How long can you live in Spain without residency? 90 Day Rule in Spain

lucia lagunas reyes - Our How long can you live in Spain without residency? 90 Day Rule in Spain lawyer expert

Spain, with its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and warm Mediterranean climate, has an undeniable allure for people around the world. Many dream of experiencing the beauty and charm of this Iberian paradise, whether it’s the bustling streets of Barcelona, the historic treasures of Seville, or the idyllic beaches of the Balearic Islands.

But how long can you live in Spain without obtaining official residency? This is a common question for travelers, digital nomads, and those considering a more extended stay in this captivating country. Understanding the rules and limits is crucial to enjoying your time in Spain while adhering to legal requirements.

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of living in Spain without official residency. We’ll delve into the time limits, visa options, and the distinction between being a tourist and a legal resident. So, if you’ve ever wondered how long you can savor the Spanish way of life without going through the residency process, this guide is here to provide the answers.

How long can you live in Spain without residency
how long can i live in spain?

The Meaning Residency Vs. Short Stay

Individuals can get residency if they plan to live in spain for over three months. First, they need to meet all requirements. Relatively, for a short-stay status, it applies to individuals who are staying in Spain for 90 days or less. Specific conditions apply in this option. Let’s define all the situations involved and how you can get the varieties of residencies.

What period can you legally stay in Spain?

Your country will determine your here, but you can visit and live in the Spanish territory using the three months tourist visa. To become a legal resident, you need to find a legal residence permit. Further, if you are part of an eu country, then the 90-day rule doesn’t require you to have a visa to access Spain.

Staying in Spain after 90 Days

How long can you live in Spain without a visa? When the first three months elapse while in Spain, your continued stay becomes illegal; hence you’ll have to acquire a residence card. The processing of getting a card differs according to your country.
• EU-based citizens need an EU Certificate, which is a simple thing to achieve.
• Non-EU citizens need to have a legal permit of residency. Also, you have to be in your original country to acquire it. There are multiple permits that a tourist can use to obtain residency, such as a student visa.

Qualification period of becoming a Spain resident

So, how long can you live in spain without residency after Brexit? To qualify to become a Spain resident, you need to have stayed in the country for six months or 183 days in a year. Therefore, you’ll have to begin paying taxes as a resident of Spain. This is different from when you want to live in the country as a resident legally. Such an option comes with its implications. It comes with tax liability which you will achieve.
Therefore, fiscal residency and immigration residency differ; hence you shouldn’t confuse them. Also, most Spain residence permits require an individual to live for more than 183 days in the country before they are renewed.

Can you live in Spain without residency?

You can live in the country for only 90 days if you lack residency. If the period elapses, you have to obtain permanent residency or leave.

Short-Stay Visa

If you’re planning for a short visit of 90 days in Spain, then you need a tourist visor in some instances, nothing at all. As mentioned earlier, when you’re from an eu country, you only need to provide an ID and passport to enter spain with a short-stay visa. However, you cant work there. Relatives of the particular individual are also allowed to enter the country using their ID or passports to stay there for only three months.

What is the 90 day rule in Spain?

It’s essential to understand all the rules involved in your legal and brief stay status in Spain if you want to enjoy it. You need to know if you’ll be allowed to work or not or if you’ll have a chance of contributing towards social security payments. Here is everything you need to check on when you are legally granted an option for a brief stay in the country.

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  1. Places to get a short-stay visa
    The ordinary occasions which you can access a legal opportunity of living in the country f only 90 days include:
    • When you are touring
    • When doing volunteer work
    • When researching or studying
    If it is about studying, then various extensive terms relate to the legal issues. If maybe you’re doing your Spain P.h.D or masters, the duration of studying is more than a year in spain, and you’ll have to consider a permit of residency which will allow you to legally there. The immigration law of Spain always contemplated such cases. Also, you should know that this isn’t related to a student visa.
    Lucky for you because you are applying to get an actual visa as a masters’ of P.h.D student in this situation, you won’t need to do all the legal paperwork. But that doesn’t mean you will become a citizen. You need to stay for a couple of years in the country to become one. Also, this isn’t permanent.
    In case you finish your research or studies, there are two available options for you. They include:
  • Stay in the country through an extension as a student.
  • Switching your options from student to unique residency who wants to work. Here there are specific requirements that will determine this option. You need to have studied in Spain for more than three or more years. You need to pass on your studies, but you can’t use this option if you were studying under a scholarship. Lastly, you need to provide proof of the work related to what you learned while in Spain.

What happens when the 90 day visa period expires?

How long can you live in Spain without residency
how long can you live in spain without residency?

Only two options are available for EU citizens. First, you need to request an extension or your stay status through a non-lucrative visa from Spain. But you have to provide all the proof that you have sufficient funds which will sustain you as you continue with your stay.

You need to justify all the reasons why it’s essential for you to get that stay extension in Spain. It is crucial to offer proper reasoning, guaranteeing that if the extension period elapses, you will return to your country of origin. Spain’s government doesn’t need you to stay in the country after the extension is over illegally; hence, it’s necessary for confirmation right before the period gets extended.
Secondly, you can request a residency authorization if you plan to move to spain. The following permit is under regular residency.

Spain Residency

Spain grants a legal condition through a residency for those people who are planning to stay for long in the country. They apply to those considering staying there for more than three months. There are two types of residencies. They include;

  1. Permanent residency
    Here, you’ll receive a more extended resident card which will allow you to stay and work in spain for five years. This is a renewable permit; hence a person can also make an application to become a citizen of pain. You don’t have to renew it after every two years. Also, even if you have a non-lucrative visa, you can still get a permit to work in the country.
  2. Temporary residency
    It applies to non-EU citizens who need to stay in the country for more than three months but not more than five years. Here, you have to complete the legal process of application. It also depends on the activities you plan to conduct in the country related to economic activities.
    You can either apply for residency with a non-lucrative visa if you have enough funds to sustain your stay while not working. Or, you can opt to get a lucrative visa that offers residency when you get a permit to live for five years in Spain.

Ways to get a temporal residency in Spain

• Via Visa for students
Whether it’s a private or public institution that you choose to study in for over three months in Spain, you need to find a student visa. If it’s not more than this period, then it’s not necessary to get a visa. You have to provide the university enrolment documents which prove that you can study there. Also, you need to have sufficient funds and health insurance. Further, you can get all these directly if you are a tourist in the country.
• Get a permit to work in Spain.

If you plan to work in this country, you can quickly get a long residency option. There are three options involved here. The first one involves when a Spain company offers you a job. You will have to make an application for a work permit called “trabajo por cuenta ajena” that applies to an employee.
The second applicable situation is when you want to develop a company in Spain and become self-employed there. You will apply for trabajo por cuenta ajena”permit. Also, you need to prove your intentions; hence you have to bring to Registro Mercantil (Spain’s Trade Registry Office) your company documents. Then you will have to get an entrepreneur visa permit.
Lastly, if a company offers you a managerial position where you will earn more than 40.000€ yearly, then you automatically qualify for a permit to work in Spain. This option can directly be processed in Spain, but the other two can be found in your country of origin.
It is necessary to work with a lawyer who will help you obtain these permits mentioned above. Further, they can help you create a business plan to ensure that your business becomes successful in Spain.
• Through an EU citizen family member

As mentioned earlier, if you have a relative who comes from an EU country, you can quickly get residency in Spain. This means that the individual is born in or obtained their residence in the place.
It involves those non-EU citizens who get civil union registration with an EU individual from Spain. They are allowed to make an application of being family members of the EU citizen who is their new partner. The registration process is directly done in Spain.
• Use of golden visa

Can I get residency in Spain if I buy a house? The standard rule here is that if you invest more than 500.000 € in any property in Spain, you can use this type of visa for your applications. It’s that straightforward; hence you can confirm with the immigration offices the particular requirement that this investor visa requires.

The procedure of checking your Spain residency status

live in spain without residency
how long can you live in spain?

Many people don’t have an idea of how they can confirm their legal Spain status of residency. Your lawyer will advise you to check your details on your residence card or TIE called (“tarjeta de identificación del extranjero”). When you enter Spain, the police will give you this physical paper. Also, you can check the details on your NIE card.

An NIE card contains unique foreign requirements when you reach Spain. It doesn’t matter the legal residence permit you have or the type of status which you prefer. It applies even if you want to stay only for 90 days in Spain.

Understand the difference: Residency Vs Citizenship

If you’ve thought about the exact difference between getting citizenship and residency in Spain, you first need to know that these two are not the same. When you are a Spanish citizen, you can work or live in the country. You can also do the same in all other European Union countries. Further, you also achieve your voting rights in Spain. But when you get residency in Spain, you only have the right to work in the country.

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When you become a national citizen of Spain, you will directly receive a passport to the country. Unlike for residency, you will retain your resident card. Also, gaining Spain citizenship means that you will have similar rights like all other Spanish citizens. However, an individual with residency lacks various during the period they stay in spain.

Lastly, if you want to become a Spanish citizen, various requirements and procedures vary according to your original country. Also, you need to reside in Spain for specifically required years to obtain a lower or higher qualification of legally becoming a national in the country. This fundamental thing will help you consider your choices between citizenship or Spain residency.

16 thoughts on “How long can you live in Spain without residency? 90 Day Rule in Spain

  1. Peggy |

    My husband and I are United States citizens and want to live I Soai for 6 months. Is there a special visa we need or is 90 days the longest we can stay?

    1. My Spain Visa |

      The only visa that is for a period of time is the student visa that is suitable for the course you are going to study in Spain.

      The other option if you are not working is to obtain the non-lucrative visa which gives you the option to live in Spain for one year, if you are less than that there would be no problem.

  2. Flossie |

    I am American and I have been in Spain for 50 days, how much longer can I stay without a visa, on the other hand is there a visa I can apply for while I am in Spain?

    1. My Spain Visa |

      You can stay maximum 90 days in the whole schengen zone, if you can obtain several visas to stay in spain, one of our lawyers will contact you.

  3. Denyse Ainslie |

    Hi I have a National Insurance Number in Spain, also pay private Healthcare, my fiancé owns a property in Spain, we are not married, so my question is, can I work in Spain even if it’s for the 90 days only?

    1. Anna |


      You would have to give us more details to answer your question, what is your nationality? Do you have Spanish residency? If you do not belong to the EU you should obtain a visa to be able to work in Spain, otherwise you can only stay 90 days as a tourist.


  4. Mohd Fuad Bin Mohd Yusof |

    Hi & Good evening

    My name is Mohd Fuad and I live in Alhaurín el Grande.
    I came here from Finland where I first arrived directly from my home country, Malaysia. I am citizenship is Malaysia and still Malaysia passport holder.

    I would like to inquire with you about the application of residencía.

    I am currently a student of Spanish language, in Alhaurín el Grande, and I am also an entrepreneur and have an autonomo. I also already have my NIE, padrón, my social security number, local bank accounts, health insurance, and the only thing I need now is to apply for my residencia.

    By the way, Dave & Hazel to recommend your name to me for apply my residencia .
    I was hoping that you could assist me with my application. Thanking you in advance.

    Kind regards.

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions


  5. Gareth Styles |

    i am going to buy a place in spain bow many days a year can i live there and until i get a non lucrative visa? and what time period do i have show property income for?
    i have had in my bank for 3 months now? british

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions.


  6. Sonia |

    Hello, i am a bulgarian citizen working for an american company, currently living in the united states. Where and how do I pay taxers if I move to live in spain but still get my salary in the US? Thank you.

    1. Anna |


      As an EU citizen you would have to register in Spain as living here. If you want we can do all the paperwork for you.


  7. John Simon Knight |

    Dear Sir

    I am writing to you to see if you can help with my problem about obtaining information about visiting Spain for more than 90 days. I am a citizen of dual nationality (German & British) currently living in England. My wife has only British nationality.

    I have been informed by Europe Direct that if my wife wishes to visit Spain & the EU for more than 90 days whilst accompanying me, she is entitled to do so.

    Our problem is that we cannot find out how she exercises this right. Is it sufficient to inform the passport control when we enter Spain or an EU country that we wish to exercise this right?

    If you are not the correct people do deal with this matter can you please advise me who I should contact?

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to explain.


  8. E Jose |

    What is the current position for remote working within Non Lucrative visa?
    Is it deferent between consulates?
    Some Spanish emigration law agencies states that remote working is allowed. Is it correct?
    is there is any documentation issued by the Spanish Foreign Ministry, regarding remote working under NL Visa?

    1. Anna |

      Hi E José,

      Under the non-lucrative visa you are not allowed to work, you can find it on the government pages. It is only possible to have passive income, e.g. rents, dividends or pensions.

      Now they are planning a new digital nomad visa but it is not approved yet… you have to wait until the end of the year.


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