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How to get the entrepreneur visa in Spain

spain startup visa requirements

Do you have an innovative idea and want to start a business in Spain? Is Spain going to be your next big business playground? If so, this might be the best option for obtaining an entrepreneur/start-up visa in Spain. Through this work permit, Spain provides a unique chance for non-EU citizens to realize their business goals.

To get the Spanish entrepreneur visa, which is also frequently called the start-up visa, you must know what requirements you need to fulfill. Starting a business in Spain might look difficult and a little confusing at first, so here is a quick rundown on how to do it and the essential steps and difficulties that could come with it. Furthermore, it is important to note that if you want to work for yourself in Spain there are two types of work permits available for you.

In this article, we will talk about the option of starting a business that can qualify as a “startup”. If you find that this is not suitable for your type of business, you might want to look into the option of the regular self-employed visa, which is available for any type of business, including the most traditional ones with no need for innovation. Those two have different requirements and the application goes through different immigration authorities.

Who is eligible to get a Spanish entrepreneur visa

This program is intended for non-EU citizens who want to live and work in Spain on innovative/creative business ventures or initiatives with unique economic value. If you want a Spanish start-up/Spanish entrepreneur visa, to fulfill your dreams of starting a business in Spain as a foreigner, this is the right visa application process for you. In addition, family members may accompany you from Day 1, given that they fulfill specific requirements. 

a) General requirements

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Legal Status: You must be applying from outside of Spain or be in Spain legally (e.g. on a tourist visa).
  • Criminal record: You can’t have a criminal record in Spain or the countries of your residence over the last five years.
  • Health insurance: you need health insurance coverage from an authorized Spanish insurer that would cover you at least until you are registered in the Spanish public Social Security system.
  • Financial stability: You need to be able to demonstrate financial resources to support yourself and potentially also your family during your stay. This means:
    • For individuals: You must have an amount equal to 200% of the minimum salary for professionals in Spain each month.
    • For your family: You must have at least 75% of the minimum wage for you and your partner if you are applying with your family members. An additional 25% of the minimum salary is required for each new family member.

b) Specific requirements

For this entrepreneur visa, you need to provide a business plan that shows a clear potential of your business to use innovation and scale, otherwise, you will not be accepted for this visa. The business plan of your project needs to be recognized as innovative and scalable, and having particular economic value for Spain. Here, several factors are taken into account, such as the ability to grow your business, the use of your own technology, and more.

For this specific start-up visa, the state-owned innovation-related agency ENISA, which works with the Spanish immigration authorities, will be in charge of determining if the project’s business strategy is creative or of particular economic relevance to Spain. As a result, you must confirm that your business idea is in line with the requirements of this particular permit. If it is not, another option would be to apply for a permit for residency and self-employment in Spain under the regular Immigration Law. To help you find out what is the best for your specific case, you can find an overview of the different options for how to get a work visa in Spain here.

startup visa spain

How long is the Spanish start-up visa valid

You will be granted a residence permit in Spain that is valid for three years, with an option to renew for an additional two years. After that period you may qualify for a permanent (long-term) residency.

Can your family join you?

An advantage of the Spanish start-up/Spanish entrepreneur visa is that your family is welcome to travel with you to Spain, and they can apply for a permit at any time – either at the same time as you or at a later stage. This applies to:

  • Your spouse or unmarried partner.
  • Your children who are under the legal age or who are of legal age but still depend financially on you or your partner and have not started their own family yet.
  • Your parents or other family members who are financially or physically dependent on you or your partner.

How do you apply

The application process for the entrepreneur visa in Spain can seem overwhelming at first. Here is an overview of what documents you will need to prepare in addition to a detailed step-by-step guide.

You first need to send your business report to ENISA. Next, submit an online application to the Immigration Office called UGE – Large Companies and Strategic Groups unit, (also called “International Mobility Office) for a residency permit.

You can be in Spain or somewhere else at the moment of filing. As soon as the permission is approved and you are lawfully in Spain, you are free to work on your business. However, if the permission is approved while you’re abroad, you will still need to complete one more step: physically visit the corresponding Spanish consulate to obtain a national entry visa.

Because each of these steps has a lot of requirements and contains a lot of paperwork, here is a general list of documents that you will need and a step-by-step guide to making it easier for you to understand the process of how to obtain a start-up work visa in Spain.

Step 1: Request ENISA report

The basis of your application for the Start-up visa is your business plan.

In our post here you can find out what exactly needs to be included in your business plan. The most important elements to prove are the level of innovation and the potential scalability of your business.

This part is very essential, as it precludes if you are eligible to apply for the entrepreneur visa in Spain.

You need to submit it to the governmental agency called ENISA for evaluation. Below is a brief summary of how you can file it:

  1. Go to the ENISA website and log in. If you have not registered, create an account first.
  2. Choose “residence permit for entrepreneurs” from the list of alternatives.
  3. Click on “fill up the form”.
  4. Fill out the entire form with the specifics of your project.
  5. You can save your progress on the form and return to it at a later time.
  6. The system will verify that this step has been completed once you submit the form.
  7. ENISA will inform the UGE Immigration Office of your application. UGE-CE will wait to receive the resolution of ENISA before resolving your work permit application.

Step 2: Fill out the application form

Next, you need to request a residence permit in Spain. Whether you are already in Spain or still abroad, you need to do it in both cases.

First, you need to fill out the application form:

  • You can download the form here MI-T.
  • Fill out the document and then attach it to your application.
  • The official form is only available in Spanish, but to help you fill it out, it has been translated into different languages for information purposes.
  • You can look at the document in your language to understand it, but make sure that you fill out the original version of your application.
  • In case you are traveling with family members, there are additional documents that you have to fill out. You must download, complete, and sign the applicable application form for relatives MI-F for each of them. Again, the original version is only available in Spanish MI-F, but you can find different language versions below to help you fill out the form. Remember that for your application, you have to use the original Spanish version.
entrepreneur visa spain

Step 3: Pay the fee

To pay the processing immigration fee you need to fill out the standard form 790 038, fill out the form, indicate your payment method, and download the generated receipt.

You can either pay the fee in your online banking, or by direct debit from a current account, or in cash in any Spanish bank.

Step 4: Register your application, attach all your documents, and sign

Now that you have filled out the form and paid the fee, you must access the procedure “Submission of applications for residence permits for international mobility regulated by Law 14/2013” from UGE Immigration Office and start the application process.

  • To start the process of registering your application, select “alta de solicitud”.
  • You have to identify yourself on the platform by means of one of the recognized digital certificates.
  • In this case, select the initial application.
  • Fill in your data (country, address, postcode, and telephone number) at the top of the page.
  • Attach the mandatory documents, you can see the general list at the bottom of the page.
  • You can also attach any additional documents that you consider relevant.
  • After submitting your application, you will receive a proof of filing, which is an official confirmation of your case. It is important to remember to preserve the receipt number so that you may check the progress of the application later and prove that you have filed it.

Step 5: Your application is analyzed

Your application will be sent directly to the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit (UGE-CE). They will study your case and review all your documents. If the application is accepted for processing the UGE-CE will request the business project report from ENISA.

Step 6: Notification of the decision

The Immigration Office has a deadline of 20 working days to respond. This term is interrupted when the Immigration office requests you to provide any additional documents, and while they are waiting to receive the approval of your business plan by the ENISA.

When the Immigration Office makes a decision on your case, they will send you a notice to the email you indicated in the application, and you will be able to download the resolution in the same platform where you filed the application.

If you were already in Spain when you applied, a positive resolution allows you to start your business activities. If you are outside of Spain, the next step is to obtain a national visa. This process is explained below.

Step 7: Request your start-up entry visa – if needed

This step is only relevant to you if you were outside of Spain when you submitted your residence permit application. 

To apply for a national visa, applicants must first obtain a residence permit for entrepreneurs and business activities as explained above.

  • You have to make an appointment in the Spanish Consulate of your country of legal residence. All visa applications must be filed in person.
  • You have to pay the visa fee that comes with the residence visa.
  • The Consulate requires the original no-criminal records certificate, medical certificate to prove you don’t suffer from any contagious diseases, as well as some other that the Consulate sees fit.
  • Receiving the visa:
    • Once and all of the above requirements have been completed, you will receive a decision on your resident visa for entrepreneurs and business activity application. The deadline to issue such visas is 10 working days.
    • The diplomatic mission or consular office will usually notify you of the decision on your visa application by email. Depending on your country, you may receive it at home or need to travel to the diplomatic mission or consular office. If the visa is refused, you also will be notified and can file an appeal.

What documentation do you need

To apply for a start-up visa in Spain, there are several documents required. You must always make sure that you have everything required. The list can change over time, so it is advisable to check the requirements of the Immigration Office at the time of your application.

In general, when you apply from Spain, you will need to file the digital versions. However, to file in the Consulate you need the original documents and a copy of each.

The paperwork needs to be legalized and translated into Spanish by a certified translator. Translation and authentication are not necessary for standard EU forms that are available in many languages. You always need to make sure you understand the requirements to legalize the documents in your country.

In general, you will need the following documents for your application:

  • A complete copy of your passport (every page).
  • The signed permit application (how to fill this out is explained below).
  • A certificate of no criminal records – background check – from the country or countries in which you have resided over the past two years.
    • It has to be issued recently: it is valid for 3 months from the date of issuance.
    • The document needs to be apostilled or legalized. The apostille must legalize the signature of the signatory office. Additionally, it needs to be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    • You will need to sign a document (affidavit) that states that you don’t have any criminal records in the last five years.
    • If you submit your application from outside of Spain, you can submit the criminal records directly to your consulate with the visa application.
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources for you and your family members.
    • The minimum amount is calculated based on the rate of the Minimum Interprofessional Salary (SMI) in Spain.
  • Before starting to work, the applicant needs to declare that they commit to registering in the Spanish Social Security system and pay the applicable quotes.
  • Proof of health insurance from a company that is operating in Spain – to cover you at least until you are registered with the Spanish Social Security system.
  • Proof of your professional experience and education:
    • An updated CV (curriculum vitae).
    • Your university degree: apostilled or legalized.
    • Certificates for additional degrees and training that are relevant.

For the entry visa, if you applied when you were outside of Spain:

  • A resolution of the permit, which specifies its approval and the length.
  • The national visa application form.
  • A passport-sized color photo that was shot recently.
  • Proof of residency within the area/district of the consulate through which you are applying.
  • Depending on the country and the consulate, additional documents may be required to hand in.

Always remember to check what else may be needed in your particular case, and the day of your filing.


In conclusion, the Spanish entrepreneur/start-up visa may be the ideal choice for you if you have a creative concept and want to launch a business in Spain. With the help of this visa, non-EU nationals have a rare opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial dreams and have a chance to implement their startup in Spain. Each step is essential to obtaining the visa, from demonstrating financial stability to putting up an innovative business plan to set up a company in Spain.

Furthermore, the visa gives you the freedom to bring your family to Spain in addition to enabling you to pursue your business ambitions. With a three-year residency permit that can be renewed, you will have plenty of time to launch and expand your business. Within Spain’s dynamic business environment and opportunities, your creative business idea has growth potential.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us through the form below if you require assistance with your business plan and/or the application. Our team of specialists would be pleased to assist you and walk you through the application process step-by-step.

This article is written in collaboration with Mara Pelzer, a member of the Legal Support Team at Klev&Vera.


Anna Klevtsova

Anna holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and is a Certified Lawyer with the Bar Association of Barcelona. With more than 20 years of legal practice in International Law, Anna specialises in business set-up, investment transactions, and immigration strategies.

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