Entrepreneur Visa for Spain: Requirements and Application Process
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Entrepreneur Visa for Spain: Requirements and Application Process

How to apply for the Spain Entrepreneur Visa and obtain residency

Spain’s dynamic economy presents an exceptional opportunity for entrepreneurial ventures, making it an increasingly popular destination for business-minded individuals worldwide. The nation’s Entrepreneur’s Law has paved the way for the entrepreneur visa for Spain—a specialized residency permit that not only facilitates the establishment of new companies but also offers residency advantages. This comprehensive guide delves into the essence of the Spain entrepreneur visa, outlining its myriad benefits and the precise application process. Whether you’re contemplating a startup or expanding your business footprint, understanding how to navigate Spain’s entrepreneurial landscape is crucial. Join us as we explore the essential steps to turning your business aspirations into Spanish success stories.

Close-up of a visa stamp in a passport for securing a Spain entrepreneur visa.

What is the Entrepreneur Visa in Spain?

The entrepreneur visa for Spain is a residence permit designed for non-EU nationals with an innovative business venture that contributes to the Spanish economy’s interests. This permit allows entrepreneurs, along with their immediate family—including spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents—to live in Spain for an initial period of three years, with the potential for renewal. The visa targets projects that promise to generate employment, attract investment, utilize advanced technology, and contribute to the socio-economic development of Spain.

The legal foundation of this visa lies in the 14/2013 Entrepreneur’s Law, established on September 27, 2013. The law aims to facilitate the establishment and internationalization of entrepreneurial ventures. The entrepreneur visa is one of several visas under this law, including visas for investors (REM) (learn all about Spain’s Investment Visa) , highly skilled professionals (TAC), intra-company transfers (TTI), and training or research (RIN).

Additionally, family members (RFI) of visa holders can also obtain residency, ensuring that entrepreneurs can embark on their Spanish business journey with their loved ones by their side.

Unlike other permits governed by general immigration law, the entrepreneur visa offers a longer residency period and a faster resolution process.

To qualify, entrepreneurs must present a robust business plan that demonstrates innovation and a lack of similar competitors in the Spanish market. The project must be original, technologically advanced, and have the potential to create jobs. Supporting documents such as patents, recommendation letters, or existing clients can bolster the application’s success.

Navigating the entrepreneur visa process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Lawants offers you a seamless journey, with a team of lawyers and economists dedicated to making your business setup in Spain straightforward and successful. Ready to turn your innovative idea into a reality? Reach out to Lawants today and take the first step towards your Spanish entrepreneurial dream.

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Do you need an Entrepreneur Visa to Start a Business in Spain? Differences with other Spanish Visas

The entrepreneur visa is not the only pathway to launching a business in Spain, but it is specifically tailored for those introducing innovative projects that align with the country’s economic interests. If your venture involves cutting-edge technology, novel data analysis methods, or a unique business model, the entrepreneur visa for Spain is likely the most suitable option. It offers advantages such as a faster resolution process and the ability to apply from within Spain or through a consulate.

However, if your project does not embody this level of innovation, you might consider the self-employed worker visa. This permit is more common and applicable for traditional business models but requires application from outside Spain. 

For entrepreneurs whose activities do not meet the criteria for these visas, there are other options. The spanish Golden Visa allows significant investors and their families to obtain residency quickly, potentially leading to permanent residence and citizenship. Alternatively, the Business Visa caters to those looking to engage in short-term business activities such as meetings or training in Spain.

It’s important to note that while these alternatives exist, the entrepreneur visa stands out for its focus on truly original and disruptive business ideas

As we delve deeper into this article, we will clarify what constitutes a valid business idea for this visa and emphasize its importance in the application process. Ultimately, selecting the right visa depends on your specific business objectives and how they match with Spanish immigration requirements.

What are the benefits of the Spain Entrepreneur Visa?

The Spain entrepreneur visa is a gateway to numerous advantages for innovative business minds looking to establish themselves in Spain. Here are the key benefits that make this visa a coveted option for entrepreneurs:

  • Simplified Work Authorization: This visa streamlines the process of obtaining work authorization, bypassing the stringent criteria typically associated with regular work visas.
  • Schengen Area Access: Holders enjoy free movement within the Schengen zone, allowing for easy travel across multiple European countries.
  • Remote Application Convenience: There’s no need to be physically present in Spain during the application process; you can appoint a representative to handle it on your behalf.
  • Family Inclusion: A joint application feature permits family members—including your spouse, dependent children under 18, and financially dependent parents over 65—to apply simultaneously, facilitating a collective move to Spain.
  • Validity: The entrepreneur visa stands out for its extended validity period of three years, in contrast to the standard one-year duration of other visas. 

Applicants can also initiate the process from within Spain on a tourist visa, which is particularly beneficial for those already exploring business opportunities in the country. Moreover, the Spanish authorities prioritize these applications, ensuring an expedited decision typically within 20 days

Spain Entrepreneur Visa: Requirements

To secure the Entrepreneur Visa for Spain, there are a set of pivotal requirements that applicants must satisfy. These can be broadly categorized into three main areas: the business idea, the applicant’s professional profile, and the business plan, alongside other general prerequisites.

  • Business Idea: The cornerstone of the visa application is an innovative business concept that is unique and offers something new to the Spanish market. The project should be technologically advanced, potentially using algorithms or complex operations, and demonstrate its capacity to stimulate Spain’s economy by creating jobs and investment opportunities.
  • Applicant’s Professional and Academic Profile: The applicant must exhibit a strong educational background and professional experience relevant to the proposed business venture. This includes providing evidence of qualifications, past work experience, and the motivation behind the entrepreneurial idea. The applicant’s skills and expertise should align with the demands of the proposed business.
  • Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan is critical to the application process. It should detail the nature of the professional activity, market analysis, financial projections, funding sources, marketing strategies, and expected economic impact on Spain, including job creation.

Beyond these specific criteria, applicants must also meet general requirements such as being a non-EU national over 18 years old with no criminal record in Spain or any other country where they’ve lived in the past five years. Additionally, they must not currently be in Spain illegally, have comprehensive health insurance coverage in Spain, and possess sufficient financial means (at least €30,250 in their bank account).

Supplementary materials that support the viability of the business idea can bolster an application. This could include letters from potential investors or customers who validate or express interest in the product or service.

By meticulously adhering to these requirements and presenting a robust business plan that underscores innovation and economic benefit to Spain, entrepreneurs can enhance their prospects of obtaining this sought-after visa.

Official stamping approval on documents for an entrepreneur visa for Spain.

Where do you apply for the Spanish entrepreneur visa?

Securing a Spanish entrepreneur visa begins at the “Unidad de Grandes Empresas” (UGE), or Large Business Unit, located in Madrid. However, applicants need not visit Madrid to submit their documentation, as the process can be initiated from abroad or within Spain, with procedures varying slightly based on the applicant’s location.

For those outside of Spain, the journey starts by obtaining the permit for entrepreneurs and business activity from the Spanish consulate in their home country. Upon approval, they can apply for the residence visa, which facilitates entry into Spain. Conversely, individuals already in Spain on legal grounds can directly apply for the business activity permit.

Applicants within Spain have four options to submit their application:

  • Online submission through the UGE’s electronic headquarters, requiring a digital certificate.
  • Utilizing the common electronic registry of the Ministry of Finance and Public Function, also requiring a Spain digital certificate.
  • In-person submission at the UGE’s Madrid office.
  • Submitting documents at any public registry office under the government’s subdelegation in their city, where documents are digitized and sent to the UGE.

After crafting a business plan, it must be reviewed for validity by either the Directorate-General for International Trade and Investments (if applying from abroad) or the Ministry of Economic Affairs (if applying from within Spain).

ENISA, Spain’s National Innovation Company, evaluates professional profiles, business plans, and potential societal contributions. A favorable report from ENISA is pivotal for a successful entrepreneur visa application.

Let’s see the sept-by-step application process.

How to get the Spain Entrepreneur Visa: Application Procedure

Securing a Spain Entrepreneur Visa involves a sequence of well-defined steps. This guide provides an inclusive overview, ensuring you understand each phase of the process:

  • Business Plan Preparation and Submission to ENISA: Start by creating a detailed business plan. Submit this plan to ENISA (National Innovation Company) for approval, highlighting your business’s innovation, feasibility, and economic impact.
  • Entrepreneur Visa Application to UGE-CE: Following your business plan submission, electronically send your visa application to the Large Business and Strategic Groups Unit (UGE-CE). UGE-CE evaluates your professional experience and suitability to manage the proposed business.
  • ENISA and UGE-CE Coordination: ENISA’s approval of your business plan is communicated to UGE-CE, which then processes your residence authorization. If you don’t receive a response within 20 days, the application is typically considered approved through ‘positive administrative silence’.
  • Processing Time Considerations: The entire process from business plan submission to final resolution can take up to 4 months. UGE-CE generally processes the residence authorization within 20 days, but ENISA’s review of the business plan may take up to 3 months.
  • Simultaneous Applications: When applying from within Spain, it’s advisable to apply to both ENISA and UGE-CE at the same time for efficient processing.
  • Visa Issuance for Applicants Abroad: After receiving approval and if you’re applying from outside Spain, collect your one-year visa from the Spanish consulate. This visa permits you to enter Spain.
  • Arrival in Spain and Fingerprint Appointment: Once in Spain, schedule an appointment for fingerprint registration. This is a necessary step for obtaining your Foreigner Identity Card (TIE).
  • Exchange Visa for Residency Card: Use the one-year visa period to apply for and exchange it for a three-year residency card, allowing you to legally reside and operate your business in Spain.
  • Applying from Within Spain: If you’re already in Spain on a different visa (like a tourist or student visa) and your application is approved, you can start your business. Additionally, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at a police office for the three-year residency card process.
  • TIE Collection: After your fingerprint appointment, you’ll be instructed on when to collect your TIE. Usually, this is available after 20-30 days.
  • Starting and Operating Your Business: With the visa or residency card, you can officially start your business operations in Spain, adhering to the initially approved business plan.

It’s essential to be thorough and meticulous at each step of this process. The Spain Entrepreneur Visa is an excellent opportunity for non-EU nationals to contribute to the Spanish economy through innovative business ventures.

Spain Entrepreneur Visa: Required Documents

For the entrepreneur:

  1. National visa application form, completed and signed.
  2. Recent passport-size, color photograph with a clear background.
  3. Valid, unexpired passport with a minimum validity of 1 year and two blank pages.
  4. Favourable report on the project, addressing job creation, the applicant’s professional profile, business plan, and added value for the Spanish economy.
  5. Proof of sufficient financial means for the entrepreneur and any accompanying family members.
  6. Criminal record check certificate from countries of residence over the past 5 years, legalized or with the Hague Apostille.
  7. Health insurance contracted with an insurer authorized to operate in Spain.
  8. Proof of residence in the consular district or evidence of in-person classes within it.
  9. If applicable, proof of representative’s identity and capacity, along with power of attorney.
  10. Payment of the visa fee in local currency.

For family members:

  1. All documents from sections 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10 as applicable to each family member.
  2. Documents proving family relationship with the entrepreneur such as birth or marriage certificates, registration as an unmarried couple, or evidence of an unregistered partnership.
  3. For adult children, proof of financial dependence and civil status.
  4. For ascending relatives, proof that they are under the entrepreneur’s care.

Additional requirements may include:

  • Complete passport and a copy for verification purposes.
  • Private medical insurance with no deductibles or co-payments valid for at least one year.
  • Economic means to support oneself and any business endeavors for three years based on IPREM standards.
  • The favorable report confirming the validity of the entrepreneurship idea.
  • Proof of payment for the corresponding fee and a filled application form available from official sources.

When preparing your application:

  • Ensure you have a bank account balance certificate demonstrating sufficient savings.
  • Your business plan must detail how your activity will benefit Spain’s economy with an emphasis on employment creation and socio-economic impact.
  • Private health insurance with full coverage in Spain is mandatory.
  • Provide evidence of qualifications such as a university diploma or at least 3 years of job experience in your field.
  • A commitment to fulfill Social Security obligations once the permit is granted.

These documents form the cornerstone of your application for a Spain entrepreneur visa. It is essential to gather all required paperwork accurately and ensure all foreign documents are appropriately legalized or apostilled along with an official Spanish translation. With these documents prepared, you are well on your way to successfully applying for your entrepreneur visa.

With Spain’s entrepreneur visa, your innovative business idea has the potential to flourish. Lawants is here to ensure your vision becomes a success, providing personalized guidance from incorporation to expansion. Don’t let the complexities of legal processes hold you back. Contact Lawants now for expert assistance in navigating the entrepreneur visa process and establishing your business in Spain.

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How much does the Spain Entrepreneur Visa cost?

The financial aspect of acquiring a Spain entrepreneur visa is straightforward, with no minimum investment required for business establishment in the country. This flexibility extends to the recent Create and Grow Law, allowing the formation of a limited liability company in Spain with just one euro. While the entrepreneur visa itself does not have a specific cost beyond the visa fee, applicants must demonstrate adequate financial means for personal sustenance, business operations, and family support if applicable.

Spain Entrepreneur Visa Fees are contingent on the applicant’s nationality due to reciprocity measures. The current fees are as follows:

  • United States citizens: €167
  • Canadian citizens: €100
  • Citizens from other countries: €80

These fees are subject to change, and it’s advisable for applicants to verify the latest fee structure at the time of application to ensure accurate payment and a smooth application process.

What happens if the request is rejected?

Encountering a rejection of an entrepreneur visa application can be disheartening, but it’s not the end of the road. There are structured responses to such setbacks.

If you believe the rejection was due to an oversight or error, and you did meet all the criteria, you can file an immigration appeal. This process, however, can extend over several months, potentially delaying your plans.

Alternatively, if you’re confident in your business proposal and its alignment with Spanish interests, reapplying might be advantageous, especially given the 20-day resolution period for new applications. This option can be quicker than waiting for an appeal to process.

In cases where the rejection stems from a lack of innovation in your business idea, consider applying for a self-employment work permit. This permit is less stringent on the innovation requirement and allows for existing business concepts or independent professional activities in Spain.

If your application is denied because it doesn’t align with Spain’s socio-economic interests or fails to meet specific requirements, another path is applying for a temporary residence permit as a self-employed worker. With this permit, there’s no necessity for innovation in your business concept.

For those with the means to invest, the Golden Visa scheme offers residency through real estate investment—a viable alternative that sidesteps the need for an innovative business plan altogether.

Business team analyzing data charts on a meeting for Spain entrepreneur visa plan.

How to renew your entrepreneur visa for Spain?

Renewing your entrepreneur visa for Spain is a crucial step to maintain your residency and business operations in the country. Initially granted for three years—significantly longer than the standard one-year term for most residencies under general immigration law—the renewal process demands adherence to the original application’s requirements. Upon successful renewal, you will receive a two-year extension, which subsequently positions you for long-term residency after a five-year period in Spain.

During the renewal evaluation, authorities will scrutinize your business’s performance and its future viability. Demonstrating a positive trajectory and continued contribution to the Spanish economy, particularly in job creation, is essential. Ensure that your time abroad did not exceed 183 days during the initial residency to maintain eligibility.

The renewal application should be submitted within 60 days before the expiration of your current card and no later than 90 days after expiry. It’s advisable to initiate this process early to avoid complications. Once approved, you’ll revisit the national police for fingerprint registration and issuance of your new residency card.

If navigating the renewal process or aligning your business plan with Spain’s economic interests seems daunting, seeking professional legal assistance can streamline the procedure and enhance your chances of a successful outcome. Our legal experts are available to guide you through each step, ensuring that living and doing business in Spain remains a viable and fulfilling experience.

Advice on starting the right business for your startup visa

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey in Spain requires a blend of innovation and technological savvy, particularly when aiming to secure an entrepreneur visa. The challenge often lies in pinpointing the ideal niche that aligns with Spain’s market demands and investment opportunities. To aid in this critical decision-making process, we’ve curated a selection of business concepts that are tailored to thrive within the Spanish economy.

The key is to identify areas where demand outstrips supply, coupled with the potential for low capital investment. This strategic approach ensures that your venture not only meets the stringent criteria of the entrepreneur visa but also has a strong chance of success in a competitive marketplace.

We recommend exploring sectors where technological advancement can be leveraged, ensuring your business stands out as a beacon of innovation. Whether it’s through unique applications of AI, eco-friendly solutions, or groundbreaking service models, your business should aim to contribute positively to Spain’s socio-economic landscape.

Start your business in Spain with the Entrepreneur Visa

Venturing into the Spanish market with an innovative business idea is an exciting prospect, and the entrepreneur visa can be your gateway to success. However, navigating through the stringent requirements and complex application process demands expertise and precision. That’s where Lawants comes into play.

Our team of seasoned immigration lawyers is equipped to provide you with the legal assistance necessary to ensure that your entrepreneurial aspirations align with Spain’s immigration laws. We understand that every case is unique, and our tailored approach guarantees that your business plan and visa application are meticulously crafted to meet all regulatory criteria.

Should you seek a partner to guide you through this intricate journey, Lawants is here to analyze your specific situation and offer comprehensive support. By entrusting us with your entrepreneurial visa process, you’re taking a crucial step towards establishing a flourishing business in Spain. Contact us to embark on this path with confidence, backed by a professional team dedicated to your success.

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Starting a business in Spain

As a leading law firm in Spain, with international, experienced and expert professionals, we understand how important it is for […]

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