Girl who has a visa to Spain in Tenerife

This article is from our sister site Moving to Spain and is reproduced here with permission.

There are several Spain visa types for short visits and long-term immigration. Read on to find the perfect immigration option for a holiday, visit, or long-term move. These visa options are for citizens of all non-EU / EEA countries, including American and British citizens. All 90+ day visas require private health insurance and a Spain residence permit.

Spain Visa Type< 90 days> 90 daysWork in SpainHealth Insurance
Non-Lucrative Visa
Digital Nomad VisaRestricted
Golden Visa
Study VisaRestricted
Job Seeker VisaRestricted
Working Holiday VisaRestricted
Entrepreneur Visa
Skilled Professional Visa
Spain Work Permit
Spain Visa Type Comparison

Remember: European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens can freely travel to Spain without a visa. There is a registration process for EU/EEA citizens moving to Spain, but no visa is required.

READ ALSO: Residency in Spain for EU Citizens >> 2 Steps + Easy Shortcut

How to Stay In Spain Longer than 90 Days

Long-Stay Spain Visa Types (> 90 days)

Spain has several long-stay visa types if you want to move to Spain. Some allow work, while others do not. Many are a pathway to Spanish permanent residence (PR) and Spanish citizenship by naturalization.

If you want to fast-track your visa research and planning, book a consultation with our Spanish immigration lawyer partner. They are experts in this area and will help you choose the perfect option and submit a successful application.

Important: Private Health Insurance

All the visas below require an approved private health insurance policy that meets the Spain immigration requirements. You can get easy quotes from three excellent companies approved by the immigration department here >> Spain Private Health Insurance Quotes.

Non-Lucrative Visa (Spain retirement visa)

Digital Nomad Visa

  • Best for: International remote workers, consultants, freelancers, and digital nomads.
  • Duration: Initial visa 1 year, with indefinite 2-year renewals.
  • Requirements and application process: Spain Digital Nomad Visa Guide.

Golden Visa / Investment Visa

  • Best for: Those looking to invest in the Spanish economy. This includes anyone planning to buy a home in Spain for over €500,000.
  • Duration: Initial visa 1 year, with indefinite 2-year renewals.
  • Requirements and application process: Spain Golden Visa Guide.

Entrepreneur Visa / Autónomo

  • Best for: People looking to start a business in Spain.
  • Duration: Initial visa 1 year, renewable for 4 additional years.
  • Requirements and application process: Spain Work Permit Guide.

Highly Skilled Professional Visa

  • Best for: Senior professionals with a qualifying job offer.
  • Duration: Initial visa 2 years, renewable.
  • Requirements and application process: Spain Work Permit Guide.

Spain Work Permit

  • Best for: Employees with a qualifying job offer from a Spanish company.
  • Duration: Initial visa 1 year, with indefinite 2-year renewals.
  • Requirements and application process: Spain Work Permit Guide.

Study Visa

Job Search Visa / Post-Study Work Visa

  • Best for: Students who have completed a qualified course of study in Spain and are looking for work in Spain.
  • Duration: 1 year.
  • More Information: This visa is not a work permit; it is a bridging visa that allows you to qualify for a residence permit.

Working Holiday Visa

  • Best for: Young adult Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea aged from 18 – 30 or 35.
  • Duration: 1 year.
  • More Information: You can work for six out of the twelve months.

Do You Need a Visa to Stay in Spain for Six Months?

Yes, non-EU/EEA citizens need a long-stay visa to live in Spain for six months (as it exceeds the 90/180-day rule). There are several options. You could use a six-month student visa for an appropriate length of study. Alternatively, you can use a Spanish visa type like the non-lucrative or digital nomad and leave Spain after six months.

Long Stay Spain Visa Type D issued in Manchester.
Long Stay Spain Visa Type D

Short-Stay Spain Visa Types (Less than 90 days)

Visa-exempt countries. Citizens of many countries can travel to Spain for up to 90 days without a visa. These countries include the United States (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, and New Zealand. See here for the full list of visa-exempt countries.

Spain SCHENGEN Visa Types (Type C Spanish Visa)

The SCHENGEN visa allows you 90 days within the SCHENGEN area. There are 8 Type C options:

  1. Spanish Transit Visa – transit through a Spanish airport with a final destination outside the Schengen Area.
  2. Spanish Tourist Visa – holidays or sightseeing.
  3. Spanish Visitor Visa – visiting friends or family living in Spain.
  4. Spanish Business Visa – business activities in Spain.
  5. Spanish Visa for Official Visit – government official travel.
  6. Spanish Medical Visa – authorized medical treatment in Spain.
  7. Spanish Study Visa – short-term courses of up to three months.
  8. Spanish Visa for Cultural, Sports, and Film Crews – work related to a qualifying field.

Spain SCHENGEN Visa application process

Where to apply: You’ll apply at your home country’s nearest Spanish consulate or embassy. Check the local embassy website for details.

Documents required: You’ll need your passport, proof of accommodation and funds, a return ticket, and health insurance. For options 3 – 8 above, you’ll need invitations, bookings, acceptance letters or similar supporting documentation.

All documentation should be included with your completed application form.

Need Help with your Spain Visa or Residency?

Raquel and her team have helped over 600 of our clients with their visas, and we get fantastic feedback on their service. They offer a 30-minute consultation to confirm the best visa route for you, walk you through each step of the process, and answer any questions.

Fees for Spain Visa Types and Residency Permits

You’ll need to pay a fee for a visa, work permit, or residence permit. The cost varies depending on the permission type and your nationality. Unfortunately, US citizens moving to Spain are charged higher rates than other nationalities due to a reciprocal agreement between governments.

Fee for USA citizensFee for other nationalities
Student Visa$155€80£69$88
Employed Work Visa$183€80£69$88
Residency (Non-Lucrative)$135€80£69$88
Family Reunion$135€80£69$88
Work Visa$135€80£69$88
Religious Activities$135€80£69$88
Self-Employed Work Visa$261€80£69$88
New Entrepreneurial Law 14/2013$183€80£69$88
Spain visa costs for US and non-US citizens.

Visa vs. Residence Permit

These two terms can be confusing and are sometimes used interchangeably. In short, a visa allows you to enter Spain and clear immigration at the border. There are many types of Spain visas to choose from.

Then, your residence permit allows you to stay in Spain legally. Check out our guide to Spanish residency and residence permits for more information.

Spanish Permanent Residency (PR)

After legally living in Spain for 5 years, you can qualify for Spanish Permanent Residency (PR) and stay in Spain. Once you have PR, you can legally work in Spain, regardless of the type of visa you originally used to enter Spain.

Will any Health Insurance Meet the Requirements?

The government is very strict about healthcare coverage that qualifies for Spanish immigration applications. There are four key criteria:

  1. Fully comprehensive with no co-payment.
  2. No waiting period, so the policy offers full cover from the date of your arrival in Spain.
  3. From an authorized insurance company in Spain.
  4. There are no excluded pre-existing conditions.

Read more in our guide to private health insurance in Spain.

Spain Visa Types > How to Choose?

Each Spanish immigration option gives you different rights and has different requirements. To get started, check out the detailed guides using the links in the article. Or, you can chat with our brilliant Spanish Immigration law partner firm. They’ll listen to you and help you pick the perfect Spain visa types for you and your family.

FAQ – Spain Visa Types

What are the types of Spanish visas?

There are two main types of Spanish visas. Type C is a short-stay visa for less than 90 days, and Type D visas are for stays of more than 90 days.

Can I get a long-term visa for Spain?

Many long-term Spanish visa types cover retirees, employees, remote workers, investors, students, young people, digital nomads, and the self-employed.

What is Spain visa type C?

The Type C visa is a short-stay SCHENGEN visa for visits of less than 90 days.

What is a category D visa in Spain?

Category D visas are for long-term residency in Spain. These include the non-lucrative visa, digital nomad visa, golden visa, and Spanish work visas.

What Is The 90-180 Schengen visa rule?

You can stay a maximum of 90 days in the SCHENGEN area in any 180-day period.

Do I need valid health insurance when traveling to Spain?

Yes, you’ll need valid qualifying health insurance to cover the duration of your time in Spain. Travel insurance is good for a Type C short-stay, but you’ll need Spanish private health cover for a long-stay visa.

Can I get a visa to stay in Spain for 6 months?

Yes, you can apply for a student visa for a six-month course of study. Alternatively, you can use options like the non-lucrative visa or digital nomad visa and leave Spain after six months.


  1. Hi !!
    I have gone through from this article
    I found it too useful for those who want to get Spain Residence

  2. Very informative blog! I am thinking of moving to Spain with my Danish boyfriend. We have proof of living together for over 2 years. Do you know if I would be able to get a visa with a defacto relationship? Or would we need to be married? Also do family visas automatically gain access to working rights in Spain?

    1. The spouse or registered civil partner of an EU citizen can live and work in Spain. IF you are in an unregistered de facto relationship it can be a little more complicated as you’ll need to prove the basis of your claim. I’d suggest discussing your personal circumstances with a qualified and trusted Spain immigration professional.

  3. I have a house in Spain which I purchased 11 years ago. How is its value determined in respect to qualifying for a Golden Visa?, assuming its value can be used used?

    1. Hi Ian. Only property purchased after December 2013 can be used towards a Golden visa application. Unfortunately, if you purchased your property in 2010, you won’t be able to use it.

  4. What if I want to move from the US to Spain for 1 year with my family, and continue to operate my company remotely? I don’t want a work permit, and I don’t fit the entrepreneur visa. Is my only option the non-lucrative?

    1. Hi Ryan. Your situation is a bit of a grey area at present. I’d recommend discussing your options with a qualified immigration lawyer to find the best way forward.

  5. Hi Alastair Johnson,

    Thank you very much for your article. Everything is very well explained and in great detail.

    I am from Venezuela and I am thinking of going to live in Spain next year and look for work there. My problem is that I am not sure which visa I could apply for.

    I recently read about ETIAS, a new travel permit that the EU is going to launch to travel to any of the 26 member countries of the European Schengen area.

    I do not know if this electronic authorization will allow me to be in Spain while I find a job or if it is not available for those cases. What I read is that it will be a mandatory requirement from the end of 2022.

    So my question is: will I be able to look for work in Spain with an ETIAS? Do I have to apply for a visa and an ETIAS at the same time? Are they compatible?

    Thanks again and I hope you have a nice day,

    All the best,


    1. Hi Ronaldo. The ETIAS is not a visa or residency permit. It is a travel system for visa-exempt nationals visiting the Schengen area. It’ll be a simple IT system that you’ll self-report so that your details can be checked against international criminal and security databases. The ETIAS ins not due for launch until 2023 (at present). If you want to work in Spain, you’ll need an appropriate Spain Work Permit, please see the link for details of the ten options available. Regards, Alastair

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