Work Visa for Spain

As with most information about the bureaucracies of Spain, it's only a guide in your efforts toward a work visa.

Posted by The Expatriator

Information and guide to getting a work visa in Spain.

There is no “working holiday visa” like there is in Japan for instance. No, Spain is a part of the EU, and as such carries the same process and requirements as for the rest of the Schengen countries’ work visas. Spain also has fairly a fairly high unemployment rate, making your work visa very difficult to get. See Working in Spain, Being Autonomo for more about working in Spain; also see the super-comprehensive jobs in Spain list.

Note that the Ministry of Public Administration has recently created a new system for those who already have work visas to renew their visa online. This system can be found here.

The following is the best guide to the process of gaining a legal work visa for non-European passport holders that we’ve been able to put together. As with most information about the bureaucracies of Spain, it’s only a guide in your efforts toward a work visa. We wish you the best of luck with this.

Please note that there is no legal right nor any guarantee to a work visa /permit.
  1. Attend interviews with the desired company of employment, with the intention of being selected.
  3. Submit ALL the following documents to the Subdelegación del Gobierno in the city you are trying to move to and work in. (Note that this involves many hours in queues or, alternatively, contracting a Spanish Lawyer):
    • Official application form (EX-1), signed and stamped by EMPLOYER.
    • 3 passport photos (not high-gloss)
    • Photocopy and original of passport (must be valid for duration of work-term)
    • Official job offer form (EX-5), signed and stamped by EMPLOYER. The job offered must be full-time and 10 months or longer
    • Original official company fiscal identity document (CIF)
    • Original official company social security inscription document, as well as documents TC-1 and TC-2.
    • Certified originals from the Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social and the Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria proving that the company is fully up to date in its tax and social security payments.
    • Official certification that the job on offer has already been advertised in the official Provincial Unemployment Office and that no suitable European candidate has applied.
    • Document describing the services offered by the company and why a non-European should be employed to work there.
    • Original and photocopies of degree transcripts/certifications and credentials, with the official seal of convalidatation of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture (Madrid)
  4. Make an appointment with the Spanish Consulate serving your official home address (in country of origin) in order to process all the documentation which they require for a work visa . This usually includes, amongst others, the official job offer document, stamped by the Subdelegación del Gobierno; official certificate of no criminal record in country of origin and local health certificate. This step can be undertaken by you or your legal representative, and can take up to 4 months to be processed.
  5. Once your home country’s Spanish Consulate has processed your work visa , you have to fetch it in person. It can not be handed to ayone other than you.
  6. As soon as you have your work visa you can return to Spain, finalise the application for a work/residence permit and start work. Please note that there is no legal right nor any guarantee to a work visa /permit. All applications are evalutated by the authorities in Spain.

Finally, appreciate that the legalisation procedure is difficult, lengthy, and expensive for everyone, making Spain an illogical choice for those who do not intend to be here for at least 2 to 3 years.

Last updated 30 05 2007

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Cat777 said:

Hi all,
If you've been waiting for what seems like forever for your Spanish work permit, take heart (or if you have an impatient nature, be forewarned): My husband and I are Canadian and he has been offered a design job in Spain. His company applied for the work visa over a year ago (12.5 mos!)and we just received confirmation now that it has (finally!) been approved. Now to apply for our visas - hopefully it won't take as long but we're not holding our breath or trading in our parkas and snow shovels just yet. Have any of you had trouble getting visas for your spouses/young children? Do any of you know if Spanish immigration could possibly give a husband a visa but not his dependent wife and child?
I'll keep you posted...
Warmly from Montreal,

timothywhite1 said:

Okay as I just went through this process so let me provide some feedback to what is written above (and probably more importantly) what is written below.

First off, as the economy in Spain is pretty much in the tank right now, you're potential employer should have a very good idea as to whether or not you have any shot of obtaining the coveted permit to work before they extend you an offer. From what my company told me, if it's any sort of a job that they can justify either creating more jobs in the future (jobs with "manager" or "director" in the title); or is in an industry that Spanish workers lack experience (think tech sector); it shouldn't be a problem getting the paper.

timothywhite1 said:

Here's where I start to see some inaccuracies with the above and below. First, the lengthiest part of the work permit process was honestly just collecting all the paperwork and preparing everything with the lawyer. The stories below of one year+ waiting seem a bit ridiculous; once everything was filed, the government guaranteed a response in under 30 days and honestly I had the approval letter on my desk within 2 weeks. The second part of the process (visa); took a grand total of 3 days! I was even able to email my obtained work permit and copy of passport in advance so that I would only have to go to the consulate once for pickup of Visa.

I will suggest (and maybe this is why my situation differed from below) for your company to invest in a lawyer that has experience in this area. My company set me up with someone that knew the process and was able to taylor all of my paperwork specifically to the application to avoid any delays.

Cat777 said:

Here is the timeline/conclusion of our Extranjeria epic:

Husband's work permit: 18 month wait (fortunately he was able to commute back and forth and work as a freelancer for his Spanish employer)

Husband's work visa: 3 month wait (in Canada)

Wife (that's me) and daughter's non-lucrative visa application (applied for at same time as husband's work visa): 11 month wait (in Canada) - DENIED (Spanish Immigration did not take husband's salary into account and we were incorrectly advised to apply for this visa)

After husband had his visa for 1 year he was allowed to apply for a Family Reunification visa for us, which was approved after 2.5 months (in Canada). Bonus: Family Reunification visa now includes permission for family members to work in Spain without applying for any other visas!

31.5 months, in toto. Now we're living in Spain and happy we didn't give up.

Best wishes to all of you.
Warmly from Mallorca,

firewall said:

Hello there,

Please let me know about the needed paper work to get married in Spain. I am an Indian citizen and I would like to know what papers I need in order to marry in Spain.

I know there are few papers but I am confused.
First I need date of birth.
Second single's certificate (Fe De Solteria Y Vida).

But some people say that "You can give a Sworn Affidavit" while some say "No this could be arranged from Deputy Commissioner?s office" and while some say "Just Sworn Affidavit from your parents will be accepted"

So please let me know exactly what I need.


Sarah1976 said:


Well, my Pakistani bf has his promise of a work contract in Spain. How can he get an NIE number to go on the contract if he is applying for his visa ATM???
Another question, sorry, the visa allows him entry, where does he get the permit to work from and how long does it last??
Please respond asap.

Thanks x

InnocentCute said:

Hi, Guys.

I am from Pakistan and want to relocate in Spain and work there, so guys please me how i find jobs in internet and which company hires a Foreigner Candidates to fill posts?

Your suggestion and advised will highly appreciated.


lorraine said:


I've got two posts re visas in my email that I can't see here on this link page. So not sure if the writers will see this. First Sarah1976, the description given on this page pretty well covers what you are asking. With the job offer papers in hand, a person then applies for the Spanish entry visa in their country of origin, with this visa you can enter Spain and have three months to apply for your NIE. Obviously you leave the NIE number blank on the application.

For Innocent Cute I think you should check another country. With Spain's 21% unemployment, immigrants and young people are a disproportionately high part of this figure. You'll only find a job here if you have friends or contacts that can help.

Thank you


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