Moving to Spain for permanent residence – what methods are relevant today?

Spain is a country that is part of the EU. Therefore, its citizenship allows you to move and live freely in all the countries that are part of the European Union, without a visa or any other documents. But Spain itself is an attractive place for permanent residence, because it is a developed country with a rich cultural heritage, a warm Mediterranean climate, and a low cost of living by European standards.

Today we will look at several relevant ways to move to Spain in 2023. Each of them has its own specifics, so you will be able to choose the option that suits you best.





Immigration to Spain: pros and cons

Moving to Spain has both its advantages and disadvantages, so before moving it is important to weigh all the “pros” and “cons”.


Moving to Spain


Let’s start with the benefits of such a decision:

  • Climate and nature. The mild Mediterranean climate with warm winters and hot summers attracts many foreigners from northern countries who are tired of snow and constant cold. Favorable weather is characteristic of almost all regions of the country. And if we are talking about the coast, then here summer is almost all year round, and in January the temperature rarely drops below zero.
  • Culture and traditions. Spain is known for its rich cultural heritage, including stunning architecture, art and cuisine. You will be able to visit various museums, festivals, attend traditional holidays, which will enliven your life with new colors and impressions.
  • Affordability. Spain has a good transport infrastructure, which makes moving and traveling around the country relatively easy. The public transport network is well developed, highways connect cities and regions, and domestic and international airlines provide a large number of flights around the world.
  • Attractive housing. Spain offers a variety of housing options – from apartments, bungalows and townhouses in cities to luxurious villas with access to the sea. A large selection of real estate in different price categories will allow you to find housing that suits your budget and lifestyle.
  • Medical services. Spain is known for its high-quality health care system, which is considered one of the best in the world. Residents of Spain have access to free and affordable medical services in public and private clinics. This provides reliable medical care and security for you and your family.
  • Opportunities for work and business. Spain offers a variety of opportunities for employment and business development. In large cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, there are many vacancies and offers, especially in the fields of tourism, IT-technologies and finance. Even recently arrived foreigners who do not know Spanish can find seasonal work, which is quite well paid.
  • Education. Spain provides high quality education at all levels – from schools to higher education institutions. Many universities are located in picturesque cities, giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural and architectural atmosphere of the country.


Another important point is that the Spaniards are a very open and friendly people, who are kind to newcomers. They do not have that haughty stiffness that can be found among other Europeans, so it is very easy to find contact with the Spaniards. Of course, your desire to learn Spanish will play a big role, because without knowing it, it will be objectively difficult to assimilate.


Moving to Spain


But there are also some nuances that may confuse you if you are used to living differently in your country. Here are some ambiguous points:

  • Spanish fines. Fines are absolutely normal, but in Spain you can be fined, as it may seem at first glance, for quite ordinary actions. For example, here they fine for riding a bike in headphones. This is explained by the fact that in this case the cyclist cannot control the surrounding situation and may pose a danger to other road users. They can fine for smoking on the beach, walking in a swimsuit or bare-chested on the streets of resort towns, etc. Although, if you look soberly at the situation, all these restrictions are quite logical and there are no problems to comply with the rules of the country that hospitably opened its doors to you.
  • Holidays. It may seem strange to someone that some service may not work “during siesta” or on some national holiday, which are quite a lot here. Therefore, you need to be prepared for the fact that during the Sunday family walk many shops may be closed, i.e. you need to plan your rest in advance.
  • Local mentality. We attributed it to the advantages. But the lifestyle of the Spaniards can also find relative disadvantages, especially for other Europeans. The Spaniards cannot be called workaholics and too responsible people. “Mañana” (tomorrow) is the word that best characterizes the Spanish mentality. It means that in Spain it is not customary to hurry, so you will have to get used to the fact that they treat the observance of agreements, to put it mildly, very conditionally.
  • Obtaining Spanish citizenship. This is not the easiest process, because you can only count on a Spanish passport after 10 years (except for a few exceptions) and subject to certain conditions.


But the advantages of moving still outweigh the disadvantages, so let’s move on to the main ways that can help you move to Spain for permanent residence.


Student visa

Any foreign citizen has the right to obtain a student residence permit. The basis is obtaining a specialty in a paid educational institution that has the necessary authorization and issues diplomas or certificates upon completion of training.


Moving to Spain


The student residence permit is extended every year along with the next academic year. This type of residence permit gives the right to work, but not more than 20 hours a week. After 3 years of residence, students can apply for a residence permit with the right to work.


Signing a labor contract with a Spanish company

This is not the easiest way to move to the country, because the desire of a Spanish employer to hire you is not enough. He must prove in the official Spanish authorities that the invitation of a foreign specialist is very important for the company and that there is no suitable candidate in the local labor market. The invitation to work goes through a strict check by the Ministry of Labor, after which you can apply for a work visa.


Moving to Spain


Highly qualified professionals can apply for the EU Blue Card, which is issued under a simplified scheme. You can get it if you meet certain requirements. The main one is higher education in a specialty that is in high demand in Spain. In this country, they always give preference to local applicants, but if you are a specialist in IT, science, chemical production and some engineering industries, then your chances of employment are multiplied.


Buying property in the country

This is one of the easiest ways, but not everyone can afford it. You can get a residence permit, and after 10 years apply for a Spanish passport, if you buy property for an amount of 500,000 euros or more. This type of residence permit is also called the “golden visa for investors”. The most fresh and verified offers for buying real estate can be seen by link.


Moving to Spain


This is the most expensive option for moving to Spain, but it has its advantages:

  • You will be able to legally stay in the country any number of days – from 1 to 365 (there are no restrictions on the number of days of stay in Spain).
  • Visa-free visit to the countries of the Schengen Agreement.
  • The residence permit can be automatically issued to all members of your family.
  • The possibility of official work in the country.
  • Fast registration procedure.
  • Convenient renewal scheme – the residence permit is first issued for 2 years, then renewal for 2 years and 5 years.


With the investor’s residence permit, you do not have to constantly live in Spain – it is enough to come to the country at least once a year. This is a good option for investing, i.e. you can first buy a house and rent it out, and after a few years move to the country for permanent residence. But a mandatory condition for obtaining such a residence permit is the absence of criminal records and a valid medical insurance.


Obtaining a residence permit for financially independent persons

This way of moving is also called “residence permit without the right to work”. It is issued when buying housing for any amount, or when renting real estate for a long period (from 2 years). Offers for renting housing can be found here.


Moving to Spain


This method has its own features:

  • The foreign resident must have a passive income of 400% IPREM – this is 2400 euros as of 2023. The document is issued for a period of 1 year, so this amount must be multiplied by 12, i.e. to obtain a residence permit without the right to work you must have 28800 euros in your account. If you are not moving alone, then this is another 7200 euros per year for each family member.
  • After obtaining a residence permit, you must stay in Spain for at least 182 days a year.
  • The residence permit is extended after a year, then after 2 years and then after 5 years. Then you can apply for Spanish citizenship. Each time you renew your residence permit, you must confirm the availability of funds in your account, i.e. you must always have 28800 euros (as of 2023).
  • Only persons without criminal records can apply for a residence permit.
  • This type of residence permit allows you to do business in the country (be a founder, investor). But you cannot get a job – this residence permit implies that it is issued to financially independent persons who already have a source of income.


This option is more suitable for wealthy people who have their own business outside of Spain. It is often issued by rich retirees from the US, England and other countries with a high standard of living. During their working activity, they managed to accumulate a sufficient amount on their accounts, and they do not need to get a job, for obvious reasons.


Marriage to a Spanish citizen

Moving to Spain for permanent residence is possible when marrying a citizen of this country. Just a year after the official registration, you can apply for Spanish citizenship.

It is important to understand that such marriages attract close attention from the immigration officer, who carefully checks them for fictitiousness.


Moving to Spain


Obtaining refugee status

Spain complies with the requirements of the Geneva Convention, providing refugees with the necessary social conditions. In particular, they are provided with housing, social benefits, and they are assisted in finding employment. After 5 years of residence in the country, a refugee can apply for Spanish citizenship.

It is important to understand that only those persons who prove that they were persecuted and oppressed in their homeland can apply for refugee status. In this case, an interview is conducted with a representative of the immigration service, during which you must provide documents confirming the facts of political or other persecution in your country, as well as pass a psychological test.


Family reunification

The following persons can obtain a residence permit on the basis of this reason:

  • children of Spanish citizens;
  • children, spouses and parents of foreigners who have a residence permit for more than 5 years or they have already obtained Spanish citizenship;
  • children of persons who have received the “golden visa for investors”.


Investments or opening your own business in Spain

This method is similar to obtaining a “golden visa for investors”, but in this case the applicant invests not in real estate, but in the economy of the country.


Moving to Spain


You can choose the following options for investments:

  • Shares of Spanish companies – from 1 000 000 euros.
  • Shares of investment or venture funds – from 1 000 000 euros.
  • Opening an account in a Spanish bank – from 1 000 000 euros.
  • Government bonds – from 2 000 000 euros.


Foreign citizens can obtain a residence permit if they participate as an investor in a business project that represents economic and national interest for Spain. It must create new jobs, attract investments and contribute to the development of the region in which it is implemented.


The specialists of the real estate agency “M2 Real Estate” are ready to provide the necessary legal support in case of controversial situations. On our website you can find ads not only for sale and rent, but also exchange of housing, which is becoming more and more relevant. Not all options are available in the open access, so we are ready to provide them upon your request.