Government - Information on Permits and Visas

Permits and Visas

Before making any plans to live or work in Andalucía or, indeed, anywhere in Spain, you must ensure that you have a valid passport (with a visa if necessary) and the appropriate documentation to obtain a residence card or work permit. The free movement of workers within the EU and Spain became effective on 1st January 1992, after a six-year transition period. On the 1st January 1994, the 12 EU countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany,Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK) and six former members of the European Free Trade Association joined together to form the European Economic Area. Spain no longer refuses a residence card to any EEA citizen, or his family members and dependants, even when they aren't EEA citizens.

The EEA allows the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between member states and any EEA citizen has the right to live, study, work or start a business in Spain. Citizens of non-EEA countries must obtain a visa from a Spanish consulate in their home country before coming to Andalucía to work, study or live. All foreigners need a residence card to live in Spain, including EEA nationals.

When in Spain you should always carry your foreign identity card, passport or Spanish residence card (or a copy certified by a Spanish police station). You can be asked to produce your identification papers at any time by the Spanish police or other officials, and if you don't have them you can be fined (though this is unlikely): A residence card consitutes an identity card for foreigners which all Spaniards must carry by law.

Visas (non EC citizens)

All citizens of non-EEA countries, including non-EEA spouses and other non-EEA dependants of EEA nationals, must obtain a visa from a Spanish consulate in their home country before coming to Andalucía to work, study or live. There are various categories of visas including employees, retired pensioners, investors, employees or multinational companies, students, extended holidays over 90 days, and those performing cultural or sporting activities. Non-EEA nationals planning to take up residence in Spain must obtain a 'residence visa' before entering the country. The visa is stamped in your passport, which must be valid for a minimum of six months. Application for visas must be made to your local Spanish consulate abroad with jurisdiction over your place of residence. Applicants for visas living in a country other than their country of nationality must have been resident there for at least one year. Applications must be made in person by the applicant or his authorised representative. The documentation required for a visa application depends on your reason for coming to Spain, but will include: passport, photographs, proof of private health insurance, proof of financial resources and employment contract.

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