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RESIDENCY PERMITS

Can I gain Spanish residency through marriage or partnership?

Is it possible to gain Spanish residency through a marriage or partnership? Read on to find out more and discover if your situation makes you eligible.

wedding
Spanish residency through marriage. Photo: ANURAG1112 / Pixabay

So, you’ve fallen in love and have decided to marry or enter into a civil union with your partner, the only problem is that your partner lives in Spain and you don’t have Spanish residency to be able to live with them. Is it possible to apply for Spanish residency through marriage?

The short answer is yes, it’s totally possible to gain Spanish residency through marriage or a civil union, but different situations will apply, depending on your particular circumstances.

In Spain, a civil union is known as a pareja de hecho and grants you many of the same benefits as marriage, however there are a few main differences. Read here to find out what the differences are and which is better. 

Residency through marriage to an EU citizen

If you are from a non-EU country and marry or enter into a civil partnership with someone from Spain or the EU, then gaining a Spanish residency permit is quite straightforward.

In this case, you will apply for a residence permit for Spain as a family member of an EU citizen or a tarjeta de residencia de familiar comunitario. This will enable you the right to come and live and work in Spain under the same conditions as those from the EU.

You must apply for the residence permit within a period of 90 days or three months after arriving in Spain and can do so by making an appointment at your local immigration office. Along with your ID documents, you will need to bring a completed Modelo EX-18 form found here.

The main requirements for this are:

  • Your spouse or partner must be from an EU country
  • They must have Spanish residency
  • They must be legally working, be a student or have sufficient economic funds to be able to support you
  • Your marriage must have been registered in an EU country, if not you will have to get your marriage certificate apostilled or might have to get your marriage re-registered in Spain.

If you and your partner meet all the requirements, you will be granted permission to live in Spain for five years and are able to renew it after this time.

READ ALSO – Q&A: Can EU nationals bring non-EU family members over to Spain?

What about if my partner/spouse is not an EU citizen?

If you marry or enter into a civil partnership with someone who is not Spanish or an EU citizen but has residency in Spain, the good news is that you’re able to join them and gain Spanish residency via the family reunification visa.

The main requirement is that your partner must have been living in Spain for a period of one year already and have already been granted a visa renewal for a further year or more.

If your partner has not already been living in Spain for one year, you will need to wait to be able to join them. The only way that you can join your partner immediately rather than waiting the rest of the time is if your partner has an EU long-term residency permit from another EU country, has an EU Blue Card or has a student visa.

The main requirement is that your partner has to prove that they have the financial means to support you. This means that they must demonstrate they earn an amount equivalent to or greater than 150 percent of the IPREM (Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator). For 2022 this equals €868.53 per month.

If your partner is not working, they will have to prove they have sufficient savings, as well as private health insurance.

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

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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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