Immigrate to Spain from USA

Updated on Saturday 23rd January 2021

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There are plenty of reasons why one would want to immigrate to Spain from the USA. Europe, with its history and charm, has a number of appealing destinations, however, among all these locations, Spain is particularly attractive to USA citizens who are dreaming to move to Europe, for work purposes or after retirement. 

Immigration to Spain from the USA is a process that can be further simplified with the help of our agents. We review each immigrant application, with attention to detail and the particular needs of the applicants.

If you plan on moving from the USA to Spain, our immigration lawyers are at your disposal with information about all your options and requirements to meet the necessary criteria. You can rely on us for the necessary support in applying for a residence permit in Spain.

The main types of Spanish visas for US immigrants

US citizens who want to emigrate to Spain have several visas they can apply for. Among these, the most popular choices are:
  1. the employment visa which enables a non-EU citizen to hold employment in Spain;
  2. the investor and entrepreneur visa which is a good option for US investors seeking to obtain permanent residence here;
  3. the non-lucrative visa which enables a US citizen to move to Spain without granting them the right to work here;
  4. the student visa under which once arrived in Spain, the US citizen can relocate here if he or she finishes the studies and finds employment;
  5. US citizens established in other EU countries can easily move to Spain based on the visa issued by the respective states.

No matter your option, our immigration lawyers in Spain can help you through the process of moving from the USA here. You can rely on us for obtaining the main types of visas in case of immigration to Spain from USA. Under most of these visas, you can also obtain Spanish citizenship.

Procedures for emigrating to Spain

US citizens are allowed to enter Spain and stay for a period of up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes and they will not need a visa during this time. For long-stay purposes, the applicant will need to obtain a visa that will be renewed as need. The visa for long-stay will need to be for employment purposes, self-employment, non-lucrative (retirement) or student.

US citizens who have been living in the country for five uninterrupted years can apply for permanent residence and after ten years in Spain, they can apply for Spanish nationality, if they wish to do so.

One of our Spain immigration lawyers can give you specific information about the documents needed to apply for the long-term visa, the first step when deciding to come to Spain for immigration purposes. We can also assist with the procedures related to immigration to Spain from USA.

Options for Spain immigration

Immigration to Spain from the USA can also be achieved via a golden visa, meaning that the individual undertakes to make a property investment in Spain amounting to 500,000 €. One of our agents who specialize in immigration and visa matters can give you more information about this option.

Another option, this time targeting entrepreneurs, is the investment visa. Certain conditions apply for this type of visa, most notably the investment amount which needs to be significant.

One of our agents can give you specific counseling on these matters, much like the services offered by a team of immigration lawyers in Spain.

We have also created a scheme about how to immigrate to Spain from the USA:
How to Immigrate to Spain from USA

The non-lucrative visa for US citizens in Spain

Citizens of the United States who want to enter Spain need to apply for non-lucrative visas if they want to come here for periods exceeding 3 months (90 days) without employment.

This is the simplest type of visa for foreign citizens of non-EU countries seeking to enter Spain for visit, medical, or business purposes that require them to stay here for more than 90 days. One of the mandatory requirements for this type of visa is to be able to support oneself during the stay here. Proof under the form of a bank statement will be requested by the immigration authorities in Spain in this sense.

Our immigration lawyer in Spain can provide tailored assistance to those who need to come here for longer periods that require this type of visa. We can help with the preparation of the documents that need to be filed a few months in advance. This is one of the easiest ways of obtaining a residence permit in Spain.

Immigrating to Spain from USA under a work visa

US citizens who want to move to Spain can do that without too much effort if they have found employment here. In their case, the Spanish employer must start the immigration procedures and apply for the work permit in this country.

Once the paperwork in Spain is ready, the US citizens can apply submit the documents in the United States and travel to Spain.

This is one of the fastest and safest ways of immigrating to Spain from USA, as the procedure is completed in just a few months, thus enabling the foreign candidate to start preparations for relocation as soon as the job offer was sent to them.

If you want to relocate to Spain from US under a work permit, our immigration lawyers are at your service with company verification if you want to know more about your employer. Also, in the case of inter-company transfers, our lawyers can guide you through the paperwork preparation phase.

The steps for immigrating from USA to Spain

The steps for US citizens interested in immigration in Spain depend on the chosen visa. In most cases, the first step implies obtaining information on the documents that need to be filed with the Spanish Embassy in the US. Then:
  • the US citizen must file the visa application together with the requested documents to the Embassy;
  • the Embassy will forward the documents with the Ministry of Exterior in Spain;
  • once the application is approved, the applicant will need to pick it up within a specific period of time;
  • once arrived in Spain, the immigrant will need to report with the police station in the province he/she lives in and apply for a NIE (foreign identification number) and for the residence permit.

Our immigration lawyers can offer more information on the procedure to move from the USA to Spain.

Procedures to complete after immigrating to Spain from the USA

Once a US citizen or any other foreigner relocates to Spain, he or she must complete various formalities. On the first days, the expat needs to register with the local police station followed by registration with other authorities, such as the national healthcare and insurance agencies.

These are part of our services for expats in Spain and tailored assistance can be provided to all foreign citizens who move here, including those from UK who must comply with different requirements after Brexit.

How to obtain a NIE number as a US citizen

One of the most important steps of immigrating to Spain, no matter if the applicant is a US or a citizen of another country, is to obtain the NIE number. This is a unique number assigned to foreign citizens looking to live in this country for more than 3 months, thus upon immigration to Spain the NIE number is mandatory. The number is issued by the Office of Foreigners through the police department in the region the immigrant plans on living. The application needs to be submitted in person by the foreign citizen requesting it.

The information to be filed when applying for a NIE number includes submitting the data on the passport and selecting the Spanish province to move to.

US citizens immigrating to Spain will need NIE numbers for various activities and obtaining official documents. Among these:
  • the opening of bank accounts;
  • when entering an employment contract;
  • when starting a business;
  • when acquiring a property;
  • when registering for the national healthcare insurance system;
  • when applying for a driving license;
  • when entering various utility contracts;
  • when filing tax returns.

If you need information on how to apply for a NIE number as a US citizen, our lawyers can guide you. It is also useful to know that we can help with various other services, such as relocation. Do not hesitate to ask for support in case of immigration to Spain from USA.

Obtaining permanent residence in Spain as a US citizen

Many US citizens who move to Spain temporarily decide to apply for permanent residence shortly after. The sunny weather and the opportunities provided by the country make Spain very appealing for citizens all over the world and the first step towards a permanent residence permit is living here for 5 years.

The documents to prepare depend on the type of visa the US citizen entered the country, and the procedure can be overseen by our immigration lawyer in Spain. Permanent residency can lead to Spanish citizenship.

The Golden Visa as an immigration path to Spain from USA

The Golden Visa Program was created by the Spanish government for non-EU citizens who want to establish themselves here and can also be accessed by American citizens. The requirements of this program come under the form of investment in various activities or real estate.

There are various advantages of the Spanish Golden Visa, among which the fact that a US can own property here is one of the most sought. This is also the minimum investment requirement in terms of money, as only 500,000 euros are needed.

US entrepreneurs can also start and run their own companies under the Wealth Visa, which is one of the greatest advantages of this scheme.

All foreign citizens interested in emigrating to Spain under this program can benefit from the support of our lawyers. We can help with the drafting of the necessary documents and their filing with the local authorities.

Obtaining citizenship in Spain as a US citizen

US citizens immigrating to Spain are interested in obtaining citizenship, however, the timeframe for this to happen depends on the way the foreign citizen relocated here. For example, the maximum period of time to be granted Spanish citizenship is 5 years, however, this period can be reduced significantly for US citizen married to a Spanish citizen or for those with ancestors of Spanish descent.
US citizens moving to Spain through a golden visa or other investment options will first be granted permanent residence. It is useful to know that in 2015, the Spanish government eased the requirements for non-EU citizens applying for golden visas.

If you have any questions about the requirements for moving to Spain based on investment, our lawyers are at your disposal with detailed information and guidance. We can also assist in buying real estate that meets the golden visa requisites.

Why immigrate to Spain from US

Even if the USA is one of the world’s largest economies, many of its citizens decide to relocate to Europe and Spain is one of their preferred destinations because of the opportunities they can access here.

Spain is an EU member state which means that all foreign citizens who relocate here and obtain permanent residence will also obtain EU residence and travel freely in the entire Union. Moreover, Spain is also a Schengen state which enables US citizens to travel to their home countries without applying for other visas.

Spain’s economy is one of the most competitive in Europe and thus it provides good sources of income for those who want to work or start their own businesses here.

If you want to relocate to Spain from US and need help, our lawyers will help you. We have also created a video on this theme, and you can watch it below:


Timeframe for procedures when immigrating to Spain from the USA

No matter the visa one applies for upon US immigration to Spain, the following timeframe needs to be respected:
  • once the visa has been issued by the Spanish Embassy, the applicant must pick it up in maximum 30 days;
  • then, the US citizen has 90 days to enter Spain, no matter the type of visa issued;
  • within 30 days after the arrival, the immigrant needs to register with the local police station;
  • the initial residence visa needs to be renewed in 1 year.
We provide personalized assistance and take into consideration your particular situation when you decide to move to Europe. Contact our Spain immigration agents for complete information about how we can assist you.