How to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

How to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

Every year, thousands of foreigners from all over the world move to Spain. A varied landscape combined with pleasant people, delicious food and good weather 365 days a year make the country an ideal place to start a new life. This can become anyone’s reality by obtaining a residence permit. Today, a residence permit in Spain can be obtained through employment, business, training, and as a result of large investments. Our article will answer questions related to Spanish residence requirements.


Which citizens do not need a visa to enter Spain

According to the Royal Decree 240/2007 of 16 February regarding the entry and residence in Spain for citizens from European Union member states and other states party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, citizens of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter Spain.

How to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

Visas for Spain

There are several types of visas for Spain that are dependent on the type of trip you are planning to make:

Airport transit visas

These visas allow the holder to cross the international transit area of a Spanish airport.

Short-term (Schengen) visas

These visas permit transit or stay in Spain and other Schengen states for a maximum of 3 months (90 days) within 180 days from the first date of entry into the Schengen area.

The visa-free period for tourists arriving in Spain on vacation can be extended by 3 months only in exceptional cases such as humanitarian, family, medical or other justifying circumstances.

National visas

These visas allow you to live, work, or study in Spain with the exception of citizens from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland or their family members traveling with them from these countries.

Border visas

Border visas are issued in exceptional circumstances like urgent humanitarian situations of national interest or international obligations.

The extension of this visa will also be exceptional if the person who received it proves the existence of humanitarian or force majeure reasons preventing them from leaving the Schengen area, or proves the existence of serious personal reasons justifying such an extension.

Advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a residence permit

To stay in Spain for a long time, you must apply for a residence permit.

Obtaining a residence permit in Spain has a number of positive and negative nuances.


  • You can include your relatives in the application so that they automatically receive a green card.
  • Each year of residence in Spain counts towards obtaining Spanish citizenship.
  • After obtaining a residence permit, you can travel freely throughout the European Union.
  • If you receive a residence permit for the first time, subsequent renewals will be easier allowing you to stay in the country for a long time.
  • Some residence permits such as a student visa can be issued as early as 20 days after the application is submitted.


  • The normal application process can sometimes be quite long (3 to 6 months).
  • You will need to renew your residence permit at the end of the first year by submitting additional documents.
  • Depending on the type of residence permit, you may not be eligible to work in the country.

How to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

How to obtain a residence permit in Spain

To obtain a residence permit, a foreigner must meet certain general requirements that apply overall:

  1. Not a citizen of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland.
  2. Not a relative of citizens of the countries mentioned in the previous point that are subject to EU regulations.
  3. Must legally be in Spanish territory.
  4. Have no convictions in Spain or countries of previous residence for crimes under the Spanish legal system.
  5. Have no prohibitions upon entering Spain.
  6. Not be in the status of non-return to Spain for 3 years.

Temporary and long-term residence permits

Temporary residence in Spain

Temporary residence is a provision that allows you to stay in Spain for more than 90 days and less than 5 years. Permits for a period of fewer than 5 years may be renewed periodically at the request of the person concerned and in consideration of the circumstances that served as the basis for their issuance.

An initial temporary residence permit without a work permit is granted to foreigners who have sufficient funds for themselves and, where applicable, for their family members.

The current legislation establishes the procedures and requirements necessary to obtain a residence and work permit in Spain to carry out profitable activities.

A temporary residence permit is issued in the following cases:

  • Work by invitation.
  • Family reunification.
  • Research work including in large companies.
  • The work of highly qualified specialists.
  • A foreigner who has voluntarily returned to their country.
  • Temporary residence permit excluding a work permit.
  • Exceptional circumstances (habitancy).

Other exceptional circumstances:

  • International protection.
  • Humanitarian reasons.
  • Cooperation with law enforcement, prosecutorial, judicial or national security or administrative authorities.
  • Cooperation with police, prosecutorial and judicial administrative bodies.

Long-term residence in Spain

Long-term residence is a provision that allows you to live and work in Spain indefinitely under the same conditions as Spaniards.

The right to long-term residence is reserved for foreign citizens who have had temporary residence in Spain for 5 years on a permanent basis and who meet the conditions established by law. Upon receipt of a long-term residence permit, the periods of prior and continuous residence in other EU member states are calculated. Accommodation is considered continued even if the foreigner temporarily left the national territory for vacation or other reasons established by law.

A permanent residence permit can be granted to migrants who can confirm that any of the following situations apply to them:

  • Receiving an old age and disability pension.
  • The status of a foreigner born in Spain and an adult residing in the country for 3 consecutive years.
  • Status of citizens of Spanish descent.
  • Refugee status.
  • The status of a foreigner who has made a significant contribution to the economic, scientific or cultural progress of the country and the improvement of Spain's prestige abroad.
  • The permanent residence permit is renewed every 5 years.

How to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

Ways to stay in Spain for more than 90 days

There are various ways to legally stay in Spain for more than 3 months:

  1. Receiving an education in Spain. The study visa is for those who are interested in studying or conducting research activities in Spain.
  2. Starting your own company.

    If you are ready to start your own business in Spain and thus obtain a residence, you have 2 options:

    • If the project is innovative and highly technological, you can apply for an entrepreneur visa. The approval of the Ministry of Economy will be required. It is important to work out a detailed business plan.
    • If the project is not innovative, then you can apply for a work permit as self-employed.
  3. "White Residence".

    If you want to live in the country without engaging in any economic or professional activity because you have enough funds, a a residence permit without the right to work is a suitable option. "White Residence" will allow you to live in Spain for 1 year from the date of the first issue.

    It is renewed if you have lived in Spain for 183 days of a calendar year. It is valid for citizens arriving from countries outside the European Union.

  4. Hired work.

    A residence permit with the right to hired work can be obtained with an official contract from a Spanish employer and certified by the Spanish Ministry of Labor.

    Due to the difficult labor market and high unemployment rate in Spain, it is very difficult to obtain a work permit.

  5. Buying real estate.

    A golden visa is issued to individuals who buy real estate in Spain worth at least € 500 00r0. These residence permits are issued within 2 months. You can buy a house in Spain by investing money in this way. Holders of this visa can travel freely throughout Europe. After 5 years, the investor and their family receive the right to permanent residence. To obtain a golden visa, you must provide a sales contract and certificate of transaction registration in the real estate registry to confirm the purchase of an apartment in Spain.

  6. Investing.

    A residence permit for investors is provided to foreigners who are ready to invest 1,000,000 euros in the Spanish economy. Along with the applicant, their family also receives status if there are sufficient funds.

  7. Marriage.

    Marriage to a Spanish citizen is an easy path to obtain a residence permit but you must live in a union in Spain for at least 1 year.

  8. Family reunification.

    All foreigners who have received a residence permit in Spain and have lived there for at least a year can bring their relatives to the country.

    This refers to the relocation of spouses, children and parents, although if certain requirements are met, other, less direct relatives can also be regrouped through the extended family program.

  9. Labor, social, and family settled life.
  10. Refugee status.

    If the move to Spain was dictated by a natural disaster or military conflicts in the previous country of residence, you can apply for international protection.

    Refugee status is initially granted for 6 months and can be extended until you receive a response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Extension of a stay of more than 90 days in Spain

The first residence permit is usually issued for 1–2 years and can then be extended twice for 2 years before switching to permanent residence.

An important condition that affects the extension of a residence permit is the preservation of the grounds on which it was obtained (i.e. extension of studies, preservation of assets in the country, living in a marriage with a Spanish citizen, etc.), as well as staying in the country for at least 183 days a year. This excludes Golden Visa holders.

Compliance with Spanish laws also plays an important role (for example, timely payment of taxes, children receiving an education in school, etc.).

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