Spain – Employed worker

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 will be taken into account when granting the initial residence and work permit. At the same time, several exceptions are provided.

Work permits will be granted if the job falls within the activities listed in the Shortage Occupations List or if the labour market test is passed

Where and how to apply

Work and residence permit

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

A work authorisation 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 permit application, even if it falls outside the Shortage Occupations List.

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


If you fall into one of the categories below, you are not required to obtain a work authorisation but will still need a short-stay visa or a residence permit.

  • Technicians and scientists, invited or contracted by the State, the Autonomous Communities, the Local Entities or other public organisations 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, provided that their activity is strictly limited to the execution of those 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, duly recognised;
  • artists coming for a specific performance;
  • members of international scientific missions carrying out work and research in Spain, duly authorised by the Spanish authorities;
  • 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 residence Search for available translations of the preceding linkwhich 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

Once you arrive in Spain and if you are going to reside for over 6 months, you must get an Aliens Identification card (known as TIE) at the Police Department where you intend to reside.

Your employer must also register you with the Social Security System as a worker.


Decisions can be challenged by way of an administrative appeal. Do you disagree? You may appeal to the court.

Further information

Live and work in Spain

Family reunification

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

No information available