Tips for Spanish immigration

lucia lagunas reyes - Our Tips for Spanish immigration lawyer expert

Spain is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Spanish citizens are also very friendly and very welcoming. Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit Spain every year. Many people also desire to start a new life in Spain. This is where immigration to spain comes in.

Immigration is the process through which individuals become permanent citizens or residents of another country. So, Spanish immigration refers to the process through which non-Spanish natives can legally become permanent residents or citizens of Spain.

Useful tips for Spanish immigration

tips for spanish immigration


Immigrating into a new country is a lengthy and tedious process. Going into it blind can make it harder. So, you would benefit from some tips to get you started. If you have made up your mind to embark on Spanish immigration, below are some tips that would help you make the process easier.

Tip 1: Understand the step by step process of moving to Spain

Immigrating to Spain or any new country is a hectic process. However, it is worthwhile because it gives helps you acquire a legal status that allows you to enjoy the wonders of the new nation freely and openly. What most people find to be challenging is not knowing where to start. For this reason, aspiring immigrants would benefit from understanding the process. If you decide to take a step to live in Spain as a permanent resident or citizen, here is the process step by step you need to follow:

Step 1: Determine the right residency authorization you need for moving to Spain

Firstly, you must determine the kind of visas and residence permits you need. There are four types of residency authorizations for people planning to embark on Spanish immigration. The purpose of your visit will determine your choice of residence permit in Spain. For instance, if you plan to stay in the country for up to 90 days, then you will need a short-term visa. On the other hand, if you plan to stay in the country for more than 90 days, a temporary residence permit will do you well. This permit can last between 1 to 4 years depending on the type and whether it is an initial residency or a renewal.

For a permanent immigration, you will need a permanent residency authorization. You become eligible for permanent residency after staying for five uninterrupted years in Spain with your permit or visa. A permanent residency permit allows you to stay and work in Spain indefinitely.

If you wish to apply for legal citizenship in Spain, you will need to have lived in Spain for ten years. If you meet the necessary requirements, you can apply for Spanish citizenship. You can also gain Spanish citizenship by marriage, descent, or through children. You can determine the type of authorization you need by researching the requirements and by the amount of time you have already spent in Spain and wish to spend in future.

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It is also worth mentioning that there are different requirements for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. The options explained above apply for EU citizens. If you are a non-EU citizen, you can apply for a non-lucrative visa, which is for individuals who would like to retire in Spain or explore the country for a year. Alternatively, you can apply for golden visa, entrepreneur visa, or student visa.

While determining the type of authorization you will need, it would be wise to research all your options keenly. This will help you figure out the most suitable one.

Step 2: Apply for the permit

Once you have checked the requirements for the specific permit that you want to apply for, you can go ahead and apply for it. You can apply for a Spanish residence permit directly from Spain as a tourist or from your home country. This also applies in visa application.

Step 3: Submit the required documentation

Next, you must submit all the required documentation for the application. Start by preparing all the documentation and then send it to the right institution. The basic documents you will need for this procedure are:

  • A criminal clearance certificate issued after a background check is conducted in Spain and any other country you have resided in the past half a decade.
  • Health insurance with full coverage in Spain from a public or private insurance company.
  • An original and photocopy of your passport
  • Two ID photos
  • A bank statement or any other document that demonstrates your ability to sustain yourself financially in Spain

Besides the basic documents above, you may also be required to provide additional documentation depending on the type of permit you apply for. For instance, for a work permit, you will be required to give work-related documents.

The documents must be submitted at the Spanish Consulate or a Spanish embassy in your origin country or where you are a legal resident. The embassy or consulate will forward your application to the Competent Spanish institution, who will determine whether to approve or deny your application.

tips for immigration spain

Step 4: Get your TIE Card

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Once you receive your visa or residence permit, you must also apply for a TIE card, with this card you can legally reside in Spain.

If you still do not have a visa and you want to do some paperwork, you need a NIE. This is a basic identification number issued to foreigners. Like a basic identification number, a TIE card is a key requirement for all important services, such as opening a bank account or purchasing property. Basically, you cannot carry out any legal or economic procedures in Spain without an NIE number. You can apply for an NIE number at your local police office. It is a simple procedure, as long as you have the proper guidance.

Step 5: Apply for a residence permit

Once you are in Spain, you must apply for a residence permit. This will serve as your residence authorization while in the country. It will allow you to reside in the country for an entire year, after which you can apply for a renewal for additional two or more years. You can keep renewing your permit for as long as you wish to stay in the country. As long as you meet all the requirements and have the right documentation, the process should not be difficult. After renewing your permit enough times to achieve ten years of uninterrupted residency in Spain, you will be apple to apply for citizenship.

It is worth noting that individuals from EU countries do not need to apply for a regular residence permit. Thanks to the Schengen agreement, EU nationals can legally live and work in Spain as long as they have an EU registry certificate. The EU registry certificate is a legal document that EU nationals residing in Spain can use to legally stay in the country for more than three months. Getting this document is quite fast and straightforward. You can obtain it in 24 hours.

Tip 2: Determine where you wish to reside in Spain

This is something you ought to do even before you get your visa or permit. Your reasons for relocating to Spain will determine where you live. For instance, if your reason for relocating is work, then you will need to find a place to stay near the workplace. The same will apply if your reason for relocating is to study. Something else you should consider when choosing a residence is connectivity. Regardless of the influences that may determine your choice of residence, there are still many options when it comes to where you can live in Spain. A lot of immigrants choose to stay in places like Barcelona or Madrid. These destinations have a lot to offer when it comes to a social life, employment opportunities, and cultural diversity.

Tip 3: Move your belongings to Spain beforehand

You can make your move effortless by relocating your belongings before you get on the plane. You can do this after you have already locked down a place to stay. There are many international relocation companies that can help you with this step.

Tip 3: Do not forget about health insurance

Health insurance is one of the most important items you should not forget about when immigrating. Immigrants are usually advised to take out health insurance before going into the country. There are many global health insurance providers in Spain that you can purchase coverage from. Arranging for health insurance before your move will help with the visa and residence permit application process. It will also give you peace of mind from the moment you land in the country.

Tip 4: Make sure to sort out your finances before your move

Something else you should handle before you immigrate to Spain is your finances. Your financial situation will be one of the issues the authorities will look into during the immigration process. A bank statement or proof of financial sustainability is one of the requirements you will be asked to produce during the immigration process. If you are planning to move, you must ensure that you can cope with all the relocation costs and be able to take care of yourself in your new home.

Tip 5: Open a Spanish bank account

Something else worth doing during the immigration process is opening a Spanish bank account. You can do this easily if you have an NIE number. Opening a Spanish bank account will help you avoid additional charges during daily financial transactions. Alternatively, you can opt for online money transfers if you want to avoid bank charges during financial transactions.

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Tip 6: Consider getting an international driving permit

While in Spain, you will also need to move around. As long as you are 18 years old or older, you can get a permit to drive in Spain. You can use your valid driving license to drive around in Spain for up to six months after your arrival into the country. Afterwards, you will need an international driving permit. If your license is issued by an EU country, then you can use it until it expires. However, you will still need car insurance. If you are from a non-EU country, you will need a local license within the first six months of your stay in Spain. You can accompany your license with an international driving permit to allow you to legally drive yourself in Spain. Obtaining this permit is easier if you do it from your home country.

Tip 7: Consult with an immigration lawyer

The immigration process to Spanish can be very hectic. If you do not know what to expect or do not have help from anyone with experience, the procedure may seem like hell. From determining the type of residence authorization you need to apply for to getting all the documentation required, the process can be tough and overwhelming. So, instead of going through the hectic process alone and messing up, you can get help from specialized immigration lawyers. An immigration lawyer will advise you on the process, access your situation, help you prepare the documents you need and send them, and translate your documents.

Tip 8: Learn how to speak some Spanish

Before you immigrate to Spain, you would benefit from some basic Spanish language knowledge. While Spain is a culturally diverse nation with a lot of foreign language speakers, the nation’s core language is Spanish. So, during your stay in the country, you are likely to interact with a lot of locals that speak Spanish. Therefore, it would help to have some basic knowledge of the language. The process of legally becoming an immigrant can be lengthy. So, as you await it, you can take some courses and get some knowledge. You do not need to be fluent in the language. Eventually, during your stay, you will learn more.

Tip 9: Understand Spanish timings

Spain works on completely different timings compared to other EU nations. Spanish stores and shopping malls usually open until late (9pm). Also, people usually have lunch late (2pm), and dinner between 9 and 10pm. Siestas, after lunch naps are also common in Spain. These are things worth noting before your relocation.

Tip 10: Find work

If you are relocating to Spain for work, then this should not be a problem. However, if it is not the case, you would benefit from getting employed so you can sustain yourself financially while in Spain. The good thing is that there are many employment opportunities in Spain. So, if you have the right skills, you should not have a difficult time getting something to do.

Things you should know about Spanish immigration

Besides the tips above, there are some important facts you ought to know as you go through the immigration process. They are:

1. You need to be outside Spain to apply for a Visa or permit

According to Spanish laws, the application process for most of the visas must be done outside Spain. A few visas are exempted from this law, like visas under the entrepreneur law such as the entrepreneur or highly qualified professional visa. When applying for a work permit, you must also be outside Spain.

2. You must get your documents legally translated to Spanish

All the documentation you submit during your permit application must be legally translated into Spanish. You cannot submit your documents in your native language. In addition to the translation, the documents must be legalized with the Apostille of the Hague. This is a crucial element that a lot of aspiring immigrants usually neglect.

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3. All documents must be legalized

According to Spanish laws, all documents from abroad meant for use in Spain for official applications must be legalized. The legalization process basically aims to verify that the documents come from an official institution and can be used for legal purposes. Legalization is usually done through a Hague Apostille stamp. It can also be done through traditional processes, depending on your country of origin. However, a traditional legalization process is longer and more hectic.

4. A non-lucrative visa is the easiest to apply for

If you are worried about the long list of requirements for Spanish immigration and hectic application process for a visa as a non-EU citizen, you can always opt for a non-lucrative visa. It is a perfect option if you can prove that you have sufficient economic means to sustain yourself in Spain. For this visa, all you need to do is demonstrate a 400% IPREM on your bank account, acquire a private social security contact, and then you can start the application.

Why would people love to live in Spain?

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants. This is because it has so much to offer. Below are some things that make Spain a desired residence by a lot of people:

It is a beautiful country with a lot to offer

Spain is one of the most beautiful nations in the world. There are many things to see and experience in the country. For instance, Spain boasts of over 8000 km of beaches. Additionally, Spain has one of the most diverse landscapes. Northern Spain is covered in mountains and green vires, while the south features the coastline with beautiful beaches.

Besides its beauty, Spain has so much to offer. For instance, it is the 3rd country in the world when it comes to world heritage sites. Spain hosts 47 UNESCO world heritage sites. This means that there is a lot to explore.

Spain is an open-minded nation

One of the top reasons that people move from their native residences is intolerance. For instance, many people of controversial sexual orientations and beliefs are usually forced to move from intolerant nations for their security and peace of mind. Spain is one of the most open-minded nations in the world. As a demonstration, the country legalized same sex marriage in 2005, which is many years before a lot of countries did the same. Besides this, Spanish residents are very tolerant and open-minded. This makes it easy for immigrants to integrate into the Spanish community.

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Spain has diverse cultures

Since its origin, Spain has been founded on diversity and heterogeneity. Different regions in Spain have unique traditions and specialties. So, the cultural diversity in Spain is outstanding. Also, the country hosts a lot of people from all over the world. From immigrants to tourists, there are people from all around the world that contribute to Spain’s cultural diversity. For these reasons, people from different parts of the world can immigrate to Spain without worrying about integrating into the country.

Spain is a cheap country

Another reason Spanish immigration is popular is that Spain is one of the cheaper European nations. Therefore, you can survive in the country without spending too much money or spending most of your time working.

The food in Spain is amazing

While it is not a sole reason to move to Spain, the food is definitely a factor that influences immigration into Spain. The Spanish cuisine is one of the best in the world. A lot of people spend their hard earned money to visit the nation just so they can experience the food.

Spanish immigration FAQs:

What is the best way to immigrate to Spain?

The best way to immigrate to this European nation is to first assess your situation to determine the kind of resident permit you can get. Researching the process before you start it will make it less hectic because you will be prepared efficiently.

Is Spain immigration friendly?

Immigration into Spain is quite friendly. While the process can be overwhelming, it is quite friendly compared to other nations like the US. With a good immigration attorney, it is even simpler and faster.

How hard is it for an American to immigrate to Spain?

Spanish immigration is not a walk in the park. There are many documents required and the process can be lengthy. However, it is not very hard. Tens of thousands of Americans are currently living in Spain. As an American before moving to this nation, you should be aware things like tax, healthcare, work, and financial requirements. We recommend this post about moving to Spain from the United States.

What problems do immigrants face in Spain?

Common problems immigrants face in Spain include, language barriers, finding the required documents, finding a place to stay, and getting acclimated with Spanish timings. Some immigrants also struggle with integration. Understanding the step after step process for Spanish immigration also comes as a challenge for many aspiring immigrants.

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