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Work Permits and Visas

Work Permits and Visas

by Chris Chaplow

Free Movement and Schengen

The free movement within Spain and the EU became effective when Spain fully joined on 1st January 1992, after a six-year transition period.

The free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed by the EU to its citizens.

EU Citizens

This enables every EU citizen to travel, work, study, start a business  and live in any EU country without special formalities such as work permits or visas.

EU Citizens do not require a work permit or a Visa. 

However if they decide to take up long term residence they must apply for 'residencia' and obtain an EU residence card. There

If they decide to work, study, start a business in Andalucia they are also entitled to live in Andalucia - subject to certain conditions.

If you live and work in another EU country, it's important to be aware of the consequences for:

  • your benefits (sickness, maternity/paternity, pensions, occupational accidents and diseases, death grants, unemployment, early retirement, family, etc.)
  • where you have to pay tax

Citizens of non-EU countries

All citizens of non-UE countries, including non-EU spouses and other non-EU dependants of EU 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-EU 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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