According to article 25 of law #4/2000, “On the Rights, Freedoms, and Social Integration of Foreigners in Spain,” all foreigners who are not citizens of the European Union or other countries with which Spain has signed bilateral agreements must have an appropriate visa to enter Spain.
Types and conditions of the residence visa in Spain
A residence visa or national visa in Spain (type D), depending on its type, allows its holder the options to reside, reside and work, or reside and study for more than 90 days within half a year. It also enables one to stay in other member-countries of the Schengen zone for a period of time that does not exceed 90 days within 6 months. In case such a long-term visa is issued for a period of time exceeding 6 months from the time one enters Spain, the holder of this visa type must request a foreigner’s identification number (NIE/ tarjeta de identidad del extranjero).
A residence or national visa in Spain may be one of the following types:
- Residence visa without work authorization: In this case, the visa is issued for a period of time not exceeding 90 days, and when the holder enters Spain, he or she must request a temporary residence permit that is issued initially for one year;
- Residence visa with work authorization: This visa is also issued for a period of 90 days, and within this period of time, the visa holder must begin to work in the position that served as the prerequisite for the visa application. He or she must also register with the social security agencies and apply for a residence permit with a contract-based work authorization or as an entrepreneur. It should be mentioned that it is rather difficult to obtain this type of visa, since the permit primarily is granted to highly qualified specialists in only certain professions;
- Visa for a seasonal job with a contract that is valid up to 9 months within a year;
- Study visa that allows one to stay in Spain for a period of studies: This visa’s duration period does not exceed one year. After a year, it is necessary to apply for a residence permit. As long as the holder meets certain conditions, this visa type also gives him or her the right to be employed with a contract or act as an entrepreneur in Spain;
- Visas for family reunification: This visa is intended for the relatives of E.U. citizens or citizens of other countries that permanently reside in Spain for more than 1 year;
- Visas for research activity;
- Visas in the framework of law #14/2013, “On Supporting Measures for Entrepreneurs and Their Internationalization,” that are issued to investors and the buyers of expensive properties. More information concerning this visa type is provided below.
Spanish residence visa requirements
Spanish law establishes different requirements for each type of long-term visa, although an absence of violations of the visa regulations is a common requirement for all visa requests. As a rule, an applicant is required to submit proof of medical insurance, a certificate of good behavior, and a medical document that certifies an applicant does not suffer from any dangerous illness, all accompanied by certified translations and the stamp of the Spanish apostille. Also, it is necessary to present evidence of the applicant’s financial credibility, demonstrating the availability of sufficient funds to provide for him- or herself while living in Spain as well as to support the family members financially, should they move to Spain together with the visa applicant. The size of the required funds depends on the IPREM index. As of 2017, the IPREM sites the following amounts: for residence without work authorization - 2128 euros per month, for residence with studies - 532 euros per month, etc. If one obtains a study visa with a validity period of up to 6 months, the certificate of good behavior and the medical clearance against illness are not required.
An applicant submits the long-term visa application in the consulate of his or her country of residence. A consulate fee in the amount of 69 euros is charged. The maximum processing time of an application is one month. For those applying for a residence visa without work authorization, the processing time might be up to three months. The refusal of a visa can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Madrid within two months or to the diplomatic mission itself within one month.
Residence visa in Spain for investors and owners of real estate
This type of visa has been issued since 2013, within the framework of law #14/2013 of 27 September. Applicants in the following categories are eligible for this visa type: those who invest over 2,000,000 euros in the Spanish economy, property buyers who are ready to spend 500,000 euros or more on their real estate purchase (per owner), foreigners planning to establish a company in Spain, and highly qualified specialists. The aforementioned entities can apply for the so-called “Golden Visa,” or investor visa, that is issued for one year and later may apply for a residence permit in Spain with a validity period of two years. In the future, it will be possible to obtain a 5-year residence permit. A buyer’s spouse (as well as a civil partner) and his or her dependent children and parents can also qualify for this visa type.
When applying for this visa, the certificate of medical clearance against dangerous illnesses is not required. However, one still needs to submit the certificate of good behavior and proof of financial stability (including 2130 euros per month for an applicant and 532 euros for each family member). Of course, it is also a requirement that the applicant present the documents confirming the original reasons for obtaining this visa: property purchase, investments, etc. Visas of this type are treated as a priority in comparison with other visa types.