Applying for a visa to live in Spain

Applying for a visa to live in Spain

With the arrival of 2021 comes a host of new rules for UK nationals wanting to move to Spain.

If you were already living in Spain legally before 1st January then not much should change for you, as long as you were registered as a resident before 31st December 2020. You can read this post for more information for existing expats.

However, if you’re planning on moving to Spain in the future you will first need to get a visa. We’ve listed below some things that you need to know about applying for a visa to live in Spain. (This information has been summarised from various UK and Spanish government websites.)

Private health insurance for expats in Spain

Who needs a visa to live in Spain?

You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for a maximum 90 days in any 180 day period without needing a visa.

Any Brits (along with all non-EU nationals) wanting to spend more than 90 days in Spain will need to apply for a visa. This is the same whether you want to retire, study, work, or start your own business.

Types of visas

Before moving to Spain, you will need to obtain the appropriate visa via the Embassy while you are still in the UK.

There are various types of visa available including those for students and ‘highly qualified professionals’, but the three main visa types that most UK nationals will apply for will be:

Non-lucrative residence visa – This is for those retiring to Spain or not needing to work. The non-lucrative visa has an application fee of £516 per person (non-refundable) and to be approved you need to have a secure annual income of around €26,000 per person or €32,000 per couple. You will also need a fully comprehensive health insurance policy.

Employment work visa – If you are planning to get a job in Spain you will need to apply for a work visa. This has an application fee of £409 per person (again, non-refundable). You will need to be proficient in Spanish and provide a copy of your employment contract – so we assume that you will need to find a job before applying for your visa.

Self-employment work visa – If you want to start a business or set yourself up as a freelancer in Spain you need a different visa to those who will be working for an employer. There is a non-refundable application fee of £966 per person and documents that you will need to provide include any permits or licenses regarding the business premises, a business plan, proof of contracts to cover sufficient living expenses, and proof of qualifications or experience to carry out your business activity.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to check with the Spanish Embassy what type of visa you will need.

How to apply for a visa

You must apply for your visa from the UK before moving to Spain permanently. You need to apply to the Spanish Embassy where you will need to attend an appointment in person.

To get an appointment you need to email with your name, nationality, passport number, contact details, reason for applying, and preferred appointment date.

The visas can be applied for up to 90 days before the date you plan to enter Spain and if granted you will have one month from your arrival date in Spain to secure your TIE (official residency document)

Documentation you will need to provide when applying for a visa to live in Spain includes:

  • Completed application form (all forms can be downloaded here)
  • Recent passport photo
  • Valid passport with a minimum of 1 year remaining
  • Certificate of criminal record
  • Private health insurance document
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of financial means required to cover living expenses for one year
  • Fee to be paid at the appointment

For more details on applying for a visa we recommend visiting the Spanish Consulate website where you can download all documentation and find FAQs.

Family members of EU citizens

If you are a spouse/dependent of an EU citizen or of a UK national who already has Spanish residency (but don’t have residency yourself) you will still need to apply for your own visa. You also need to apply for visas for children.

This information is correct as of 1st January 2021 and has been taken from the Spanish Consulate and the websites. We’ve pulled this info into one document for you to make it easier to understand but as always, we recommend getting professional advice before applying for a visa to live in Spain.

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