There are many reasons why someone would want to move to Spain. It is a country with a great mix of modern and old culture; every city has something unique to offer. There are many job opportunities in all fields, including freelancing or remote jobs that don’t require being in an office for most of the day/week/month, depending on what work it is.
Cost of living in Spain is high compared to other European countries
Another essential thing to note is that Spain has a high cost of living compared to other European countries, although housing is much more affordable than in the cities. There are several reasons for this: most goods and raw materials must be imported from abroad, which impacts their prices; there is no free healthcare, and having such an old infrastructure (public transit has been notoriously bad for decades) requires extra funding that doesn’t appear on any budget.
How to move to Spain?
Prepare your documents
Spanish National Police will ask for you to show originals and copies (front and back sides) of the following: ID, passport, proof of visa (if required), birth certificate with apostille, deed poll (if the last name is different), marriage/civil partnership certificate (in some cases not always needed). Spanish Public Registries or Embassies must issue birth certificates.
Click here to apply for this document in English or translate it into Spanish. If you don’t plan on getting married in Spain, but need your foreign civil status recognized as equivalent to marriage in Spain, then consult the local Civil Registry’s page about how to proceed if it differs from your country of origin here.
For the first time living in Spain, you will need to register with the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros), and for this, you’ll need a DNI. The process is simple and only requires two or three visits to a police station, depending on how many documents you already have. If it’s your first time moving to Spain and staying for longer than three months, then it would be best if you also pre-registered with Social Security to avoid long queues at their offices later on. Click here for more info about opening a bank account in Spain.
Since 2014, Spanish employers are obliged to obtain a work permit for non-EU nationals working on their territory, no matter the employment duration.
Free movement within Schengen area
If you are from an EU or EEA member state, you need not apply for a residence document (Titulo de residencia). Still, you will be required to register at the Central Register of Foreign Nationals. If you are staying in Spain longer than three months and it’s your first time living here, then it would be best to pre-register with Social Security as well. You may already be eligible for this program if your spouse is Spanish, so check out how to proceed.
Free movement for Swiss citizens
Swiss citizens need only present their passport and an employment contract to be granted a residence document. They can apply for this at the local immigration office.
If your country’s consulate or embassy has permitted you, then you may not have to register with the Central Register of Foreign Nationals or Social Security. Your employer will also not have to seek work permit approval from the Spanish government. If you stay longer than three months but do not plan to get married or buy property in Spain, there is no need for pre-registration with Social Security.
Secure a full-time job:
Suppose you’ve been given work permits by your home country’s consulate or embassy. In that case, your employer will only have to obtain a Collective Work Permit from the Spanish Ministry of Labor and Social Security. But if not, they’ll need to obtain a Foreigner Work Permit and apply for an NIE number (necessary to open a bank account in Spain).
You can also try working one month on and one month off as self-employed workers! It’s legal, and it does allow you to spend time back at home. If you’re over 45 years of age, you may want to consider moving here with your parent or grandparent. This would give you the opportunity of unlimited residency. Check out how it works!
Moving with a Spanish citizen
If your spouse is a Spanish citizen, there are fewer differences regarding employment laws than if they were another nationality. If one person in this couple is an EU/EEA member state national, then there will be no need for pre-registration with Social Security; the same applies if the non-EU spouse has permission to work in Spain (e.g., work permit) and is covered by the social security system of their home country (so that they can freely move within the EU).
Otherwise, both spouses must be registered as members of separate social security systems, except civil or natural marriage (in which case their spouse’s social security automatically covers one person).
Immigration for couples
For couples who are not married within three years of immigration together to Spain, the non-EU/EEA partner will be required to apply for a temporary residence document (Titulo de residencia) valid for one year until they can attain permanent residency through marriage. Once this is obtained, they will be entitled to work without restrictions before or after receiving their NIE number. However, they must inform the Registry Office within 30 days of receiving it.
If you’re married and your spouse is an EU citizen, there won’t be any legal problems. You’ll be able to start work immediately with your NIE number, bank account, and all.
Go through naturalization process:
To obtain citizenship status after five years of living in Spain, you must take an oath of loyalty before the Cortes (Spanish Parliament). You will also need to know how to speak and read basic Spanish and know the basics of Spain’s history and constitution. These requirements may differ depending on what region you’re applying in; check with your local authorities! Your children who turn 16 during the five years of residence will automatically become a Spanish citizens.