Foreigners who want to work or carry out lucrative activities in Spain, either for themselves or as an employee of somebody else, must firstly apply for a work visa through the Spanish embassy or consulate in their country, unless they already have the corresponding residency permit.

  • To obtain a work authorization for employee (visat de treball per compte d'altri), it is required that the employer place previously process the initial work and residence permit through the website of the Department of Enterprise and Employment (Departament d’Empresa i Ocupació) ( providing the documentation required under the procedure AUT01 and request an appointment. If the case is resolved favorably, you will obtain a temporary residence and work permit conditional on obtaining the authorization by a Spanish diplomatic or consular representation in your origin country or in your country of residence.

  • To obtain a work visa for self-employment (visat de treball per compte propi), you must apply for the corresponding authorisation through a consulate and show that you have a business plan, indicating the investment and profits you expect to make and the number of jobs that will be created. You will also have to provide the required permits or licences in order to begin your planned activity.

In either case, obtaining a work visa means that you will be able to begin working as soon as you arrive in Spanish territory. Once in Spain, you will need to go to your local immigration bureau (Oficina d’Estrangers) to apply for a foreigner identity card. The addresses of immigration bureaux can be found at

Hiring at origin

Meanwhile, the Immigration Law admits for the hiring of foreigners for temporary or permanent activities depending on the demands of Spanish enterprises. This contract at origin known by the name of collective management of contracts at source (Gestió col·lectiva de contractació en origen) and is aimed at those foreign workers that are not residing in Spain.

Permanent job offers, lasting over a year, are processed by the Department of Enterprise and Employment (Departament d’Empresa i Ocupació) and the temporary from the General Administration of the State. The latter may refer two kinds of activities:

  • Temporary offers or seasonal campaign
       - Have a maximum of 9 months duration within a period of 12 consecutive months.

  • Temporary work offers and services
      - Always have a duration inferior at one year
      - Activities are aimed at assembly of electrical or industrial plants; infrastructure construction, buildings and power grids, gas, railways and telephone installations; and maintenance of production equipment, among others.

People are selected in their countries of origin from generic or nominative job offers, submitted by companies, following a specific procedure for each case. These offers are processed preferably with those countries with which Spain has signed migration agreements.

For more information on these agreements you can consult the website of the Department of Labour and Immigration:

Companies wishing to hire under this system must hire at least 10 workers and workers' selection processes are in the countries of origin through the official body established by each government. Workers who want to participate in these selection processes must make their inscription at the Spanish consulate or embassy in order to be considered.

For more information on these contracts you can consult:

Foreigner’s legal residents but who have no work permit (non-profit residence permit) and proved 1 year of legal residence in Spain can apply for a residence permit modification to a permit for residence and work. The request must be submitted to the employer or the foreign person following the procedure MOD04a or MOD04b to work for an employer or by themselves, respectively, in the offices empowered by the Department of Enterprise and Employment (Departament d’Empresa i Ocupació)  ( or through any official registration. If you want to work by yourself you must provide a business project detailing the planned investment, the degree or professional association membership (col·legiació) requirements, the necessary licenses for the opening of business activity and revenue production.

In the following cases the requirement of 1 year of legal residence can be dropped: when abroad alleging a sudden need to work, when dealing with family reunification or when the spouse reunified has reached an independent authorization in certain circumstances (separation or divorce, death of the reunifying person or when the applicant has been a victim of domestic violence).