Working in Spain is a remarkable opportunity to experience the Mediterranean culture. You will learn one of the most spoken languages in the world while enjoying the highly-regarded Spanish climate. The country also has extensive transport links to the rest of Europe, so you can spend your free days traveling.

The Spanish job market is dominated by service sectors, while shortage occupations occur in high-skill professions such as engineering, sales, medicine, education, and IT. A lot of graduates also find themselves in the banking, tourism, and energy sectors.

If you find yourself drawn to this charming European country, this article will guide you on how you can get a work visa in Spain.

Do I need a work visa in Spain?

Spain is one of the 27 countries in the European Union (EU), which is then joined by Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein in the European Economic Area (EEA). Thus, citizens of EU/EEA and Switzerland are allowed to work and live in Spain as per the union’s agreements.

On the other hand, citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA have to apply for a Spanish work visa to work.

What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Spain?

There are several types of work visas in Spain depending on the nature and length of employment. In general, you start with a job offer. After this, your employer will be the one responsible for initiating the work permit application on your behalf.

The following requirements are needed from your end:

Employee Visa for jobs listed as “shortage occupation”

  • Fully accomplished application form
  • Passport with two blank pages and valid for another six months, or another travel document
  • Two photographs (taken in the last three months)
  • Medical certificate
  • Travel Insurance
  • Proof of accommodation (hotel booking, rental agreement, or invitation letter)
  • Proof of financial means (bank statements, proof of salary)
  • Proof of no criminal record
  • Proof of payment of visa fees
  • Proof of training and/or professional qualifications to exercise the profession
  • Flight reservation or itinerary
  • Employment contract from an employer with conditions that match present regulations and stamped by the Immigration Office in Spain, to be signed by both parties
  • Work permit or authorization (once granted by employer)

Additional requirements for other visa types:

Seasonal Work Visa for fixed-term work, valid for a maximum of nine months a year

  • Proof of accommodation provided by the employer
  • Proof of travel costs covered by an employer
  • Travel itinerary

Au Pair Visa for individuals who will work for a particular family

  • Proof of age between 17 and 30
  • Au pair agreement with a host family

Self-Employed Visa for freelancing and autonomous work

  • Business plan of activities
  • Registration, permits, or licenses on the operation of the planned activity
  • Commissions or contracts from companies, if any

EU Blue Card for individuals with 5 years of professional experience or at least 3 years of higher education qualification

  • Work contract showing salary at least 20-50% more than the average wage

All visa types, except seasonal visas, are valid for one year in general. They are renewable as long as the required conditions are met. Moreover, you can obtain permanent residency if you have lived in the country for five interrupted years.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Spain

The earliest time to apply for a Spanish work visa is six months before your planned departure. Within this timeframe, you can properly look for a job and avoid possible delays in visa processing.

1. Secure a job in Spain

To obtain a work visa in Spain, you must first have a job offer or contract from a Spanish company. This is because work visas in Spain are processed by employers on behalf of their foreign workers.

Most occupations require a work permit before you can apply for a work and residence visa in Spain. It is not required, however, for teaching, artistic, cultural, scientific, and religious activities.

2. Get a work permit from your employer

Your employer will apply for your work authorization (form EX03) through Spain’s Provincial Aliens Affairs Office. If your job belongs to the Shortage Occupation List or passed the labor market test, you have a high chance to be approved.

The review period for a Spanish work visa is typically 45 days. Your employer will be notified once the request is accepted, which they will dutifully forward to you. You have one month from the day of notification to request a visa application appointment with a Spanish diplomatic mission in your country of residence.

3. Collect the required documents

Together with the work permit sent by your employer, gather all the necessary documents based on the type of work visa you need. Check with the Spanish mission in your place for any country-specific documents not listed above. Prepare one original and one photocopy of each.

You can answer the visa application form electronically on this page and have it printed and signed.

4. Schedule an Appointment

Book an appointment with the Spanish embassy, consulate, visa center, or other responsible diplomatic missions in your country of residence. You can find the full list of Spanish embassies and consulates on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

You have to personally attend the meeting and submit your documents. Expect a short interview where a consular officer will ask you about your purpose of application. You will also submit biometric data, such as photographs and digital scans of fingerprints.

5. Settle the Fees

You need to pay a particular fee to cover the expenses of processing your application. Work visa fees for Spain are around 60 EUR or 72 USD but may vary slightly depending on the country you’re from.

6. Travel to Spain

The diplomatic mission will review your application for 15 days and will notify you once your visa is ready for collection. From the date of notification, you have one month to personally collect your visa and three months to enter Spain.

7. Request a Foreigner Identity Card

Once in Spain, you can complete your whole Spanish work visa application by applying for a Foreigner Identity Card at the local police station. This procedure will grant you residence authorization in Spain.


We hope that this article on how to get a work visa in Spain was helpful! If you are interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out Available Programs in Europe for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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