Guide to obtaining spanish residency

Whatever your situation is, there is something you need to be able to live in Spain: a Spanish residency permit.
If you are not a resident of Spain, but you want to develop any kind of activity in the country, you will need a residence permit. This is the case if for example, you want to start working, living or even investing in Spain.There are two separate ways to obtain the Spanish residency.

  • Citizens from European Union – the residency consists of a green card with your personal information and no pictures. 
  • Non-European Union citizens  The residency consists of a blue / pink card with your personal information as well as a passport photo. 

Therefore, the process for applying for Spanish residence varies between residents of the European Union and non-European Union. You can keep reading below to see the details on applying to Spanish Residency.

The way of obtaining Spanish Residency also depends on the amount of time you plan to stay in the country. In this context , there are two major groups:

  • Short-term visas allow you to stay in the country for 90 to 180 days without working. This visa is called a Schengen visa.
  • Long-term Visas: If you intend to remain in Spain for more than a year and even plan to work in the country, you will need a standard residence permit.

What is the Spanish Residence permit?

The Spanish Residency permit is a short term or permanent legal permission to stay in Spain. In this page you will find the right visa or residence permit and step by step guides to obtain it.

WHAT DO YOU NEED SPANISH RESIDENCY FOR?If you are intend to live in Spain for more than 3 months, you can apply to be a citizen (now with a TIE) in order to have the right to reside in Spain. There are different activities that can be carried out thanks to the Spanish Residency.

  • Spanish Social Security Register for Healthcare 
  • Pay Taxes in Spain
  • Get used to work 
  • Join a company and work in Spain
  • Buy / Sell a vehicle 
  • Buy / Sell Properties 
  • Other legitimate economic operation like opening a business in Spain.

In addition, some of the advantages of Spanish citizenship that you will receive are: 

  • Renewal of your driving license to Spanish. 
  • Get your nearest pensioner card (if you’re on a pension). 
  • Have your Spanish Insurance Card protected by Spanish Social Security (you can get it on the NIE if you’re already employed in Spain). 
  • Permanent home. 
  • Get on the padron in your town hall (permanent status) 
  • A potential tax reduction on assets when you sell / purchase (Beckham Law)
  • A tax reduction on inheritance tax can also be applied.

Applying to a Spanish Residency Permit from the European Economic Area.

People applying to Spanish Residency from the European Economic Area will need to follow a different procedure than from those applying from non European countries.

As a reminder, countries within the European Economic Area are:

  1. Member states of the European Union
  2. The three countries of the European Free Trade Association: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (excluding Switzerland).

Ultimately, Switzerland Citizens can apply for Spanish Residency following the same procedures than those within the European Economic Area.

European Citizens must apply for the so-called ‘certificado de registro de la Unión Europea‘ a residency permit which is permanent and does not expire.


As an EU resident, you must prove that you have €6,000 in your bank account and that you have a private medical policy. Alternatively, you can get a job offer in Spain and it will work as well.

This is easy. These are the core conditions for residents of the European Union. A permanent residency permit that allows them to live and work in the territory of Spain and they can get it in just 24 hours.

Applying to Spanish Residency from Non European Countries

Golden Visa SPAIN

Residence visa for non-EU citizens who make a real estate investment in Spain 

non lucrative visa

If you have sufficient means to stay in Spain, and don’t plan to carry out any economic activity, a non lucrative visa might be the best option for you.


If you are looking to open your own business in Spain, an Entrepreneur Visa could grant you the Spanish Residency.


The work permit might be your best chance to obtain your Spanish residency.

family member of a eu citizen.

If, happily, you are a relative of a resident of the European Union, having a residency permit and a work permit in Spain is closer to you than you thought.


If you already have your residency permit in Spain, you can easily bring in your relatives through the family regrouping visa.

Steps to get the Spanish Residency permit.

Golden Visa: Spanish Residency by Investment

This residency permit enables Non – EU nationals to attain qualified residency permits in return for investing in Spanish real estate (and other assets), leading to permanent residency in Spain if certain conditions are fulfilled:

  • Real Estate assets worth €500.000 or more
  • Shares or Bank deposits worth €1 Million or more
  • Public Debt worth €2 Million or more
  • Business projects in Spain considered being of general interest.

At MSResidency we can help you with all the paperwork when requesting your Golden Visa.

Residence permit as a member of the family of an EU resident

And eventually, the last way to obtain a residence permit in Spain. If, happily, you are a relative of a resident of the European Union, having a residency permit and a work permit in Spain might be closer to you than you thought.

And, then, you will get your residency permit as a family member of an EU citizen only because of your relationship with each other.

That is why many individuals outside the EU who have a spouse who is a national of the EU constitute marriage or civil union (pareja de hecho); as they will become liable for this process as now relatives of an EU resident.

Obtain your residency to start a business

The so-called “visa for entrepreneurs“, which was included in the Law on Entrepreneurs and has been in force since the end of 2013, is an International Mobility Plan that regulates the entry and stay in Spain of non-EU foreigners who prove to be investors, entrepreneurs, highly qualified professionals, researchers or workers.

Residency to work in Spain

This scheme was made to attract top tier talent from all across the world.

If you are interested in working in Spain as a highly qualified professional (HQP) or you are a graduate or postgraduate from universities and prestigious business schools, and you have a job offer, you may be eligible to apply for a HQP residence permit. Our lawyers can help you all along the process, ensuring that you have all the requisites for a residence permit like this. In any case, if you cannot obtain your work permit in Spain in accordance with the standard procedures, you have the possibility to apply for the so-called European Union Blue Card.

Family grouping of visas 

For all those foreigners who have made their residence in Spain; good news. With the process of family reunion, they can easily carry their relatives to Spain. This refers to their partners, their children and their parents.

A family reunification visa is an immigration process by which a non-European citizen with a residence permit in Spain may bring his or her family to the country; issue them a residence permit and a work permit.

It is necessary to bear in mind that only those foreign nationals in Spain who have renewed their initial residency permit are entitled to start this procedure.

That is, if you have been legally in Spain for less than a year, you still can not get your family members together. You need to get a renewed residence permit.

In addition, and as a general rule, you need to show that you are economically dependent on the relative you want to bring to Spain. Later on this post, we’ll see exactly how this is done.

Permanent residence

After 5 consecutive years of living in Spain, you would be able to gain long-term or permanent residence. Basically, we’re talking about a card that is valid for five years, and that can be extended forever. There are two types: a permanent EU card, and a general one.
Of course, this is the path to citizenship, something that you can get in the country after 10 years (in the case of citizenship by residence).

Residency in Spain After Brexit

In recent months, there has been an rise in the number of UK citizens applying for Spanish residence in Spain in 2021 following the long-awaited breeze. Government offices are known to have backlogs for citizenship (‘residencia’) appointments, so if you are preparing to start the process of becoming a resident in Spain, it is better to start the process sooner rather than later now that the United Kingdom has formally left the EU. There are several common names for residence: the “green card” and the “residency card” to name a couple. You must register as a citizen of Spain if you wish to remain in the country for more than 3 months, and it is a must now that you are here. These are the steps you need to take after Brexit to get your Spanish Residency:

If you already live in Spain and have an NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero), you need to replace this little green card or piece of paper with a permanent residency certificate. This card shall be referred to as the TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros). This card contains a lot more detail, including the date of registration, your name , address, nationality and even your NIE. With all this, you will legally be a certified citizen of Spain. Tap here for the latest news about new expatriate citizenship documents in Spain.

How to apply for a residence in Spain from the UK after Brexit

All you need to do is make an online appointment at your nearest Foreign Office. You will need to take your NIE (if you already have one), your passport, your padrón (this is similar to a census certificate and can easily be obtained from your local town hall), two passport photos and an EX-18 application form. Make sure you bring photocopies of everything you need to be on the safe side. You will need to carry your EX-18 form to any bank before your appointment and pay the related fee, which in this case is EUR 21.44

If you don’t have an NIE, don’t think about it! You will be given one at the same time as applying for citizenship in Spain.

Template 790

In certain cases, British residents will still need to complete a form known as “Modelo 790” while applying for residence. This is a registration of foreign assets for natural or lawful persons residing in Spain who hold assets outside the country with a cumulative amount of more than EUR 50,000. Find out more about Modelo 790


By collaborating with different immigration experts, we can put you in touch with the best Spanish residency lawyers.

We want to be the people who help you start living in Spain in the easiest and most comfortable way possible. For us it’s something personal.

We believe that the world is everyone’s place. Any society that shares different cultures is much richer than one that does not. And that’s how we try to do our bit to make the world a better place: helping people like you move to Spain. After 40 years of helping people starting a new live in Spain, we have realized that MySpanishResidency was created to help people.

Frequently Asked Questions about Spanish Residency

🏡 What is a Spanish Residency Permit?

The Spanish Residency permit is a short term or permanent legal permission to stay in Spain.

🇪🇸 How can I get permanent residency in Spain?

You only require 5 years of residency in the country for permanent residence, although you need to remain in Spain for 10 years to get your Spanish citizenship. Keep in mind that certain people from some nations do need fewer than 10 years of care between the two countries.

🛬 How long can you stay in Spain without becoming a resident?

You can remain in Spain for a maximum period of 183 days per year in order not to be a resident. If you spend an extra day (184 days and up), you will be considered a resident and thus pay resident taxes in the region.

💰 How much money do I need to have in the bank in order to apply for residency?

In the case of a family of 5, the primary claimant must have a bank balance of €19,625.48 or an annual salary equal to that amount. You need to pay the €12 application tax before your consultation. You will do this by filling up the 790 form on line, printing it out, and paying to a bank before you schedule your appointment.

33 thoughts on “Guide to obtaining spanish residency”

  1. Fаstіdious answers in return ߋf this matter with reɑl arguments and
    telⅼing the whoⅼe thing rеgarding thаt.

  2. Hi we have just sold our property in Scotland uk and are wanting to buy a house to live in permanently in Spain we have our NIE numbers. We are looking to travel in our camper van mid June as we have properties already sorted to view. Could you help us to get the NLV? How much would it cost us?

  3. Hi there,
    My brother is planning to move to Spain from UK and we are wondering what is the best way to it.
    Can he set up a business with my partner and apply as a self-employed?
    Or can he just apply for Spanish residency from Spanish Consulate in London?
    How much will it cost if your lawyers do the work on his behalf?
    Many thanks in advance, Roksi

  4. Hi
    I lived in Spain 1999 – 2002 during which time I gained a resident card, a social security number and an NIE and I have a British passport. Do I need to renew these as I would now like to return to Spain to buy property and live permanently.

    My son was born in Spain 2000, Spanish birth certificate and a social security number. British passport. He left in 2002.
    Is he counted as a Spanish citizen or what does he require to be able to live permanently.

    Thanking you in advance

  5. Hi I was married to a Spanish man for 12 years and lived in Spain owning properties and with our two children. Although both born in England went to school in Spain, with British passports. My husband was killed in an accident in 1986 so I returned to England with both children. Since I have bought and sold a business in Spain and have my NIE number etc.. I am now remarried and we want to buy a property to retire to and for the children. Both my second husband and I are in full time employment and my now husband has a property with over £100k equity. The property we wish to buy is 80000 euros and we have 30% cash deposit so we can keep our English home and also have a Spanish retirement home too. What is the best option for us obtain a mortgage for the Spanish property if possible?

  6. Hi, My wife and I have lived in Spain on two occasions in the past. We are in the UK now and are in our 70s. We are thinking of moving back to Spain again.

    We both receive state pensions in the UK and I have a government pension which will provide us with sufficient income to meet the new requirements. Please can you confirm that our pensions will continue to be taxed in the UK and not in Spain.
    The UK Gov website states that we can obtain a form S1 which can be presented to the Spanish when applying for residency and we will be entitled to access to Spanish state health care system on the same basis as a Spanish citizen. If this is the case, does it mean that we will NOT require private health insurance?

    Re. Capital gains tax on UK property: Our plan was to apply for a NLV and once approved we will sell our UK house, move to Spain and rent a property, apply for residency and buy a Spanish property. I read that we have 3 months to apply for residency in Spain once we get our visas. If that’s so, at what stage do we become liable for capital gains tax? – When we get the visas or when we become residents?
    Thank you

  7. Hey

    I’m now 34 years old and I worked in Spain as a waitress and chef from 2017-2019 I have my NIE and all my paperwork from my jobs contracts etc the pandemic happened which meant I couldn’t return in 2020 or 2021, now that Brexit has happened, I have no idea what process I’m meant to start with first in order to hopefully go back and work this year (2022) although I haven’t secured a job as of yet. the ideal outcome would be to obtain residency. Do I start with obtaining a visa (although not sure which one applies to my situation) how do I update my NIE under the new rules? Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

  8. Hi me and partner are hopeing to move to Spain in the near future both now retire which Heath certificate do we need for the doctor

  9. Hello hopefully you can help.
    I’m still a British citizen but have lived and worked in Norway for the last 20 years.
    I hold a permanent residence permit in Norway and was enquiring whether it could be transferred to a Spanish Visa so I could permanently live in Spain?
    My partner is Norwegian also my Son. My partner and I are both paid a pension from the Norwegian state of around 4000€ per month after taxes.
    Myself, partner and Son all have clean criminal records.
    Do you think we would qualify for a Visa to move permanently to Spain?


  10. Hello. I need a non lucrative son lives in Spain. I have more than 100.000 in a spanish bank. I have 6.000 per year from rental income. Can you help me please?

  11. Hi, I was planning on moving out to Spain next year to work, my partner has a foot injury and can’t work he has a medical certificate saying so.
    I was just wondering what we would have to do to get our nie numbers ect I lived in lanzarote before but cannot recall if I had or have one!
    The best visas to get for me to work?!
    My partners dad owns a property here which we will stay in until we have a substantial deposit for our own.
    If you could let me know even some information were out here just now and everyone is saying different things?
    Regards chelsea-anne

  12. Hi I have a place in Spain for 20 yrs now and been using it holidays etc I am retired now and want to use it more often then I am doing what do I do. Thank you

  13. Hi,

    I live in the UK and work for a US company remotely. Can I apply for residency in Spain and work there remotely with my husband and 5 year old son? I am in the process of looking to purchase a house there as I suffer from chronic joint pains and the sun helps to relieve it when I am in Spain.

    If I could work remote on residency I would move there permanently.


  14. Hi,
    My 13 year old son will be moving to Spain to live with his dad and complete his school years there. My son and his dad are Spanish Citizens. My husband, 3 year old son and me are Brazilians, can we apply for resident Visas in Spain if we want to move and work there?

    • We normally start the process about 5-6 months before your arrival in Spain, if you want to start the process you can contact us and we will help you.

  15. We have an apartment in Puerto Pollenca Majorca.
    We have recently retired and wish as much time as possible in Spain.
    We have also been members of Reial club Nautic Puerto Pollenca for over 20 years.


Leave a Comment