Every single year a large number of foreign employees working for a multinational company relocate to Spain to start working at the Spanish headquarters. Whether it is to manage and direct teams, to carry out training tasks, or to provide the Spanish division with valuable knowledge, this type of transfer is legally possible thanks to the intra-company transfer residency visa. In this post you will discover the complete list of requirements that both the employee and the company must meet for a successful application, how the process works step by step, and other legal tips that will be very useful when applying for this type of employment permit; including the ICT EU visa and its advantages.



What is the intra-corporate transfer visa in Spain?


The intra-corporate transfer visa is a residence visa for foreign workers (non-EU) that are being relocated and transferred to work for the Spanish division of a multinational company.

This permit allows them to move, live and work legally in the country for 3 years (with the possibility of future renewals).

Mainly, this special type of residence permit regulated by the Spanish Entrepreneur Law 14/2013 is for individuals who will be doing training in Spain (while still earning their salaries), for managers who will be directing a team, or for workers who will be performing their tasks but now in the Spanish headquarters of the company or group.

We have already seen other types of visas for individuals with a job offer as highly qualified professionals in Spain.

In that case, if you had a job offer in a skilled or managerial position and you possessed a master’s or Ph.D., you could get your residence authorization.

But the intra-corporate transfer employment permit is different. In this last case, we are talking about individuals who do already possess a job position in the same company they will be working in, but now in Spain. They will just change the country in which they work.

And that carries a peculiarity with it.

The worker will not be the one registering in Spain. He or she will keep the contract with the company in the origin country, as before. It will be the company the one in charge to transfer the salary, pay the social security quotations and keep the legal obligations with the worker.

Take into account that transfers between companies part of the same group also apply here and are completely valid.

There are two different types of options for intra-corporate transferees, always for members of countries outside the European Union. Choosing one category or the other will depend on the type of worker the company is planning to transfer:


ICT EU visa


Under this first option, companies can transfer workers for a certain period of time to manage a team within the Spanish division, specialists who must perform any kind of working activity in the country, or trainee employees to embark on their training in Spain to fully integrate with the company’s operations.

But the main advantage of the ICT EU visa is that it offers the right to intra-mobility within the European Union.

That is, provided that they notify the UGE (the institution in charge), workers who possess this residence authorization can also work and live in one or several other EU countries.

And the opposite is also true: workers in any EU country with this residence authorization could be transferred to Spain.

But there is a limitation. Taking into account the length of the renewal, transferred workers can reside legally in Spain under these conditions for:

  • 3 years in the case of managers and general workers. After the first three-year residence authorization, they can apply for a 1-year renewal if the initial conditions and requirements are still met.
  • 1 year in the case of workers realizing their training in the country.

But does it mean that once this period is over the worker must return to his country of origin? Not necessary! The following type of relocation visa will be the solution for those cases. 

National intra-corporate transfer visa


Under this category, we find the type of workers not included in the before-mentioned case. We are talking about the transfer of workers to execute and manage a working relationship; or in those cases in which the maximum length of the ICT-EU has ended.

In this case, the visa is concretely named a national residence permit for the intra-corporate transferees.


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How and who should apply for the intra-corporate transfer employment permit?


There is something crucial we should bear in mind when transferring workers to Spain from another country.

How to apply for this kind of permit?

It won’t be the worker itself who initiates the application process, but the company or conglomerate. The multinational company itself will be the one starting the application process for this residence permit when the worker is still not in Spain (even though it is also possible to apply while being directly in Spain as long as the worker is under a valid tourist visa).

Where must the application be submitted?

To the Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Sectors, the institution that manages applications and procedures related to companies, entrepreneurs, and highly qualified permits.

This has important advantages as we will see below.

The procedure can be managed both online (recommended) or in person:

  • If the worker is still in the country of origin, then the company must send the application to any Public Registry of the Government Subdelegation
  • Or do it online via UGE’s online platform, which you can access here

After a positive resolution (usually obtained in just 20 days), the worker will have to request her visa at the Spanish consulate, and will receive it stamped on her passport after 7-10 days; time after which she will be able to travel to Spain and finally obtain the physical residency card along with the NIE number.

In case of being directly in Spain to formalize the application (something totally possible), the consulate step will not be necessary.


Requirements for the applicant company


In this sense, which companies or corporate groups are eligible to apply for the intra-corporate transfer of highly qualified workers or managers? Just those who meet one of the following requirements:

  • The average size of the staff team of the company must be higher than 250 in Spain. And that must be true for the three months prior to the application.
  • The annual net turnover of operations in Spain must be higher than 50 million euros.
  • Net worth in Spain must be over 43 million euros.
  • Foreign annual average gross investment can’t be under 1 million euros during the three years prior to the transfer application.
  • Stock value in Spain higher than 3M according to the Registry of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
  • Small and medium-sized companies operating in strategic sectors. That is, those companies that contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.

Once the requirements are met, the company can register in the UGE fast-track, which will make future applications much easier and faster.


Main benefits of the intra-corporate transfer residency


Even though every residence permit has its own upsides, this particular visa has plenty of incentives for non-EU citizens.

Which are the exact benefits of the intra-transfer employment visa in Spain?

First of all, the easiness of the application process. The worker who will be transferred into the Spanish headquarters can already be in the country during the application process, without the need to hold an actual residence permit. This makes all the steps much simpler. Why? Because the worker can be in Spain to work on the required bureaucracy with the company without the need to worry about time spent or about her legal condition.

Streamlined processing. The processing for the transfer visa has a preferential status, both on the consulate located in the country of origin and in the Immigration Office in Spain. This translates into fast application processing. It just takes 10 days for the visa, and 20 for the residence authorization to be conceded.

The national situation of unemployment is not taken into account for the application, something that is required by other types of related permits and which makes it much more difficult to finally enjoy a successful application.

-Once you get the residence authorization as a transferred worker, you can enjoy free movement through all the Schengen states.

-You can also bring your family to Spain with you. Once you do your application, your direct relatives (spouse or unmarried couple, parents in your charge, and children), can also include theirs. This simply means that they can also work and live legally in any part of the national territory. How does it work? Your spouse and children must apply as if they were family members of an investor, including the same documents required in that case.


Requirements and documents for a successful application


Something which is crucial in the application of any kind of residence permit in Spain is to meet all the necessary requirements and to submit the required documents. There are some general requirements that are common to all visas (we will fastly review them), and also others specific to the intra-transfer residence authorization for workers.


Documents and general requirements


  • During the application process, the worker who will be relocated does not have the need to be in Spain (as it is the company who initiates the procedure). But, if the individual will be in the country, being on an illegal status is not permitted for a successful application.
  • The applicant (worker) must be over 18 years old.
  • You will need to submit your background check; therefore having clear criminal records is fundamental. How to request your criminal check? All the information here.
  • You will need to have private or public health insurance with full coverage in Spain.
  • Proving that you have sufficient funds is also necessary.
  • Submitting the application form for the national visa, which you can find here.
  • You should also pay the corresponding processing fee.


Specific requirements for the relocated worker being transferred


Finally, the part which you should take a closer look at. We will now go over the main requirements and conditions you will need to fulfill in order to be eligible for the Spanish company transfer work visa specifically.

-As we have already mentioned, the company that transfers you to Spain will initiate the procedure. Once they do the application with the Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Economic Sectors, they will receive the “authorization of residence of intra-corporate transfer” from the Dirección General de Migraciones. You will need that document, approved, in order to do your own application.

-Showing some evidence that the activity of the company you will be working in Spain actually exists and its fully operative. That must be done through accreditation of the business activity.

-You should also accredit that you have had a professional relationship with the company during the last 3 months prior to the application.

-Furthermore, the relocated or transferred worker must have a minimum of 3 years of experience; or possess higher-degree education if you can’t demonstrate that experience.

-Finally, a document that certifies the confirmation of the relocation from the multinational company. That is, proof that the company really desires to transfer you to Spain.

*You should bear in mind that all the documents submitted for the application must be legalized and certified by the Apostille of the Hague, and legally translated into Spanish.

How to renew this visa


In order to renew this type of residence permit, the procedure must be initiated within 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of the authorization or within 90 days after.

This renewal will last up to 3 years as long as the same conditions are maintained and with the limitation set forth in the collective agreements of both countries. That is to say, between the “transfering” country of the worker where she was initially hired and Spain.

However, there is a maximum duration of the transfer for certain categories that conditions the validity of the authorization or the possibility of renewal:

  • The transfer of managers and specialists will be for a maximum of 3 years.
  • The transfer of trainee workers for a maximum of 1 year.

This especially affects the ICT visa, since in the case of authorization for national relocation it could be renewed for a longer period of time.


Do you have any doubt regarding this company transfer work permit?


Even though this type of work visa for qualified workers and managers enjoys streamlined processing, the procedure can be a bit tedious if you do not exactly know the steps to follow and how to quickly navigate through them.

That is why we would like to help you.

At Balcells Group we have helped over 1000 clients worldwide get their residence permit in Spain; as well as many companies with their worker’s relocations. That is why we can guide you with everything you should know.

Then, if you would like to have a group of immigration lawyers helping you throughout the whole process, preparing all the required documentation and submitting it for you; do not hesitate to contact us, we will be glad to help!


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