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. Even though that can be a bit tedious, here you will find the easy wait to do it. If you would like to get some useful tips regarding how to immigrate to Spain successfully, this is your blog post.

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Why moving to Spain and only to Spain


We have dealt with thousands of clients worldwide who have moved to Spain. And up till now, none of the regretted about their choice. In fact, quite the opposite happens. They are all completely delighted with their new experience. 

And the reason is simple: the Spanish territory is the ideal place for foreigners wishing to emigrate

But, why exactly? What makes the country that special?

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”. ⠀

Hence, your integration into the countries culture won’t be an issue as an expat. That process will run smoothly, and you won’t be required to change any of your cultural habits.

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 diverse and heterogeneous 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. ⠀

How will that be translated? You won’t find any difficulty in integrating into such a place. The country is populated with people from all around the world. Hence every single difference is completely welcome and normal.

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 being the preferred destination for many EU and non-EU citizens. Expat communities are everywhere. 

Just do a quick Google search, look for a nice cafeteria in the city center of Madrid or Barcelona, and see the nationality of the customers there. Chances are an important percentage is not local.

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. That is what the Spanish culture is all about.

They really enjoy spending quality time together outside, drinking a beer in a terrace bar. You will find 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. Your options to go hiking or mountain biking are immense.

But, if you go to the south, the Mediterranian coastline will delight you with its beaches. If you are looking for a more relaxed and chilled vibe, that is your area.

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!


How to move to Spain


In order to move to Spain, you will need to follow the following steps:

  1. Decide which is the right residence permit or visa for you.
  2. Then, you must check the specific requirements for that permit.
  3. Understand if you can apply directly from Spain while being a tourist, or you need to submit your documents from your home country.
  4. Prepare the documentation and send it to the competent institution. 
  5. Get your visa and travel to Spain.

Immigration to Spain can be a difficult task for many. But with the right advice, it shouldn’t be that way. 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.

As you may not know where to start or still have tons of doubts, we have gathered the main tips that will make this whole process much easier for you and your family.


Do you have any doubts so far? Then ask our immigration lawyers anything:

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9 tips on how to immigration to Spain successfully


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. We will walk you through the main considerations that will help you easily navigate the immigration process.

In that sense, 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 here you will find 9 tips that will really help you immigrate and move to Spain easily.


1. Before doing anything, assess your situation


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 there is no one right to emigrate to Spain. 

There are different kinds of residence permits in Spain, and the procedure for each of them is completely different. Trying to get a work permit is a completely different journey than getting a non-lucrative visa. 

That is why your 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 order to solve that doubt, 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. They just need to get what’s called the EU registry certificate.
  • 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?


2. The general procedure to immigrate and move to Spain


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 find 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 and enter the country.

Make sure to travel 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 Spanish nationality.


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3. About the work permit


Many foreigners willing to live in Spain want to opt for 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.

  • You cannot be in Spain for the application process. This is of high relevance.
  • If you would like to get the work permit in Spain, you will first need to find a job offer, while still living in your origin country.
  • Be careful with the job offer you apply to. The work permit application procedure is really strict, and you will only make it provided that the job offer you find is inside the so-called shortage occupation list.
  • As we have previously mentioned, if you are a European Union citizen you won’t have any problem here. You will get your work permit in just 24 hours.
  • As getting a regular work permit can be a bit tough, try to see if you meet the requirements for the entrepreneur visa or the highly qualified work permit. The process is much more attainable.


4. Forget about difficult procedures: the non-lucrative visa


Let’s say, again, that you are a non-EU citizen willing to immigrate to Spain. Furthermore, you don’t want to worry about a long list of requirements and a tedious application process. You just want to move to the Spanish territory as easily as possible.

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!


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5. The first thing you will need: the NIE number


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.


6. General documents you will always need


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.
  • Health 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. 


7. Documents translated into Spanish


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 [email protected] and we will help you out.


8. You can bring your family with you


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.


9. Trust reliable immigration lawyers


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!

P.S: You can access extra information about relocating to Spain here, including transportation, living, and accommodation tips. And here are the top 7 mistakes you should avoid making.


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