Living in Spain: Legally any foreigner can stay in Spain up to 90 days as a tourist. If you wish to stay longer then 90 days you would have to apply for a “permanencia”, however you can only get one per year. When you want to be living in Spain for 6 months or longer per year you should apply for a “residencia”.
If you are a non EU citizen and you wish to apply for a “residencia” you should apply for a “visado de residencia” from the Spanish consulate in your country. This will be your first step towards living in Spain.
European Union citizens living in Spain
Even European Union citizens need to obtain Spanish documentation when they reside or do business in Spain, especially that relating to Spanish Social Security medical care, for retired EU citizens and for all those working in Spain.
Under European Union regulations, Spain can no longer call this document a “permit” for EU citizens, but a foreigner’s card is still necessary. Non-EU citizens must apply for a permit and they face stricter requirements, such as obtaining a special residence visa from the Spanish Consulate in their home country even before they apply for residence and work permits in Spain.
An EU citizen who intends living in Spain as a retiree should obtain EU form E-121 before he comes to Spain . This form entitles persons who are paid up in the Social Security system of their home country to obtain medical care from the Spanish Social Security system.
These “E” for “European” forms are readily available in all EU countries. You must obtain it, however, in your home country before you come to Spain.
EU citizens who are not entitled to receive pensions as a result of working in their home countries will have to show that they receive regular income from some other source. They will also be required to obtain medical insurance from a company operating in Spain.All in all Spain does not make it very difficult for EU citizens to start living in Spain
Non-European Union citizens living in Spain
First step in order to be to living in Spain is go to the Spanish consulate in your home country. Being from a non-EU country, you will need to obtain the visado de residencia, a visa you must present when you apply for a residence permit after you have arrived in Spain.
The visa can only be obtained from the Spanish Consulate in your home country before you leave for Spain.
There are, in fact, seven different types of visa, depending on whether you are a retired pensioner living in Spain, an investor, an executive of a multinational company, or carrying out a cultural or sporting activity while living in Spain. Make sure you request the right one for your circumstances.
A second step on your way to living in Spain is to go to your bank and make sure they understand exactly how your money is to be sent to you. Make absolutely sure they know a corresponding bank in the area of Spain where you will be living.
Transfers of money can take weeks when not properly handled.There are bank branches which simply do not understand international transactions. There are others that do not have corresponding banks in your home country.
You will need to establish that the bank you choose in Spain has a working relationship with your bank at home and can readily receive funds from them.
Transfers have been known to get stuck in a main office in Madrid and not reach their destination until weeks, even months later, after heated telephone calls and faxes.Once you have a bank account in Spain, you can deposit your foreign cheques, or make direct transfers, and then write euro cheques for payments on your new property, or rent, making money matters much easier.
Holding a Spanish bank account will work in your favour when you apply for your visa at the consulate in your country. It is not, however, strictly necessary.
For non-EU persons, this application for the visa is your first legal step towards acquiring residency in Spain. It gives the Spanish authorities a chance to examine your financial situation before they decide whether you will make a useful resident. Once you have the visa, you are practically assured of obtaining the residence permit.
Information sheets issued by Spanish consulates in various countries will show how much income you need in order to get this visa.
The Spanish consulate in Washington, DC, requires US citizens to show an income of at least $10,000 a year per person if they wish to retire in Spain. An American wishing to start a business or invest in Spain has to demonstrate capital of about $100,000.
If you have this income, you are all right. If you haven’t, do not assume that you will be denied the visa. Many other details also come into the picture. You may have capital which is not at the moment producing income, for example, or your income may not start until some future date.
The consular officials will judge each case on its merits. But they do want to be sure that you have sufficient means to support yourself in Spain. If you intend to start a business, for example, you will need to show that you are bringing into Spain enough money to do so, unless you are from an EU country.