If you want to make your dream come true, it is important to make sure that you have authorization to make the move and accept employment in Spain. Whether you are planning to work in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, or Seville, you may need to obtain a Spanish work visa.

Find out which documents and permits you need to get hold of to make working in Spain a reality and learn how to get them with this handy guide.

Getting a Spanish Work Visa

If you are from a country outside the EU and EFTA, you will need a work visa to legally work in Spain.

First, you must secure a job offer from a company based in Spain. Your prospective employer must then request a work permit for you from the Ministry of Labour (Delegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración).

You will be sent a copy of the application, including a file number and a stamp from the provincial office that is processing your work permit. You can then send this to your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate as part of the application for your work/residence visa.

It can take up to 8 months to receive your Spanish work permit, so you should be sure to plan ahead and apply well in advance of your move to the country.

The work permit for Spain will be approved if the job falls into one of the following categories:

–       The job is listed as a shortage occupation

–       There are no other suitable candidates from Spain or other EU countries, despite the job having been advertised.

Once the Ministry of Labour issues your work permit, the embassy or consulate will provide you with your work and residence visa for Spain.

Can I Work in Spain as a Student?

If you are a foreign student studying in Spain, you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week as long as it does not clash with or affect your studies.

Work permits for students are applied for and organized by employers. As long as you have your international student identity card, obtaining employment in Spain while studying is not a problem.

Spanish Visas for Au Pairs

Many people come to Spain each year to work as an au pair. It is a great way to live in another country for a year or 2 and experience another culture.

In Spain, au pairs must be between the ages of 17 and 30. If you are not from an EU or EFTA country, you will need an entry visa and special residence permit for au pairs before you go to Spain. This covers your stay for one year.

To get these documents, you must prove that you can support yourself and have medical cover. You also have to provide a copy of the agreement between yourself and the host family detailing the conditions of the work and the payment you will receive.

EU Blue Card

The Blue Card is a work permit for the whole European Union, including Spain. It allows highly qualified workers to live and work anywhere in the EU, providing comprehensive socio-economic rights. Having a Blue Card also makes it easier for you to gain permanent residency or even citizenship with time.

If you want to get a Blue Card for Spain, you’ll need the following:

–       Higher education qualification that took at least 3 years to complete (for example, a bachelor’s degree)

–       5 years’ experience working professionally in the same field

–       Contract or legally-binding job offer

The job you are applying for must have a salary of at least 1.5 times the average Spanish salary or, in the case of jobs that are in high demand, 1.2 times the average salary.

Much like a Spanish work permit, your prospective employer will submit the Blue Card application on your behalf.

Once the Blue Card is granted, you must apply for a visa from the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country. You then have 3 months to enter Spain and start work.

EU Citizens Working in Spain

If you are from one of the countries that make up the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), you are in luck! All nationals of these countries have the right to live and work in Spain without restrictions.

This is all thanks to the policy of free movement shared by the EU and EFTA member states.

If you are a citizen of any of the 31 countries that are part of these organizations, you do not require a work visa or permit. You are able to enter Spain and then apply for work while living in the country using nothing more than your EU/EFTA passport.

To accept an offer of employment, you must have a NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero), which is an all-purpose ID and tax number that all foreigners living in Spain need in order to work, pay tax, buy property, or do pretty much anything in the country.

You can get your NIE by applying at a police station. You have to complete a form and provide your EU/EFTA-issued passport and the offer of employment, as well as a photocopy of each.

Once you have your NIE, you are good to go!

Who Doesn’t Need a Work Visa for Spain?

Apart from EU and EFTA nationals, some professions do not need a work visa or permit for Spain:

–       University professors

–       Technicians

–       Scientists

–       Specialists invited to Spain to develop scientific or cultural programs

–       Foreign journalists

–       Artists coming for specific performances

–       Members of the clergy

–       Internationally recognized trade union officials

–       Volunteers

If you are coming to Spain to work as any of the above, you may still require a visa to enter the country, even if you do not need one to work.

What to Do After Getting Your Work Visa for Spain

Once you have your work visa, you will be ready to set off to begin your new life in the land of sun, sand, and sangría!

When you arrive in Spain, all that remains is to get your NIE number and register with social security and you will be all set to start work.

Now that you know which (if any) visas you need, you are ready to get the ball rolling and start your paperwork for your big move to Spain. Wishing you mucha suerte on your travels!