Administrative procedures

Moving to another country involves having to carry out numerous administrative procedures, among many other things. Some of these are mandatory or very necessary and can also be fairly complicated.

Step 1: Immigration: visa/residence permit

Citizens of an EU Member State or of a country within the Agreement of the European Economic Area, have the right to live in Spain for more than three months, provided they meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be an employed worker in Spain
  • Be a self-employed worker in Spain
  • Have enough resources not to become a burden to the Spanish welfare system while in Spain. If meeting at least one of these requirements, a valid health insurance (private or public) issued in Spain or in another EU country should be provided.

Non-European citizens willing to live and/or be self-employed in Spain will need a startup visa or a resident permit to carry out a business activity. The Spanish embassy or consulate in the country of origin or residence will analyze the business plan by a case by case approach.

There are two main options, among others:

  • Residency Visa for Entrepreneurs and Business Activity (REM): for the rest of the cases.
  • Residence Visa for Acquisition of Real Estate (RIV): this figure apply when a real estate (house, villa, flat), for at least 500.000 € is bought.

The Ministry of Employment and Social Security provides further information 

After obtaining a visa, the next step it to apply for an aliens’ identity card (NIE) within a month-time.

Step 2: Get your NIE at the Immigration office

When operating in Spain for economic, professional or social purposes, a personal identification number called NIE (Foreigner’s Identification Number) will be provided.
In order to apply for the NIE, it is required to:

  • Rent a house and show the renting contract.
  • Obtain the census certificate from the home Town Council.
  • Open a bank account with funds enough to meet Spanish requirements.
  • Obtain a private insurance with similar coverage to the Spanish National Health Service.
  • Go to the National Police Station or the Immigration Office.
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