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Short guide: moving to Spain

moving to Spain

The first important piece of advice on moving to Spain is to make a preliminary study of the major terms and definitions that describe the process of attaining legal status in the accepting country. It is of primary importance to distinguish between the conditions for obtaining a residence permit versus a permanent residence permit. The residence permit is the main tool for moving to Spain on a permanent basis. Only after living in the country for 5 years on the residence permit (no fewer than 183 days of every year) can one become a legal resident of Spain with the right to apply for the permanent residence.

Guide for moving to Spain

One can move to Spain to live legally by employing any one of the strategies noted below aimed at obtaining a residence permit with the possibility of attaining a permanent residence permit in the future:

  • Studying in Spain
  • Applying for the non-lucrative residence permit (in this case, it is not possible to get a work permit)
  • Buying a property in Spain or making another beneficial investment
  • Obtaining a residence permit for business purposes
  • Marrying a citizen of Spain or immigrating with the purpose of family reunification
  • Moving to the country illegally, while planning to obtain a residence permit based on social integration (‘arraigo social’).

The first option for immigrating legally from our guide for moving to Spain is moving to the country with a student visa. When choosing this alternative, one should remember that the student study load must not be less than 20 hours per week. The student card is issued for one year only and must be extended afterward, depending on the duration of the course of study. Another important fact is that a student card is not equivalent to a residence permit. A student is eligible for the residence permit only after 3 years of studying in Spain.

The easiest way to move to Spain on a permanent basis is to prove that one has sufficient financial funds. In this case, it is not mandatory to own a property in Spanish territory; it is enough to present evidence that one has the legal (even if remote) sources of income necessary to cover rent and daily living expenses. (In this case, it is better to have some extra money.) Another option for moving to Spain is to purchase a property in this country. The special conditions of this option are as follows:

  • The cost of the real estate object may not be less than 500,000 euros.
  • Work permits for the investor and the family members are granted.
  • Eligibility for the bank loan must be proven.
  • There are no limitations on the duration of stay in Spain for the period of one year.
  • This kind of residence permit is issued for 2 years with the possibility of an extension for 5 years.

move to Spain

Scientists or entrepreneurs who can demonstrate the uniqueness and extreme importance of their activities as well as those who have invested in a Spanish business are eligible for a 2-year residence permit. One can move to Spain to live after submitting the evidence of such activities.

Marriage to a Spanish citizen is another popular way to move to Spain. Getting married enables one to obtain the 5-year residence permit as well as a work permit. The procedure of applying for the residence permit is quite easy, but there may be an interview conducted to confirm that the marriage is genuine.

Illegal immigration is the riskiest alternative for moving to Spain, as one may encounter difficulties when searching for an illegal job or in gaining access to medical services. In this situation, one faces three levels of integration upon moving to Spain: those of familial, social, and labor integrations. Where social integration is concerned, it is possible to obtain permanent residence only if one has a work contract or documents that confirm family affiliations with a Spanish citizen.

The specialists of INEEDSpain will help you to make your dream of moving to Spain come true. We will be happy to explain all the nuances of preparing the documents and obtaining the residence permit and permanent residence permit. The wide spectrum of our company’s services will convert your experience of moving to Spain into a smooth and successful adventure.


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