Working in Spain: EU-EEA nationals
To come and settle in Spain, citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area do not need a visa, a work permit or a job offer. There are also no restrictions for nationals of new countries joining the EU.
Since 2006, EU citizens can enter Spain as tourists and register with local or national employment agencies (Servicio Publico de Empleo Estatal – SEPE). If their searches are unsuccessful for more than 90 days, they may either apply for an extension of stay in order to pursue their search for a job or leave the territory before returning for a further 90 days .
EU-EEA citizens can apply for a resident’s card in Spain in order to benefit from the same rights and social benefits as Spanish nationals. This card contains a NIE (Foreign Identification Number) number required to carry out all kinds of administrative procedures (tax declaration, opening of a bank account, etc.)
Please note that the resident card (Tarjeta de Extranjeros) is no longer compulsory, but the NIE number remains valid for anyone wishing to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, looking for work or registering in the Employment opportunities.
To apply for a NIE, go to the police station to which you are attached with:
Your passport and photocopies
The Form EX-15 (Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero – NIE, which you can download on the site of the public services)
Any document proving the reason for your NIE application, such as a land purchase contract, proof of employment or the Spanish social security number you can claim if you intend to work as a freelancer. Be sure to check in advance to find out which documents will be required in your specific case.
The corresponding application fees (approximately 10 € per application) must be paid in a bank branch. Once the payment has been made, you can return to collect your NIE. Please note that in some areas, such as Barcelona, you are obliged to make an appointment in advance (cita previa), and that this does not necessarily prevent you from having to queue for several hours before being cared for . A temporary NIE will be given to you first. You will have to submit to the same procedure again after three months to obtain your permanent NIE, although the number remains the same.
If you have financial interests in Spain, or if you own a property in the country, you will need to request a NIF (Tax Identification Number). As a landowner, you will have to pay property taxes, for which a NIF is required. For more information, see the website of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
Good to know:
You will need a NIE for just about everything in Spain, from the opening of a bank account to the signing of an employment contract, to the use of public libraries. Most administration services will ask for your NIE in place of your name to process your requests. Once established in Spain, you will know this number better than your own phone number!
Procurement procedures have become more complex in recent years. Also, many companies offer to take care of it for you. You can apply in person, through a Spanish consulate abroad, or through a representative in Spain. The easiest way to get a NIE is to produce an employment contract or proof of employment.
Working in Spain: Non-EU-EEA nationals
Citizens of countries outside the EU or the EEA must obtain a work permit, a residence visa, and / or an entry visa to settle and work in Spain.
Residence visa to work in Spain as an employee
Once you have found a job, your employer will have to apply on your behalf for a work permit authorizing you to work legally in Spain. This license must be renewed after one year. Once the work permit is issued, your work and residence visa can be issued to you. After five years of residence, you can apply for a long-term residence permit.
Seasonal workers will be required to apply for a work permit and visa for the duration of their contract. In general, proof of residence and sufficient financial resources to cover your round trip travel expenses are required.