Visa Types, Requirements, Application, and Guidelines in Spain

Ah Spain… the constant sunshine, warm seas, soft sands, and magical sunsets.

So, you’ve decided a new life in the sun might be for you, but what visa options are available to make the Spanish dream a reality?

You’ve come to the right place. Here you will find brief information about visa options.

Do I need a visa to enter Spain?

Yes and no - depending on your nationality, purpose, and duration of stay.

Visiting – 90 Days Maximum Stay

For visits less than 90 days per 180-day period, visas are not required for EU or EEA Citizens and for holders of valid passports issued by the following countries or dependencies.

This information applies only to ordinary passports. All other nationalities not listed above require a visa to enter Spain.

Albania*CanadaKiribatiPalauTrinidad and Tobago
AndorraChileKorean RepublicPanamaTuvalu
Antigua and BarbudaColombiaLiechtensteinParaguayUkraine*
ArgentinaCosta RicaVanuatuPeru

United Arab Emirates

AustraliaCroatiaMalaysiaSt. Kitts and NevisUruguay
BahamasDominicaMarshall IslandsSt. LuciaUSA
BarbadosEl SalvadorMauritiusSt. Vincent and GrenadinesVatican City
Bosnia Herzegovina*Georgia*MexicoSamoaVenezuela
BrazilGrenadaMicronesiaSan MarinoVanuatu
British nationals (Overseas)***GuatemalaMoldova*Serbia**
British overseas territories citizens (BOTC)***HondurasMonacoSeychelles
British overseas citizens (BOC)***Hong Kong Special Administrative RegionMontenegro*Singapore
British protected persons (BPP)***IsraelNew ZealandSolomon Islands
British subjects (BS)***Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)*NicaraguaTaiwan (only holder of passports that contain identity card numbers)
Brunei DarussalamJapanNorthern Mariana Islands (passports from the US)


* Only when holding a biometric passport. If not, a visa is required.

** Only when holding a biometric passport. If not, a visa is required, excluding holders of passports delivered by KOORDINACIONA UPRAVA.

*** As of January 2021, British nationals, British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens, British protected people, and British subjects need to get a visa for visits over 90 days due to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

What Happens If I Have a Schengen Residence Permit?

Regardless of your nationality and passport, if you hold a valid residence permit in any of the Schengen member states, you are entitled to re-enter the Schengen area without a visa on production of your proof of residence and your passport. Note that you cannot exceed 90 days stay per 180-day period in any Schengen member state (excluding the member state of residence permit issue).

Stays in Spain Exceeding 90 Days

You require a long-term visa to stay in Spain if you are not a national from the EU/EEA or Switzerland and your intention to remain is more than 90 days per 180-day period.

EU Nationals Who Stay in Spain Longer than 90 Days

For nationals from the EU/EEA and Switzerland, no visa is required, but you will need to register with the authorities (el padron) and apply for a national identity number (NIE - Número de Identificación de Extranjero). Additionally, you must present health insurance and evidence of financial means to support yourself. The definition of “financial means” varies from area to area with Madrid being a higher value (due to costs of living) than Murcia.

The Essential Spanish Visa Guide

How Do You Get a Residence Permit in Spain?

There are a number of different options to get a residence permit in Spain. Spain’s long-term residence permit options are as follows;

Spain’s Visa Categories

1. Non-Lucrative Residence Permit: This category of residence permit is one of the most popular paths to residency in Spain by non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals. The non-lucrative residence permit is typically reserved for self-sufficient applicants who have no plans to work in Spain and are financially self-sufficient (bank statements or accountant declarations).

Being able to support your living in Spain under your current financial situation, without having to work in Spain, is financially enough to apply for a non-lucrative residence permit. You do not have to make an investment in Spain in order to apply for this permit. Self-sufficiency is defined by Spain’s Multiplier for the Public Income Index (IPREM).

The non-lucrative residence permit is valid for 1 year and renewable for an additional 2 years, renewable twice. That is, this category of visa will allow you up to 5 years of residence in Spain (year 1 + 2 years + 2 years). However, at the end of your first year, you can apply for a work permit (self-employed or employed).

After living in Spain for 5 years consecutively, you can convert it into a permanent residence permit in Spain.

2. Work Employment Visa: This temporary 2-year (renewable) visa allows you to live and work in Spain. There are two types of visas for working in Spain: employment visas and self-employment visas. Self-employment visas are generally for freelance workers with no fixed employment contracts. On the other hand, employment visas are for workers with fixed employment contracts.

It’s not a requirement, but an annual salary greater than 25,000 Euros will help strengthen the success of your application. You can apply in Spain (on a tourist visa) or apply from outside of Spain. As this visa category is for employees, your employer will apply on your behalf.

Note: Spain may require different documents and conditions depending on where you’re coming from and the job you’ve been accepted. It’s best to get personal consultation for each case.

3. Entrepreneur Visa: Entrepreneur Visa is among Spain’s residence permits by investment options.Start a business in Spain to qualify for this one-year visa. Conditions require that the business project is of “public interest” which is defined as:
- Creates new jobs
- Has a positive economic impact on the community
- Contributes towards scientific or technological innovation
For these reasons, it’s important that the project has a significant amount of capital.

4. Golden Visa Program: Obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain allows you to legally work and live in Spain by making an investment. Spanish Golden Visa can be acquired through a few different investment options;

• Purchasing Spanish real estate valued at a minimum of €500,000 (self-funded and paid in full - no debt financing allowed under €500,000),
• Investing 2 million Euros in Spanish sovereign debt,
• Investing 1 million Euros in Spanish company stocks or Spanish bank deposits.

Spain’s Golden Visa provides 3 years of residency and it can be renewed every 5 years as long as you keep your investment in Spain. For these reasons, buying property in Spain for a residence permit is one of the most preferred methods. Read more about the Golden Visa Program in Spain.

5. Spouse and Family Reunification: Under The Citizens’ Rights (Directive 2004/38/EC) a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can live permanently in Spain with their EU/EEA/Swiss national spouse. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can apply for a family reunification visa in Spain if they have a valid residency in Spain.
To be able to apply for this visa, you should have been living in Spain legally for one year. And your residence permit must have validity at least for one more year. This visa covers direct relatives that are financially dependent on the person residing in Spain. These are children under 18 years old, spouses, and parents over 65 years old. In other cases, the financial dependency of the direct relatives may need to be proven.

6. Student Visa: Student visas allow their holders to stay longer than 90 days in Spain and do education-related activities. There are two types of student visas in Spain: short-term student visas and long-term student visas. Short-term student visas are valid for 6 months and can not be renewed. This type of visa is perfect for language schools or short-term courses.

To study in Spain for more than six months you can apply for a type D student visa and a student residence permit/card or Foreigner Identity Card (within 30 days from your arrival in Spain) from your local Foreigner Office or a police station. You’ll need an acceptance letter from the educational institute you plan to undertake your studies, medical insurance, a medical certificate, proof of funds, a Spanish residential address, and a recently dated police clearance certificate from your home country.

7. Digital Nomad Visa: As of December 2022, the Spanish Parliament has given the final approval for the digital nomad visa program in Spain. The proposed legislation is expected to come into effect in the following few months. This visa is for individuals who want to continue their work in other countries remotely when they are living in Spain.

It’s aimed to facilitate the living conditions of digital nomads in Spain and eventually attract more digital nomads to Spain. People will have to prove the following conditions to be able to apply for this visa;

• They have been working remotely for at least a year,
• Their work can be carried out remotely,
• If they are under a contract with a company, they need to prove that they have been working with the company for at least three months. They also need to prove that the company permits them to work remotely.
• Freelancers need to prove that they work with at least one company outside Spain.

Disclaimer - The Essential Spanish Visa Guide

It’s important to note that while The Essential Spanish Visa Guide is up-to-date and accurate at the time of publication, it is provided for informational purposes only. The authors of this guide have not taken into consideration your personal circumstances, country, or nationality. As with any visa application, it’s strongly recommended to seek personalized advice that caters to your individual circumstances. The Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your home country is always a great place to start. Additionally, there are also specialized Spanish immigration lawyers who provide bespoke individual advice and manage all the paperwork and formalities of your Spanish visa application.