The Kingdom of Spain is a multicultural country where people can profess freely their faith, express their thoughts, ideas, connections to various multicultural communities without prejudice to the country’s law and society-established moral norms and the country’s residents are helpful and friendly citizens.
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Internal and external communication with the Spanish or other cities of the world is widely developed. The Kingdom of Spain can be reached from almost all capitals of the world. So, there is no problem to travel to various parts of the world or to visit your relatives or friends in other countries cities around the world. Favourable climate, sustainable economics, good infrastructure make this country attractive for immigrants from different countries of the world: for EU citizens and those living far away from the EU.
According to immigration statistics, Spain currently hosts around 6 000 000 immigrants, which makes about 13% of the total population of the country. The largest groups of immigrants moved to Spain from Romania and Morocco. Besides them, there are many immigrants from South America (Ecuador, Columbia) as well as from the EU countries (Germany, Great Britain). The largest period of immigration to Spain was experienced during the period from 1998 to 2008. During this time the percentage of immigrants amongst the local population increased significantly from 1% to 11 %. History shows, that since 2000, Spain has experienced fast population growth which is a result of immigration. However, the birth rate is only half the normal replacement level. This sudden and mass immigration to Spain has caused social tension between immigrants and the local population. The immigration to Spain slowed down largely as the crisis in Southern Europe started to affect Spain. In the European Union, Spain has the second highest immigration rate in percentage terms after Cyprus.
The most popular cities for immigration are Madrid and Barcelona. Madrid is the largest city in Spain by population (over 3 million of people). Madrid is an administrative centre of the autonomous Community of Madrid. Barcelona is a little bit smaller (more than 1 and a half million of people), but, usually, more popular amongst tourists.
European Union citizens can freely enter, exit, travel and remain in Spain, and are not obliged to fulfil any residence requirements in order to temporary live or stay in Spain. However, you may register as resident in Spain if you intend to move to Spain and reside for a long period of time in the country. Registration as Spanish resident is advisable as this will entitle a foreigner to get some tax benefits in Spain.
The non-EU residents need the residence permit (temporary or permanent) to inhabit in the Spain legally. A foreigner moving to Spain will be required to show his valid passport and the corresponding visa and to follow the steps of getting a permit prescribed by law.
Types of residence permit in Spain
There are different types of residence permits in Spain:
- Temporary residence permit: Temporary residence permit is authorizing a stay in Spain for a period longer than 90 days and shorter than five years. Authorizations for a period not exceeding five years may be renewed regularly, at the request of the person concerned, depending on the circumstances leading to their issuance. How to get a temporary residence permit? Initial authorization for temporary residence not involving a work permit shall be granted to foreigners who have sufficient means of subsistence for themselves and, if applicable, for their family members. Current regulations set forth the procedure and requirements for obtaining a Spain residence permit and authorization for work in Spain in order to engage in gainful activity as a self-employed or as an employee. This permit can also be applied for by foreigners who having previously lived in Spain, do not need to meet the requirements needed to obtain a permanent residence permit.
- Permanent residency permit: If you want to live in Spain for a long term, you will need to apply for a long-term residence permit. Permanent residence permit means living and working in Spain with the same rights as those of citizens of Spain. How to get a permanent residence permit? Permanent residence permit is granted to foreigners who can prove a five (5) year legal and continuous residence in Spain, provided that there were no irregular exits from the country. Continuity is not considered to be interrupted by:
- Temporary absence on holidays outside Spain.
- Absences for up to six (6) months, provided that such absences do not exceed one year.
- Justified absences for family or health reasons.
Note that prior periods of uninterrupted residence in other Member States, as an EU Blue Card holder, shall be counted for the purpose of obtaining a long-term residence permit. The law establishes some criteria by which the said 5 years’ residence period is not required to obtain permanent residence. They refer to foreigners who are specially linked to Spain. Among these cases, a permanent Residence Permit will be granted to foreigners who were originally Spanish and lost their Spanish nationality. These foreigners will not have to first apply for a temporary residence permit. The foreigners’ law contemplates other cases for you, as a foreigner, to obtain a Spain residence permit.
- Residency permit for special circumstances such as for non-EU citizens whose asylum application had been rejected and to whom the Spanish Internal Ministry had authorised them to remain in Spain;
- Residency permit for reuniting families: this permit entitles the non-EU foreigner residing in Spain to apply for the Spanish residence of his closest family. The applicant must be legally residing in Spain for at least 1 year and he must have authorization for another year to reside in Spain.
How to get a residence permit in Spain?
The residence permit applications must be submitted personally before the Foreigners’ Office (or to the National Police Station with a foreigners’ department nearest the city or town where you are going to live. The main requirement is to present some documents depending on the type of residence permit applied. In order to apply for a residence permit in Spain, you need to submit the following documents:
- Valid personal identification document.
- Relevant visa in force.
- Proof of financial income to support you during the period of residence in Spain, such as pensions, work salaries etc.;
- Proof of previous legal residence of the foreigner in Spain;
- Certificate of criminal record issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country.
- Medical certificate, in the cases that the applicant had not presented it when obtained his visa residence.
- Some passport-size photos.
- Proof that your health assistance is guaranteed during your residence in Spain.
- Marriage or divorce certificate or other papers relating to your marital status, plus a Spanish translation will be required if applying for reuniting your family.
The temporary residence permit in Spain can be granted to a foreigner under some exceptional circumstances specified in law. In such case the permit can be granted to:
- People that are authorized to stay in Spain once their request to obtain refugee status has been denied or their formalities have not been accepted.
- Shifted people.
- People who co-operate with Spanish authorities against organized crime.
- People with humanitarian reasons.
Residence permits are issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. The residence card should be carried with you at all times as it constitutes a mandatory identity card for foreign residents in Spain. Foreigner’s moving to Spain first apply for a temporary residence permit.
Renewals of residence permits are available, provided that neither personal nor economic situations of the non-EU foreigner have changed. Note that renewals of the Spain residence permit must be applied for at least one month before the residence permit has expired, otherwise the foreigner could be fined.