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VISAS

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

Third-country nationals looking to move to Spain to set up a business can do so through the Spanish government’s Entrepreneurs Law. Here’s everything you need to know about the process, the perks and who is eligible to apply.

Business visa for Spain
Entrepreneur visa for Spain. Photo: StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay

Those looking to live in Spain via a residency visa for entrepreneurs and business activities, also known as the visado de emprendedor in Spanish, can apply for a one year visa in order to start a business here, however there are several requirements and a lot of hoops to jump through before it’s granted.

Entrepreneurial activity is considered as anything of innovative character with special economic interest for Spain. This means that it must create employment opportunities in the future, even if it doesn’t straight away. It could also mean that it creates good investment opportunities or that it involves a high level of technology to enhance the socio-economic development of Spain.

However, there are no minimum capital requirements like there are in some other countries or a minimum number of jobs that your business must create. Instead, each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  

Even though there are lots of requirements and documents to submit with your application, the good news is that you will get an answer within 10 working days as to whether it’s been granted or not.  

In order to apply you must:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Be from a non-EU country
  • Not be living in Spain illegally
  • Not have a criminal record in Spain or any country where you have lived in the past five years
  • Must not have been barred from Spain or any other countries with which it has an agreement.
  • Have the necessary economic resources for yourself and for the members of your family during the period of residency in Spain (€2,151.36 each month for the applicant and €537.84 for each family member who you are providing for).

READ ALSO – EXPLAINED: How Britons can live and work in Spain after Brexit

Visa applications must be made at the Spanish Consulate in the country of origin or residence.

Although these are the pre-requisites, there are several other factors that decide whether your visa will be granted or not.

Firstly, you will have to demonstrate that you have the right qualifications and professional experience to carry out your business. Be aware that if you need to have your qualifications verified by the Spanish Ministry of Education if you work in a regulated field, it will require a further painstaking process, which currently takes two years on average.

Secondly, you will have to present a business plan and get it approved before you can apply for your visa. It will be up to the Directorate-General for International Trade and Investments (DGCOMINVER) to assess the viability of your plan.

What should I include in my business plan?

According to the Spanish government, your business plan should include the following things:

  • A description of the project, such as business activity to be performed, start date, location, planned legal form of the company, potential economic impact of the investment, description of the estimated number of jobs that may be created and their duties and qualification, planned promotion activities and sales strategy.
  • A description of the product or service you will be offering, including the innovative aspects.
  • A market analysis – an assessment of the market and expected evolution, description of the possible competitors, assessment of potential consumers and an analysis of supply and demand.
  • Financing – including the investment required, sources of financing and a financial plan.

You must also show what added value your business will have to the Spanish economy.

You may want to include things such as patents and recommendation letters to ensure it will be accepted.

You must submit it to the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in the same area where you request the visa.

Can I bring my family members with me on this visa?

Yes, one of the good things about this visa is that you can apply for residency for you and for your family simultaneously.

You are able to bring your spouse or unmarried partner, children under 18 years old and parents who are dependent on you.

You must make sure you have the sufficient funds mentioned above to support them. 

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to submit:

  • The relevant completed application form and fee
  • Background checks
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Your business plan and the favourable report on it from the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office
  • Proof of private health insurance with no co-payments

All this must be sent to the Spanish consulate in your country of origin or residence.

Can I renew the visa?

Yes, you are able to renew it. In order to renew it, you will need to continue to meet all the requirements you met for the initial application. You will also have to prove that your business still enhances the Spanish economy.

This renewal will enable you to continue living in Spain for a further two years.

What about Spain’s new law for start-ups?

Spain’s new Startups Law, announced in 2021, hopes to attract foreign companies by making it easier for startups to choose Spain by giving them tax reductions. It will also entice foreign remote workers and digital nomads to Spain by creating a new special visa for them, however this is different from the current entrepreneur visa. 

The Spanish government hasn’t released all the details concerning the start-up law yet or the new remote workers visa and whether this will be connected in any way to the entrepreneurship visa, but we will be sure to keep you updated when they do. 

READ ALSO – Tax cuts and visas: Spain’s new law for startups, investors and digital nomads

What if I’m already in Spain on a different visa?

If you’re already legally living in Spain and want to change over to a residence permit in order to set up a business (trabajo por cuenta propia) you can also do so.

According to the Spanish government, you will need to send your application to Large Business and Strategic Groups Unit (Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos (UGE-CE).

You will need the form or modelo EX-07.

The requisites are similar in that you need to prove that you have the realvant qualifications and experience, proof that you have sufficient economic investment.

You will also need to create and present a business plan and will need to submit it to one of these following organisations for approval. 

·       Federación Nacional de Asociaciones de Empresarios y Trabajadores Autónomos (ATA)

·       Unión de Profesionales y Trabajadores Autónomos (UPTA)

·       Confederación Intersectorial de Autónomos del Estado Español (CIAE)

·       Organización de Profesionales y Autónomos (OPA)

·       Unión de Asociaciones de Trabajadores Autónomos y Emprendedores (UATAE)

Your residence permit will also be initially for two years, instead of one. The only downside is that it will take 30 working days to process, rather than 10.

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VISAS

Which countries does Spain have working holiday visa agreements with?

The working holiday visa is perhaps the best option for young non-EU foreigners who want to take a gap year in Spain. But which countries are part of this reciprocal scheme, who's eligible and how do you apply?

Which countries does Spain have working holiday visa agreements with?

Getting a visa to temporarily live and work in Spain can be a tricky process if you’re a non-EU national, with everything from proof of high levels of income to medical insurance or specific job skills being required. For young third-country nationals, it’s often not possible to meet such requirements.

However, there are some young foreigners who can come to Spain for one year, travel around the country, learn Spanish and take on a part-time job thanks to reciprocal agreements that exist. 

Enter Spain’s working holiday visa, also called the Youth Mobility visa, a scheme that allows young people from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and South Korea to live and work in Spain for a one-year period.

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

What are the visa rules?

Keep in mind that your primary goal when applying for this visa should be to travel and live in Spain. Working should be a secondary motive to be able to earn money for your travels.

You will only be able to have a job for a total of six months during your one-year stay in Spain. You can also only work for one employer for a maximum of three months. This means that you will have to find a minimum of two different jobs during your stay.

The visa also allows you to visit other EU countries during your stay in Spain if you wish to travel within the bloc too.

Alternatively, you are also permitted to study or do an internship.

Note that the scheme is only for individuals. You cannot bring children along with you,  partners or spouses will have to apply for their visas separately. 

Who can apply?

Unfortunately, not everyone can apply for the working holiday visa for Spain. The Spanish government only has agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and South Korea, meaning this visa is only available to those from these five specific countries.

These agreements are reciprocal, meaning that young Spaniards can also get a working holiday visa to live in any one of the above countries for a specific amount of time.

Unfortunately, for those in Spain who want to have a gap year abroad, these reciprocal schemes are only available to Spanish citizens, not foreign residents in Spain.

Keep in mind though, your country (the country of which you are a national) may already have a working holiday visa agreement with one of these five countries.

For example, the UK has agreements with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan, so you may be able to apply on the basis that you’re a UK citizen.

Other than your nationality, one of the main prerequisites for the working holiday visa to Spain is age. You are only eligible to apply if you’re between the ages of 18 and 30 (or 35 for Canadians).

Keep in mind that only a certain number of these visas are available each year. For example, from 2023, there will be a total 2,000 available to those from New Zealand, while there are 3,400 available to those from Australia. Once this number has been reached, Spanish consulates will not grant anymore for that year and you must wait until the following year to apply again.

READ ALSO: Spain and New Zealand to increase number of working holiday visas

Visa pre-requisites

There are certain documents you must produce and certain criteria that you must meet in order for your visa to be approved. These include:

  • Having a return or onward ticket out of Spain
  • Having the necessary funds to support yourself during at least the first three months of your stay. (The amount required may be slightly different depending on which country you’re from. Canadians for example need to show they have savings of at least €1,857 or CAD 2,504.75).
  • Medical insurance
  • A police check or clear criminal record
  • A certificate showing you have completed at least two years of higher education
  • A basic level of Spanish (Be aware that this is not a requirement for those from all five countries, but it is a requirement for those from Australia and Japan. There is no mention of this requirement for those from Canada or New Zealand).
  • Some consulates may also require you to have proof of accommodation for at least the first week of your stay. This rule doesn’t apply across the board, but certain consulates such as the Spanish Consulate in Toronto, Canada will ask for it.

What types of jobs can I get?

You are eligible to apply for casual and temporary jobs. You should be aware that unemployment levels are very high in Spain (currently at 13.65 percent), so it will be difficult to compete against locals for jobs, who will always be given priority.

The key is to rely on your native language skills to find jobs that locals may not be able to do such as:

  • language teacher
  • waiter in a tourist restaurant
  • tour guide
  • receptionist in a hotel or resort
  • bar staff in nightclubs for tourists
  • nanny for families who want their kids to learn other languages

How to apply?

You can apply for Spain’s working holiday visa through your local Spanish consulate. Some consulates will allow you to apply online, while others require you to make an appointment and go in person.

You should be given a checklist from the consulate of all the specific documents they need from you, but the list above gives you a good idea of what you’ll need to show.

You will also need to pay the application fee. The amount varies depending on which country you’re applying from. For example, the fee for those from Canada is CAD 150. 

Make sure to check online or phone ahead to find out when the applications open for the year you want to apply, so that you don’t miss out.

Once your application has been granted and you have arrived in Spain, you will need to apply for a Número de Identidad de Extranjero or NIE within the first month, in order to be able to work.

You can apply for this by making an appointment at your local police station or Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros), filling out the necessary forms and presenting your visa. You may also need to show your other documents again such as private medical insurance. 

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