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Immigration to Spain in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

What’s on this page?

  1. Visas and residence permits
  2. Work Visa
  3. Entrepreneur visa
  4. Student visa
  5. European Union Blue Card
  6. Family visa
  7. Jobs and Employment Opportunities
  8. Residence for retirees and investors
  9. Integration into Spanish society

The UK's exit from the European Union officially ended on December 31, 2020, after which emigration to Spain from the UK has undergone some changes.

Spain

Spain has always attracted residents of Foggy Albion with its warmth and hospitality, unique history, architecture and culture, high standard of living, developed infrastructure and relatively low prices. Today, more than 370,000 Britons live in Spain.

British citizens want to emigrate to Spain for the following reasons:

  • employment in a Spanish company;
  • plans to find a job in Spain;
  • desire to become a self-employed person, open your own business;
  • an invitation to study or a an intention to enroll in a Spanish university;
  • desire to reunite with a family member permanently residing in Spain;
  • plans to live in Spain without working and having enough financial resources for this;
  • desire to retire in Spain.

Visas and residence permits

Great Britain ceased to be a member of the European Union. Therefore, to emigrate to Spain from the UK after Brexit has become somewhat more complicated due to the fact that for British citizens the possibility of staying in Spain without a visa has become limited to 90 days within 180 days, unlike EU members. After this period, it is necessary to open a visa that matches the plans and goals of the immigrant.

Visa

To legally enter and stay in Spain, a British citizen must obtain one of the following visas:

Type of visa Eligibility Requirements
Work visa If you have received a job offer from a Spanish company
  1. Resume
  2. Knowledge of Spanish is preferable

The company that invited you submits a visa application on your behalf

For self-employment For highly qualified specialists whose services are needed in Spain, For those who can work on a student visa after receiving a bachelor's/master's degree
  1. Application after graduation
  2. Financial resources for your maintenance
  3. Medical insurance
Student visa Those who want to get an education at Spanish universities, improve their qualifications, do an internship, or participate in scientific research
  1. Invitation to study/internship
  2. Application with a package of documents
EU Blue Card For highly qualified specialists The visa is issued by the inviting party. Health insurance is required
Business (entrepreneurial) visa For those who want to become a self-employed person, start their own business
  1. Application
  2. Business plan
  3. Sufficient financial resources
Golden (investor) visa For investors wishing to invest in the Spanish economy
  1. Statement
  2. Package of documents
Family visa For those wishing to reunite with family living in Spain:
  • spouse
  • children under 18 years old
  • parents over 65 years old
  1. Application
  2. Package of documents
Non-lucrative visa For those who do not plan to work/wish to retire in Spain
  1. Application
  2. Business plan
  3. Sufficient financial resources

Documents on visa

Mandatory documents for British citizens when obtaining any type of visa are:

  • passport/identity card;
  • completed visa application form;
  • photographs of the specified size in the required quantity;
  • documents confirming the required amount of financial resources; 
  • medical insurance.

In some cases, other documents may be required.

Even before leaving the UK, you need to check with the Spanish consulate about what type of visa you need to obtain in your case, the application deadlines, any special document requirements and if you need to do the following:

  • translate and notarize them;
  • legalize (apostille);
  • a sign in person or an electronic signature is sufficient.

You must apply for any type of visa at the Spanish Consulate in the UK. The consular staff will forward your application to the appropriate Spanish government agency, where a decision will be made on whether to issue you a visa, and the consular staff will notify you. A one-month period is allotted for making a decision, after which, if the issue is resolved positively, you will be invited to the consulate.

If you plan to stay in Spain for various reasons for less than 90 days, then you do not need a Spanish visa, provided that you will not be paid any money in the form of income. Such reasons may be:

  • participation in seminars, conferences, exhibitions;
  • tourism;
  • visiting relatives and friends, etc.
  • while visiting Spain for a short period of time, when crossing the country's border, you may be asked to show:
  • return tickets;
  • health insurance;
  • confirmation of financial support for the trip;
  • indication of place of residence for the duration of the trip;
  • invitation to participate in a seminar, conference, etc.

If your stay in Spain exceeds 90 days within a 180-day period, you can apply to obtain a long-stay visa (for a period of up to 6 months), or a resident visa (for a period of more than 6 months). You will be given the right to temporary residence for a period of 90 days to five years, with the possibility of extension.

A British citizen can obtain a residence permit in Spain after five years of residence in the country, and obtain citizenship after ten years of residence.

Work Visa

There are different types of work visas. If you are invited to work by a Spanish company, then it independently requests permission for your work and submits an appropriate application to the Spanish Ministry of Labor. The process of obtaining a work visa is quite long and the period of obtaining can last up to eight months; you will be able to plan a trip only after receiving the visa. Therefore, you need to correctly calculate the timing of your departure. A work visa allows you to stay in Spain for one year with the right to extend it.

There are work visas for seasonal workers, the duration of which corresponds to the term of the seasonal work contract. The Au-pair visa gives you the right to live with a Spanish family in exchange for childcare and help with housekeeping.

Entrepreneur visa

You plan to work in Spain as a self-employed person and to do this you must register as an independent entrepreneur or register your own limited company. You will need to submit, if necessary, a business plan, documents confirming your expertise, experience and planned entrepreneurial actions as well as a sufficient amount of financial resources to support yourself. As a self-employed person, your income must be at least £ 24,000 per year.

Student visa

Applicants from the UK in Spain are provided with ample opportunities to receive a quality education. More than 70 higher educational institutions, about 50 of which are public, the rest are private, provide educational opportunities for foreigners. Most educational institutions are concentrated in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Spanish education has attractive features for international students:

  • relatively low cost;
  • democratic learning conditions;
  • employment opportunities in EU countries;
  • teaching in two languages.

To apply for admission to a Spanish educational institution, you need to obtain Volante Acreditativo accreditation from the embassy, then register for the entrance exams. The cost of studying at universities in Spain varies and depends on many factors. Studying at a public university can cost from € 1000 per year, in a private university – from € 6000.

If you have been admitted to a Spanish educational institution and received an invitation to, you will need to obtain a student visa. 2-3 months before arriving in Spain, you need to submit an application to the Spanish embassy in the UK for a visa with the appropriate package of documents:

  • invitation to study;
  • medical insurance;
  • indication of place of residence in Spain;
  • confirmation of sufficient funds for living – € 600/month;
  • document confirming no criminal record.

If your course of study will not exceed 180 days, then for such cases you need to obtain a student visa without obtaining a TIE (Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) identity card and the right to work in Spain. TIE is a document confirming the right to reside or stay in Spain for a certain period of time. It contains the NIE (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero) - the identification number of a foreigner, place of residence, work or study.

European Union Blue Card

For highly qualified workers - citizens of countries that are not members of the EU, it is possible to obtain an EU Blue Card - the right to live and work in any country of the European Union, including Spain. An applicant for an EU Blue Card must demonstrate his qualifications and professional experience. Such an employee must receive an invitation from a Spanish company with a salary offer of at least 1.5 times the average Spanish salary.

Family visa

If you wish to reunite with your family members permanently residing in Spain, you will need to obtain a family reunification visa. For this you need:

  • your passport (original and copy) and a copy of the passport of a family member permanently residing in Spain;
  • document confirming family ties (birth certificate, marriage certificate);
  • confirmation of the financial ability of you to support a member of your family in Spain;
  • confirmation of your provision of housing;
  • medical insurance.

In Spain you will need to obtain a NIE number and TIE card from your local Aliens Office.

Jobs and Employment Opportunities

Employment in Spain today comes with certain difficulties not only for foreigners, but also for the local population. Employers are looking for highly qualified workers on the labor market, and there is a demand for foreigners in industries where there is a shortage of Spanish workers. In the service sector, namely: in catering, hotels, and tourism, you can find work in large cities. English-speaking job seekers work as translators in language courses. Foreigners also work in fishing, mining, and trade.

Office Manager

The most in-demand vacancies in Spain in 2024 are:

  • Office Manager;
  • Sales Manager;
  • Business Development Manager;
  • Logistics operator;
  • account Manager.

However, all these vacancies require excellent knowledge of the Spanish language, to which we draw special attention.

The algorithm for a British citizen to find a job in Spain is as follows:

  1. Study the regions of the country to identify places of work with high demand for specialists of your qualifications.
  2. Applying for a job. You need to create a resume indicating your education, qualifications, work experience, and level of knowledge of the Spanish language.
  3. After receiving a job invitation, submit an application for a work visa.
  4. Once you arrive in Spain and start working, you can apply for a residence permit.

Residence for retirees and investors

According to surveys, Spanish pensioners are absolutely happy people. After their well-deserved retirement, they spend their days communicating with family and friends, go to the seashores, and pay attention to their health. Many UK citizens want to move to Spain as an adult without planning to work. This is possible when obtaining one of two types of visas: non-lucrative or Golden.

Pensioners

The non-lucrative visa is available to foreigners who have savings or income of at least € 28,800 (£ 25,043) per year (as of 2023). In addition, the applicant for a non-lucrative visa must not have a criminal record.

The Spanish Golden Visa is available to foreign citizens who invest certain funds in the Spanish economy:

Investing in: Amount of money
real estate from € 500,000
purchase of shares of Spanish companies and shares in investment funds from € 1,000,000
deposit account in a Spanish bank from € 1,000,000
purchase of government bonds from € 2,000,000

Britons with a Golden Visa have a wide range of benefits, including residence, access to public healthcare and education, the right to free movement within the European Union, etc.

In general, a British citizen asks “Can I emigrate to Spain?”, the correct answer is definitely yes, provided that you comply with Spanish laws. An immigrant must receive:

  • a visa corresponding to the purpose of visit;
  • NIE alien identification number;
  • TIE ID card;
  • it is advisable to open an account in a Spanish bank.

And once again we emphasize the importance of knowing Spanish.

Integration into Spanish society

When moving to another country, it is very important to go through a period of adaptation, when the mentality of local residents, living conditions, climate, customs and laws are fundamentally different from the usual ones, and this introduces a certain imbalance during your life. Every newly arrived Briton feels insecure when faced with certain difficulties. However, a large number of sunny days, low prices compared to Britain, the beauty of the cities, and delicious food add optimism.

What needs to be done to ensure your successful integration into Spanish society?

Language If you have not studied Spanish before arriving in Spain, then you need to take courses or contact a tutor ASAP
Healthcare Get health insurance
Education If you did not come as a student, then why not improve your educational level by enrolling in advanced training courses?
Accommodation Once you move into your new apartment, take an active part in the social life of your residential complex
Communication Meet your neighbors, make acquaintances at work, visit cultural communities and sports clubs
Getting to know the country Visit different parts of Spain, engage in tourism

From the above it is clear that problems in the question of how to emigrate to Spain should not arise for a Briton if you comply with Spanish immigration rules. On various Internet resources you can familiarize yourself with all the stages of emigration, the intricacies of various procedures, which will greatly facilitate the process of moving to Spain. There are also professional lawyers working in Spain whose activities are aimed at helping immigrants. Therefore, what you have planned will definitely come true.

FAQ

Can UK citizens still move to Spain after Brexit?

After Brexit, UK citizens can move to Spain under new conditions under immigration rules established after 2021.

What are the main types of visa for UK citizens immigrating to Spain?

There are different types of visas for UK citizens, according to purposes of moving to Spain: work, student, family reunification, non-lucrative and Golden.

Is learning Spanish a requirement for UK immigrants in Spain?

Learning Spanish is not mandatory, but knowledge of it will help immigrants from the UK adapt to new living conditions, find work, and make new acquaintances.

What are the key challenges UK immigrants might face in Spain?

In Spain, immigrants from the UK primarily experience difficulties due to lack of knowledge of the language. The hot climate, sociability of the local population, and the new organization of the education and health care systems require getting used to. However, over time, such difficulties are successfully overcome.

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