Residence permit for highly qualified professionals

Updated 10/2021

Permit for highly qualified professionals to reside and work, valid throughout the national territory.

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

The FEE is € 72.53 (the amount is borne by the company)

The VALIDITY is the same as the duration of the contract, with a maximum of two YEARS

The application must be made PRIOR to obtaining a VISA or IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN SPAIN LEGALLY

It is applied for ONLINE by the company

What is it?

This is the document which entitles a worker residing outside Spain to take a position in a large company or innovative company in Spain in strategic sectors for the Spanish economy and for which certain skills or qualifications are required. This includes a higher education qualification or, exceptionally, a minimum of three years’ experience which could be considered comparable. This document must be obtained by foreign nationals from outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. 

The position must have salary and working conditions in accordance with the Law.

The permit is valid as established in the contract, with a maximum of two years. It can be renewed once this period has elapsed for periods of two years.

Important information

The permit is requested by the company or entity that requires the services of a highly qualified professional.

  • If the citizen is outside Spain, this permit is an indispensable requirement for obtaining the relevant entry visa.
  • If the citizen is in Spanish territory legally, only a permit to reside and work in the territory has to be obtained.

In both cases, the permit to allow the residence of family members can also be requested, jointly or subsequently.

You can also consult the Government of Spain's Immigration Portal (available only in Spanish), the Invest in Spain website (available in English and Spanish) and the information sheet for highly qualified professionals (available in English, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and 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 persons from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland who have a job offer from a Spanish company and a qualified profile demonstrable through:

  • A university degree.
  • Demonstrable prior experience in a position similar to the one offered of a minimum of three years. 

Who has to apply for it?

The application must be made by the company or entity that wishes to hire the foreign national.

What requirements must be met?

To apply for the permit, both the employee and the company must meet certain requirements.

Employee requirements
  • Not being in an irregular situation in Spanish territory.
  • Being at least 18 years of age.
  • Having no criminal record in Spain and in the countries where you have resided during the last five years.
  • 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.
  • Having a university degree or equivalent or, where appropriate, at least three years' professional experience.
Company requirements
  • Having a certificate of cover (agreement with the social security system) or health insurance for the employee, taken out with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.
  • Paying the fee for processing the permit.
  • Show an offer of employment and description of the position offered to the worker, justifying the reason why the company requires someone with that profile and qualifications and that a salary will be offered corresponding to the worker’s level. 
  • Additionally, there are requirements that vary depending on the profile of the personnel and the type of company that requests their incorporation.
    • Management or highly qualified personnel of companies or groups of companies that alternatively meet any of the following requirements:
      • Average workforce of more than 250 employees in Spain in the three months prior to application.
      • Annual net turnover in Spain of more than 50 million euros.
      • Equity or net worth in Spain of more than 43 million euros.
      • Average gross annual investment from abroad of not less than one million euros in the three years prior to the application.
      • Value of the investor stock or position in Spain of more than 3 million euros according to the latest data from the foreign investment register of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
    • Management or highly qualified personnel of SMEs accredited as belonging to a strategic sector, by means of a report from the Directorate-General for Trade and Investment:
    • The accreditation of compliance with the requirements set out above will be carried out once before the Large Companies and Strategic Collectives Unit and will be valid for three years, renewable if the requirements are maintained.
    • The sector must be considered strategic.
    • Management or highly qualified personnel who form part of a business project accredited as being of public interest by means of a report from the Directorate-General for Trade and Investment, in accordance with any of the following conditions:
      • Significant increase in the creation of direct jobs by the company that requests the right to hire.
      • Maintenance of employment.
      • Significant increase in the creation of jobs in the sector or geographical area where the work activity is to be carried on.
      • Extraordinary investment with socio-economic impact in the geographical area of activity.
      • Reasons of public interest for commercial and investment policy.
      • Relevant contribution to scientific or technological innovation.
    • Individuals who have obtained degrees or postgraduate degrees from universities and business schools of recognised standing.
Which body is responsible for the formality?

Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos (UGE). (Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit)

What advice and suggestions could help you?
  • If, at the time of application, you are outside Spain, you will have to request a national visa in order to enter Spain once your residence permit has been granted. 
  • The decision period established by law is twenty working days. However, in practice, in recent months there have been delays on the part of the body dealing with the applications.
  • Please note that the law does not clearly define the term highly qualified worker. For this reason, this condition will be determined according to the criteria of the authority studying the application.
  • Your family members may accompany you on your trip and they may jointly or at a later stage apply for a permit or visa. This condition applies to:
    • Spouse or unmarried partner
    • Children who are minors, or who are of legal age, and who are financially dependent on the holder
    • Dependent relatives in the ascending line
What other linked formalities should you know about?

What do you need to do?


The company or entity that wishes to hire you is responsible for completing the formality to obtain the permit.

Remember that your family members can accompany you on your trip and that they will be able to apply for a permit, together with your application for authorisation or at a later date.

What steps must you take to apply for the permit?

The company applies for the permit

The company or entity that wishes to hire you must apply for a residence permit for highly qualified professionals. This application is processed in the Large Companies and Strategic Collectives Unit in Spain.

To make it easier for the company to obtain the permit, consult the documentation required to have it prepared in case it is requested.

  • When documents are provided in languages other than Spanish, they must be translated into Spanish by means of sworn translation.  
  • 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, all public documents must be translated by means of authorised translation. In the case of standard EU forms, neither translation nor legalisation is required.

For more information on the translation and legalisation of documents, please consult the relevant website.

Employee documentation
  • Full copy of passport with minimum validity of six months and at least two blank pages.
  • Criminal record certificate.
  • Updated curriculum vitae.
  • Documentation providing evidence of the citizen’s degree-level or equivalent qualification (legalised, translated and recognised) or certification of at least three years of professional experience.
Company documentation
  • Documentation that identifies the company requesting the authorization.
  • Signed employment contract, with the minimum conditions established for hiring highly qualified workers (salary, job position).
  • Prove that the company guarantees the necessary solvency.
  • Certificate of Social Security or private health insurance.
Receive notification of the decision

Within a period of twenty to thirty days a decision will be made regarding your residence permit for highly qualified professionals. 

You will be notified of the status of the application at the email address given at the time of submission of the application. 

If you are outside Spain, apply for your visa

If you are outside Spain at the time of submitting the application, once the permit has been approved you must apply for a visa in order to be able to enter the territory.

In order to find out about the procedure for obtaining the visa, consult the information on the formality, which contains all the details on how to obtain it.

Entry into Spain

Remember that once you are in Spain, depending on your profile, you may need to complete the following formalities: