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

If you're a citizen of a country outside the EU, but live in Spain, find out if it's possible for your family members to join you and how.

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 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.

Is that the end of the process, once my relative gets their reunification visa?

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. 

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Worker, retiree or investor: What type of Spanish visa do I need?

If you’re from a non-EU country you will need a visa in order to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days, but knowing which type of permit is best for you can be tricky. Here's how to find the right one for you based on your circumstances.

Worker, retiree or investor: What type of Spanish visa do I need?

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country then you may benefit from the 90-day rule, allowing you to visit Spain for 90 days out of every 180 without needing a visa. Countries including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia all benefit from this rule.

Citizens of certain countries require a visa even for a short trip – find the full list here.

However, the tricky part comes when you want to move to Spain and spend longer than just those three months. What are your visa options, whether you want to move to Spain to retire, to work or even to set up your own business? 


The best option for retirees is to apply for the non-lucrative visa (NLV). This allows you to live in Spain for one year, but as the name suggests you are not allowed to work.

In order to apply an applicant must show they have €27,792 at their disposal for one year (€34,740 if it’s a couple), as well as comprehensive health insurance.

If you want to stay in Spain beyond this year, you can either renew it for a further two years (again proving you have the financial means) or change your visa for a work permit or a self-employed permit through the residence modification process.

The NLV is also the best option for those who want to live abroad temporarily. Those who want to stay in Spain for more than three months, but are not planning on living here permanently. It’s ideal for those on a sabbatical for example who have savings or investments and who do not need to work in Spain while here, but want to stay here for a year. It’s also the best option for those who have the financial means to do so.

READ ALSO: What are the pros and cons of Spain’s non-lucrative visa?

retiree in Spain

The NLV is the right visa for most non-EU retirees who want to live in Spain. Photo: pasja1000 / Pixabay


If you plan on moving to Spain for work or in order to look for a job, then you will need a work permit. Unfortunately getting a work permit can be tricky because in most cases as a non-EU national, the position you apply for must be on Spain’s shortage occupation list.

Your employer will also have to prove that there were no other suitable candidates within the EU to be able to fulfill the vacancy. This means that only highly skilled workers or those that work in industries that need workers are likely to be successful. These mostly include jobs in the maritime or fishing industries or sports coaches.

If you are wanting to become self-employed, then the entrepreneur visa could be a good option, allowing you to live in Spain for one year in order to open up a business. Be aware however your business must be considered as anything of innovative character with special economic interest for Spain.

You will have to prove you have the necessary qualifications to set up your business and will also have to submit your business plan to the authorities for it to be approved. The entrepreneur visa can be extended for a further two years after your initial one has been granted.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Spain’s visa for entrepreneurs


If money is no object and you want to invest in a Spanish property then, you’ll want to apply for Spain’s golden visa. To be eligible, you must invest €500,000 before taxes in a property here. It won’t allow you to work, but it will allow you access to the entire Schengen area. This will also allow your spouse and any dependent children to move to Spain with you.

Another option for investors is the entrepreneur visa as described above, if you want to use your investment to set up a business in Spain.

Joining family members:

If you happen to have a family member who is an EU citizen and lives in Spain or a non-EU relative that has residency in Spain, then you have another option. This is called the family reunification visa. However, in order to be eligible, you need to be a spouse or a dependent child and your relative must have the means to financially support you. 



Enrolling on a course and applying for a student visa is one way for non-EU citizens of any age can live in Spain beyond the regular length of a tourist stay. 

You will have to apply for a short-term or long-term student visa, depending on the length of their course. A student advantages can several advantages such as being able to work part-time or bringing over family members. 

READ MORE: What are the pros and cons of Spain’s student visa?