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How to Get a Spain Work Visa: Requirements and Procedure

Key points

  • There are a range of different work visas available for applicants who don’t otherwise have a right to work in Spain. 
  • Key options include seasonal work visas, EU blue cards, student work visas and working holiday/youth mobility visas. 
  • In order to ensure that your visa is processes as efficiently as possible, consider support from a third-party company that facilitates visa and permit processes.

If you are planning to move to Spain for work, you may be required to apply for a Spain work visa. There are various types of Spain work permits available, with their suitability depending on where you are from, your residency status and overall employment situation. 

In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the different work visas available in Spain, their requirements and the procedures. 

Who requires a Spain Work Visa? 

European citzens who want to live and work in Spain, do not need to apply for a Spain work visa. This is due to the fact that Spain is a part of the European Union (EU), and EU citizens do not need a work permit to live and work in the country. 

1. Seasonal work visas

If you are from outside the EU and planning to carry out some seasonal work in Spain, you will need to apply for the following documentation:

  • a work and residence permit
  • a work and residence visa.


The visa application process is nearly the same as if you were applying for long-term employment. However, there are a few additional requirements:

  • Your employer must pay your travel costs
  • You must agree to return to your country of origin at the end of the contract. 

2. EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a residence permit which allows highly skilled professionals from third countries to live and work in Spain. Although this visa is one of the various options, it is one of the  one of the more expensive options, costing around €418. It seems that the visa is becoming less popular in Europe, in 2020 the number of EU blue cards granted was 67.8% lower than in 2019. 

To apply for a EU Blue Card visa in Spain you must: 

  • Have a higher education qualification that took longer than three years to complete or alternatively, have five years worth of professional experience. 

3. Self-employed visas

In order to become self-employed, non-EU citizens need to apply for a visa to enter Spain, then they can apply for a residence permit to extend their stay in the country, and finally, once they are registered as a self-employed worker, they will be able to work as a freelancer.

Alternatively, Citizens of EU and EFTA member states can work without a work permit in Spain. The process is very easy for these individuals, as they can register themselves as self-employed once they have entered Spain. 

To apply for a self-employed work visa in Spain: 

  • Be a non-EU citizen
  • Be older than 18 years of age
  • Legally reside in Spain
  • Have no criminal record, and proof from the countries you have lived in the past five years
  • Have qualifications or sufficient experience required to carry out your desired business activity
  • Show evidence of having sufficient financial resources for your business.

4. Student work visas 

If you have a student residence card, you can legally work up to 20 hours a week while you are studying in Spain. This visa must be applied for and arranged by your employer on your behalf. Unfortunately, if your program is six months or less, you may not be able to obtain a Spanish residency card (TIE), which is the visa that allows you to legally work in Spain. 

5. Working holiday visa

A Spain Working Holiday visa is a permit work permit for individuals from speicfic countries visiting on holiday. This visa is valid for a year, and is not open to renewal or extension. These visas are open to individuals from the following countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and South Korea, up until the age of 31 years (or 36, depending on the country of application).  

How to apply for a Spain Work Visa 

Now you are all clued up on the various Spain work visas out there, and who is required to apply for one. it’s time to guide you through the Spain visa application process. This can vary depending on where you are from and the type of work, but the general process is as follows:

Step 1 — The first step to obtaining a Spain work visa is to secure a job offer from a Spanish employer or an international employer based in Spain who is willing to sponsor the visa

Step 2 — Once you have a job offer,  whether its an indefinite work contract or temporary, your employer will need to apply for a work permit on your behalf. 

Step 3 — This work permit will then need to be approved by the Spanish government before you can apply for a Spain work visa.

Step 4 —  Getting an appointment – Once your employer has obtained the work permit, you will need to apply for a Spain work visa in person. Or alternatively, if you are in your home country or the country you reside in, you can visit a Spanish embassy or consulate. You may need to book an appointment online, or some places operate on a first-come, first-served basis. To get a quicker appointment, it may be worth hiring some professional help, a lawyer or global mobility agency can usually help to get you an appointment slot at an earlier date, otherwise you can end up waiting considerable amounts of time.

Step 5 — Attending your Spanish work visa appointment – When you are applying for a Spain work vis, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • A completed visa application form (depending on the type of visa)
  • A valid passport
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • A letter from your employer in Spain confirming your job offer and the terms of your employment (signed and stamped by your employer).

It is important to note that the requirements for a Spain work visa may vary depending on your country of citizenship and the specific details of your job offer in Spain. For example, some countries may require extra documentation such as the following: 

  • Proof of health insurance
  • A criminal background check
  • A certificate of good conduct from your home country
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Spain.

To make sure you have all the required documents, we recommend contacting the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country for specific instructions on how to apply for a Spain work visa.

Step 6 — Waiting for Approval – If your Spanish work visa is approved, it may be indefinite, meaning that you can live, work and reside in Spain for as long as you want. Or alternatively, it may be valid for a specific time frame, depending on where you are from and the terms of your Spanish work contract. In these cases, you may need to renew your Spain work visa if you plan to continue working in the country beyond the initial period of validity.

Spain Work Visas — Our Take

We hope this guide helps you understand the different work visas available in Spain, the requirements and overall procedure. As we mentioned, the processing time can vary, therefore it we recommend applying for your Spain work visa as early as possible to ensure that it is approved in time for your work start date. 

If you would like support in applying for a Spain work visa on behalf of any existing or proposed employees, check our guide to the leading employee relocation services in 2023


Yes. There are a range of visas available in Spain that do not depend on the applicant having secured a job, including youth mobility visas and tourist visas. It is necessary to secure a job, however, before receiving a Spanish work visa. 

As the unemployment rate in Spain is quite high, and other EU citizens can work in Spain as of right, it can be relatively difficult for those without existing work rights to secure a job there. However, it does depend somewhat on the industry. For example, it is relatively easy for individuals in software engineering to secure a role.