How to Get a Spanish Work Visa in 2024

A common question in our Move to Spain Facebook group is: “How do I get a Spanish work visa so I can live in Spain?”. The good news is that there are a few ways to go about this, however, some are trickier to pursue than others.

Traditional Work Visas

Individuals pursuing employment opportunities with Spanish companies or organisations can opt for the traditional work visa route. This pathway typically involves securing a job offer from a Spanish employer willing to sponsor the visa application. The employer must justify the need for hiring a foreign worker by demonstrating that the position cannot filled locally. This need is usually justified through one of two pathways.

Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difícil Cobertura (Catalog of Occupations that are Difficult to Cover)

The Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difícil Cobertura as of 2024

As previously mentioned, a work visa in Spain will require sponsorship from the company and approval from the Spanish government. Approval is given when the job is listed on the Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difícil Cobertura (Catalog of Occupations that are Difficult to Cover). The list is region specific and is updated on a regular basis. So, make sure the version of the list you are viewing is up to date.

As of the first trimester of 2024, the list is over 40 pages long. It contains jobs in the Construction and Installation Industry, the Sports Industry, and the Maritime Industry. The full list can be found here.

An Exemption from the Work Authorisation

It is possible to receive a work visa in Spain if a suitable role is not mentioned in the Catalog. The second pathway is known as an exemption from work authorisation. To qualify, one of the following job requirements must be met:

  1.  Technicians and scientists, invited or hired by the Spanish authorities or public institutions whose purpose is to promote and develop research
  2. Teachers, technicians, researchers and scientists invited or hired by a Spanish university. It will only be considered the foreign academics hired or invited by a Spanish university to carry out teaching, research or academic tasks.
  3. Managerial, teaching or research staff, from cultural or educational institutions, private or state-owned, with renowned reputation, officially recognised by Spain, that will carry out cultural or educational programs from the respective countries. The studies, programs, degrees or diplomas issued must be valid and recognised by the countries on which they depend.
  4. Civil or military officials from Foreign States Administrations that come to Spain to perform activities under co-operational agreements with the Spanish Administration.
  5. Correspondents from foreign media who develop their journalistic activity in Spain, duly accredited by the Spanish authorities, as correspondents or special correspondents.
  6. Members of International Scientific Missions duly authorised by the relevant Spanish administration that will engage in studies or research activities programmed by an International organisation or agency.
  7. Religious ministers and members of the Church hierarchy, faiths and religious communities, and professed religious of religious orders.

If you don’t meet any of these requirements, there are a few other routes for a work visa in Spain.

Self-Employed Permit or “Residencia de Trabajo por Cuenta Propia”

For entrepreneurs aiming to establish and operate their own businesses in Spain, the self-employed permit, or “residencia por cuenta propia,” serves as the primary pathway. This permit grants individuals the authority to establish and manage their enterprises within Spanish borders. To begin, one must familiarise themselves with the legalities and understand the specific sector in which they plan to operate. Additionally, obtaining the requisite licenses and crafting a robust business plan outlining the venture’s feasibility and economic contributions are imperative. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and adhere to any sector-specific regulations to ensure a smooth application process.

Digital Nomad Visa

For freelancers and remote workers seeking a flexible lifestyle in Spain, the Digital Nomad Visa presents an attractive option. This visa enables individuals to live and work in Spain without the need for traditional employment sponsorship. Qualifying for this visa entails demonstrating a stable income stream derived from remote work with a company outside of Spain.


If you need further assistance, Just Law Solicitors has a Specialist Immigration Lawyer, Ana Liabina. You can book a consultation with her at

📞WhatsApp +34 663 373 535




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