Working in Spain

Employees and Business

A bridge between USA and Spain

If you want to work or even open a business in Spain, we are the law and consultancy firm you need. In this page you’ll find some key recommendations about how to work here. We hope it is useful for you and if you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate in contacting us.


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American citizens wishing to engage in a professional activity or employment in Spain must meet the following requirements:

  1. Being over 16, except for self-employment, in which it is necessary to be over 18.
  2. Obtaining the authorization to reside and work in Spain. In case of employment, it must be requested by the employer offering the job.
  3. Obtaining a visa once the residence and work authorization has been issued.

After arriving in Spain, the foreign workers must:

  1. Register in the corresponding Social Security scheme.
  2. Apply for a foreigner identity card.



All American citizens wishing to enter Spain to reside and work need to hold a long-term visa, unless they are also citizens of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Applications for these visas must be submitted through a duly completed application form filed in person in the town or city where the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office is located. However, applications may also be filed by a duly accredited representative if you can demonstrate due cause.

When submitting an application for a visa, you must pay an established fee (generally € 60) and the deadline for processing this application is one month after the application has been submitted. The issued visa must be collected personally at the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Post.

If you wish to live and work in Spain

An American citizen may have different reasons to seek a visa to reside and work in Spain. Depending on the reason, the type of procedure and requirements vary, so it can be very confusing. These reasons can be:

  1. Temporary residence and work. For employment or self-employment.
  2. Temporary residence and work for research.
  3. Mobility of American citizens admitted as researchers in the EU.
  4. Initial authorization of residence and work for highly qualified professionals.
  5. Mobility of workers holding a Blue-EU Card issued in another State of the EU.
  6. Temporary residence and fixed-term work (for less than one year)
  7. Temporary residence and work in a transnational service framework.
  8. Authorization for seasonal work or campaign in a transnational service framework.
  9. Entry, residency and work in Spain for management or highly qualified personnel.
  10. Professional athletes
  11. Convicts in open regime or conditional freedom or for work activities in prisons.
  12. Transboundary workers
  13. Specific cases in which the National Employment Situation allows the hiring of foreign citizens.
  14. Long-term residence. To reside and work in Spain indefinitely under the same conditions as Spaniards (which implies a whole other batch of additional and more complex requirements).

Watch all the keys from Andrea

You also can learn more about conditions in our post:
«Residence Permit in Spain»

When dealing with American citizens seeking visa authorizations linked specifically to the business world, these can also be subdivided by the following categories, each one with their respective requirements and procedures:

1. Investors
2. Entrepreneurs
3. Highly qualified professionals
4. Researchers
5. Workers who perform intra-company movements within the same company or group of companies
6. Family members of the previous assumptions

As you can see, the world of visas to live and work in Spain can be very tedious and complicated. In LABE we are experts in processing these types of visas, so if you want us to handle this for you, do not hesitate to contact us.

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