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Hire in Spain

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Last updated at June 14, 2022
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Key Country Facts


The Kingdom of Spain has a population of 47.1 million people, the capital and largest city is Madrid; Spain’s second city is Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia. The economy of Spain is based on the automotive industry, agricultural production, energy, financial services, telecommunication, pharmaceuticals, textiles and apparel, and tourism. The contribution of the hotel and tourism industry represents more than 12% of the Spanish GDP.


Spain has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast. Spain is bordered by Andorra, France, Gibraltar (U.K.), Portugal, and Morocco. It also shares maritime borders with Algeria and Italy. The country occupies an area of nearly 506,000 km², making it the fourth-largest in Europe.


There are three different climate zones in Spain, due to its large size. Southwestern and southern areas have a warm Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and moderate, wet winters. The north has a maritime climate with both summer and winter months being mild. Central Spain has a continental climate, where summers are extremely hot and winters are cold with little to no precipitation.


Spain is a Western country and Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country’s formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music have been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country’s Mediterranean climate and geography. Almost every aspect of Spanish life is permeated by its Roman heritage, making Spain one of the major Latin countries of Europe.


The vast majority of the population is Roman Catholic and about 70% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 2% other faith, and about 25% identify with no religion. The Spanish constitution enshrines secularism in governance, as well as freedom of religion or belief for all, saying that no religion should have a “state character,” while allowing for the state to “cooperate” with religious groups.

Official Language

The official and national language is Spanish, co-official languages are Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Occitan.

Spain HR at a Glance

Employment Law

Spanish labour law is very comprehensive and provides significant protection for employees. The labour law regulates individual and collective relationships between employees and employers, the scope of which extends to other related areas such as Social Security, health and safety at work, special employment relationships and procedural law.

Key Points

  • Non-EU citizens must obtain a work permit.
  • In principle, employment contracts are presumed to be for an indefinite term. However, there are a limited number of fixed-term employment contracts.
  • Minimum working conditions are principally set out in the Workers Statute and applicable collective agreements.
  • Employment contracts are automatically transferred with the business to the new employer. Employees’ rights and obligations are also transferred.
  • Termination can be based on objective grounds.
  • Dismissals are void if the termination is discriminatory or involves protected employees.

The main sources of Spanish employment law are:

  • The Spanish Constitution dated December 17, 1978.
  • Various Royal Decrees.
  • Applicable Company Collective Agreement.
  • Employment Contract.
  • Habits and Common Usage.
  • General Principles of Law.

Employment Contract

Employment contracts may be in writing or agreed verbally, but verbal agreements are not very common. As an exception to the freedom of form permitted by Spanish Labour Legislation, certain employment contracts must be in writing, including, but not limited to,

  • Temporary employment contracts,
  • Contracts involving special labour relations (such as those concerning lawyers, top managers or commercial representatives), and
  • Part-time contracts.

When an employment contract’s duration period is greater than four weeks, the employer, within two months from the commencement of the employment relationship, must provide the employee the following information in writing:

  • Identification of the parties to the employment,
  • Date of commencement, and estimation of the employment duration for temporary contracts,
  • Address of the company and the workplace. If the worker is mobile or has no fixed place of work, this must be explicitly stated;
  • The professional group and description of the job and workers’ duties, with enough detail to know what specific job they will be doing;
  • Base salary as well as other compensation or benefits, if any, and frequency of payment;
  • Working hours and how those hours are distributed;
  • Total number of holidays,
  • Mutual notice periods for termination of the employment relationship;
  • Applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Once the contract has been signed by both parties, the employer must inform the public employment services of the content and any extensions to the contract.

Contract Terms

Employers and employees are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment relationship. However, employees have various minimum rights under the law, regardless of any contrary language in their employment agreement. These minimum working conditions are set forth in the Workers Statute and the applicable Collective Agreement, among others.

Probation Period / Trial Period

Where a probation period is agreed (provided that the worker has not performed the same functions before at the company under any type of employment contract, in which case the trial period would be null and void), it must be put in writing.

The time limits for trial periods may be established in the respective collective bargaining agreement. However, as a general rule and in the absence of any provision in the collective labour agreement, the probationary periods cannot exceed:

  • Six months for college and junior college graduate specialists.
  • Two months for all other employees.
  • At companies with fewer than twenty-five employees, the trial period for employees who are not college or junior college graduate specialists cannot exceed three months.
  • One month in the case of temporary fixed-term employment contracts which are less than six months. Moreover, training contracts, indefinite-term employment contract in support of entrepreneurs and special employment contracts (domestic workers, senior managers, among others) have their own specific trial periods.

During the trial period, the employer or the worker can freely terminate the contract without having to allege or prove any cause, without prior notice and with no right to any indemnity for either the worker or the employer.

Working Hours

The Spanish working time regulations state that employees must (Workers’ Statute):

  • Not work (on an annual average) more than 40 hours a week.
  • Not work more than nine hours a day.
  • Be given at least 12 hours’ rest before starting the next day’s work.

Rest time

Employees required to work more than six uninterrupted hours are entitled to a minimum 15­-minute break. Exceptions to these rules may apply for employees in certain industries and other specified employment relationships (such as senior executives, security guards or hospitality workers). Employees shall have the right to an uninterrupted minimum weekly break of one day and a half that may be accumulated for periods of up to fourteen days, which shall include Saturday afternoon or, as applicable, Monday morning and the whole day of Sunday.


As a general rule, overtime hours are of voluntary acceptance by employees, with exceptions made for specific individuals and an applicable.

collective agreement. For substitution of unexpected leaves and to meet higher production periods, structural overtime hours will be obligatory.

Overtime hours can be compensated economically or with time for rest. If there is no agreement in this regard, it will be understood that the overtime hours must be compensated with resting time within the following 4 months.

According to statutory law, overtime cannot exceed 80 hours per year. In addition, there is a form of overtime that is considered as force majeure, wherein overtime is required due to the need to prevent or repair accidents, or other extraordinary and urgent damages. This type of overtime is mandatory for the employees and will not be taken into account for the annual maximum limit.

Statutory Bonuses

Employers must pay employees two “extraordinary bonuses” (gratificaciones extraordinarias) each year. As a rule, one bonus must be paid at Christmas and the other in a month stipulated by an applicable collective agreement or an agreement between the employer and employee representatives. However, a collective agreement may provide for the bonuses to be paid in monthly instalments. The amount of the bonuses is not set by law but left to collective agreements to decide (in practice, each bonus is typically worth one month’s pay).

Contractual / Discretionary Bonus

In Spain, bonuses are salary supplements as defined in Article 26.3 of the Workers’ Statute (Estatuto de los Trabajadores). This remuneration scheme is based on the company’s performance or on the employee achieving certain objectives. At the outset, the company should set requirements that entitle an employee to receiving a bonus. The employer has an obligation to ensure that their employees are aware of the conditions and objectives that must be met in order to receive a bonus. Workers are entitled to receive payment of bonuses even if the employer has violated the disclosure obligations. Since a bonus has a salary character, it must be included in the compensation in case of dismissal. There are only two possibilities that allow not including it: first, if both parties have agreed not to include it; and second, if the bonus had been paid in exceptional circumstances (regardless of the achievement of certain goals).


Grounds for Termination:

  • Mutual consent of the parties;
  • Grounds established in the contract;
  • Expiration of the contract term or end of the specific job;
  • Employee resignation;
  • Death or permanent illness;
  • Retirement of employee;
  • Employer’s death, retirement or permanent illness;
  • Force majeure that makes it impossible to continue rendering services;
  • Collective dismissal based on objective grounds;
  • Employee’s voluntary departure based on breach of contract by employer;
  • Dismissal of employee.

Collective Dismissals:

Terminations based on economic, technical organizational or productivity grounds are deemed collective when:

  • 10 workers are affected in companies with less than 100 workers.
  • At least 10% of the employees are affected within a period of 90 days in companies that have between 100 and 300 workers.
  • 30 workers in companies with 300 or more workers

Individual Dismissals:

  • Reasons for objective dismissal:
  • Worker’s incompetence
  • Worker’s inability to adapt to technical change
  • Lack of attendance at work
  • Layoffs based on economic, technical, organizational and or productivity grounds. Labour courts are very restrictive in accepting dismissal based on business grounds, therefore this procedure is very seldom used, unless the grounds are absolutely clear (e.g., bankruptcy).

Reasons for disciplinary dismissal:

  • Repeated and unjustified tardiness or lack of attendance at work.
  • Lack of discipline or insubordination.
  • Verbal or physical offence towards the employer, other people working in the company or residing family.
  • Contravention of contractual good faith and misuse of trust.
  • Continuous and voluntary decrease of the worker’s normal or agreed performance.
  • Intoxication due to alcohol or drugs when causing a negative effect in work.
  • Harassment based on race, religion, birth, gender, age, disability, opinion, social condition, and sexual orientation.

Disciplinary dismissals must be communicated by a written letter to the worker stating clearly and sufficiently the facts that motivate it and the date on which the dismissal will take effect.

Notice Period

The Labour Law requires that a party seeking to terminate an employment agreement provide the other party to the agreement with a minimum of 15 days’ notice prior to termination. The parties in the contract may agree upon longer notice periods.

Redundancy / Severance Pay

A disciplinary dismissal does not entitle an employee to receive any compensation in the form of a severance payment from the company, unless a court ruling declares the dismissal unfair.

The severance pay resulting from an objective dismissal is a tax-free payment in the amount of 20 days’ salary per year of service, up to 12 months’ salary. If the dismissal is deemed unfair by the judge or acknowledged as unfair by the company before the Conciliation Chamber or the Court, the relevant tax-free severance is 33 days’ salary per year of service up to 24 months’ pay.

Severance compensation is calculated under two criteria: Seniority and daily salary. In case of objective or unfair disciplinary dismissal the severance will be calculated by multiplying the seniority by the daily salary and the days (20 in case of objective dismissal/ 33 in case of unfair dismissal). The daily salary is calculated taking into consideration the 12 last payments, and the company shall include all salary concepts, including salary in kind and extra-hours. Therefore, bonus, incentives and irregular payments are included. Only extra-salary concepts should be excluded. Stock Options will be calculated for the severance under certain circumstances.


In 2019, the European Court of Justice stated that companies must set up a system to record the working time of their employees. Thus, employers are obliged to implement an objective, reliable and accessible system that allows recording of the daily workday performed by each employee.

Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants


Restrictive Covenants are bilateral agreements between the employer and the employee and are used to protect key business information. They may be considered to represent a limitation of the right to work and the free choice of profession or trade, so any restriction of this constitutional right must be performed in compliance with all requirements established by labour law. Non-competition rights and obligations are regulated in the Statute of Workers.

Types of Restrictive Covenants:

Non -Compete Clauses

Non-competition agreements are intended to prevent an employee from working in a competing company or sector after upon termination of employment. A non-compete obligation after termination of the employment contract, which may not last longer than two years for technicians and six months for other workers, will only be valid if the following requirements are met:

  • the employer has an effective industrial or commercial interest in such non-compete obligation, and
  • the employee is paid adequate economic compensation.

Non -solicitation of customers

Spanish Labour Legislation does not specifically regulate this type of restriction, but case law has considered this restriction valid within the scope of the non-compete clause as described above (a).

Non -solicitation of employees

Spanish Labour Legislation does not specifically regulate this type of restriction, but case law has considered this restriction valid within the scope of the non-compete clause as described above (a).

Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants —process and remedies:

If the employee breaches the non-competition agreement, he/she will be obliged to return the amount received for this concept and may be required to pay damages, should the company provide evidence of damage. In case of doubt when determining the amount of compensation to be returned, or refusal from the employee to comply with the agreed payment as compensation, the employer may appeal to a social court or an arbitrator (when specifically agreed) to determine said amounts. Likewise, the employee can make a claim against the employer when the agreed compensation was not paid although the non-compete clause remains in full enforceability. The clause itself could be declared void if the legal requirements explained above (a) were not met. However, it is also possible to cancel the agreement if both parties agree to it. However, it can never be cancelled or waived unilaterally.

Trade Unions / Collective Agreements

The Spanish Constitution grants unions the authority to promote and defend the workers’ economic interests. It also empowers them to represent workers in collective bargaining and to participate in the preliminary mandatory conciliation steps before disputes can be presented to governmental conciliation agencies.

Freedom of association and representation are fundamental rights in the Spanish Constitution. All employees (except senior executives, i.e., general managers) are represented by the elected representatives. There is no distinction between blue and white-collar representatives. There are two types of employees’ representation, depending on the company’s size: individual delegates and works councils.

Fixed Term Contracts

In principle, employment contracts are presumed to be for an indefinite term. There are, however, a limited number of definite-term employment agreements. If the employee continues to work past the original term of the temporary agreement, the relationship becomes indefinite in time and the employee becomes entitled to the standard severance upon termination. Valid reasons for Fixed Term Contracts are strictly enforced and limited to the following scenarios:

  • To perform a specific task or service, which is independent and clearly delineated within the company’s activity, and whose duration is time-limited but uncertain (an applicable collective agreement may identify the relevant types of task/service).
  • To deal with an increase in the company’s workload, resulting from market circumstances, backlog of work or an excess of orders (an applicable collective agreement may identify the relevant activities and stipulate the proportion of a company’s workforce that can be employed on fixed-term contracts for this reason).
  • To substitute for an employee who is absent (e.g. on maternity leave) but has a right to return to their job, or to cover a vacant position until it is filled.

Tax and Social Security

Personal Income Tax

Individuals who are resident in Spain for tax purposes are generally subject to personal income tax (PIT) on their worldwide income, regardless of where it is generated, which is taxed, following statutory reductions, at progressive rates. Non-residents are subject to NRIT only on their Spanish-source income.

There are two types of taxable income for Spanish PIT purposes: general taxable income and savings taxable income:

General taxable income includes:

  • All income that is not savings taxable income.
  • Capital gains not generated from transfers of assets (such as lottery prizes).
  • Income allocations, attributions, or imputations, as established by law.
  • Interest and other income generated from transferring the taxpayer’s own capital to a related company when the capital exceeds three times the latter’s equity and for the part corresponding to the excess.

For general taxable income, progressive tax rates are applied (which are the sum of the applicable rate approved by the state and the applicable rate approved by each autonomous community of Spain in their progressive tax rate scales). Tax liability may therefore differ from one autonomous community to another. While most employers in the country will have to submit these payments to Spain’s Tax Authority, employers in the Basque and Navarra regions will submit income taxes to local authorities.

Tax scale for withholdings applicable in 2020 (this scale can be used as a guideline of the progressive tax rates applicable for the general taxable base. For the reasons stated above, the scale applicable in the corresponding autonomous community of Spain should always be consulted to calculate the total progressive tax rate):

Taxable Base (up to EUR) Tax Liability (EUR) Excess of Taxable Base (up to EUR) Tax Rate (%)
0 0 12,450 19.0
12,450 2,365.60 7,750 24.0
20,200 4,225.50 15,000 30.0
35,200 8,725.50 24,800 37.0
60,000 17,901.50 Remainder 45.0

Social Security

The legal framework for social security is derived primarily from the Social Security Act 1/1994. In Spain, the Social Security’s national insurance contributions cover:

  • Common contingencies, these contributions cover the situations included in the Social Security’s general regime,
  • Professional contingencies cover expenses resulting from labour accidents and occupational diseases,
  • Overtime,
  • Other concepts such as unemployment, training or the Wage Guarantee Fund, and
  • Public medical care to all affiliated workers.

Social security contributions are paid on salaries and wages. In Spain, the minimum monthly base is EUR 1,050.00 and the maximum is EUR 4,070.10 in 2020. The general contribution rates as of January 2020 are 6.35% for employees, depending on the type of contract, and 29.90% for employers, plus a variable rate for occupational accidents (e.g. 1.5% for office work).

*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.


Salary Payment

Employers in Spain must pay their employees on a monthly basis, or more frequently depending on the employment contract or collective bargaining agreements. In addition to the minimum of 12 monthly payments, many collective agreements require two additional payments in July and December, which are pro-rated and included in monthly payrolls through social security contributions.

All payments must be made by cheque or direct bank deposit, and, for payments made by cheque, the employer must provide a payslip with the amount of payment and withholdings to be signed by the employee.


The employee will typically receive an official monthly payslip – called nómina – by the end of each month. This is a legal document which proves the contractual relationship with the employer and exchange of the provided services and payment. The employee has to sign two copies, one of which is kept by the employer and the other one is for the employee. The payslip is separated into three distinct sections:

  • Header which must contain information about the employer and employee;
  • Body which includes information about the worked period, earnings and deductions;
  • Footer which includes information about the rates used for calculation.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is set in collective bargaining agreements or individual contracts and may never be less than 30 natural calendar days (which normally equates to 22 working days). It may not be replaced by financial compensation. Leave entitlement is reduced proportionally for periods of employment for less than a year. Wherever possible, the holiday calendar is established in each company by mutual agreement between workers and employers.

Carry Over Rules: Unused leave does not generally carry forward to the next year, although there are exceptions to this rule (e.g., pregnancy or maternity leave).

Sick Leave

Any sick leave compensation depends on the length of the absence:

  • The first 3 days of the sick leave: the company does not have to pay anything.
  • From the 4th to the 15th day of the sick leave: an allowance consisting of 60% of the calculation basis is to be paid by the company.
  • From the 16th to the 20th day of the sick leave: an allowance consisting of 60% of the calculation basis is to be paid by social security.
  • From the 21st day of the sick leave: an allowance consisting of 75% of the calculation basis is to be paid by social security.
  • If an employee is absent due to an accident at work, employers must make a payment of 75% of salary, but this is then reimbursed to the employer by Spain’s National Institute of Social Security.

A minimum previous contribution period of 180 days’ worth of social security contributions in the previous 5 years has to be fulfilled for the Spanish Social Security covers part of the worker’s salary, except where the incapacity is due to an occupational illness or accident at work.

A worker’s period of sick leave cannot exceed one year; however, the National Institute of Social Security (INSS) may extend the sick leave by 6 months if it considers that the worker can recover in that period of time.

Additional Paid Leave

In the following circumstances, employees are entitled to receive their full salaries for the periods indicated:

  • Fifteen calendar days in case of marriage;
  • The time required to comply with a public obligation (e.g., voting or jury duties);
  • One day for moving to a new residence;
  • For tests and examinations prior to childbirth, and training prior to adoption or fostering, whatever time is needed where this coincides with working hours;
  • For premature births involving hospitalization of the newborn, one hour per working day;
  • For breastfeeding children under nine months of age, workers are entitled to one hour of absence from work per day, or half an hour if taken at the beginning or end of the working day. This leave may be taken either by the mother or the father, if both are working;
  • For legal guardianship of a child under 12 or of a person with a disability, reduction of the working day by between one-eighth and one-half;
  • To fulfil public and personal obligations (jury duty, appearance in court, etc.), as long as necessary;
  • To perform trade union or workers’ representation duties, the time established by law or collective agreement.
  • Training Leave: Workers with at least one year of seniority are entitled to 20 hours per year of training leave, linked to the activity of the company.

In all cases, to exercise their right to leave, workers must notify the employer in advance and provide proof of the reason for their absence.

Compassionate & Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to two days paid leave in case of the death, accident or illness of a close relative (increasing to four days if travel is required)

Workers are entitled to request leave to care for family members for:

  • the maximum duration of three years to care for each child,
  • one year, extendible by collective bargaining agreement, to care for a blood relation or relation by marriage up to the second degree or similar, who for reasons of age, accident or illness cannot look after themselves and do not perform paid work.

Handicapped Family Member Leave

The Statute of Workers also guarantees employees unpaid leave of up to two years to take care of a close family member (parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild, aunt or uncle, first cousin or niece or nephew) in the event the family member is handicapped or is deemed by the health authorities to be unable to execute the most basic activities of daily living without help from a third person.

Voluntary Unpaid Leave

Employees with at least a year’s tenure are entitled to the voluntary unpaid leave of between four months and five years. After the exercise of this right, no other voluntary unpaid leave may be taken for four years. Following unpaid leave, the employee is entitled to be reinstated in their previous professional category, but not necessarily in the same position. Time taken for unpaid voluntary leave is not considered in the calculation of seniority.

Maternity & Parental Leave

A new Royal Decree introduced a novelty in paid leaves for birth and adoption, which applies to all births that occurred after the 1st of April 2019. This regulation aims to achieve effective equality between men and women in employment in the promotion of personal and family life, through equalization of the time for both parents to enjoy the leave for birth and adoption. The term “Paternity” has been replaced by “Partner Leave”, this last term referring to the parent other than the biological mother.

Maternity leave: 16 weeks. The mother must take 6 of these weeks immediately after the birth. The remaining 10 weeks can be organised by the mother under her discretion until the child is twelve months old. The biological mother can anticipate the suspension up to four weeks before the expected date of birth.

Partner leave: 12 weeks (from 1st January 2021: 16 weeks). The partner must take 4 of these weeks immediately after the birth. The remaining 8 weeks can be organised by the progenitor under their discretion until the child is twelve months old. This is an individual right of the worker and its exercise cannot be transferred to the other parent.

Unpaid leave (“excedencia” in Spanish): Once the maternity leave has ended, the mother or father have a right to ask for unpaid leave until the child is 3 years old. These days may be taken all together or in different periods. The company must retain the same job for this person for the first year. For the subsequent year, the company only has to guarantee that the person will have the “same type” of job.

Reduction of working hours: The employee (mother or father) have a right to ask for a reduction of working hours if they have a child younger than 8 years old. In this case, the employee will only receive the salary according to the base hours worked. The company cannot dismiss the employee, or the dismissal can be declared invalid (“nulo”).

Adoption rights: Each adoptive or foster parent receives 6 weeks of mandatory uninterrupted leave which they should take during the first 12 months after the child comes into their home. The law extends this leave on a voluntary basis for up to 16 weeks for each adoptive parent, and two extra weeks for each additional child. Also, one parent can leave the other parent up to 6 weeks of their leave.

Public Holidays

Each municipality is allowed to declare a maximum of 14 public holidays per year; up to nine of these are chosen by the national government and at least two are chosen locally.

Benefits to the Employee in Spain

Statutory Benefits

Spain has a comprehensive social security system covering over 90% of the population. It includes:

  • Healthcare (Plus sickness and maternity),
  • Industrial injuries,
  • Unemployment insurance,
  • Old age (pensions),
  • Invalidity and death benefits.

Other Benefits

Common additional employment benefits include:

  • Variable pay
  • Company car
  • Pension plan
  • Private Health insurance

Visas and Foreign Workers

General Information

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals

According to the principle of free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, EU (European Union) and EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss nationals may be employed in Spain without restriction.

Non-EU, EEA or Swiss Nationals

To work in Spain as a highly-skilled employee, non-EU citizens need to find a job which is listed as a ‘Shortage Occupation’. This is a job for which there is a lack of suitable candidates within the EU. The employer must then request a Work Visa from the Ministry of Labour. The supporting documentation needed is quite extensive and it must be submitted in Spanish. Work permit applications can take up to 6 to 8 months to process. Once the Ministry of Labour has approved the application, the embassy or consulate issue the work and residence visa. The candidate will need to make a residence visa application in their usual country of residence and is usually required to present a police clearance certificate and an original birth certificate to be granted this visa.

The EU Blue Card is for people who spent at least 3 years completing a higher education qualification which allows them to work as a skilled professional. People who have a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience at a high level are also eligible. The employer submits the application on the behalf of the applicant. A work contract involving a salary which is at least 50% more than the average wage in Spain (or at least 20% more if the skills are in demand) is a requirement. Once approved, the worker also needs to apply for a visa from a Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country. Blue cards are valid for one year but can be renewed as long as the conditions are still met.

In order to be employed on a Spanish work permit the candidate must:

  • Have the appropriate skills, qualifications, and experience to fill the position;
  • Be of good character (no criminal record);
  • Be of good health;
  • Have a guaranteed job offer in Spain;
  • Preference is given to candidates with some demonstrable link with Spain and Latin American citizens

Getting a Tax Number

Everyone who conducts legal or financial activities in Spain needs a Spanish tax identification number. The tax number is a form of identification used mainly for Spanish tax purposes but also for a range of other financial and legal transactions such as opening a Spanish bank account or getting a driving license. The Spanish Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio del Interior) issues Spanish tax numbers.

NIF (Numero de Identificacion Fiscal)

The NIF is the tax ID for Spanish citizens. It consists of the individual’s Spanish ID number (DNI) plus one letter, hence the Spanish NIF number consists of eight numbers plus two letters.

NIE (Numero de dentificacion de Extranjero)

The NIE is the tax ID for foreigners and non-citizens, including non-residents with Spanish property or carrying out legal or financial transactions in Spain. The NIE consists of a letter, followed by seven digits, followed by another letter.

Applying for a Spanish tax number

For foreign residents, those from the EU/EFTA must apply for an NIE number after three months of residence in Spain. Those from outside the EU/EFTA will usually make their NIE application along with their Spanish residency application. Tax numbers can take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to be issued, depending on where you are making your application. Tax numbers are normally printed on a document in certificate form. Applications can be made in any of the following ways:

  • a processing office of a local police station if you are living in Spain.
  • the Provincial Tax Office of your local municipality if you are living in Spain and applying for a CIF for a business.
  • a Spanish embassy or consulate if you are living abroad. This is most commonly for non-residents with property or conducting business in Spain.
  • an authorized Spanish resident (e.g., lawyer, notary, friend, family member) holding power of attorney to represent you
  • If a person lives in Spain and decides to take Spanish citizenship, they will not need to make a separate application for a Spanish NIF number. They can carry on using their NIE number until their NIF number arrives, which will happen shortly after receipt of their official Spanish ID card.

The Spanish tax number requirements vary from one processing office to another. Typical requirements for individual tax numbers are:

  • a completed application form (available from the processing office)
  • valid ID
  • proof of address
  • if the application is being made through a third-party representative, proof of Power of Attorney will be needed.

Public Holidays in 2022

S.No Occasion Date
1. New Year’s Day January 1st
2. Epiphany January 6th
3. Holy Thursday* April 14th
4. Good Friday April 15th
5. Labour Day* May 1st
6. St. James Day* July 25th
7. Assumption Day August 15th
8. Spain National Holiday October 12th
9. All Saints’ Day November 1st
10. Spanish Constitution Day December 6th
11. Immaculate Conception December 8th
12. Christmas Day* December 25th

*May differ depending on autonomous community

Note: 2 days local public holiday not included


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