Can I live in Spain permanently?

vivir en españa de forma permanente

Are you wondering if you can live in Spain permanently as a foreigner? Are you planning to immigrate to Spain from the USA and you are looking for more information about the Spanish residency visa and its requirements? Here we will explain everything carefully.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain and starting a new chapter in your life? Spain offers many opportunities for people who want to move permanently, and we are sure you have your reasons for moving in.

Today, in this article from BCN advisors (your real estate in Barcelona), we want to talk more in-depth about how to get residency in Spain, and some of the reasons why moving in is a good idea. Along the text we will put you some examples of Barcelona’s real estate market, that is where we are stronger and we can give you more advises, as we are currently doing in our blog articles, where we discuss about the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain, the things you must know if you are wondering how to look for a flat in Barcelona, or the differences between living in Barcelona vs Madrid.

ÂżReady to start?

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Which opportunities does Spain offer?

It offers some of the best universities

If you’re thinking of moving to Spain to study, you’re making a good choice. Spain offers some of the best universities in the world. In fact, in the ranking list of “best cities to study 2019” 3 of the best cities in the first 100 are in Spain, ¿cool right? The cities are Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia respectively.

One of the best countries to live

If you are planning to immigrate to Spain from the USA, there’s a wide range of reasons why it is one of the best countries to live in, and specially if you are looking for apartments for sale in Barcelona. One of the most remarkable reasons is the weather. There are not many countries that can say this, but Spain has every right to. Summers are hot, especially in the south, but in the north, they’re completely bearable. As for the winter, it happens the same as with summer, it’s cold but not so much you can’t tolerate it, which makes it perfect to live in. Obviously, as more luxury properties you choose, better the life will be, as our luxury penthouses for sale in Barcelona from where you will be able to enjoy the best views of the catalan city.

How to live in Spain permanently

Now, let’s get into what we want to know: how can I permanently stay and live in Spain? Which are the Spanish residency requirements we have to follow? 

First things first, we have to fit ourselves in a group of the following ones, to know which process we have to do.

  • You live in the European Union
  • You live somewhere outside the European Union

If you’ve answered the first one, the whole process will be easier for you. Let us guide you through the process to know how to become a resident in Spain. You must read some of the things that are mandatory to have to move into Spain (either you answered the first one or the second one, you we recommend you to have a look into the post where we talk about the best places to buy a property in Spain for expats). Here’s a list of the things you need to check:

  1. Types of visa and the formalities to live in Spain
  2. Requirements to live in Spain
  3. What nationality do you have 
  4. What do you have to do in order to expand your permanent residence

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Moving as a European citizen

As we’ve talked about earlier, if you live in a country that takes part in the European Union, it won’t be as hard for you to move in. As we know if you have a European ID, you have three months of stay in any country in the European Union. Once this time has passed they might ask the reason why you’re staying longer than that. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Once they ask you, depending on your situation, you’ll need different kinds of information:

  • If you’re a student: you’ll need three things: the tuition for the degree you will be studying, and a certificate of support funds. You’ll also need to pay and present a certificate of health support.

  • If you’re a worker: you’ll only need a work certificate.

  • If you’re an independent worker: you’ll only need to prove (with a certificate) that you’re indeed an independent worker.

  • If you’re retired: you’ll need a health and support fund certificate.

Now you’re all set to live in Spain for a while more, or until you live for 5 years and you get your permanent residence. 

Permanent residence

After five years, you’ll automatically get permanent residence. ¡Congratulations! Now, here are some questions people have when getting their residence permit.

Frequently asked questions about getting permanent residence

ÂżIf I go on a holiday vacation to another country?

If we go visit another country for less than 6 months, it won’t affect our residence.

ÂżDo I lose my residence if I have to go back to my country to serve in the military?

This won’t affect your residence at all.

ÂżDo I lose my residence if I have to move for work?

This won’t affect your residence at all.

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What if I’m not from Europe

“But I’m from the USA and I want to know the Spain residency requirements for us citizens”, maybe you are thinking…

Well, in this case, you have four different options. There is something called “stay visas” and “temporal visas”, and you must choose between the following options.

  • Short stay visas or non-profit: from 3 to 6 months, you can study but not work.
  • Long-stay visas: you can stay for a maximum of a year, but only 20 hours a week.
  • Temporal visa of employment: you must have a contract with a Spanish company, and be older than 16. You’ll be able to stay for more than 3 months, but less than 5 years.
  • Temporal visa for self-employment: you have to be 18 years old or older. You’ll be able to stay for more than 3 months, but less than 5 years. All the profit you make will be from your activity.

This is the first filter you have to pass before having the Spain residence permit.

Permanent residence as a non-European citizen

These are the spain residency requirements for US citizens for example:

  • If you have a temporary visa: you’ll get the residence after 5 years.
  • If you have a permanent residence: you’ll get the residence after 10 years.
  • If you have a stay visa: it depends. if you were studying, it only counts 50% of the time you were here (ex: 2 years; 1 year). If after this you get a resident visa after, and you stay the same amount of time you were studying, it will count the complete years.

Here we let you a blog post we wrote in order to help people who are looking for buying a property in Spain as an American.

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