How to Get your Spanish Residence Permit as an International

Yordan

May 24 • 4 minute read

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!

What is a 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?

Residence permits in Spain as a non-EU citizen

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).

Residence permits in Spain as an EU citizen

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.

Two types of residence permits for Non-EU nationals

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:

  • Apply for a Residence card if you’re spending between 3 and 6 months
  • Apply for a Foreign Identity Card (TIE) if you're spending more than 6 months in the country.

First step: Your residence visa for Spain

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:

  • Non-lucrative Visa
  • Investor (Golden) Visa
  • Long-term Work Visa
  • Self-employed and Freelance Work Visa
  • Student Visa

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.

1. Residence Card

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.

Requirements

The required documents differs depending on the type of residence visa you have. Yet, the following requirements are common for all residence visas:

  • Valid passport and photocopy
  • Three passport-size colour photographs
  • Completed application form and three copies
  • Proof of address in Spain
  • Receipt for payment of an administration fee

The following documents may also have to be provided:

  • Copy of a job contract or a certificate of employment
  • Evidence of your ability to meet the requirements to carry out a professional activity (Self-employed only)
  • Proof of academic and/or professional qualifications
  • Proof of financial resources for those not intending to work
  • Proof of school enrolment (for students only)
  • Proof that the applicant has no prior criminal record (Certificado de Antecedentes Penales)
  • Medical certificate
  • Consular inscription (a letter from the home Consulate)
  • Proof that the applicant has medical insurance cover in Spain

How long does it take to get your residence card?

You get a stamped copy of your application upon finalizing it. You should receive the actual residence card within 3 to 4 months later.

How long is the residence card valid?

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.

2. Foreigner Identity Card

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.

Requirements

Unlike the residence card, the application for the Foreign Identity card has fixed requirements for all applicants:

  • Valid passport and photocopy
  • Three passport-sized colour photographs
  • A filled-in EX17 application form and three copies
  • Proof of school enrolment (for students only)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of financial resources for those not intending to work
  • Health insurance policy
  • Proof of paymentof the administration fee (€15.76)

How long does it take to get your foreigner identity card?

You receive a copy of your application immediately upon filing it. Your actual TIE card arrives within 3 months of the application filing.

How long is the foreigner identity card valid?

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.

How to get your residence permit as an EU citizen

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.

Requirements

You’ll have to provide the following documents along with your application:

  • Valid passport or national identity card
  • Copies of a valid passport or national identity card
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of address in Spain
  • A filled in EX18 application form (Solicitud de certificado de registro de residencia comunitaria)
  • Proof of fee payment (€ 21.44)
  • Proof of valid healthcare insurance

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 employemnt.

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)

How long is the residence permit valid?

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.

For any further information on the regulations, you should consult:

Related Articles

Moving to Spain?

You've got an exciting opportunity lined up for you in Spain? Search for an accommodation now!

SEARCH NOW