May 15, 2024
Residency by investment programs

How to Get Residency in Spain: 4 Ways in 2024

Spain is an appealing choice for individuals seeking a new place to work, live, study, invest, and enjoy a high quality of life within the European Union. There are multiple routes to get a residence permit in Spain, with specific rules and regulations.

This article provides an in-depth examination of the multitude of residency options specifically for non-EU citizens. We’ll go through three main residency types, examine the procedures for obtaining the right to live, and outline the main advantages of residency in Spain. 

Key Takeaways

  • The main options to get residency in Spain include a Golden Visa through investment, a student or study visa, various types of employment visas, and a non-lucrative visa. Other variants include family reunification, a research visa, and more.
  • Spain offers a number of opportunities to its residents, namely visa-free travel to the Schengen area, access to healthcare and other public services, educational services, and, most importantly, a high quality of life.
  • Mirabello Consultancy provides expert guidance to those seeking information on the most popular residency option, which is the Golden Visa program through investment.

4 Ways to Get Spanish Residency

Let’s start this section by stating that there is a clear difference between the procedures for EU and non-EU citizens for getting residency in Spain. Starting in 2007, a citizen from a European Union country, from the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland who wants to stay in Spain for more than six months only needs to get a Residence Certificate. It includes the name, address, tax identification number (NIE), and holder's nationality. The process to get the certificate is very straightforward and does not require much time. In some cases, it may be given on the same if all the documentation is in order. However, it may vary from a few weeks to months, depending on the volume of applications. 

Non-EU citizens, on the other hand, are required to complete several formalities to obtain a residence permit and eventually be granted permanent residency in Spain. Here are the main visas that will eventually lead to the obtaining of a permanent residency permit in Spain. 

  1. Golden Visa through investment
  2. A Student or a study visa
  3. Employment visa (right to work in Spain)
  4. Non-lucrative or retirement visa

Residence Permit in Spain by Investment

Spain launched the Golden Visa by Investment program in 2013 to stimulate the country’s economy by granting residency to non-EU citizens who are ready to make huge investments in several sectors. Since then, the program has attracted many investors across the world as it provides significant advantages to Golden Visa holders. So, investors receive a resident permit in exchange for one of the following offerings:

  • Purchasing real estate worth no less than €500,000.
  • Investing in financial units: No less than €1 mln in company shares, investment funds, and bank deposits, and no less than €2 mln in government bonds.
  • Opening a business in Spain that aims to create jobs. The minimum investment amount is not set, but the authorities should approve the project.

The process of obtaining a Golden Visa by investment is simple and takes two months to get it. In order to be an investor, one should be over 18 years old and have no criminal record. A confirmation of financial independence stating a monthly income of €2152 for the main applicant should be provided. A golden visa by investment program gives an opportunity to live and work in Spain. One of the program's advantages is that the investor has no effective residence requirement, unlike other similar programs (e.g. 7-day requirement in Portugal). However, if investors want to obtain permanent residency or citizenship, they will have to live in Spain permanently (five years to obtain a permanent residence permit and ten years for citizenship). Family members and close relatives have an opportunity to get a residence permit in Spain, as well. 

You can find more information about the Spanish Golden Visa through the investment program here

Student Visa

This type of visa is given to those who are interested in studying in Spain. So, people can apply for a student visa for undergraduate courses, Master’s, or PH.D., and other short-term courses. The procedure is quite straightforward, and the following two options are suggested:

  • An applicant can do it in the Spanish consulate of the country of origin.
  • Apply for a student visa in Spain during the first sixty days of staying in Spain with a tourist visa.

The student visa is granted for short stays (three to nine months) or for long terms (two to four years). The visa can be extended prior to the expiration if the foreign student is eager to continue their studies in the same educational institution. The renewal is completed in Spain without the need to leave the country.

A student visa is a perfect option for young individuals who have long-term plans with Spain. After completing the studies, there is a smooth transition option to gaining a work permit. Furthermore, students are provided with a job search permit, which can be extended for up to two years to facilitate job hunting or the establishment of their own company.

The requirements for a student visa are:

  • Passport
  • Clean criminal record
  • Medical certificate
  • Full-coverage public or Private health insurance in Spain
  • Acceptance letter from the academic institution
  • Proof of sufficient financial means

Employment Visa or Right to Work

One of the most widespread ways of getting Spanish residency is employment. This option is available to citizens from other EU countries and non-EU citizens. It’s fair to mention that obtaining residency is easier for EU citizens, as the process does not require any specific regulations and procedures.

Depending on the situation, proficiency, and job offer, there are different work visas available.

  1. Self-employment - Self-employed people are those individuals who want to start a business in Spain. They should have sufficient funds to sustain themselves. So, the applicants can get residency in Spain by being shareholders or employees in the company.
  2. Right to work under contract - This type of residence permit is issued to individuals invited to work in Spain by a Spanish employer. An essential factor in obtaining this visa is that the employer should confirm the invitee is a highly qualified specialist, and it’s challenging to find a similarly competent professional in the domestic market.
  3. EU blue card - Similar to the visa mentioned above, this one permits individuals to work and reside in EU member states.

Get Residency in Spain with a Non-lucrative Visa

If an individual does not wish to work in Spain but plans to retire there, the non-lucrative or retirement visa is the ideal choice. The requirements for this type of visa are the following:

  • Private health insurance
  • Sufficient financial funds. The legal requirement is €28,800, but depending on the consulate, the amount can change. 

Getting residency in Spain via a non-lucrative visa is the most sought-after one, and it’s relatively straightforward to obtain.

Alternative Methods to Get a Residence Permit in Spain

  1. Family members of a citizen of Spain or EU member states are eligible to get a residence permit. In order to get it, one should provide evidence of close family relations with an EU national or Spanish resident.
  2. Reunification of a family member with a relative who has a residence permit in Spain
  3. A research visa is given to researchers and other members of the scientific community. It’s designed for those individuals who travel to Spain to work in R&D centers, do authorized research, or are included in specific scientific studies. The permit usually lasts 3 years but can be extended based on the contract. 

Benefits of Getting a Spanish Residency

People should consider getting residency in Spain for a number of reasons.

  • It has a high quality of life and low costs of living compared to other European countries. According to Expat Insider, Spain is included in the top 5 countries as one of the best in the life quality index. 
  • Visa-free travel to the Schengen area.
  • Access to healthcare and public services.
  • Educational opportunities - Spain offers multiple educational options, including affordable tuition fees.
  • Investment opportunities - Spanish residency programs, including the Golden visa, provide paths for investment and purchasing property, leading to a hassle-free life in a prosperous European country.
  • Pathway to citizenship - With a residence permit card, individuals have an opportunity to reside in Spain and eventually get Spanish citizenship.
  • Civil residence does not lead to tax residence in Spain automatically. Taxation in Spain will be based on the 183-day effective residence rule, and not easy to enforce. Still, several options to minimize the tax burden are available, such as the “Beckham Rule” flat rate, the use of corporate vehicles, or tax residence in nearby Andorra or Gibraltar.


In conclusion, Spain offers a variety of pathways to get residence that cater to different needs, whether for investment, for business and studies or for a happy retirement. Each provides ample opportunities to integrate into Spanish society, enjoy a high standard of living, and have access to the member states of the European Union. From the streamlined process of EU nations getting a residence certificate to the comprehensive process of the investment program, Spain's policies for residence are structured to welcome individuals from all walks of life.


  • What is the easiest way to get residency in Spain?

The process requires different procedures for EU and non-EU citizens. The process is simplified for EU citizens, and they only need to register with their local municipality and obtain a ‘Padrón’ or Certificado de Empadronamiento.’ 

For non-EU citizens, there are several options available, the easiest one being investment programs offered by the Spanish government.  

  • How much money do I need to get residency in Spain?

Different visa programs have their own requirements in terms of funds. Golden Visa requires at least €500,000 in investment. To get a student visa for Spain, you need to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself while in the country. In 2024, this stands at €600 per month. To apply for a non-lucrative visa in Spain, you need to show that your income is at least four times the IPREM (Public Indicator of Multiple Effects Income), which is a measure used by the government to determine who qualifies for certain benefits.

  • How long does it take to get residency in Spain?

The processing time for getting a residence permit in Spain may vary depending on the residence type you are applying for. But it usually takes up to three months for your NIE number and residency card to be issued after the appointment


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