Steps You Need to Take to Move to Spain


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Thinking of moving to Spain? You’re not alone! This gorgeous country has so much to offer for a fulfilling life, whether you’re looking for a lively city bursting with culture, or quiet corners of nature. It’s also part of the European Union, so mobility is also a definite feature for adventurers out there.

Obviously, moving to another country is no small feat, but fear not, this article is here to help you. We’ll explain some things related to:

  • Choosing where and how to make a home.
  • The nitty-gritty on visas, permits, and how to make them less of a headache.

Making a home

Spain is a vast country with a wide range of landscapes and cities to choose from. As with other countries, living and rent costs vary depending on the area. Here we will try to explain some basic costs that will hopefully help you make your choice.

In Madrid, for example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from €692.81 outside the city center to €934.83 in the city center. If you’re looking to find a place for a family or to live with roommates, the three-bedroom options averagely range from €1,097.11 (outside the city center) to €1,578.69 (within the center). Estimated monthly costs for a single person without rent is about €674.75, and for a family of four — about €2,398.42. 

Compared to Barcelona, the rent prices in Madrid are 3.59% higher, but the groceries and consumer prices are slightly more affordable. So, keep these nuances in mind when researching and making your choice.

You can start hunting for a place to live by scouring the internet, perhaps starting at some expat online communities or property portals. Some knowledge of Spanish can already have its advantages here, as some online portals only work in Spanish, and you want to better your chances at finding your dream deal!

Foreigner visa and permits

Depending on your status and needs as a foreigner in Spain, the visa and permits you need might differ. The one general rule for all foreigners, though, is the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). Read below to recognize which ones you specifically need.

For Students

A visa is not necessary for students coming from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. If you hail from other parts of the world and plan to study in Spain for more than three months, you will need a student visa (type D). You will also need a student’s residence card or a Foreign Identity Card, aka the TIE.

For the visa, you will need:

  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of your place of study
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • A medical certificate showing that you have no diseases that require quarantine
  • Proof of financial support
  • Proof of housing
  • Proof that you have a clean criminal record

Your university will likely help you with some of these papers, so keep in touch with them!

For Workers

In order to come to Spain as an employee, you will need to have a job fixed in Spain, whether it’s a highly-skilled profession or as a seasonal worker. Employed workers need their employers to apply for a visa on the worker’s behalf at the Spanish Ministry of Labor. Work permits can take eight months to process, so plan ahead!

There’s also the option to apply for a work visa as a freelance worker. The work visas are valid for one year but can be renewed if all the conditions are still met. The required documents for this freelance worker’s visa are: 

  • Proof of sufficient finances to support yourself
  • Proof of relevant skills and experience
  • Business plan (if applicable)
  • Contracts or commissions from companies
  • Required licenses or registrations

Foreign Identity Card or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE)

The TIE is a card that identifies the resident’s identity and confirms that the resident’s stay in Spain is legal. It is required for any non-EU citizen planning to stay legally in Spain for more than six consecutive months. It also serves as the final step in processing documents for those who move to Spain for permanent residence, work, or study.

As the TIE is a vital document for any foreigner staying in Spain, you should bear in mind to apply for it correctly, as it is no mere identification, but also opens up opportunities and grants you rights as a foreigner. 

As trivial as they may seem, make sure you don’t get tangled up in problems with these documents. That includes the photo you use to apply, too. In order to successfully apply for TIE, there are specific parameters for your photo. That includes how much space your face has to take up in the picture. But don’t worry, as there is the right tool to help you meet the photo requirements in order to apply for a TIE. Just follow the instructions and upload your picture to the online visa photo tool, and it will crop your photo according to the needed ratios, change your background, and even improve little details such as head tilt and contrast.

Make sure to plan well ahead of your move to Spain! Don’t forget to be mindful of your documentation as to not cause any hassle with the immigration laws. As long as you fulfill the requirements, though, you should have nothing to worry about.


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