Spain’s Mediterranean weather and outstanding culture attract upwards of 700,000 foreigners every year. If you’re one of the many looking to enjoy the country’s one of a kind characteristics, you must be ready for your application for one of the various residence permits in Spain.
Keep reading to find out what you should expect when requesting your residence permit in Spain!
Residence visa. Residence permit. Residence card. Residence certificate. Foreign Identity Card.
All the above give you the right to live in Spain, with some of them also permitting you to work in the country. But which one do you need and when do you need to get it?
If you're a non-EU national, you’d need to first apply for and get your residence visa before your arrival to the country. With this document, you’re able to legally enter Spain for a period of either between 3 and 6 months or between 6 months and 1 year.
Be aware: Staying in the country for a period between 3 and 6 months requires you to apply for a Residence Card (Tarjeta de Residencia).
Living in Spain for more than 6 months, on the other hand, obliges you to request a Foreign Identity Card (Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero - TIE).
If you're an EU citizen, you don’t need a valid residence visa to enter the country. Yet, any stay in Spain for more than 3 months calls for you to get a residence certificate to be legal.
Let’s dive into the specifics of each of those documents.
To get a formal permission to live in Spain starts with your application for a residence visa. Then, based on your intended stay period you need to:
As a non-EU national, you need one of the five valid residence visas in order to apply for a residence or foreign identity card in Spain:
Each of the above options has its distinct requirements and application process. You must apply before you arrive in Spain. Each of them gives you the right to live in Spain for periods above 3 months.
The residence card (Tarjeta de Residencia) is a hard requirement if you intend on spending between 3 and 6 months in Spain. You must file your application for the Tarjeta de Residencia at the local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station within 30 days of your arrival in the country.
The required documents differs depending on the type of residence visa you have. Yet, the following requirements are common for all residence visas:
The following documents may also have to be provided:
You get a stamped copy of your application upon finalizing it. You should receive the actual residence card within 3 to 4 months later.
The residence card is valid for a year. The renewal can be done for up to 5 years. You have the right to apply for a permanent residence card once you have lived in Spain for 5 uninterrupted years.
The foreigner identity card (Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero - TIE) is a hard requirement for non-EU citizens who can stay in Spain for more than 6 months. You must file your TIE application at your local police station within 30 days of your entry into the country.
Unlike the residence card, the application for the Foreign Identity card has fixed requirements for all applicants:
You receive a copy of your application immediately upon filing it. Your actual TIE card arrives within 3 months of the application filing.
The TIE card is valid until the end of your residence visa. You can extend it upon the prolongation of your residence visa.
The possession of a TIE card for 5 consecutive years grants you the right to apply for a permanent one. The permanent TIE is valid for 10 years.
Internationals from EU/ Schengen countries go through a simpler process to get a residence certificate for Spain.
The document includes your name, address, nationality and foreigners tax identification number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero - NIE)
You file your application at your local Foreigner’s office, with only some areas requiring you to book an appointment in advance. File your application within 3 months of your arrival in Spain.
You’ll have to provide the following documents along with your application:
Some additional documentation may be required depending on the intent of your stay in the country.
If you're set to work in Spain as an employee in a company, you’d have to provide a confirmation of your employment.
You’ll be self-employed for the period of your stay? Then you’d need to provide proof of self-employed status in the form of registration on the Mercantile Registry (Registro Mercantil).
The residence certificate remains valid as long as your circumstances in Spain remain the same as described in the application. This means that a change in your address or marital status requires you to apply for a new residence card.
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