In general, non-EU foreign citizens wishing to reside in Spain must be previously authorized to do so. Once this authorization has been obtained, they must apply for the corresponding visa that allows them to enter Spain. Residence in Spain can be temporary or permanent.

Spain is one of the most attractive places in Europe. Its history is very rich in traditions and have a lot of beautiful buildings and architectural works. In addition, it is also characterized by its great cultural legacy, with important painters, writers and musicians. Spain offers a high quality educational service, which has allowed it to become the third European country with the highest rate of students from different parts of the world.

The need to internationalize the Spanish economy, to boost the presence of foreign companies, to attract talent and foreign investment, to seasonalize and diversify the Spanish tourism sector as well as the need to eliminate barriers to foreign entrepreneurship and investment in business projects that affect Job creation was determined to develop in 2012, an evaluation of the weaknesses and strengths of Spanish immigration regulations.

Training, research, development and innovation activities in Spain (Image)

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The new Law 14/2013, of September 27, on Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalization, means a very important liberalizing effort. It establishes a special procedure to facilitate the entry and residence in Spain of non-EU foreigners who wish to carry out training and research activities, both in the public and private spheres.

This type of authorization allows the residence in Spain of researchers, scientific or technical personnel, and professors of university or business schools. It facilitates obtaining a visa if they are outside the Spanish territory or grants a specific residence authorization for training or research, if they are previously authorized to reside in Spain.


Residence authorizations for training and research involve obtaining an authorization to reside and work throughout the national territory, without restrictions arising from the National Employment Situation, and allow the joint processing of the residence authorization for the spouse and children of the applicant.


The entity that hires the foreign citizen must request authorization before the Unit of Large Companies and Strategic Collectives of the General Secretariat of Emigration and Immigration, and must prove the existence of a professional relationship between the entity and the foreign citizen.

However, the way to prove that an entity can request this type of authorization may vary depending on the type of organization in question, for example: if it is a public university, public research organizations, higher education and research centers or business schools. However, if the applicant entity is a company or R + D + I center established in Spain, they will need to submit a favorable previous report from the General Directorate of Innovation and Competitiveness.

Once the authorization is granted, if the foreign citizen is outside of Spain, they must apply for an entry visa through the Consulate of Spain of their country of origin or residence.

Spanish migration policies

Before its integration into the European Union, Spain was a country with economic crises and high unemployment rates, consequences of the civil war. This context, which caused the emigration of the Spaniards to Europe and America, begins to change strongly after 1993, when Spain is part of the European Union (EU).

With the EU, Spain has benefited culturally and economically, becoming a country with a highly developed economy and high indicators of life for its citizens. For all this, adding to the enviable temperate and Mediterranean climate, Spain is one of the most attractive countries for migrants, not only from Latin America, Africa and Asia, but also for migrants from the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Russia and northern Europe.

Traditionally, Spanish migration policy has been oriented to the management of labor migration flows in accordance with the needs of the labor market, influencing security aspects but without internationalization of the economy. This conception that was useful in the past becomes insufficient in the face of the new world economic reality.

Note: The content of this page is merely indicative. Only the provisions of the regulations in force at the time the application is submitted is applicable.

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