Temporary residency

Temporary residence is considered a stay in Spain of more than 90 days and less than five years (except in the case of study, student mobility, internships or volunteer services).

Researchers interested in working in Spain for periods longer than 90 days can apply for five different types of permits, depending on their situation, for which there must exist a fast-track procedure run by the Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Economic Sectors (UGE-CE) at the sole disposal of the entities employing the researcher, which will be analysed in the following section:

B.1: Temporary residency and work permit for research (research or scientific visa).

B.2: Temporary residency and work permit for highly qualified professionals with a blue card.

B.3: Temporary residency with work permit exemption.

B.4: Temporary residency and work permit involving transnational provision of services.

B.5: Temporary residency and paid employment permit.

Having obtained the relevant temporary residency permit, the researcher must apply in person for the corresponding visa (research or residency and work) at the diplomatic mission or consular office in his/her area of residence. Once informed of the granting of the visa, the researcher must collect it in person within a month (failing this, it will be assumed that the visa is no longer required and the file will be archived). The visa is valid for three months, during which period the researcher must arrive in Spain.

B.1: Research visa

Foreign researchers whose main or only reason for travelling to Spain is to undertake research projects under a hosting agreement endorsed by a research centre can apply for a temporary residency and work permit for research and, once granted, become eligible for the research visa.

In this context, we understand by research centre any natural or legal person, either in the public or private domain, whose main or secondary establishment is in Spain, who undertakes research or technological development in Spain and has been authorised to sign hosting agreements.

 

Foreign nationals intending to undertake research or training activities ofa non-professional nature should apply for a study permit rather than a research visa.

 

The Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness will maintain an updated list of all research centres that have been authorised to sign hosting agreements with foreign researchers. By default, the list will include universities, public research centres (PROs) that report directly to the Central and Regional Governments and public or private research centres that are officially recognized as organisations that conduct research activity these organisations) are called Technology Institutes.

The Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness has established the procedure that centres not included in the original list will have to follow in order to apply for authorisation to sign hosting agreements.

Hosting agreement

In order for a research centre or enterprise and a foreign researcher to sign a hosting agreement, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • The research project must have been approved by the competent authorities of the centre and have a clearly defined objective and duration.

  • The centre must also have the material and financial means necessary to carry out the project.

  • The foreign researcher must provide proof of being in possession of a higher education qualification that would allow access to doctoral programmes, related to the research project for which the temporary residency and work permit has been requested.

  • The hosting agreement must include the report describing the project and the work contract signed by the centre and the foreign researcher, the start being dependent on the approval of the permit application.

Any research centre that has signed a hosting agreement with a foreign researcher must submit the application for an initial residency and work permit for research to the authority responsible for processing applications in the province where the research project is due to begin. When Regional Governments are responsible for such matters, it is they who determine the competent authority. For all other Autonomous Communities, the competent authority is the corresponding provincial Aliens' Office.

The competent authority must respond to the application within a maximum period of 45 days. If the application is approved, the foreign national must apply for the visa (which includes the permit) in person (except in special circumstances) at the diplomatic mission or consular office of the district in which he/she will reside, and these offices will have a maximum period of one month to issue the final scientific visa that will allow the researcher to enter Spain.

As an option, there is a fast track for employers of researchers: the Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Economic Sectors (UGE-CE) – a unit of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security – may be called upon for processing the research visa as long as all of the conditions are met (see criteria in Section 3.5.3.). When applying through this Unit, the maximum resolution period for the residency and work permit is one month and the maximum period for visa resolution is 10 days.

Initially, the temporary residency and work permit for research has a minimum duration of three months and a maximum of five years, and is the same as the duration of the research project the permit is awarded for. If the duration of the visa exceeds six months, the foreign researcher must apply for the foreigner identity card. The temporary residency and work permit for research (included in the research visa) may be renewed for periods of one year, unless a long-term residency permit is applicable.

Depending on the duration of the research project, the following visas can be obtained:

  • Research visa not exceeding six months: it will be valid for a maximum of six months and does not lead to obtaining a foreign national identity card.

  • Research visa exceeding six months: this can be issued for a duration of 90 days. The holder must apply for the foreign national identity card at the police station or immigration office within a month of his/her arrival in Spain.

Any foreign researcher who has been recognised as such by a member state of the European Union, that is, any foreign researcher with a valid research visa another EU country can continue to work on the research project they began in that country for a period of up to three months without the need to ask for a visa permit.

Should this researcher wishes to stay in Spain for more than three months, the research organisation must apply for the initial residency and work permit, although it will not be necessary to obtain a new visa.

 

B.2: EU blue card for highly qualified professionals

The EU blue card applies tohighlyskilledprofessionals whoare intendingtocarry outwork thatrequires higher education qualifications or, in exceptional cases, can provide proof of having five years’ professional experience that can be considered comparable to the foregoing qualifications, related to the activity for which the temporary residency and work permit has been requested.

The criteria for applying for the blue card include:

  • The employer must submit a work contract that guarantees the employee ongoing work throughout the duration of the temporary residency and work permit.

  • The gross annual salary specified in the contract must be at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary. Notwithstanding, providing the contract complies with current legislation and the collective labour agreement that applies, the salary threshold can be 1.2 times the average gross annual salary stipulated for professions in which there is a particular need for third country nationals and which belong to groups 1 and 2 of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO).50

  • The national employment situation must permit the recruitment of the researcher. This will be determined by the Catalogue of difficult-to-fill occupations, 51 which will be elaborated by the Public Service of State Employment on a quarterly basis, according to information supplied by regional public employment services and after consulting the Tripartite Labour Commission on Immigration.

Any employer intending to recruit a foreign worker who is not a resident in Spain must submit, through a duly accredited representative, the corresponding application for an initial residency and work permit for highly skilled professionals to the authority responsible for processing it in the province where the work is due to take place. When Regional Governments are responsible for such matters, it is they who determine the competent authority. For all other Autonomous Communities, the competent authority is the corresponding provincial Aliens' Office.

The competent authority must respond to the application within a maximum period of 45 days. If the application is approved, within one month of the employer or company applying being notified, the worker must request the corresponding residency and work permit in person at the diplomatic mission or consular office in his or her place of residence. The worker must be notified within a maximum of one month after the application is submitted that the visa permitting entry into Spain has been awarded.

When the requirements mentioned in Section 3.5.3. arise, the Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security may be called upon for processing the EU blue card, as long as all of the conditions are met. When applying through this Unit the national employment situation is not taken into consideration (this is not a requirement) , the maximum resolution period for the residency and work permit is one month and the maximum period for visa resolution is 10 days.

The initial permit is valid for one year, and can be renewed on a two-yearly basis, unless a long-term residency permit applies.

One month after the worker has been registered in the corresponding Social Security regime, he or she must apply in person for the foreign national identity card at the corresponding immigration office or police station. The card will be issued with the same expiry date as the permit and will be marked "EU blue card".

 

Foreign nationals will not be required to obtain a residency and work permit when exercising the right of mobility after being the holder of an EU blue card in another member state of the EU. Similarly, having been in possession of an EU blue card issued by another member state of the European Union for a period of 18 months, a foreign researcher has the right to travel to Spain to work in a highly skilled job and will only be required to submit the application for the initial temporary residency and work permit for highly skilled professionals, without having to apply for the visa.

 

B.3: Temporary residency with work permit exemption

Foreign nationals can also apply for the residency permit with work permit exemption described above in the section on short-stay procedures (Section 3.5.1) for stays exceeding three months.

Any foreigner who is not a resident in Spain and whose planned stay exceeds ninety days, must apply for the corresponding residency visa at the corresponding Spanish consular office in his/her place of residence. If a foreign researcher is a resident in Spain, he or she must have the exemption recognised at the immigration office in the province where the work will begin.

A resolution will be provided within no more than seven days. The work permit exemption will be valid for as long as the programme or activity continues, up to a maximum of one year, and then two years for the first extension and another two years for the following extension.

If the stay exceeds six months, the researcher must apply for the foreign national identity card.

 

B.4: Temporary residency and work permit involving transnational provision of services

This authorisation permits a foreign worker to travel from a work centre in Spain and depend, through an express labour relation, on a company established in a country which is not a member of either the EU or the EEA in the following cases:

  1. When the temporary posting takes place under the direction and on behalf of the foreign company on which they depend to another established company or which carries out their activity in Spain for the performance of a contract for the provision of services agreed between the two companies.

  2. When the worker is temporarily posted to work centres in Spain belonging to the same company or business group.

  3. When the employees moving are highly qualified and the purpose of the move is to supervise and advise on work or services that companies based in Spain go abroad to undertake.


Requirements:

  • Not be a citizen of a Member State of the EU, of the EEA or Switzerland, or a relative of citizens of these countries to whom the regime of EU citizen is applicable.

  • Not be in Spain illegally.

  • Have no previous criminal offences in Spain, or in any of the previous countries of residence, for considered criminal offences under Spanish law.

  • Not be forbidden entry to Spain and not appear as undesirable in the territories of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement in this respect.

  • Not be, where applicable, within the agreed period of no-return to Spain that the Alien has assumed voluntarily on their return to their country of origin.

  • Be legally resident in the country or countries in which the company which is posting is based.

  • That the national situation of employment permits the contracting, unless the permit can be applied for at the UGE-CE (Large Business Units sections).

  • Have performed the professional activity in the country in which the company is based on a regular basis and, at minimum, for one year.

  • Have been at the service of the posting company for, at minimum, nine months.

  • That the posting company guarantees the worker posted to Spain the conditions of employment applicable in accordance with that established in Law 45/1999, of 29 November.

  • That the company to which the worker is posted is up-to-date with their tax obligations and Social Security payments.

Law 14/2013, of 27 September, on Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalisation, establishes inclusion of the recent European legislation in the Spanish legal system.

 

B.5: Temporary residency and paid employment permit

If the activity to be undertaken by the foreign researcher in Spain (it is a professional/occupational activity) does not fit any of the aforementioned circumstances, a residency and paid employment visa must be applied for upon obtaining the corresponding temporary residency and paid employment permit in Spain.

Any employer intending to recruit a foreign worker who is not a resident in Spain must submit, through a duly accredited representative, the corresponding application for an initial residency and work permit for highly skilled professionals to the authority responsible for processing it in the province where the work is due to take place. When Regional Governments are responsible for such matters, it is they who determine the competent authority. For all other Regional Authorities, the competent authority is the corresponding provincial Aliens' Office.

The competent authority must respond to the application within a maximum period of three months. If the application is approved, within one month of the employer or company applying being notified, the worker must request the corresponding residency and work permit in person at the diplomatic mission or consular office in his or her place of residence.

The worker must be notified within a maximum of one month after the application is submitted that the visa permitting entry into Spain has been awarded.

Once notified of the granting of the visa, the applicant must go and collect it in person within a month from the date on which he/she is notified; failing this, it will be assumed that the visa is no longer required and the file will be archived. These visas are valid for three months, and it is during this period that the researcher must enter Spain.

Within three months of the researcher’s arrival in Spain, he should be affiliated, registered and subsequently contribute to the applicable Social Security Regime. Similarly, within one month of the researcher’s registration in the Social Security regime, he must apply in person at the corresponding police station or immigration office for his foreign national identity card. Once the card is awarded, it must also be collected in person.

When the requirements mentioned in Section 3.5.3. arise, the Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security may be called upon for processing the temporary residency and paid employment permit in Spain, provided the conditions for this are met. When applying through this Unit the national employment situation is not taken into consideration (this is not a requirement), the maximum resolution period for the residency and work permit is one month and the maximum period for visa resolution is 10 days.

The initial permit is valid for one year, and can be renewed on a two-yearly basis, unless a long-term residency permit applies.