There is no denying that it is one of the best places to live in. With more than 8000 km of beaches, Spain is one of the preferred destinations both for tourists worldwide and for those wishing to start a new life in a new country. And that translates into many expats starting the legal process of getting their residence permit in Spain. But that can be a bit tough and tedious. How to do it without any problem? Well, if you would like to get some useful tips regarding how to immigrate to Spain successfully, this is your blog post. Get ready!



After many years of dealing with clients worldwide, there is one thing that is certain. Any of them regret their decision of moving to Spain. But, why exactly? Why should you move to Spain as an expat in order to start your new life? We are going to give you a few reasons, just in case you are still not convinced.


1. Spain is regarded as a tolerant society


Spain is one of the most open-minded countries in the world. Facts like same-sex marriage being legal since 2005 demonstrate that. Furthermore, the European Social Survey found that 80% of Spanish citizens can be regarded as “open”. ⠀

That is why, as an expat, you won’t find any problem in integrating into the Spanish culture. And that is due, mainly, because of the following point


2. The country has one of the world’s most diverse cultures


We are talking about a nation that, since its origins, has been constructed upon many different groups. And, for sure, all of them with their peculiarities and differences. The result? A diverse and divided culture. A set of regions with their own traditions and specialties. ⠀

This means that you, as a foreigner willing to start your new life in the country, won’t find any difficulty in integrating into such a place. You will encounter people from all over the world wherever you go.

Furthermore, you would be able even to create your own social circle without it being composed by any Spanish citizen. How is that possible?


3. There are really strong expat communities


That is the main consequence of having a country that is the preferred destination of many EU and non-EU citizens. Expat communities are everywhere.

Therefore, you will find it really easy to start your new life here. Because you will encounter a vast group of like-minded people who are or who were in the same situation as you. People who also abandoned their country in order to create a new future in Spain. And they all went through the same process, so you can benefit from their help.

Besides that, we are talking about really open people who constantly organize events to meet each other. Meeting people and making new friends in Spain is something really simple!


4. The country with the highest amount of bars in all of Europe


And that is something you would easily expect.

Why? Because people in Spain like to go out. They really enjoy spending quality time together outside, drinking a beer in a terrace bar. That is why you see people in the street all the time. Being for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee or for dinner, the citizens of the country go out a lot.

And this for sure helps to create the enchanting atmosphere that many cities like Madrid or Barcelona have. That vibe is something you must come to experience yourself. It’s something certainly unique!


5. Spain has 47 Unesco World Heritage Sites


Because besides the food and the good weather (that indeed are present) Spain is much more.

Spain ranks as the 3rd country in the world in terms of world heritage sites contained. This means that if you love exploring and discovering new amazing places… Spain and its vast culture are for you.

There is much to discover because Spain is everything apart from monotonous.


6. Mountain and Sea: The perfect combination 


And this is one of the main reasons that so many choose Spain as the country where to retire.

Because the Spanish landscape is completely diverse. On the one hand, you have the north, full of mountains and a greener view. But, if you go to the south, the Mediterranian coastline will delight you with its beaches.

But there is a common denominator in both north, center and south: the amazing Spanish gastronomy. After trying the country’s cuisine you would never want to switch back to any other kind of food again!




Now that you can really understand what Spain has to offer you as a foreigner, let’s dive deep into the boring but necessary part. Because in order to enjoy all the wonders of the country, you will for sure need to enjoy legal status. And that implies obtaining a residence and work authorization.

This, for sure, can be long and tedious, depending on your situation.

And many soon-to-be expats are completely lost. They don’t know where to start and what they should do in order to get their residence permit successfully. That is why we are going to give you 9 tips that will really help you immigrate and move to Spain easily.



In order to define how exactly you should get your residence permit in Spain, the first thing is to understand which is your current situation and how should you act accordingly.

Because you must know something: there are many kinds of residence permits in Spain, and the procedure for each of one is completely different. It won’t be the same to apply to a work permit than to a non-lucrative visa.

That is why the first step is to see, according to your situation and your plans in the country, which is the visa that best fits your situation.

In this sense, there is a first question you should answer even before. Are you from Europe or from a non-EU country? Because, in one case, you will have it really easy; whereas on the other one things can get more complicated.

  • Those individuals who are from a European Union country, from a country of the EEA or from Switzerland, don’t need to apply for a regular residence permit. The Schengen agreements allow them to live and work legally in Spain, being able to easily obtain the work permit really fast
  • On the other hand, if you are from a non-European Union country, things will get more complicated. You will need to fulfill certain requirements and conditions, and that can be a bit tough. But don’t worry, we are here to help you out and to make things easy for you.

So let’s imagine that you fall under this last group. What should you exactly do?




As a non-EU citizen, the procedure to get a visa in Spain is usually the same.

Bear in mind that, besides some visas under the Entrepreneur Law, like the entrepreneur visa or the highly qualified professional visa, you will always need to start the application procedure from outside Spain. This is really important. Even more important, if you are wishing to get a work permit, make sure to search for a job offer and get one even before arranging anything else. 

How should you proceed?

The first thing will be you submit your application at the Spanish Consulate or Embassy located at your origin country or there where you reside legally. They will forward your application to the competent Spanish institution, the ones who will accept or deny it.

Provided that your application gets successfully accepted, the Consulate or Embassy will give you your visa. With that document, you can now travel to Spain in order to continue with the procedure.

Make sure to enter into the country within the 90 days that come after you have received your visa.

Once inside the country and once that you have applied for your NIE number (we will later on tackle this issue), you must apply for your residence permit. Provided that you meet the specific requirements and submit the right documentation, you will be granted a residence authorization.

This residence permit will allow you to live in the country for a full year. Once that year is over and provided that you still meet the same requirements, you will be able to renew it for an additional two years, and so forth.

After you renew your permit enough times so that you have lived in the country for 10 years, you will now be able to apply for the Spanish nationality.




Many foreigners willing to live in Spain use the option of the work permit. As the other residence permits may imply difficult to meet conditions and requirements, the work permit can be a suitable option for some citizens.

Nevertheless, it is really important that you pay attention to its process and take the following pieces of advice.




Let’s say, again, that you are a non-EU citizen willing to immigrate to Spain. But let’s say also that you don’t want to worry about long procedures and requirements.

Well, in that case, and provided that you have sufficient economic means to sustain yourself in the country, the non-lucrative visa will be your best alternative.

You will only need to demonstrate that you have a 400% of the IPREM on your bank account, get a private social security contract, and start the application procedure for this residence permit. Is that simple!






Once you get your visa in the Spanish Consulate of your origin country and enter into Spain, the first step will be to get your NIE number.

This is the basic identification number for foreigners, and you will need it for nearly everything. To open a bank account, to start your company, to buy a property, opening a bank account, or to get your residence permit. Without the NIE you cannot do any legal or economic procedure in Spain.

Applying for the NIE is a relatively simple procedure, provided that you know the steps. And that is something you do at the Police Office of your city.




As we have said, every residence permit has its own peculiarities. Each of them demands its own specific requirements and documents. Nevertheless, there are some of them that are present in any application procedure, no matter for which permit.

Which are those documents that you will always need when moving to Spain?

  • Background check with clear criminal records, both in Spain and in any other country for the last 5 years.
  • Social security insurance with full coverage in Spain (being public or private).
  • Passport (original) and copy. Two ID photos will be also necessary. ⠀
  • Document/s that demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means to sustain your day to day life in the country.⠀

Then, of course, depending on the type of permit you apply to, some additional documents will be added to the list. For example, the entrepreneur visa or the work permit as a self-employed requires you to also submit the business plan of your project. 




There is something crucial that you must take into consideration when submitting the relevant documentation for your Spanish residence permit.

All the documents that you submit must be legally translated into Spanish and legalized with the Apostille of the Hague. Many of our clients ask us if they can send in the documentation in their tongue language, and the answer is no. It must be in Spanish.

That is why, if you don’t understand the language or have trouble with the legal translation, do not hesitate to contact us at and we will help you out.




Let’s say that you have been through all the legal procedures of immigrating to Spain, and you already enjoy the legal status. You have renewed your first residence authorization, and delighted with your new life in the country you would also want to make your family part of it.

Then, good news: you can bring your family to Spain with your current residence permit pretty easily. If you have lived in the country for more than one year, you can apply for a residence and work authorization for:

  • Your father and mother
  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • The parents of your spouse/civil partner (your mother and father in law)
  • Your son or daughter provided that they are under 18 years old
  • Your putative children

In this situation, you will be the one applying for the family reunification residence permit while in Spain. This implies that the family member you would like to bring to the country can’t be in Spain for the application procedure.




Finally, the tip that will eliminate all hassle and doubts. As you have seen, the process of moving to Spain and getting your visa can be a bit tough. There are tons of requirements and documents you must submit, and depending on your situation you will deviate from the general rule and need to do extra work.

And that can be overwhelming. Where should you send the documents? How much time do you need to wait? With are the extra requirements I will need to fulfill in my situation? And the doubts go on an on.

That is why, in many cases, the best alternative is to rely on the help of specialized immigration lawyers in Spain that handle the whole procedure for you, so you don’t need to worry about anything.

Having the right legal advice as a foreigner is always crucial. 

And that is exactly what we do at Balcells Group. With over 40 years of experience and more than 1000 clients helped, we now would like to be the ones that facilitate your entry to Spain. What are we going to do for you?

  • Assess your situation. We will first get in touch with you and ask some crucial questions. Upon that, we will exactly define what would be the best path for you to follow in order to successfully immigrate to Spain.
  • Prepare all the relevant documents and send them to the competent institution. You will just need to sing. Our team of immigration lawyers will fill in all the forms and required documentation for you and apply for the residence permit. That ensures that your chances of getting your permit go up.
  • Translate all the documents into Spanish and properly legalize them. As we have seen, that is something essential.

Therefore, if you would like us to accompany you throughout the whole procedure, do not hesitate to contact us. Our international lawyer team is ready to answer all your doubts!




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