If you love sunshine and hate to rush, Spain might be the perfect new home for you. The Spanish love life and who could blame them. The weather is sunny and warm, the food is great, landscapes are stunning, the culture is rich and diverse and the cost of living is relatively low. What’s not to love about Spain?

The financial crisis hit Spain hard but employment numbers have recently gone up and the economy is growing. This also goes for salaries in Spain, which are steadily increasing. This means now is the time to grab an opportunity and take your career to Spanish grounds. 

Most immigrants can be found in Madrid and Barcelona, which are the biggest cities in the country and offer the most career opportunities. In smaller towns and at some companies based in larger cities the siesta is still honoured which results in long lunch breaks. People highly value trust in work relationships and like socialising at work. 

In order to do this you’ll probably have to learn Spanish, unless you work in tourism or teach English. 

Living Abroad in Spain

Candy Lee LaBalle possesses unique experience in moving to Spain—her first attempt led her to return to the U.S for three years, before trying again (this time, successfully) in 2003. Becoming immersed in the language, culture, and bureaucracy of Spain, Candy has made her home amongst Spanish friends, with a career in English consulting. In Moon Living Abroad in Spain, Candy helps newcomers navigate the ins and outs of relocating to this diverse country
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Spain Residency

Spain is an EU member so people with citizenship of the European Economic Area (EEA) will have no problem moving, living and working in Spain.  When you arrive, there are some formalities such as getting a NIE (Foreigners Identity Number), registering in the local town hall and showing medical insurance.

Here are some of the ways to live in Spain if you are a citizen of a non-EEA country:

Work and Business Visas

Highly Qualified Professionals

If you have a recognized university degree or professional experience as well as a work contract or binding job offer, you may be eligible for an "EU Blue Card".   The Blue Card is a four-year temporary work and residence permit.  This also gives you free movement within the Schengen area and enables your family to join you.   If you do not have a work contract or job offer, you can register on the EU Blue Card Network, where European employers can view your details and connect with you around job opportunities.  This is also where you apply for the EU Blue Card.

If you have a job offer or are relocating with your company (TTI Visa)

If you’re going to work for a company in Spain, your employer will need to apply for your work permit and once it has been granted you can apply for residency. Before you move, check if your qualifications are recognized in Spain and make sure to translate references to Spanish.  

For Training or Research (RIN)

You can get a residency visa if you are going to perform activities related to training, research, development and innovation.

Entrepreneurs and Business Activities (REM) visa

You will be required to produce a business plan that delivers an activity of interest in the area where you are applying or is innovative in nature.  You should also be making a significant investment into the business or entrepreneurial activity.

Startup Visa

There are two options:

  • A startup visa, if you are outside of Spain and you need to come to Spain to make the necessary preparatory arrangements to do business here.
  • A residence permit, if you are currently in Spain and can set up the business. There are neither minimum capital requirements nor a minimum number of jobs to create. The Spanish system is based on a case by case analyses. For this reason, business plans are required to know if the activity has a special economic interest for Spain or not.


Under the Spanish Golden Visa Program, you can apply for residency if you make one of the significant investments below in Spain:

  • Real estate assets (€500,000)
  • Shares or bank deposits (€1 million)
  • Public debt (government bonds) (€2 million)
  • Approved Business projects

Income based Visa

If you can prove annual income of €25,920 plus €6,480 for each dependent (2017 figures) and you are not a member of the EU/EEA, you can apply for the Non Lucrative Visa.  This gives you the ability to reside in Spain for up to one year.   After residing in Spain for 5 years you can apply for permanent residency.


If you can prove an annual income of €25,560 as well as a €6,390 for each dependent family member, you can apply for a retirement visa in Spain.  Click here for more information on this visa.

Through your Family

If your spouse is an EU citizen or permanent resident in Spain, you are probably eligible for residency.  Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.

If your child is a citizen or permanent resident of Spain, you may be eligible for a parental residency visa.

See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on your descent.

Student Visa

A Student Visa is available to enable you to study at schools, universities and colleges around the country.   You can also study Spanish and get a student visa however you need to be enrolled in the course for a minimum of 20 hours per week.  While you are studying you can also get a special permit which allows you to work up to 20 hours per week.  The maximum time of studying and working can be no longer than 40 hours per week.

A new change announced at the end of 2018, allows students who have finished a degree to stay in Spain for a year to find a job.

Youth Mobility Visa

If you are an Australian, New Zealand or Japanese citizen between the ages of 18-30 or a Canadian between the ages of 18-35, you may be eligible under the Youth Mobility Visa.  

GDP Per Capita
$29,195  (Rank: 33)
Disposable Income
$1,635  (Rank: 50)
Life Expectancy
82.80  (Rank: 4)
Education Index
79.00%  (Rank: 31)
Corruption Index
58%  (Rank: 41)
Murders Per Year
390  (Rank: 107)
Crime Index
31.28  (Rank: 29)
Environmental Protection
79.79%  (Rank: 7)
Gender Equality
73.80%  (Rank: 29)
Annual Tourists
64,995,000  (Rank: 3)

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Parliamentary monarchy


Spanish (Castilian), Catalan and its variant Valencian, Gallego (Galician), Euskera (Basque)



Population Density

92 per square km

Spain Citizenship

Citizenship by Descent

If either of your parents were citizens when you were born, then you are a Spanish citizen.

Sephardic ancestry law was introduced in 2015. This opens the doors for thousands of people across the globe to obtain Spanish nationality if they can prove they are descendants of the Sephardic Jewish community expelled from Spain in 1492.  Have a read of our full article on this programme here

Citizenship by Birth

If you were born in Spain, you may apply for Spanish citizenship after a residence period of 1 year

Citizenship by Naturalisation

If you marry a Spanish citizen you can apply for citizenship by naturalisation after being married and resident in Spain for 1 year

You can become a naturalized citizen through legal and continuous residency in Spain for between 2-10 years depending on where you come from.

Quality of Life

Rank: 28

Cost of Living

Rank: 46


Rank: 29

Average Temp.


Rank: 131


It is no wonder that immigration to Spain has increased over the last couple of years.  Great weather, a more relaxed pace of life, amazing Mediterranean food and the close proximity to the rest of Europe makes Spain a popular choice.  Spain launched its Golden Visa programme in 2013 making it possible for non-EU citizens to get residency by purchasing property, shares, government bonds or through making a large bank deposit. The most popular is investment in real estate of €500,000 or more.  The Golden Visa gives you visa free access to all of the countries in the Schengen Area and after 10 years you can apply for citizenship.

Golden Visa Key Points

Programme Name:Golden Visa Minimum investment:EUR 500,000
Time to permanent residency: Immediate Time to citizenship:10 years
Typical processing time:4 months Minimum stay:No requirement
Visa Free Countries:161 Passport Ranking:5th
Cost of Living Rank:46th Corruption Rank:41st

Resources & Links

The passport for Spain allows you to travel to 161 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 5.

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