintances, or requesting referrals from local bar associations or immigration organizations.

There are multiple online tracking systems available for Spanish visas. These systems allow you to monitor the progress of your visa application.

Finding Legal Support

Work visa applicants in Spain can avail of complimentary legal consultation services. However, the charges for legal support can fluctuate, typically averaging around €35 per hour for general legal consultations and approximately €55 for visa-specific advice. Comprehensive visa assistance services may fall within the range of €790 to €5,500.

Lawyers are accountable for:

  • Providing counsel on legal rights and obligations
  • Communicating with clients and immigration officials
  • Submitting documents and applications
  • Representing clients in proceedings
  • Offering comprehensive legal guidance and support throughout the visa application process.

Online Tools and Tracking Systems

To monitor the progress of your application, make use of the online tracking tools provided by the TLS application center ( or the VFS Global website. To use these tools, you’ll need to input your passport number, visa application reference number, date of birth, and captcha, then proceed with the Spain visa status check. If you’ve filed an appeal for a visa rejection, the status of your appeal can also be monitored online.

You can either file another appeal with the High Court or utilize the official application or website of the Spanish government to keep track of the appeal’s progress.


In conclusion, the Spain work visa application process may seem complex at first, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a straightforward journey. This blog post has provided an overview of the Spain work visa landscape, detailed the application process, explained the financial requirements, and provided resources for legal assistance and tracking your application. Whether you’re a student, an au pair, or seeking to bring your family to Spain, this guide has provided you with the tools to navigate the process. With preparation, patience, and persistence, your dream of working in Spain is well within reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are foreigners allowed to work in Spain?

Yes, foreigners are allowed to work in Spain through various types of work visas, such as the Long-Term Work Visa, Seasonal Work Visa, Au Pair Work Visa, EU Blue Card Visa, and Self-Employed Visa. These visas cater to different employment situations in Spain.

Can I get any type of job offer to get a work visa in Spain?

No, you can only get a Spain work visa if you have a signed work contract with a local company and fulfill specific conditions set by the local authorities. It's essential that the job position is considered a "Shortage Occupation" or that the employer proves a lack of suitable EU candidates.

Can a US citizen live in Spain?

Yes, a US citizen can live in Spain if they have lived in Spain uninterrupted for at least 5 years, making them eligible for permanent residency. However, if the individual had a student visa in Spain, only 50% of their time spent in Spain would count towards the residency application.

How do I get a working visa?

To get a working visa in the USA, you need to have a job offer and an approved petition from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This process also requires labor certification approval. Good luck with your application!

What types of work visas are available in Spain?

In Spain, there are various work visas available, such as the EU Blue Card for highly skilled professionals, self-employed permits, and seasonal worker visas. Consider exploring these options if you are planning to work in Spain.

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