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Living in Spain - Key Information

Spanish Work and Residence Permits

If you are an EU resident you don't really need a permit to work in Spain. However you do require a residence card which is usually issued for 5 years.

A non-EU foreigner who carries out an activity for money in Spain requires a work permit and a residence card. A work permit (permiso de trabajo) for a non-EU national is initially valid for one year, after this a five-year permit may be issued no longer but restricts the holder by area, activity, employer or industry.

If you're an EU national you can enter Spain as a tourist and register with the Spanish national employment office (Instituto Nacional de Empleo/INEM) as a job-seeker (demandante de empleo). You have 90 days in which to find employment, although if you enter as a visitor you can obtain an extension after 90 days or leave Spain and re-enter for a further 90 days. When offered a job, you should obtain an employment contract (contrato de trabajo), which is necessary when applying for your residence card.


Your residence card will have a fiscal number which must be quoted when opening a bank account or paying Spanish taxes. All residents of Spain must have a NIE number.

Most taxes in Spain are self-assessed, meaning the individual is responsible to report and calculate any tax due. Tax forms must be purchased by taxpayers and are obtainable from a tobacconist's (estanco). Some are only available from tax offices (agencia tributaria). Penalties and interest are given for late or non-compliance.

The tax year in Spain is the same as the calendar year (1st January to 31st December).

For more in depth information on this topic, we highly recommend:

Living and Working in Spain: A Survival Guide

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