How to get a residence permit in Spain


Every year the number of citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan wishing to obtain a residence permit in Spain is growing at a very noticeable pace. At the same time, over the past decade, the number of opportunities to move to Spain through legal means has also increased, although there remains a loophole for illegal immigrants who come to the country on a tourist visa and remain here after its expiration.

Residence permit in Spain by settlement

This method (Arraigo social) not only involves certain risks, but is also quite complex, as it requires the following conditions to be met:

  • uninterrupted residence in Spain for three years, which must be documented (primarily by registration – empadronamiento);
  • employment under a contract for a period of at least one year;
  • socialization and integration into Spanish society (the corresponding conclusion is given by city hall employees);
  • absence of a criminal record both in your own country and in Spain.

Other ways to obtain a residence permit in Spain


You can obtain a residence permit in Spain, which, among other things, allows for free movement within the Schengen zone, in other ways, although a number of them are suitable for a very limited circle of applicants. In particular, these are the following options:

  1. Marriage with a Spanish citizen

  2. In this case, it should be borne in mind that the couple will have to undergo an interview to identify a fictitious marriage. Quite often, social workers interview neighbors or may even come to the home to check.

  3. Family reunification

  4. This method is suitable for those foreigners whose one of the parents is a Spanish citizen. Most often we are talking about minors, including children of foreign citizens who have permanent residence in Spain.

  5. Refugee

  6. The decision of the Spanish Refugee Authority or the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to grant such status depends to some extent on the position of the central or autonomous authorities. However, it should be borne in mind that convincing evidence of persecution by the state of origin for political, religious, racial or other reasons will have to be provided.

  7. University studies

  8. This type of residence permit in Spain has its pros and cons. The first includes the opportunity to work four hours a day while studying, and the second includes the need to renew your student visa every year (besides, the year counts towards six months). And, of course, the educational institution must be accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Education.


  9. Work under contract with a Spanish company

  10. Despite the decline in unemployment, obtaining a residence permit in Spain with the right to work is becoming increasingly difficult. The employer will need to prove that he did not find an employee for the vacancy in Spain, and the applicant will need to confirm his qualifications. For highly qualified workers or holders of the so-called “blue card”, there is a type of residence permit in Spain.

  11. Opening your own business

  12. To do this, it is necessary to submit a detailed business plan, which involves the creation of jobs in an industry that is strategically important for Spain, as well as to show the availability of funds in an amount sufficient to implement this idea, and present a diploma of relevant education.

Journalists, athletes, clergy, artists, representatives of large public organizations can obtain a residence permit in Spain in a simplified manner, but the most popular options are those related to real estate.

Residence permit in Spain for property owners

The acquisition of real estate in itself does not give the right to obtain a residence permit in Spain, unless, of course, it fits into the framework of the Golden Visa program (we will talk about it separately). This type of residence without the right to work (No lucrativa) implies that the owner of the residential property (or a person who has entered into a long-term rental contract of one year or more) has sufficient funds to live independently in Spain for more than 183 days a year.


The amount of these funds is calculated based on the minimum wage in Spain (IPREM), which changes every year. From January 1, 2020 it is 950 euros.

Accordingly, the applicant himself must have 4 IPREM per month, and his family members (wife and children) must have 1 IPREM each. This can be either money in a Spanish bank account, or confirmed regular financial receipts from abroad.

In the standard package of documents, it is also necessary to note the presence of paid medical insurance, since a foreigner with this residence permit in Spain cannot use such social benefits as services in a public clinic. However, nothing prevents the owner of Residencia no lucrativa from opening his own company and acting as its owner, hiring staff from among the Spaniards or residents with the right to work.

The first residence permit in Spain in this case is issued for one year and then extended according to the 2+2 scheme. After the first year, it is possible to change to another type of residence, provided that the requirements are met.

Residence permit in Spain under the Golden Visa program

In 2013, a law was adopted to provide residence permits in Spain to large buyers of Spanish real estate (from 500 thousand euros), as well as investors in securities, government bonds and other financial assets (1–2 million euros). Thus, the Spanish government planned to improve the economic situation in the midst of the crisis, but these expectations did not materialize – primarily due to unfavorable conditions for applicants, among whom citizens of China, Russia and Ukraine prevailed.


As a result, two years later, changes were made to this law, which made the Golden Visa project much more attractive. The rule according to which one had to stay in Spain for more than 183 days was abolished – this period was reduced to one week per year. Residence permits in Spain began to be given not only to the investor’s family, but also to his parents, common-law wife/common-law husband, single unemployed adult children and even strangers whose presence in the country was dictated by necessity. And everyone was provided with a residence with the right to work and for a period of two years instead of one.

Moreover, a primary residence permit in Spain, while maintaining all assets, is converted into permanent residence for a period of five years, and then you can apply for Spanish citizenship – three years earlier than in all other cases.

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