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Steps to Moving to Spain from the USA

Monday, March 27, 2023
A couple with suitcases walking down a sidewalk next to a gigantic building on Madrid’s street

Do you hear that? It is Spain calling out your name, inviting you not only for a visit but to stay. Spain is a welcoming country with so much culture that it may blow your mind. And, Americans love the space of Spain hence millions opt to make it their new home. Here are the steps to how to move to Spain from the United States, permanently.

First Step: Apply for A Spanish Visa

A man holding a baby in a field petting a pony enjoying his time in Spain

If you are planning on moving to Spain, it would be best to do it before the end of 2022. This is because, as an American citizen, you can visit the country for up to 90 days without the need for a visa. However, from May 2023 Spain will be introducing ETIAS. This is a visa waiver that you would need to apply for at least 72 hours before your trip to Spain.  

If you have a successful application when this permit can last you three years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. This gives you a chance to get a feel for the country and you can also use the item, as well as the 90 visa-free days before it is implemented, to do some business in the country.  

However, if you want to make Spain your permanent home, then you would have to apply for a visa. Luckily, there are different types of Spanish visas to choose from depending on what you want to do in Spain. There are Student Visas, Job Searches, Work Visas, Permanent Residency, and Family Reunification Visas as well.

The next step would be to research and find out which Spanish visa is best for you, or if you have any family connections in Spain to help with the process such as with the…

Family Reunification

A family enjoying their time together while sitting on sofa cuddling and watching stuff on their laptop

As you can guess this type of visa is all about connecting and keeping families together. Therefore, if you are someone who has a direct connection to family living in Spain or you are married to someone who has Spanish citizenship when you should apply for this type of visa.  

To put it bluntly, this is for civil partnerships, spouses, children under the age of 18, as well as parents and parents-in-law who are over the age of 65. Just check with the family member or partner if their residence permits or TIE (foreigner ID card) is valid.  

When applying for this visa make sure that you have all the documents needed such as: 

  • Valid passport
  • Valid Spanish residence permit
  • Original and translated copies of your marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption papers (if need be), and civil partnership certificate. Furthermore, make sure that the copies are legalized
  • A filled-in application form for the visa
  • That everyone in the family has proof of health insurance
  • Proof that you can support your family, and yourself financially
  • Health certificate 
  • And, a criminal background report 

As you can see there is quite a bit of paperwork to connect and verify. Therefore, it would be strongly recommended that you begin the paperwork process and search as soon as you can. Plus, if you need advice or more information, you should reach out to a professional who can help you along the way. 

Spanish Student Visas

A young tourist wearing a beanie and sunglasses outdoors while holding a map of Barcelona in his hands

Spanish student visas are not only for students wanting to study in Spain, but they can also be for people who do unpaid internships, or those that wish to conduct training or research while living in Spain. Plus, this visa can be a way to obtain other types of visas such as the Job Search one, or even a Work Visa. To apply for one of the three types of Student visas you would have to have an offer letter from one of the universities in Spain. 

  • Furthermore, you would also need to get the following documents ready:
  • Filled in visa application
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of finance and medical insurance 

When you have your papers in order, you would have to book an appointment at the Spanish embassy or a consulate to submit the documents. As well as to pay the 60-euro fee. It is recommended that you apply for a student visa three months before your moving date. This is so you have time to redo if you fail the first time around. Speak to a professional to help you get on the right track and, hopefully, get approved on your first try.  

There are three types of student visas with the Schenenge being valid for three months, the short-term being valid for six months, and the long-term for over six months. Depending on your course and research will indicate which one you should apply for. And, if you get the latter then you can work part-time (20 hours per week) if you apply for a Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (a foreigner identity card). 

If you finished your studies, then you can apply for a…

Job Search Visa

The main goal of this type of Spanish visa is to give students who have completed their undergraduate or master’s degrees more time in Spain to find a job. However, it is non-renewable and only lasts for a year. Plus, you would also have to prove that you can financially support yourself while you are job hunting, as well as have Spanish healthcare. 

What is more, is that you can apply for this visa 60 days before your student one expires or 90 days after it has expired. The former would be better to aim for. While we are on the subject of working in Spain…

Move to Spain Smoothly 

Spanish Work Visas

A woman in her new Spanish apartment working from home and enjoying the view outside of her window

As a foreigner from Spain, you can apply to work in Spanish-based companies even while not yet living in Spain. Hence, the power of the internet. This is important since if you get a job offer from a company in Spain then you can apply for a work visa. And, achieving one will give you benefits such as access to free public healthcare, as well as 30 days of annual leave. The company that wants you would have to apply for the work visa on your behalf.  

It is valid for a year and you can renew it twice with each one granting you two years. When your work visa is approved and you land in Spain then you should send your work contract straight away. As well as apply for your foreigner ID card, health insurance, and social security.  

There are also different types of work visas from ones that are aimed at freelancers and more. Therefore, speak to a professional to know which one is the right one for you, as well as how to apply for it. But, first, you would need to get a job in Spain before you leave the US.

Golden Visa

A man wearing a black suit with gold dust on it, and holding up a black credit card while talking on his mobile

This is the Spanish visa for those who have deep pockets. The Golden Visa also known as the Investor Visa is for people who want to invest financially in Spain. The visa depends on how much you are willing to invest with the requirements being:

  • To put in 500 000 euros in property
  • To buy 1 million euros in a company share or 1 million euros in bank deposits
  • 2 million in treasury bonds

Or to invest in a new Spanish-based business that will offer a lot of employment opportunities for the people living in Spain. These types of businesses can contribute to innovations when it comes to science or technology. Or a new business in Spain that creates a positive socio-economic impact.

Furthermore, this visa also includes a work visa, and with this type of work visa, you can bring your family over to Spain to live. Plus, the Golden Visa is also a pathway to getting a long-term residence permit or even Spanish citizenship. The latter can be achieved if you live in Spain for ten years, continually. But, it is important to inform yourself about the tax system in Spain before you start putting your money into the country, to be on the safe side.

A woman smiling at the camera with a cup of takeaway coffee in her hands while visiting Madrid

The Golden Visa will last you one year, and you can collect your residence permit which lasts for two years. Plus, you can renew your visa indefinitely as long as you keep the investments up.

Outside of investing there are a few other steps you would have to take. Such as to bring the following documents when applying for this kind of visa:

  • Two passport-sized photos
  • Completed visa form and paid fees
  • Proof of your funds
  • Proof that you have Spanish health insurance
  • Documents that are related to your investments, bonds, or shares
  • Police report that is not older than three months
  • A valid passport that has been so for six months with at least two blank pages in it

It is essential that you speak to a professional to get the right information, so you know exactly what you need to do and which route to take.

Permanent Residency Visa in Spain

A woman wearing sunglasses and standing near a Church in sunny Spain

Let’s say that you have passed the visa process and have been living in the country for some time. We are keeping a few steps ahead, to this “final one”, but this is worthwhile knowledge to know. If you live in Spain for five consecutive years, then you are eligible for permanent residency. If you have been a student with a student visa, then it will only count as half of your time in Spain. So, if your studies were four years, then you have “only been living in Spain” for two of them.

When you have the Permanent Residency Visa you can live in Spain for another five years. This will bring you up to be able to apply for Spanish citizenship since you would have lived in the country for ten years straight. But, let’s first get to Spain.

Moving to Spain from the US with Shyft

A medium shot of a stylish woman posing on her balcony and enjoying the sun near mountains

The pre-final step of the moving to Spain process is to organize your move. This does not need to be a stressful task. If anything it can be one where your move gets organized, and you also save money. That is the Shyft way. And, Shyft is here to guide and organize your move for you. To put it in one sentence: Shyft is the world's first tech-driven moving platform that organizes your move to Spain from the US for you. Check out Shyft Moving for more information and to get in touch with us by filling out the short form.  

Once we get your basic moving details, a Move Coach will call you through the Shyft Next app which is free on your mobile. Just download it. This will be a video call where your Move Coach calls you at the time that you say you want to be called. Furthermore, this is also how your Move Coach will also create your inventory list right there and then. This is done virtually and all you need to do is show off your current home, one drawer, and one cupboard. Plus, you can also get more information virtual face to virtual face from your Move Coach about the whole process.

Basically, when this video call is finished, your Move Coach will tidy up the current inventory list and send it to you within half an hour. The inventory list is 95% accurate and you make it 100% accurate. You can add items that we missed, remove items that you changed your mind about, and more. And, you can change your inventory list whenever you want throughout the moving process without influencing your price. When you are happy with the list, send it to your Move Coach.

A woman taking a picture of one of the Cathedral of Barcelona in Spain

They will present it, and your moving information (zero personal ones) to Shyft’s secure move board. It is a platform where experienced, vetted, and international moving companies gather to bid on moving gigs, yours included. When this is done, your Move Coach will collect three or more moving quotes from different movers. As well as information from different moving companies which have no connection to each other. All this is sent your way so that you can pick which is the best mover for you.  

And, all the moving quotes are fixed even if you change your inventory list, as we have mentioned earlier. If you have any concerns or questions, or just want to check in then you can reach out to Shyft seven days a week. We are waiting for your call to help you move to Spain from the USA. Just get your paperwork in order so we can start. Don’t forget to pick up Spanish.