Important dates are approaching for workers around the world. May 1st, International Workers' Day, is already here, and what better way to celebrate it than with good news: Did you know that, once you have finished your higher education studies in Spain with a residence permit, any foreigner can apply for an authorization to seek employment for a period of up to two years?

At Echeverría Abogados we can guide you so that you can change your stay for studies to a residence and work permit, once you have finished your higher education studies, provided that there is an employer interested in hiring you or when you plan to present your own business project.

However, as it usually happens in legal and immigration matters, the fact that you can apply for it does not mean that it is easy to obtain it, so let's go point by point.

What is the residence authorization to seek employment and what are its requirements?

The residence authorization for the search of employment can be requested by foreigners who have been holders of a previous authorization of stay for studies and who have carried them out in a higher education institution authorized in Spain.

  • This authorization for seeking employment is valid for a maximum of 24 months and cannot be extended.
  • During the validity of the authorization, you are not authorized to work.
  • It is also important to know that the residence authorization for seeking employment after higher education is a permit that allows you to accumulate years in order to apply for Spanish nationality by residence. This is the opposite of the years of stay in Spain with a residence permit for studies, which does not allow you to accumulate time to be able to apply for Spanish nationality.
  • Once obtained, it is possible to get a job or present a business project, as long as they are related to the level of studies completed.

As to whether the applicant's family members may accompany him/her during this residence in order to seek employment, the rule is clear: they may do so if they did so, previously, with the authorization of stay for studies.


  • It will be necessary to apply for residency for job search within 60 days before or 90 days after the effective date of the study stay. Neither before nor after.
  • It must be requested telematically, and addressed to the Delegation or Subdelegation of the Government in the province where you are going to reside.
  • If the application is not resolved within 20 days from the day following the date of presentation, the residence will be understood to be granted.

Clause of six to obtain residency

After obtaining a residence permit for seeking employment, if the person gets a job or is going to start a business, he or she can file an application for residence as an employee, in the first case, or as a self-employed person, in the second case. But be careful, because in order to obtain a self-employed residence permit, the applicant must meet one of the following clauses:

  • The position in question is included in the Catalog of Difficult-to-Fill Occupations for the respective quarter.
  • There is a negative certificate from the Public Employment Service stating that there are not enough suitable candidates for a certain job position.
  • Recruitment is aimed at Chilean or Peruvian nationals, as there are international agreements in this regard.
  • This is a worker required for the renovation of an installation or production equipment.
  • The worker is the child or grandchild of a native Spaniard.
  • The job is to exercise the function of a manager or a position of trust in a company.

These requirements are the reason why we often encounter people who have completed a bachelor's or master's degree, who apply for a job search visa, who get it, and yet when a job offer appears, they are unable to access a residence and work visa because their situation does not fall into any of the above-mentioned categories.

Other ways

Thus, one of the few ways left for someone who does not meet any of the requirements is to wait until one year has passed since obtaining residency to look for work and, at the time of renewal, provide a job offer that does meet the requirements to modify his or her authorization.

The difference is that here the national employment status will not apply and, therefore, any job will be admitted, as long as it meets the minimum requirements.

Another way, although more complicated, is the one we are using in some occasions in Echeverría Abogados: requesting the change of authorization before the year, according to the provisions of art. 200.1. second paragraph of RD 557/2011, which mentions: "Exceptionally, the foreigner who accredits a need to work due to supervening circumstances to guarantee his subsistence may access the residence and work situation, without the need for the period of one year to have elapsed."

As you know, at Echeverría Abogados we always have an extra bullet. In this case, the most appropriate for a day like May 1st: the right to reside and work of anyone who needs it for their livelihood. So now you know, if you are looking to stay in Spain after having studied higher education, we will spend every last one of our legal cartridges for you to achieve it.

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