Spanish immigration policy changes

Investors, highly-skilled workers and foreign nationals with dependents should benefit from policy changes introduced to improve investment and attract foreign talent to Spain. A new EU intracompany transferee visa has been introduced, the deadline to apply for an investor’s visa following a financial investment has been extended and eligible children over the age of 18 can qualify as dependents, among other improvements.


New EU Intracompany Transferee Category

A new intracompany transferee category - called the EU ICT visa - allows the holder to enter, reside and work in any EU country, enter Spain under the same visa, and travel to other EU countries as long as the next destination country’s entry formalities (if applicable) are fulfilled.  Employers outside of the EU can send eligible managers and specialists under this category on assignment to Spain for up to three years and foreign workers entering to receive training for up to one year. Applicants must fulfill certain registration requirements prior to travel to Spain to be able to work in Spain under this permit.


Processing Time

It takes 20 business days to process an EU ICT permit.  As long as the employee applies for the EU ICT visa within the 90-day allowable stay period in any Schengen country, he or she can remain in Spain while the application is pending.

Foreign workers seeking to obtain a new  EU ICT visa must wait until a six-month cooling-off period has passed to apply for a new EU ICT visa.


Third-Country Nationals Under the EU ICT Visa

Third-country nationals holding an EU ICT visa in an EU Member State can enter Spain under the EU ICT permit and can work once they complete registration formalities in Spain. Third-country intracompany transferees must first apply for authorization to the Large Companies and Strategic Sector Unit within the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.


Investor Visa Improvements

Foreign investors can now apply for a residence permit without applying for an investor visa if they are already in Spain under another legal status. Prior to this rule change, investors had to transfer their immigration status to investor visa status to obtain a residence permit.

Foreign investors can also now submit their visa applications through a designated representative, which should save the main foreign investor time since a personal appearance was previously required. 

Additionally, the deadline to apply for the visa after making a financial investment has been extended from 60 days to one year.


Eligible Children Over the Age of 18 Qualify as Dependents

Children over the age of 18 who are economically dependent on the principal applicant and who do not have another family unit can now qualify as dependents, qualifying them for a residence permit and automatic work rights in Spain. There may be additional documentation requirements that may apply for older dependents, although such changes have not yet been announced.    


What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Intracompany transferees seeking to travel within the EU and then to Spain should benefit from one visa application process that will allow the foreign national to work in Spain (as long as he or she complies with registration requirements in Spain). 

Investors should benefit from one application process for their residence permit.

Foreign nationals with older dependents should also benefit from the expansion of the qualifying age for dependent status.

Courtesy of Fragomen.