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Expat Business Info Spain

Ready for a new working experience in Spain? Contrary to its stereotypical image, the land of siestas is a country that takes pride in its industrious tradition. If you are considering working in Spain, InterNations will support you with information on business culture, taxes, and the job search.
Big newspapers are a helpful starting point for your job search.

First Step — The NIE

Before worrying about paperwork and taxation, you need to apply for an NIE (Número de Identificación de Estranjeros), the identification number for foreigners, regardless of whether or not you require a work visa. The application for an NIE is not very complicated. It simply requires you to go to the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros and bring a completed applications form, including a copy, your passport, including a copy, a passport-sized photograph, and proof of your current address in Spain. It should take up to three weeks for your NIE to arrive.

Everything You Need to Know about Taxation

Non-residents are subject to Impuesto sobre la Renta de no Residentes (IRNR) or non-resident income tax and get taxed on any income arising in Spain. On the other hand, if you are a resident, you will be taxed on your worldwide income, but you may deduct any income tax paid back home. Residents need to look into the Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas (IRPF), which is a personal income tax. The IRPF regulations were changed in 2015 and the easiest way to get an overview of your financial situation in this respect is by using an online calculator.

Due to the fact that tax regulations differ based on country of origin and type of employment, please see the relevant brochure of the Spanish tax office for detailed information or, if the legalese doesn’t scare you, take a look at the Income Tax Convention with Spain.

What Kind of Exemptions Apply to You?

You may be from a country that has a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) with Spain. Check the UN database to see if this applies to you. If this is the case, you must find out which country is entitled to your taxes. Generally, DTAA’s mean that those present in Spain for less than 183 days in a year will not be taxed by both their home and host country.

Take the UK, for example, which has a double taxation treaty with Spain: if a British citizen is working in Spain, they must pay taxes in their country of residence. If they are a resident of both Spain and the UK, according to the countries’ respective regulations, they must pay taxes where their permanent home is. If their permanent home is both in the UK and in Spain, they would pay taxes in the country where they reside more frequently. The goal of this regulation is to make sure expats are only taxed in one of the two countries.

If you are unclear about which regulations apply to your, consult a tax advisor in Spain who has worked with foreign nationals from your country of origin before. We also recommend that you seek the help of an attorney when considering moving to and working in Spain.

The entire process of moving to Spain is made easier if you already have an employer as they may be able to help you with the formalities of the Spanish bureaucratic system. If you are searching for work on your own, having a good grip on the Spanish language will surely help when browsing popular job websites such as the following:

In addition, you should look at the major national and regional newspapers around Spain such as El País or El Mundo. It may also be wise to see if your current company has any job listings in Spain before embarking on a solo job hunt. Please remember that, with the current economic situation, finding a job in Spain is still very challenging.

Depending on your country of origin, your academic degrees may not be recognized in Spain. In order to find out what their Spanish equivalent is and whether your respective degree meets the Spanish requirements or whether it needs to be officially accredited (homologación), check out the Spanish Ministry of Education website.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Jacques Paillard

"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

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