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Long-stay visas

Long stay visas


Entry and stays of a duration of more than 90 days

It is necessary to differentiate between those individuals with the right to free movement and residence, and other foreigners.

1. Citizens of the EU or nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union grants EU citizens the right of residence and free movement within the territory of the Member States.

This has been implemented by Directive 2004/38/EC, and its scope of application has been extended to nationals of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and Swiss citizens.

The right of residence recognised in this legislation is presented in Royal Decree 240/2007, of 16 February on the entry, free movement and residence in Spain of citizens of the Member States of the European Union and of other States part of the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

Any citizen of an EU Member State, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland has the right to reside in the territory of the Spanish State for a period of more than three months if:

  • if they are workers or self-employed persons in Spain;

  • and have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system in Spain during their period of residence and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in Spain;

  • are enrolled at a private or public establishment, accredited or financed by the competent Educational Administration in accordance with applicable legislation, for the principal purpose of following a course of study, including vocational training, and, have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in Spain and assure the relevant national authority, by means of a declaration or by such equivalent means as they may choose, that they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of Spain during their period of residence; or

  • are family members accompanying or joining a citizen from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and satisfy the conditions referred to above.

Family members are considered as the dependent ascendants, spouse or partner, children under the age of twenty-one and dependent adults, provided that they accompany or join the EU citizen, except in the case of students, who are not able to extend the right of residence to their ascendants.

As mentioned above, for entry and short stays, family members who do not hold the nationality of a Member State will only be subject to the entry visa requirement in accordance with Regulation (EC) 539/2001, and therefore do not require a residence visa.

2. Nationals of third countries.

Unlike the regime for stays of a duration of less than ninety days, regulated by that established in Community legislation, for stays in Spain of more than ninety days, the legislation is national and is contained in Organic Law 4/2000, of 11 January, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, and in the applicable regulation, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011, of 20 April.

Spanish legislation requires a visa for all foreigners intending to stay in Spain for a period of more than ninety days.

The visas established in Spanish legislation for the performance of research or training activities are as follows:

  • Study visa.

  • Exemption from work authorisation visa.

  • Research visa.

  • Residency and work visa.

In addition to that established in Organic Law 4/2000 and its regulation, it is important to highlight that Law 14/2013, of 27 September for the Support of Entrepreneurs and their Internationalisation, which considers certain cases in which, for reasons of economic interest, the awarding of visas and residence permits is faster and easier in order to attract investment and talent to Spain.

The measure is directed at those persons engaged in research and entrepreneurship, workers moving between firms, highly qualified professionals and research personnel, and certain members of their family, via a fast and efficient procedure before one single authority and for a variable time period according to the different cases under consideration.