Your Ultimate Guide: Top 6 Ways to Emigrate to Spain

Spanish Citizenship: A 10-Year Journey

If you are considering to moving to Spain but don’t know how to do it yet, we will guide you on how to do it in this article.

If you are looking for a fresh start, Living in Spain can be refreshing and exciting. Spain offers a lifestyle that many people wish for, which is why there are currently about 6 million expats living in Spanish cities. The beautiful sunny weather, breathtaking beaches, and quality of life draw expats.

But, how we should Move to Spain? If you are considering to move to Spain, this article will help you to find everything you need to know. How to move to Spain as an EU Citizen and as a Non-EU Citizen? How is the application process to obtain Spanish residency? And what are the exact requirements you should meet?

Top 6 ways of emigrating to Spain

For obtaining a visa you have the following options, which you should check in full detail to find the most suitable option based on your situation.

  1. Student Visa
  2. Work Visa
  3. Non-lucrative Visa
  4. Golden Visa
  5. Family Reunion Visa
  6. Digital nomad Visa
Valencia, Spain
Valencia, Spain

1. Student Visa

If you are a non-EU citizen and you want to do your masters or Ph.D. in Spain then this type of visa is for you. In 2022 immigration updated so people with Student Visa could work up to 30 hours per week and do an internship.

Also when you apply for this process, you can even do it while you are in Spain within the first 60 days of your stay.

To be eligible for a student visa you need the following:

  • Get accepted by an approved educational institution
  • Have sufficient financial resources, to cover your tuition fees and living expenses during your stay in Spain
  • Provide proof of health insurance.
  • You shouldn’t have a criminal record.

Although if you are EU citizens, you don’t need a student visa in Spain as you have the right to move freely within the other EU territories.

passport of spain
passport of spain

2. Work Visa

Depends on your professional profile, situation and the job offer you have, there are different types of work visas you can apply for, and each of them has its own specific requirements and the application differs:

Work permit as an employee

    1. For foreigners who have found a job offer in Spain.
    2. You must start your application from your country of origin
    3. The job position must be within the shortage occupation shortage list.
    4. Exception: if no Spanish citizens have accepted the offer or if you are the child or spouse of legal residents in Spain, this list is not taken into account.
    5. Allows you to reside and work in Spain for 1 year, with the possibility to renew.

Work permit as a self-employed

    •  For people who wish to develop their economic activity on their own. (As self-employed or freelancers).
    •  Requirements:
      1. Have the necessary training and professional qualifications to perform your job
      2. Proof that you will receive sufficient financial investment for your business.
    • Submit a business plan talking about all the main areas of your
    • company/services
    • You will then have to register with the social security and tax authorities.

Legal process step by step

    1. The employer will initiate the application procedure at the labour Immigration Provincial Delegation.
    2. She will get a copy of the document with a stamp from that institution. The employer should send it to you so that you can take it to the consulate in your country of origin.
    3. At the consulate, you will need to submit: the initial application document (stamped) the business plan, and the other required documents.
    4. The consulate will have 3 months to issue a valid response regarding your application.
    5. The consulate will send the application to Spain; the Immigration Office will analyze it & submit the resolution of the concession to the consulate. If the resolution is favorable, the consulate will stamp the work visa in your passport.
Work Visa
Work Visa

3. Non-lucrative Visa

This type of visa is suitable for those who just want to stay in Spain and do not want to work there, such as retire in Spain, or you just intend to travel around Spain and Europe.

This type of residency allows you to stay in Spain for one year, although you can renew it every 2 years. As we mentioned above after you spent 5 years in Spain you can get permanent residency.

But you have to consider this point, if you are considering applying for this visa, you are not allowed to participate in any economic or professional activities.

4. Golden Visa (Investor visa)

One of the easiest ways to obtain residency is to apply for Golden visa or Investor visa. In case you are considering applying for this visa you need to invest in Spain in the following options: real estate, business investment, bank deposits and entrepreneurial activities.

  • Investing in real estate: the minimum amount you need to invest in real estate in Spanish property is €500,000, please consider this matter that this amount must not be a loan or a mortgage but, it means this required an actual purchase.
  • Business investment: the minimum amount you need to invest is €1 million which should be in stocks or shares belonging to Spanish companies. Or at least you should invest €2 million in Spanish government debt securities.
  • Bank deposits: the minimum amount you need to invest is at least €1 million in Spanish financial entities.
  • Entrepreneurial activities: You must create more than 10 jobs in Spain or at least invest €500,000 in a business project.
Family Reunion Visa
Family Reunion Visa

5. Family Reunion Visa

If you have a plan to visit your family in Spain you can apply for this visa, but you need to consider some points such as following:

  • You should be related to a legal resident or Spanish citizen.
  • Have official evidence which proves you have a family relationship, such as a marriage or birth certificate.
  • You should be able to convince them that you can financially support yourself while you are in Spain.
  • You should have health insurance which could cover you for the duration of you plan to stay in Spain.

6. Digital Nomad Visa

If you plan to stay at Spain and work remotely for a foreign company, or stay as a freelancer who have clients outside Spain you can get the digital Nomad Visa. This is a fantastic option, and you can apply for it from your home country or from Spain. Plus, if you hold this residency, you will pay fewer taxes it’s just a flat 24% on your income, because you will be able to benefit from the Beckham Law. Also this permit has many other advantages, like you can include your family members in the application, you will receive resolution in less than 20 days, or the fact that it is a residence for 3 years. You can renew this visa for 2 until and obtain permanent residency.

Digital Nomad Visa
Digital Nomad Visa

In what situation do we need to apply for Spanish residence permit?

Before we start to discuss all your options, we first need to understand if we need to apply for a residence permit in the country. And to answer this question, we must divide the answers between the two different types of foreigners: EU Citizens and Non-EU Citizens.

European Union Citizens (EU Citizens)

If you’re an EU citizen, you have the right to move freely within the other EU territories member countries.

This is known as free movement or freedom of movement. In other words, you don’t need a visa for Spain if you are traveling for simple tourism purposes.

However, if you have plans to stay in Spain for more than three months (90 days), then you will need to apply for a Residency Card at your local town hall or immigration office.

Non-EU Citizens

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you must get your visa before traveling to Spain. There are several types of visas available, depending on the purpose of your travel and the duration you plan to stay in the country. In the following, we will brief you on the types of authorizations & visas, so you could choose the best way.

View of Spain
View of Spain

General types of authorizations for Spain

If you are considering moving to Spain you must be aware of the 4 different types of permits or authorizations that will allow you to legally stay in Spain. You must decide which is the best residence permit or visa for you. Choosing the type of authorization depends on how long you plan to stay in the Spanish territory, or how long have you already been in the country. Also, you need to check the specific requirements for that permit, in general, it is as follows:

  • Short-term Visa
  • Temporary Residence Permit
  • Permanent Residency
  • Citizenship

Short-term Visa

The short-term visa or Schengen visa which is also known as a tourist visa, allows non-EU citizens to stay in the European Union country for up to 90 days depending on their country of origin. That you may be required to apply for it or not. Once those 90 days come to an end, you must obtain a regular permit to stay in Spain. But you should consider that the most of permits can’t be obtained under a tourist visa. You need to consider there is a general rule, mention that you can’t come to Spain with a short term visa and decide to apply for your residence permit during your stay in Spain; you have to apply from your country of origin. However, there are some exceptions that we will explain later.

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

Temporary Residence Permit

If you have any plan to maintain in Spain for more than those 90 days, you need to apply for a temporary residency permit. Temporary residencies last between one to four years. When this duration ends, if you still have the initial requirements, you can renew your temporary residence permit for two more years. On the other hand, instead of renewing, you also can change it to a different type of residency. Finally, consider that not all permits allow you to work in Spain.

Permanent Residency

Permanent residency is a type of residency that enables non-EU citizens who have been living in Spain legally for 5 years in a row, to obtain an indefinite residence situation. This residency card is valid for five years and you can renew it. It allows you to live and work in Spain, as a self-employed or as an employee, with the same rights as other Spanish nationals. Also, it allows you to spend 6 months outside Spain without any kind of legal problem. This period can be extended to a year inside the 5 years that the permanent residency is valid.


If you want to apply for Spanish citizenship, you need to have resided in Spain for 10 years, but this duration is different for some countries and different situations. This process may take some time. Obtaining a Spanish passport allows you to work in any EU country, and freely travel to 183 countries. There are four main ways that you can obtain Spanish nationality: citizenship by descent, citizenship by marriage, citizenship by residency, and citizenship through your children

Madrid, Spain
Madrid, Spain


If you are considering moving to Spain, depending on being an EU citizen or non- EU Citizen you can apply for a subtle permit, which may be one of the following: Short-term Visa, Temporary Residence Permit, Permanent Residency, or Citizenship.

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