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What do I need before leaving?

Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as an employed worker in Spain? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.

To work in Spain as an employed worker, you must obtain:
  • a work and residence permit; and
  • a work and residence visa.
The national employment situation shall be taken into account when granting the initial residence and work permit.

Work permits will be granted if the job falls within the activities listed in the Shortage Occupations List.


Where and how to apply Work and residence permit

Before you apply for your work and residence visa, your employer must obtain a work permit. This is generally granted by the Provincial Aliens Affairs Office.

A work permit will be granted if the job falls within the activities listed in the Shortage Occupations list. If not, the employer must advertise the job vacancy with the Employment services.

If there is no suitable candidate with the required qualifications for the position, the employer may proceed with your work permit application, even if it falls outside the Shortage Occupations List.

Once the work permit has been authorised, the residence permit is granted together with the work permit by the Provincial Aliens Affairs Office.

Where a Province does not have an Aliens Affairs Office, the Labour and Immigration Affairs Unit will be responsible for the same matters.

If you fall into one of the categories below, you are not required to obtain a work permit but will still need a short-stay visa or a residence permit.
  • Technicians and scientists, invited or contracted by the State or the Autonomous Communities with the intention of promoting and developing science and investigation;
  • Professors invited or contracted by a Spanish University;
  • Foreign directive staff and teaching staff of prestigious public or private cultural institutions, officially recognised in Spain, with aims to develop cultural and educational programmes;
  • Civilian or military civil employees of a foreign state coming to Spain by virtue of agreements of cooperation;
  • Journalists employed by foreign media working in Spain;
  • Artists coming for a specific performance;
  • Members of international scientific missions carrying out work and research in Spain;
  • Non-EU citizens who form part of the representative, governing or administrative boards of internationally-recognised trade unions, provided their activity is strictly limited to trade union functions;
  • Clergy or personnel affiliated with a religious organisation, provided activities are limited to religious functions.
Work and residence visa

Once the work permit has been authorised, you must apply for a work and residence visa at the Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin which will allow you to enter Spain to work.
Documents required You must show a medical certificate delivered by a doctor recognised by the diplomatic missions.

You must have no criminal record in Spain or in countries of previous residence for offences set out in relevant Spanish legislation.
Duration of validity of permits Your initial work permit is granted for one year, renewable.
Further requirements You must get an Aliens Identification card at the Provincial Aliens Affairs Office or at the Police Department where you intend to reside.

Your employer must also register you with the Social Security System as a worker.
Appeals Decisions can be challenged by way of an administrative appeal.
Further information More on working in Spain (in Spanish)



Change of employment Your work permit is tied to one sector and subject to geographical limits. Any change in your employment must remain within these limits during the first year.
Change of status You must submit a new application and meet the necessary conditions.
Long-term residence Long-term residence is generally granted after five years of continuous and legal residence.

This status enables the holder to reside indefinitely and work in Spain.

More on long-term residence in Spain (in Spanish)