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Non-EU Citizens Moving to Spain

Understand the visas and permits you’ll need if you are from a non-EU country...

Many non-EU citizens require a visa to enter Spain. If the stay is intended to be under three months (90 days), a tourist visa may be required. This is issued by the Spanish Embassy in the home country; it does not permit the holder to work or to stay longer than three months.

Currently citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand do not need a tourist visa to enter Spain (South Africans do), however if the intention is to stay, a residence visa is required.

Residence visas

Anyone arriving in Spain with the intention of staying longer than three months requires a Residence Visa (Visado de Residencia). This must be requested from and issued by the Spanish Embassy of the applicant's home country, before departure for Spain. It is different to the standard three-month tourist visa in that it allows the holder to begin the residency application process. Application for residency is not typically done with a tourist visa.

  • It is possible to search for Spanish Embassies worldwide on the Spanish tourism authority website (Instituto de Turismo de España): Click here

For those already in Spain seeking information about obtaining a residence visa, information is available from the Ministry of the Interior.

Residence card (Tarjeta de Residencia)

Citizens of non-EU countries wishing to stay in Spain for more than three months must apply for a Residency Permit/Card (Tarjeta de Residencia) within 30 days of arriving in the country. The application must be made at the Foreigner's Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or local police station in the province of intended residence.

  • To find the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros: Click here (in Spanish)

The documentation required varies depending on the situation. Consult with the local Oficina de Extranjeros or police station to determine which documents are required.

The following documentation is required to apply for a Tarjeta de Residencia:

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

The following documentation may also be required (certified translations may be requested):

  • Copy of a job contract or a certificate of employment (if applicable)
  • Self-employed individuals must produce evidence that they meet the same professional conditions required of Spanish nationals and that they have applied for authorisation to carry out their professional activity
  • Proof of academic and/or professional qualifications (if applicable)
  • 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); available from a home country Embassy or local police department in the former place of residence
  • Medical certificate
  • Consular inscription (a letter from the home Consulate)
  • Proof that the applicant has medical insurance cover in Spain

Once the application for a residence permit has been made, a stamped copy of the application is issued; the Residence Card should be issued within three to four months. Resident Cards may be renewed at the Foreigners Office. In the event of a change of address or personal circumstance, the local Oficina de Extranjeros or police station must be notified within 30 days.

The initial Residence Card is valid for one year; this can be renewed annually for up to five years.

For non-EU nationals with an EU-national family member who is resident or intending to become resident in Spain, see the section on Family Members of EU Citizens

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Welcome to AngloINFO Spain

Everything you need for life in Spain - local information you can trust
We have local franchise opportunities in Spain and around the world

Do you dream of having your own, profitable, easy-to-operate business? AngloINFO might be the solution!

Now in its fifteenth year of business, AngloINFO is the world's leading network of expat information websites - with over three million monthly visitors from around the world.
We have an established network of 88 local websites in 41 countries with many more in development.

Our 54 local franchisees are the key to our success and come from a huge range of backgrounds, ages and nationalities. The common factor is a passion for success.