Residence permit in Spain with the right to work. Everything you need to know!


When moving to another country, most people are concerned about work. Not everyone has the opportunity to remote work, and few people want to work illegally in a foreign country. And sometimes even those who have a permanent income outside the country eventually begin to think about working in Spain.

That’s why we decided to put together this post to discuss possible residence permits that allow foreigners to work in Spain.

Let’s start with the fact that in Spain the possibility of the right to work is divided into 2 types:

– as a sole proprietor

– by contract or hire

Not all types of residence permits allow you to operate in the country, and not every work permit gives you the right to combine the two types.

1. General Law Ley 4/2000 Reglamento de extranjería

According to the Law on the Rights and Freedom of Foreigners in Spain, a resident card is issued in the following order:

1 card – for 1 year

2nd – for 2 years

3rd – for 2 years

4th – for 5 years.

The first three cards only allow the specific type of work you have requested: either a contract visa (Residencia y trabajo por cuenta ajena) or without a contract as a self-employed person (Residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia).

Important! A year later, you can request a separate process to combine the two types of cards.

At the same time, a 5-year card entitles you to both work permits.

2. Directives governing residence permits for EU citizens and their family members

– for citizens of the EU, EEC and Switzerland, the residence is issued for 10 years with permission for both types of work.

– their family members receive a 5-year residence with all kinds of work rights

– extension for 10 years with the possibility of applying for citizenship

The following relatives of EU citizens are eligible to apply for this residence:

– spouse

common-law spouses (pareja de hecho)

– pareja estable, i.e. unregistered couple, but living together for at least 1 year in the country

– parents

– children under 18 years old

– dependent relatives

3. Business Law Ley 14/2013

Its purpose is to support entrepreneurship and business activity in the country, as well as to promote development and internationalization. The main difference from Ley 4/2000 Reglamento de extranjería is that this Law entitles both the applicant and his family members to work both under contract and as an entrepreneur.

What residence permits are regulated by it?

Investor Visa or Golden Visa

1 card – for 2 years

2nd – for 5 years

Entrepreneur visa (Residencia para emprendedores)

1st – for 2 years

2nd – for 2 years

subsequent renewals also for 2 years

Visa of a highly qualified specialist (Residencia para profesionales altamente cualificados)

1st – for 2 years

2nd – for 2 years

subsequent renewals also for 2 years

Visa for intracorporate transfer (Residencia por traslado intraempresarial)

1st – for 2 years

2nd – for 1 year without the possibility of extension

Visa for scientific research (Residencia para formación o investigación)

1st – for 2 years

2nd – for 2 years

subsequent renewals also for 2 years

If you want to get more detailed advice on your case, contact us directly.  Our experts will select the best type of residence for you with the right to work.

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