Initial residence and self-employment permit

Updated 09/2021

Permit to live in Spain and work as a self-employed individual in Catalonia

  • What do you need to know?
  • What do you need to do?

The FEE can reach up to € 200.25, depending on the case

It has a period of VALIDITY of a YEAR


It is applied for IN PERSON

What is it?

This is the document that entitles the holder to reside and work in Catalonia, with the aim of carrying out a profitable activity on a self-employed basis. This document must be obtained by foreign nationals from outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. 

Important information

The permit is requested by the citizen himself or herself in person at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office of his or her country of residence.

This permit is valid for a year and will be limited to an autonomous region (Catalonia) and a sector of activity.  

You can also consult the Government of Spain's Immigration Portal (available only in Spanish).

Why do you have to apply for it?

It is important, since obtaining it is essential to prove the acquired right to reside and work in Spanish territory, for people who are not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Who does it apply to?

It applies to foreign nationals from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland who are going to carry on a profitable activity on their own account.

Who has to apply for it?

The application must be submitted in person by the foreign national.

What requirements must be met?

To apply for the permit you must meet the following requirements:

  • Not being a citizen of an EU or EEA state or Switzerland, or a family member of individuals from those countries to whom the rules for EU citizens apply.
  • Not being in an irregular situation in Spanish territory.
  • Not having a criminal record in Spain and in your previous countries of residence for crimes existing in the Spanish legal system.
  • Not being forbidden to enter Spain or being listed as liable to be refused entry in the territorial area of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement to that effect.
  • Meeting the requirements that current legislation demands for initiating and carrying on the planned activity.
  • Having the necessary professional qualification or proven experience, sufficient to carry on the professional activity, as well as, where appropriate, membership of a professional association when required.
  • Being able to prove that the planned investment is sufficient and that, where applicable, it has some impact on job creation.
  • Being able to prove that you have sufficient financial resources for subsistence and accommodation, once those necessary for carrying on the activity have been deducted.
Which body is responsible for the formality?

The Department of Labour of the Generalitat de Catalunya (regional government) 

What advice and suggestions could help you?
  • You should be aware that the validity of the residence and self-employment permit is conditional upon registration with the relevant social security system, which must be done during the three months following your legal entry into Spain and, in any event, during the validity of the visa. Within one month of registering with the social security system, you must also apply for an identity card for foreign nationals (TIE).
  • You can check the visa requirements for entrepreneurs and business activity to see if you meet them, and you can take advantage of the Entrepreneurs Act (14/2013), which facilitates the arrival of foreign citizens in Spain.
What other linked formalities should you know about?

What do you need to do?

In person

You can only complete the formality in person, going in person to the diplomatic missions and consular offices of Spain in your country of residence. Also, before you go, check whether you need an appointment on the website of the consulate or diplomatic mission.

The requirements, procedure and documentation requested may vary depending on your country of residence. Check with the relevant diplomatic mission or consular office about the specific procedure before starting the application.

What steps must you take to apply for the permit?

Fill in the application form and gather the required documentation

You must download, complete and sign the official application form for the initial residence and self-employment permit (AUT03a) in duplicate.

Before the application period begins, consult and prepare the documentation that you will be asked for.

  • In general copies of the documents must be provided and the originals must be shown at the time the application is submitted.
  • When documents from other countries are provided, they must be translated into Spanish by means of a sworn translation and correctly legalised.
  • On the other hand, all foreign public documents must be legalised beforehand, except where the document in question has had an apostille certificate attached by the competent authority of the issuing country.
    • In the case of standard EU forms, neither their translation nor their legalisation will be necessary, in accordance with the provisions of the EU regulations that relate to them.

It is important for you to know that the public documents issued in your country of origin which are necessary to complete formalities for coming to Barcelona must comply with international legalisation requirements.

There are two methods of international legalisation of a public document, depending on whether or not the country issuing the document is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961:

  • If the country issuing the public document is a signatory, the document will be recognised if it bears the Hague Apostille stamp. This stamp will be processed in the country of origin.
  • If the country issuing the public document is not a signatory, then the legalisation process will be carried out through diplomatic channels.

In addition, any documents issued in a language other than Spanish must be translated by means of sworn translation. In the case of standard EU forms, neither translation nor legalisation is required. 

  • Application form duly completed and signed. 
  • Application form for a national visa duly completed and signed.
  • Proof of payment of fees (residence and work).
  • Full copy of valid passport or travel document.
  • The statements of compliance that are legally required or, if the activity requires them, a list of permits or licences required for the set-up, opening or operation of the projected activity or for the professional activity, and an indication of the status of the procedures to be completed.
  • Copy of the documentation that attests to having the training and, where applicable, the professional qualification required to practise the profession.
  • Proof of sufficient financial investment or commitment of support from financial institutions or other entities
  • Set-up plan or plan for the activity to be carried on, with an indication of the expected investment, its expected profitability and, where appropriate, a job-creation forecast.

Evidence for the last three sections can be provided by the valuation report. This, by way of example, may be issued by one of the following organisations:

  • National Federation of Associations of Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Persons (ATA).
  • Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Persons (UPTA).
  • Spanish State Intersectoral Confederation of Self-Employed Persons (CIAE).
  • Professionals and Self-Employed Persons Organisation (OPA).
  • Union of Self-Employed Persons and Entrepreneurs Associations (UATAE)
Request your appointment

The permit must be applied for in person.

Generally, in order to apply for the permit at the diplomatic mission or consular office of your country of residence, you must make an appointment.

Pay the fees associated with the permit application

To apply for a residence and self-employment work permit, you must fill in the forms for the purposes of payment of the established fees (residence and work), indicate the method of payment and pay the fees prior to the issuance of the permit. 

The form allows payment to be made in cash (by making the relevant payment into the Public Treasury’s account) or by direct debit from a current account (whose number you will have to provide).

Residence fee
  • The amount of the residence fee is € 10,83.
  • In order to pay the correct fee, when downloading form 052 you must tick box 2.1, which deals with applications for permits that entail, at the same time, an initial application for residence.
  • To obtain information, fill in and print the form and pay the fee, you can consult the following link.
Work fee
  • The amount of the work fee can reach up to € 200.25, depending on the case, although people who had an income of less than 30,000 euros in the last year are exempt from paying it. 
  • In order to obtain a proper self-assessment, you must provide the information requested on the Generalitat de Catalunya website to generate the application form and fee payment document. 
  • To obtain information, fill in and print the form and pay the fee, you can consult the following link.

The information is available in Spanish and Catalan.

Go to the place indicated and submit the documentation

Go to the diplomatic mission or consular office of your country of residence to deliver the documentation to apply for the residence and self-employment work permit.

The documentation necessary is detailed in the first section of the procedure ("1. Fill in the application form and gather the required documentation > Documentation").

Receive or collect the permit

Within a period of three months, a decision will be made regarding your initial residence and self-employment permit.

The diplomatic mission or consular office will notify you of the decision regarding the application.

Once the application has been notified, you must go to the consulate to process the entry visa that enables you to enter Spain and start the activity.

Depending on the consulate where the application is submitted, it is possible that the visa documentation will be requested when the application for the permit is submitted or that the visa documentation will be requested once notice has been given of the granting of the residence and work permit.  

For specific visa requirements you can consult the information on the entry visa.

Entry into Spain

Remember that, once you are in Spain, you will have to complete the following formalities: