Research Residency in Spain

research residency

How can foreigners in Spain carry out research and development tasks in any company, institution, or university? The answer is simple: through the so-called research residence permit. And in this article are about to discover all the keys to successfully obtain it.

The residency for researchers is a residence and work authorization contained under Law 14/2013 (Entrepreneur’s Law in Spain) by which a foreigner who has been included in a research project to develop R&D&I activities in Spain may begin to live and work legally in the country.

Although it is not one of the most frequently requested authorizations in the national territory, it offers important advantages as we will see below.

In addition, doctoral students can apply for this residency instead of a stay for studies as long as they can prove that they are included in a research project of the university (which must prove it).

Let’s see below how exactly this permit works, what are its requirements, and the application process.

What is its length and validity?

The duration of this residence authorization for research purposes is 3 years or equal to the totality of the validity or duration of the labor agreement or contract (if shorter).

If the duration is less than 6 months, the foreigner should not apply for a TIE or physical residence card.

If the same initial conditions are maintained, this card could be renewed successively every 2 years.

What types of researchers can benefit from this permit?

Companies wishing to incorporate non-EU nationals to carry out research and development tasks in Spain may incorporate:
  • The typology of research personnel in Science, Technology, and Innovation that is defined in Article 13 of Law 14/2011 from the 1st of June
  • Professors who have been hired by a university, business school, or higher education center established in Spain
  • Researchers who have subscribed to an agreement with a research organization, whether public or private
  • Workers who carry out, within an R&D&I center established in Spain, tasks of technological development and innovation or scientific research

Main requirements

Below is the complete list of requirements you must meet for a successful application:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be a citizen from outside the European Union
  • You cannot be in an irregular situation
  • You cannot have a criminal record in Spain or in any other country in which you have resided in the last 5 years.
  • You must have sufficient funds to support yourself in Spain (as well as your family members if you include them in your application)
  • Have public or private health insurance
  • Make the corresponding payment for the application
  • Complete passport

How does the application process work?

Because this residence authorization is under the Entrepreneurs Law (and not under the general regime) there are several advantages associated with it in terms of the application.

For example, this residency can be requested both from Spain as a tourist and from your country of origin.

In addition, all direct family members (spouse and children) can be added to the application, who, as long as they are over 18 years old, would also obtain a residence permit with a work authorization valid in the whole Spanish territory.

Finally, we must take into account that this application must be submitted completely online through the electronic system of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, and that its resolution period is just 20 days.

Who can request it?

The application process will be initiated by the institution hiring the foreign researcher (or its duly accredited legal representative).

This could be either a private company, a public company, or even a university.

Once the company or institution has made the application and it gets approved, the foreigner will then be able to apply for her visa.


Do you have any questions about this research residence permit? Our immigration lawyers can answer them all in a consultation.

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

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