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Employment-related geographical mobility provides a great opportunity for personal and professional growth that few employees turn down. Discovering the culture of another country and the possibilities offered by a new destination is a unique experience. But a relocation inevitably requires cumbersome and time-consuming paperwork. To make this easier, there are companies such as Enai Relocation, who are specialists in processing the documentation necessary to work and live in Spain.

The paperwork required to move to Madrid, Barcelona, or any other Spanish city is the corresponding prior authorisation, requested by the employer offering the employment contract and, once this has been obtained, the visa.

Requirements for obtaining a Visa for Spain

If a worker is relocated by his or her company to Spain and is expected to stay longer than 90 days (three months), he or she requires a residence and work visa. This is requested at the Consulate General of Spain in the country of origin for a specific geographical area, a specific professional occupation, and it is valid for an extendable one-year period. The following is required to obtain a visa:

  • Residence and work authorisation, provided by the Spanish Government.
  • A copy of the employment contract upon which the expatriation is based.
  • A passport that is valid for at least 4 months.
  • A criminal record certificate and a medical certificate, along with a sworn translation of both documents into Spanish. Both must also have the Apostille of The Hague affixed to them.

In some cases, depending on the country of origin, a short Schengen visa is required, which allows the holder to reside in a Schengen state for a limited period of time.

There are other types of visas that depend on the purpose of the transfer to Spain, such as those for studying or for an unpaid work experience and the visa for residence and seasonal work (less than one year), customary in senior management staff, sportsmen, and artists participating in public shows.

Identification, census, and Social Security

Once in Spain, there are three basic documents that an expatriate worker needs, depending on whether or not he or she comes from another EU country, and on the duration and purpose of the stay. These are as follows:

  1. NIE/TIE
    These acronyms represent identification documents and which one you need depends on the place of origin. The NIE (foreigner’s identity number) is reserved for citizens from other European Union countries, while the TIE (foreigner’s identity card) is issued to people from outside the EU. In both cases, it is an identification card that you need to complete a multitude of usual formalities, such as opening a bank account. This is requested at the Foreigner’s Office closest to your home.
  2. Census Registration
    This is a step that must be completed prior to getting the NIE or the TIE. The first piece of information to be provided to the Spanish authorities is the intended place of residence. In this case, it may be a property owned or rented, or one provided by a relative, the company itself, etc. This procedure gives access to education and healthcare services, among other things.
  3. Social Security Number
    You must be registered with the Social Security administration in order to be able to carry out a paid job or internship, as this allows you to establish the appropriate contributions. It is also essential to guarantee health coverage for expatriate workers, who can apply for an Individual Health Card or use the European Health Card (if they come from an EU country or one with a bilateral agreement, such as Morocco, Peru, or Chile).

Most of the procedures to process authorisations to reside and work in Spain require the payment of fees established by the Spanish Government, both for the expatriate worker and for his or her family. Having to calculate this amount, gather the necessary documentation, and present yourself in each of the offices you must visit for these procedures often exponentially increases the stress produced by an international move.

To ensure that the relocation experience in Madrid, Barcelona, or any other Spanish city goes as smoothly as possible, the best decision is to leave all the paperwork in the hands of a qualified and experienced company that can also offer sworn translation services.