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As we have already seen in this section, you can come to Spain to “entry and stay” for periods of less than 90 days, or to “study”, for which “stay” permits and visas are applied, as it has been commented in the previous sections, but you can also come to “RESIDE”.

And, when it comes to “residence”, we can choose the following types of residences:

  • Temporary residence: That which is applied with the intention of “remaining” in Spain for periods greater than 90 days, but less than 5 years.
  • Permanent residence: Which is obtained with the intention of “remaining” in Spain for periods of more than 5 years.
  • Spanish Nationality: Which is one that is acquired by one’s own decision, once the requirements for it have been met, among which is having resided in Spain permanently for a period of more than 10 years.

Therefore, we understand that only Permanent Residence and Nationality  in Spain are the only ones that entitle to live and to work in Spain “permanently” and to be able tobe covered by Spanish Public Health and Sanitary system in a “permanent” way.


What are the requirements and conditions to obtain temporary residence in Spain?
Well, it depends on the country of residence or origin of the applicant citizen:

  • Citizens from other EU-Schengen countries
  • Citizens from non-EU-Schengen countries



All national citizens of any of the countries of the European Union, or the Schengen Area, have the right to remain in Spain for a period of more than 3 months (90 days), they must obtain the Certificate of Permanent Residence in Spain, also known as as “Green Card”, or “Foreign Identification Card”.

This card implies the registration of the foreigner in the Central Registry of Foreigners in Spain, and confirms that the citizen has been recognized with the right to remain in Spanish territory for a period of more than 90 days.

The fundamental reason for the Green Card is to IDENTIFY and REGISTER European citizens who remain in Spain for periods greater than 90 days a year.

Furthermore, this certificate will allow them to RESIDENCE, and to WORK in Spain without any limitations.

This is a very simple procedure, unlike the procedure established for non-EU citizens, and no further requirements are required other than a passport and/or NIE.

This paper or green card carries with it an assignment of a NIE number, the foreigner’s identification number that will accompany him throughout his life.

What is the validity period of the green card?

Five years. At the end of this period you must renew it for one with a longer validity period of 10 years.
Likewise, you must replace the green card if it is lost, stolen or lost.

When do I have to apply for the Green Card-EU Certificate?

You must apply for the EU Certificate during the FIRST THREE MONTHS after entering Spanish territory.

How do you obtain the Green Card?

The process of obtaining the Green Card will depend on the reason you come to Spain:

1.- Residence for work as employee

In the event that the citizen moves to Spain to work as an employee in a Spanish company, he or she must prove the employment relationship with said company. To do this, the employment certificate or a letter of accreditation from the company will suffice.

It must also be provided in the employment contract, as well as the worker’s registration with the Spanish Social Security.

Therefore, to formalize an employment contract for an employee who is an EU citizen (or Schengen Area) for a Spanish company, it is not necessary to previously obtain either the NIE or the Green Card; a passport or employee identification card will suffice.

2.- Residence for self-employed work reasons – Self-employed (Freelance) or entrepreneurs

To do this, the European citizen must register in the CENSUS OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES, in the case of self-employed or freelancers, or in the Corporate Registry, in the case of companies, in addition to Social Security.

3.- Non-Lucrative Temporary Residence

It is also possible to come to Spain to spend long periods of time without any work or professional reason. This is what is called “non-profit residence”

In these cases, it will be necessary to prove that the resident has sufficient financial means, both for himself and for his family members, to reside in Spain for periods of more than 90 days.

How do I justify that I have sufficient financial means to obtain the Non-Profit Green Card?

Any proof will serve to verify this assumption, such as the ownership of bank accounts (in Spain or outside the country) with sufficient funds, the disposition of real estate properties or the income generated by them, documents that justify that pensions or earnings are received from abroad, etc.

The minimum amount to be demonstrated is valued based on the IPREM of each year. It must be an amount equal to or greater than 100% of it per year, which is approximately 8-9,000 EUR/year.

Furthermore, it is essential to have health insurance, whether public or private, that has the same coverage as the Spanish health system, and that prevents the citizen from becoming economically dependent on the Spanish public health system.

Is there a possibility for a European citizen not to pay for private health insurance and be treated by the Spanish public health system?

The answer is yes. For this, there is a procedure that is based on the so-called S1 CERTIFICATE.

The S1 Certificate or Form implies that the citizen receives public healthcare in an EU member country other than the one in which he or she is insured.

It can be granted in the following cases:

  • Retirees or pensioners
  • Migrant workers, self-employed or entrepreneurs
  • Family members of a migrant worker

How is the S1 processed?

It is processed in the country of origin of the EU citizens in which they are insured. Although, in the case of the countries of Spain, Sweden and Portugal, it must be presented to the provincial addresses of the National Social Security Institute (INSS), the Social Security institution and the Social Security Institution of the place of residence,

Is the S1 the same as the “European Health Card”?

NO, it is not the same. Please, do not confuse one witht the other.

The S1 grants the recognition of the Spanish public health system to care for the European citizen RESIDENT in Spain, in the same way as the EU country in which he is insured.

However, the European Health Card is a portable document that allows the European citizen STAYING in another EU member country to receive public assistance during said “stay” (for example, tourism, studies, etc.).

4.- Residence for Studies

You can come to Spain to study for a certain period of time.

To do this, you must provide:

• The registration of the educational center where you have enrolled
• Medical insurance contracted in Spain (public or private)
• Sufficient financial means
• Register or lease contract to certify your residence in Spain
In addition to the aforementioned documents that are specific to each specific case, in general the following documents will be requested: Valid and valid passport
• Duly completed EX-18 application form
• Proof of payment of the corresponding fee, in this case 790 012

Where I need to be requested?

Immigration office of the town where you are going to reside.

5.- Family and relatives of EU Residents

European residents who have moved to Spain to reside can also request the green card of their relatives, who:

  • If they are also nationals of an EU country, they can apply directly for the Green Card
  • If they are not nationals of an EU country, they may apply for the TIE (Non-EU Residence Card) as a family member of an EU citizen.

In the latter case, we would be talking about the residence authorization in Spain by FAMILY GROUP.
This Family Grouping must be requested within 3 months of the European citizen’s entry into Spain as a resident, whether as a STUDENT, WORKER etc.

Which family members can have this grouping right?

  • In the case of a Student: Students can bring with them their children, spouse or common-law partner, and even their spouse’s children.
  • In the case of self-employed, workers, they can bring, in addition to children, spouses and de facto partners, any family member over 21 years of age, direct ascendant or descendant of themselves or their spouse who are “in their care.”  That is, they depend on the European citizen to pay for their food and monthly expenses, health insurance, rent, etc.

Are de facto couples – Partnership couple –  valid for Family Grouping?

Yes. It will be enough to have registered the de facto couple in the Civil Registry of the place of residence.