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Excerpted from the Spain Career Guide

With some exceptions, an appropriate visa is required in order to work or study in Spain. The type of visa or work permit required for work or study depends on the purpose of the visit as well as the applicant’s citizenship and the desired length of stay. Responsibility for issuing visas rests with the Spanish embassies and consulates-general. An applicant must be sure to follow all applicable rules, and should contact the nearest Spanish diplomatic mission with any specific questions when completing the visa application.

Spain is a member of the Schengen Convention, which was created to eliminate controls at common borders and to promote the free movement of travelers within the Schengen area. The Schengen Agreement includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Short-stay Visa (Schengen Visa)

Schengen member countries issue visas for transit through the Schengen area or for short-term stays in the Schengen area not to exceed 90 days in any six-month period. However, certain travellers may travel throughout the Schengen area for no more than 90 days without a visa, based on their nationality.

Since 2010, regulations established a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code), which enables all Schengen states to issue visas for travel throughout the Schengen area or for short-term stays in the Schengen area not exceeding 90 days in any six-month period. In 2011, the Schengen member states also introduced the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is used to store the biometric data (ten fingerprints and the facial image) of the visa applicant.

Long-term Visa (National Visas)

All foreigners who are not European Union nationals, or citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and who wish to remain in Spain more than 90 days out of any six-month period, must in all cases apply for a long-term visa, which may be a:

  • Resident’s visa: this allows the holder to reside in Spain without undertaking any type of work or professional activity.
  • Work and resident’s visa: this allows the holder to undertake work or professional activity, either for third parties or on his or her own behalf.
  • Student visa: this allows the holder to remain in Spain in order to pursue courses, studies, research or training programs.

Work Permits

Both a work permit and a residence visa are required when planning to work in Spain. The prospective employer must apply for the work permit and obtain the resolución at the Spanish Ministry of Labour before the applicant can apply for a residence visa at the consulate general.

The work permit applications must be made at the Spanish consulate in the applicant’s country of residence, country of nationality or the country where the applicant has been legally admitted before moving to Spain. Applicants must apply for the residence visa within the first month after receiving the resolución. The visa must be applied for in person. A residence visa cannot be obtained with a tourist visa once in Spain.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Spain Guide.

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