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Immigration Policy for Spain

Spain is a dream location where many people want to live. Between the friendly people, amazing cuisine, unique art, and more, there are a million reasons to want to live in Spain and almost zero reasons not to try.

Moving to Spain will be easier for people who know what they need in order to move and a bit about what living in Spain is like. Here’s what travelers need to know before they try to move to Spain.

Immigrating to Spain

Immigrating means moving to another country with the intention of staying there for a long time. Some immigrants adopt their new country as home, while others eventually move back to their country of origin or on to a different country.

Immigration is different from tourism or other short-term stays. Even longer stays, like 1-2 years, do not always qualify as immigrating.

Immigrants usually go to a new country intending to build a new life there. This means that they do everything from opening new bank accounts to building new relational and professional networks to finding people to celebrate holidays with, and more.

Reasons to Immigrate to Spain

There are as many different reasons to immigrate to Spain as there are people who make that move. However, many of the people who move to Spain do so for a combination of the following reasons:

  • To be close to family. People who have family members in Spain often want to move to the country to reunite with them.
  • To work. Many people get jobs in Spain and immigrate there so they can fulfill their new duties. This is a great reason to move to Spain because many companies know how to make it easier to get work visas for Spain.
  • To study. Spain offers a wide variety of educational opportunities and people from around the world can take advantage of these. People who want to live in Spain to study will need to prove that they have been accepted to an academic program.
  • For the culture. Different parts of Spain offer a wide variety of cultural opportunities. The South is warm and almost tropical, while the North allows people to experience Basque culture. Some people fall in love with a particular culture in Spain and want to be part of it forever.
  • To be safe. People who are victims of discrimination or violence in their home countries may try to move to Spain to keep themselves and their families safe. That way, they can build a new life for themselves without having to worry about personal security.
  • To live somewhere new. Some people move to Spain simply because they don’t want to live at home anymore. They may want an adventure or just to see different things everyday. Spain is a great place to do both of these things.

How to Immigrate to Spain

There are a number of popular ways to immigrate to Spain. Many people enter the country first on a standard tourist visa, which allows them to stay for up to 90 days. If, during those 90 days, they decide to study in Spain or get a certain type of job, they can apply to remain in the country longer.

Student visas are relatively easy to get, as long as the person applying for the visa has a letter proving that they have been accepted into school in Spain. This visa also requires the person to submit proof of having enough finances to support themselves and pay for school, and may require them to show proof of having health insurance that will work while they are in Spain. 

Work visas are a bit harder to get. People who are already in Spain and who get certain types of jobs that pay over a certain amount (categories and amounts are subject to change) can apply for a Highly Qualified Work Visa. 

Other people who want to work in Spain will need to apply for a visa from their home country. They will need to show either proof that they have been offered a job in Spain, or proof that they intend to start a business in Spain. This involves demonstrating funding, a business plan, and proof of having a registered business in the country.

There are also non-lucrative visas (which do not permit working), special visas for people who are European Union citizens or who have relatives who are European Union citizens, and the Golden Visa (for those looking to invest a significant amount of money in Spain).

Spain also offers a Temporary Resident visa, which must be renewed every 1-2 years. After living in Spain for at least 5 years without interruption, foreigners can apply for a Permanent Resident visa, which does not require renewal.

Being a permanent resident opens the door to becoming a Spanish citizen. The requirements for this are different based on a person’s country of origin, so individuals will need to make sure they meet the requirements before they apply for citizenship.

What does it Mean to Be an Immigrant in Spain

Spain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, so it is a great place to be an immigrant. People in Spain tend to be open-minded, so they shouldn’t be too worried about expats living in their country.

Spain also has some great immigrant communities spread throughout the country. Whether immigrants are looking for a community of people from their home country or they want to find a community of people from all over the world, they should be able to find that in Spain.

Spain is also a relatively safe country with a diverse culture. Immigrants should feel safe there and should not feel threatened based on race, country of origin, religious beliefs, or any other aspects of who they are and how they live.

Spain is a great place to raise children, too. With solid schools and a wide variety of educational options, young people can easily thrive in Spain and love the country their parents immigrated to.

Long Term Visit Versus Moving Permanently

People who enter Spain on a travel visa or with electronic authorization (if their country of origin is eligible for this) can stay for up to 90 days. Many people find that this is plenty long enough to see the country, experience its delights, and even visit family. They are ready to go home when their travel permission expires. 

However, this visa does not permit most types of work and it is not long enough for most study programs. Travelers who need to support themselves or who have been admitted to institutions of higher education will need and want different types of travel permission.

Others simply want to be in Spain for longer than this allows. These are the people who should pursue the immigration process outlined and discussed above.

Refugees in Spain

In order to claim refugee status in Spain, a person needs to be experiencing persecution in their home country. Most of the time, this persecution is very serious because people often won’t try to get refugee status if it is not. 

When a refugee applies for official status in Spain, the government will do everything they can to prove the person’s story of persecution. However, they do understand that some stories may be very difficult or even impossible to prove.

The government will offer people applying for refugee status an interview. This allows them to tell their story, present any documentation they might have, and make their case for being accepted as a refugee. Most refugee status decisions are made within a week, though some may take longer to process.

Being a Resident in Spain

While a legal resident has every right to live and do what they need to do to survive in Spain, they do not have all of the same rights as a citizen. For instance, a legal resident in Spain can only live and work in Spain, while a citizen can live and work throughout the European Union (EU).

Legal residents also do not get Spanish passports, though they will have a resident card to prove their status in the country. They also cannot vote in Spain. This includes EU elections, national elections, and local elections. 

However, legal residents have the same basic human rights as Spanish citizens, and they have a right to use the Spanish healthcare system. They have a right to call on the police if their basic rights are violated, and they should generally be able to get the help they need at any time.

Undocumented Residents in Spain

With more and more people fleeing their home countries, safe places like Spain are seeing an uptick in the number of undocumented people within their borders. Many people manage to live in Spain without official permission to do so, but this can be difficult and anxiety-producing.

Spain will do its best to keep its borders intact. This can mean deporting people who are there illegally. No matter what, though, living in a country illegally is difficult. It can be hard to find work, hard to support oneself and one’s family, hard to make friends, pursue an education, and more.

People who are in Spain illegally should figure out the best way to pursue legal status there. This will give them more rights and more protection, and will help them achieve their goals in Spain.

Immigrate to Spain Soon!

People who have dreamed about living in Spain can start pursuing that dream right away. All they need to do is get the proper permission to live in Spain, and then they can move there ASAP.

Whether living in Spain would be a dream come true or an immigrant is moving for job, education, or safety purposes, starting today brings their move one step closer to being reality.

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