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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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For members

VISAS

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? 

Retirees:

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

Workers:

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

Investors:

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. 

READ ALSO:

Students:

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?

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