Freelance Spain
Working in Spain: The Paperwork

David Searl discusses the regulations for obtaining a Spanish work permit in this excerpt from his best-selling You and the Law in Spain.

Council of Europe regulations forced Spain to end all restrictions on the free circulation of European Union workers, good news for EU citizens who wanted to settle and work in Spain.

It means that EU citizens can work in Spain under exactly the same conditions as Spaniards. The "tarjeta comunitaria", which is a work and residence document, is still required, but it is now much easier to obtain if you are an EU citizen.

This also applies to family members who are not EU nationals. If a Briton working in Spain is married to a US national, for example, the non-EU spouse will have full rights to residence and employment in Spain.

Unfortunately for other citizens of non-EU nations, the situation has remained the same as before. Such third-nation citizens as Americans and Canadians still need a "visado de residencia", a special visa which they must obtain from the Spanish consulate in their home country even before they come to Spain. There are seven types of this visa, and it important to get the right one when you apply. There are visas for people who just want to retire in Spain, visas for people who are going to start a business, visas for those who have found employment, visas for top-level executives, visas for students and visas for teachers.

Non-EU applicants who intend to take up employment must show a proper work contract, along with proof that the position has been advertised with the Spanish employment office and that no suitable Spanish candidate can be found for the job.

Those non-EU applicants who wish to go into business in Spain will have to demonstrate that they have about $120,000 to invest in their Spanish business and that they will provide work for Spanish nationals.

Aside from the visa, in order to obtain a work permit in Spain non-EU citizens must also obtain from their home state or province a police certificate that they have no prison record, and it must be officially translated into Spanish (the Spanish consulate can usually advise on this procedure).

Once in Spain, applicants need a health certificate and a certificate that they are registered with their home country's consulate in Spain. Further paperwork is required if they want to apply for a permit as a self-employed worker.

Excerpted from You and the Law in Spain by David Searl, 2001 edition. Copyright 2001 David Searl.

IMPORTANT NOTICE. This article is meant as a general guide for those seeking information on Spanish laws and regulations. It is not a substitute for professional legal advice and cannot be a basis for any claim against Freelance Spain or its editors. You are strongly advised to seek more detailed information from the Spanish Embassy in your country and to contract the professional services of a qualified Spanish lawyer.

For a comprehensive guide to Spanish laws for foreign residents, read David Searl's authoritative You and the Law in Spain, published by Santana Books, Spain. For details on obtaining a copy, see Santana Books.

See also: Working as a Journalist in Spain


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