The process and tips to request a self-employed work permit in Spain

Here we describe the procedure and explain the required documentation and some practical advice that might be helpful to you for succeeding in being granted a self-employed work permit in Spain.


Prior to requesting an authorisation and incurring a series of expenses, it is highly advisable to visit the country and get to know the city and the sector of activity that you will be undertaking and develop some contacts with persons who could assist you in establishing, developing and carrying out your business and who can help you to focus on the activity you will carry out.

  • Have a good project or business that will be able to create revenues from the beginning.
  • Have enough initial investment to carry out the business and if possible, create some new opportunities of employment.
  • Have experience or enough knowledge about the business that you will create and if required, logically, have the required diplomas or degrees for exercising the professional activity.
  • Have the required funds for the business or have a commitment of a financial institution that it will support your business and support your request (obviously you will have greater success with your request the larger the commitment is).
  • Have a bank account in Spain in the name of the person making the request that will hold the funds that are transferred for the creation of the business and the running of the business (a bank account of a foreign bank will not be accepted).

Our advice is to always to set up a company, if possible, because by doing so you will only require a minimum incorporate paid-in capital and some minor maintenance costs, and this gives an image of a serious application and an intention of durability in the time.

In order to increase the chance of success for the applications, one should add a favourable statement from some independent professional organisations linked to Labour Ministry, this is optional, but it makes a huge difference in comparison with other applications (organisations UPTA, ASNEPA, CIAE, OPA).

The minimum investment that one should have in order to be successful is about €70.000€, but this does not mean that one cannot have less. It will be necessary to analyse each situation in its own detail.

Choose the right Lawyer who will follow up with the application along the whole process and who will help you with this procedure and who can help you avoid problems and solve any problems that arise.


The process takes between 30 to 50 days approximately and begins with the application at the Spanish Consulate, which verifies and check the documents and paperwork. Please bear in mind, the Consulate is not going to help you or assist you, and sometimes do not specify the documents you need to submit along with the application.

Unless a Lawyer follows up from the beginning of the application till it has been approved, this is the first part of the process, and once this has been approved the Consulate will contact the authorities of the Spanish province where you want to live, in order to start with the second phase of the process. Here the authorities will again check all the paperwork sent from the Consulate and approve or deny the application.

If the self-employed work permit is approved the Consulate will contact you in order to request the residence visa The visa application must be submitted within a maximum time limit of one month after the date on which the approval of the temporary residence – and work permit as a self-employed worker has been notified.

Once the Consulate has approved the visa it will stamp your passport with a visa to come to Spain and apply for the residence card here directly with the Police, this is just a formality.

How to proceed


Request the residence permit and work permit for working on one’s own account (self-employed) at the Spanish Consulate located in the country of ordinary residence.

As a first step you must determine whether the request you will make is with or without the creation of a company.

THE DOCUMENTS THAT MUST ACCOMPANY THE APPLICATION for authorisation of a temporary residence permit and for permission to work on one’s own account that is required by law:

• Application for a temporary residence permit and work permit as a self-employed worker, duly filled in.
• Complete copy of the passport or valid travel document.
• Qualification or evidence of the training required for practising the profession, where applicable, duly approved.
• Documentation that explains the economic investment necessary for undertaking the project or commitment of sufficient support from a financial institution or others.
• Project describing the establishment or activity to be realized with an indication of the amount of investment foreseen, the profit expected and, if applicable, the number of employee positions to be created.
• Summary and breakdown of the authorization or licenses that are required for the setting up, opening or carrying out of the proposed activity or for the profession linked to applications, and pointing out the situation in which the different applications are with the different administrations.
• Government Application Fees.


The visa application must be submitted within a maximum time limit of 1 month after the date on which the approval of the temporary residence- and work permit as a self-employed worker has been notified


• Application for a national visa
• Passport with a minimum validity of 4 months and a copy.
• Updated criminal records certificate issued by the competent authorities of the countries in which the interested party has resided for the previous 5 years prior to the submission of the application.
• Updated medical certificate.


The visa must be collected in person within a maximum time limit of one month from the date of notification.



• Form EX-17
• Passport.
• Copy of the visa and entry stamp.
• Three photographs.
• Official Notification of Approval (Work Permit).
• Document corresponding to registration as a self-employed worker with the Spanish Social Security system.
• Census: registration of the official address with the local authorities (City Hall Registration, EMPADRONAMIENTO).
• Payment of fees: Residence Card (Spanish acronym: TIE) that documents the temporary residence permit.


About Fairway Lawyers

English, German and Spanish speaking lawyers/abogados serving Spain's Marbella, the Costa del Sol, Granada, Antequera and inland Andalucia. Tel: Telephone +34 952 77 11 50 or email: If you have a matter that requires immediate attention please contact Diego Echavarria +34 606 307 885 (mobile)