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How can non-EU nationals bring family members to live in Spain?

If you're a non-EU resident living in Spain, here's what you need to know about getting family members over to live with you, from the requirements to the application process.

How can non-EU nationals bring family members to live in Spain?
Can non-EU citizens bring family members to Spain? Photo: Roberto Nickson / Unsplash

It’s not just  EU citizens who can bring family members to live with them in Spain, those from non-EU countries are also able to, although under a different process. Read on to find out more. 

Is there an option for a non-EU citizen to bring family members to live with them?

Yes, the good news is that if you’re a non-EU citizen living in Spain and have a residency permit, such as a TIE card, then you can bring family members to live with you via the Family Reunification Visa.

However, you can only do this after one year of legally living in Spain and have authorisation to stay for another year.

READ ALSO – EXPLAINED: The visas Americans need to live and work in Spain 

Is there any way that my family member can join me immediately?

Yes, there are several specific circumstances whereby your family member can come and join you immediately, rather than waiting a year. These include:

  • If you have an EU long-term residency permit from another EU country
  • If you have an EU Blue Card
  • Or if you have a student or researcher visa

If you do not hold one of these three things, then unfortunately your family members will still have to wait a year before being able to join you.

Who is eligible to join me?

The relatives that are eligible for family reunification are:

  • Your spouse or civil partner (you must currently be in a relationship with them and be able to prove this).
  • Unmarried dependent children, including adopted children, aged 18 years or under.
  • Dependent children, grandchildren, or another person that you are the legal guardian of who are over 18 years old and have disabilities or cannot look after themselves. (If your child is over 18 and under 21, will be studying in Spain, and is also financially dependent on you, they may also be able to join you).

READ ALSO: How much money do Britons need for Spain’s non-lucrative visa in 2021?

What about my parents, can they join me on the Family Reunification Visa?

In the case of parents, it can be a bit more complicated. You can bring dependent parents or in-laws who are over the age of 65 (or younger in exceptional cases). However, you must have a long-term residence card for you to be able to do this, meaning that you have to have lived in Spain for over five years.

What about other family members such as brothers and sisters?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for brothers and sisters or any other family members, other than the ones listed above, to join you on the Family Reunification Visa. 

The only way is for you to become a Spanish citizen or citizen of another EU country and then apply for the Extended Family Reunification Visa.

What else do I need to prove for my family members to join me?

You will need to prove that you have the financial means to support any dependent family members who come to join you in Spain. You may also need to prove that you were supporting them financially while you have been living in Spain during the last year.

To bring one relative, you must demonstrate that you have an amount equivalent to or greater than 150 percent of the IPREM (Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator) for one relative. If you want to bring a second relative, you will need to add an extra 50 percent of the IPREM on top of this.

Those who are self-employed or autónomo will have to show their most recent tax returns.

READ ALSO: Self-employed in Spain: What you should know about being ‘autónomo’

If you are not working, you will need to show sufficient savings and also that you have private health insurance.

Will my relative be allowed to work in Spain?

Yes, spouses and children, who are of legal employment age, who are granted residence permits under the reunification visa will be able to work without needing to apply for extra work visas. 

How long does the process take?

As a general guideline, the process takes around six months to complete, and until your relative can move to Spain. But keep in mind it could take longer, depending on when appointments are available and your individual circumstances.

However, you should get a response approving or denying your application within three months. After that, you will need to wait a few more months for the visa to be processed.

Once my relative gets their reunification visa, is that the end of the process?

Once they receive their visa, your relative can join you in Spain, however, the process is not fully completed until they apply for and receive their TIE or foreign resident card (a process they have to complete once they are in Spain). 

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VISAS

What will Spain’s income requirement for the digital nomad visa be?

Spain's new digital nomad visa will have to compete with other countries' alluring residency offers for remote workers. What is Spain's minimum income requirement likely to be and how will it stack up against other nations' visas?

What will Spain's income requirement for the digital nomad visa be?

Spain recently approved its Startups Law, which includes a one-year digital nomad visa (extendable up to five years) to allow remote workers to come and live and work in the country. It is expected to be available from early 2023.

In a nutshell, it will grant non-EU freelancers and remote workers entry and residency rights in Spain, with less bureaucratic obstacles than there currently are and enticing tax benefits.

READ MORE:

Many nomads have been waiting with bated breath to learn all about Spain’s digital nomad visa, which has been in the works for over a year and countless remote workers are ready to make the move.

But as of yet, all the details of the visa haven’t been released and we don’t know what the final requirements will be, including how much you’ll have to earn to be eligible.

Most digital nomad visas around the world require you to prove that you earn a minimum monthly and these amounts can range dramatically, so what will Spain’s requirement be?

What do other European countries require digital nomads to earn?

Croatia has been offering its digital nomad visa since January 2021 and requires its applicants to prove they have a monthly income of €2,361 per month.

Malta’s Nomad Residency Permit states its applicants must have a slightly higher amount of €2,700 gross per month, while Hungary’s White Card (its version of the digital nomad visa) requires a slightly lower amount at €2,000 per month.

Most seem to hover around the €2,000 mark However, there are several countries in Europe that require nomads to prove they have a monthly income of above €3,000.

Those wanting to move to Romania must prove an income of €3,300 per month, to Greece of €3,500 per month and Estonia of €3,504 per month.

These relatively high amounts for the last three countries may indeed prevent many digital nomads from moving to these nations, so if Spain wants to attract as many remote workers as possible as is its aim, it should keep in mind to set a reasonable amount.

Portugal, which is currently one of the top destinations for digital nomads in the world, recently announced their new digital nomad visa and requirements. The average monthly income for the last three months must be equivalent to at least four times the national minimum wage in Portugal, which is currently €705 per month. This means they will need to prove a monthly income of at least €2,820.  

How much money will you need to earn to obtain Spain’s digital nomad visa?

Spanish media have been speculating how high Spain will set the bar and all of them estimate that it is likely to be around €2,000 a month gross, around twice the country’s minimum wage.

It’s worth stressing that nobody within Spain’s government has yet suggested an amount, nor was a figure included in the draft law published following its approval by the Spanish Parliament.

It will be up to Spain’s Economic Affairs Ministry and crucially the Senate to decide what the minimum amount required is before the law comes into force in early 2023. 

The closest type of residency permit Spain has to the digital nomad visa is the non-lucrative visa, which allows you to live in Spain for a year. The main stipulation though is that you’re not allowed to work, so it has so far precluded digital nomads.

Up until now, many digital nomads have in fact come to Spain either on tourist visas or have been using the non-lucrative visa and hiding the fact that they’ve been working, as technically you’re not allowed to, even if it’s for companies outside of Spain.

READ MORE: What are the current rules on remote working and taxes in Spain?

One of the main requirements of the non-lucrative visa is that applicants must prove they have a passive income of €2,316 per month from investments, rental income, pensions or other passive income abroad.

This equals 400 percent of the IPREM and the Spanish government could certainly choose a similar amount for its nomad visa.

Another fact to keep in mind is that the financial requirements for Spain’s non-lucrative visa and the golden visa (residency through property or investment) are both considerably higher than Portugal’s requisites, so will Spanish authorities really be willing to lower the bar below Portugal’s mark when it comes to the digital nomad visa?

Digital nomad profile

According to the website Digital Nomad World, in 2022 the average digital nomad is 40 years old. However, those in their 30s make up 47 percent. A surprising 61 percent of all digital nomads started their journey in their 20s.

Male digital nomads are most likely to work in marketing, IT/development and digital design, while female nomads mostly have jobs in the creative or marketing industries such as digital design, writing and animation.

The majority of both male and female remote workers are self-employed, so their income is likely to fluctuate month to month, another factor the Spanish government should keep in mind when deciding on the financial requirements. 

The majority of them are married or travel with a partner, but do not have children.

Studies from the Digital Marketing Institute suggest that one in five digital nomads who come from the US make between $50,000 (€48,200 or €4,000 a month) and $99,000 a year (€95,450 or €7,950 a month). This is typically more than their European counterparts would earn and especially more than those working in creative industries such as writing.

It also means that four out of five US digital nomads earn less, and many may struggle to show monthly earnings that are above €3,000 if Spain sets the bar that high.

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