Highly Qualified Work Permit in Spain

highly qualified work visa

Thanks to all the advantages it offers, this is undoubtedly one of the most interesting options for those foreigners who want to start living in the country. Being able to bring your family with you, an initial authorization of 3 years instead of 1, not taking into account the shortage occupation list… those are some of the main benefits this visa offers. And in this article we will talk about the main keys to obtain the highly qualified visa in Spain easily.

If you want to achieve a successful application without suffering from any legal issue… keep on reading!

Let’s start by talking about the basics. What is this permit all about and for whom was it created?

The work permit as a highly qualified worker is a residence authorization granted to those foreigners from outside the European Union who will start working in a technical position or one that requires certain work experience in Spain.

It was designed for executives or managers who manage people, or for professionals occupying positions that require very specific and advanced training/experience.

It presents many differences in relation to a regular work permit as we will see throughout this article, most of them in the form of advantages.

Most of these differences are due to the fact that the highly skilled visa is regulated by Law 14/2013 on support for entrepreneurs and their internationalization, which seeks to attract talent and promote the country’s economy through extensive facilities for talented foreigners.

So let’s see what are all these advantages and main keys that will help you successfully apply for this special type of work permit.

Apply directly from Spain

Here we can find one of the main advantages of this permit.

The foreigner interested in obtaining this visa can carry out the procedure both from his country of origin and directly from Spain.

That is, as long as the foreigner is in a legal situation within Spanish territory (either with a tourist visa, with a stay for study purposes, or with any residence permit) he or she can start the application and obtain this residence without going back to her country.

However, it is also possible to start the application from the country of origin. Both paths are equally valid.

If the foreigner is outside Spain, then he or she must first apply for a residence permit at the Spanish consulate in the region where he or she has legal residence. Once it is granted, she will receive the visa with which to enter Spain directly to register her fingerprints and get the residence card or TIE.

Do you have any questions? Ask our immigration lawyers anything:

Work permit attached to the specific company, who initiates the procedure

Although we have mentioned that the foreigner can start the application procedure in Spain or in her country of origin, it will be the company that hires her the one that actually initiates the procedure.

A duly accredited representative of the company can also carry out the process. 

Thus, it will be the company that hires us who must prepare the initial documents and who will be in charge of submitting everything to the competent authority.

And this leads us to understand a crucial aspect.

As it is the company that initiates the application, the permit as highly qualified worker is linked or tied to the company you will be working for.

That is, the visa is granted to the company so that you can work there after analyzing the position and its characteristics specifically.

Therefore, if during the duration of your residence card you find a better job offer, you are fired or you directly want to stop working, bear in mind that you would lose your legal residency in Spain and won’t be able to renew it.

You will then have 30 days to notify the UGE about the situation, choosing two different options.

UGE, the institution in charge

Like the rest of permits under the law of entrepreneurs, the UGE or “Unidad de Grandes Empresas” is the institution in charge of managing all the applications (instead of the immigration office located in your city).

Although located in Madrid, it manages all applications for any region within the Spanish territory.

Thus, you have 3 different alternatives when submitting your application:

  • You can do it completely online through the UGE’s website
  • Through the public registry of the sub-delegation of government in any city
  • In-person if you are in Madrid

No need to consider account the national situation of employment

The national situation of unemployment is undoubtedly one of the main obstacles preventing many foreigners from obtaining a regular work permit. It makes the ability to find a valid job offer almost impossible.

However, with a work visa as a highly qualified individual, the situation is totally different: there is no need to consider this shortage occupation list.

This certainly opens the door for many foreigners who now only need to focus on finding the right company and meeting her personal requirements, something that depends much more on her.

Thus, the company will not have to provide a negative employment certificate confirming and verifying that there is no Spanish national willing or able to do perform that exact job.

Another advantage that makes this permit an ideal option for many.

Initial validity of this card

Once again, another of the main advantages of this permit thanks to being under Law 14/2013 is that the initial authorization allows the foreigner to reside and work in the country for 3 years instead of just 1 (unless the job contract is of a shorter duration, then making the period equal).

Thus, the foreigner may legally reside in the country for 3 years, may renew it for 2 more, and after the third renewal, apply for long-term residence

Job position requirements

The exact job position is one of the most important aspects and requirements for this application.

One of the main documents to be considered is a detailed explanation of the characteristics of the position within the company that the foreigner will cover, what tasks will she perform, who will be her superiors, what responsibilities will she possess, etc.

This is the way in which the UGE determines whether the position is sufficiently qualified or not.

But it does not stay there. There is another requirement in relation to the job that the applicant must meet in a mathematical way: the salary. 

There are specific criteria about the minimum wage that the highly qualified worker must earn, with certain exceptions, but in a general way:

  • If the worker is a director or manager, the salary must be at least € 50,000
  • On the other hand, if we are talking about a lower category, € 40,000 per year

Worker profile and background

The academic profile of the foreign applicant is also of utmost importance.

The general requirement is that the highly-skilled worker must have a university degree, a master’s degree, or a Ph.D. to obtain this residence authorization.

And that’s because it is designed for professionals with a technical or advanced profile.

However, it is still possible to apply for this work permit if none of the aforementioned degree levels have been completed or obtained.

How? By accrediting a minimum of 3 years of work experience within the industry, carrying out tasks that are similar to those you will perform when starting with the new company.

However, the more years of demonstrable experience the better.

Residence authorization for family members of the highly qualified professional

Is it possible to bring your family members with you?

The answer is yes, and in a much more agile and flexible way than what you find with other types of visas.

In that sense, you have two options regarding the time they can come with you.

  • You can formalize an initial joint application, by which you include them in your application for the work permit, arriving in Spain together.
  • However, they can also come to the Spanish territory later one, after you have been in Spain for 3 or 4 months, for example.

Which relatives can you bring with you?

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Children
  • Ascendants that you are in charge of


Remember that if you have any doubt about this residence permit, our team of lawyers is at your complete disposal to provide legal assistance and guide you step by step:

Get in touch with our lawyers and let us guide you step by step:

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highly qualified work visa

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