Registration procedures and residence permits
Kinds of employment
- As a citizen of the European Community or Switzerland, you only need to produce an appropriate identity document or a current passport to enter Spain. You can stay for three months to find a job or find work for yourself. If you have still not found a job after three months, you are entitled to stay for longer if you continue seeking work. If your family members are not citizens of the Community, the EEA or Switzerland, they must apply for a residence card for Community relatives if they are going to stay in the country with you for more than three months.
- After you arrive in Spain, you have a period of three months in which to apply at the Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreign Nationals’ Office) or at a police station for registration in the Registro Central de Extranjeros (Central Register of Foreign Nationals). You will need to present your valid passport or identity card and pay a fee. The Office will give you a registration certificate with an NIE (Número de identificación de Extranjeros) [Non-nationals’ identification number]. This procedure has replaced the former Community resident card system.
- For the purposes of identification, any non-national wishing to function on an economic, social or professional basis in Spain must have the personal, unique and exclusive NIE [Non-nationals’ identification number]. This number is provided automatically when a person applies to be included in the central register of foreign nationals, but it may also be applied for separately.
- A registration certificate can be obtained from the local Ayuntamiento [Local City/Town Council] whenever you need to prove that you live in Spain. For this you will need to show the rental contract for your accommodation, or your electricity or water bill, etc. as proof that you do live there.
- If this is the first time you have worked in Spain, you must obtain your own Social Security membership number. You can arrange this yourself or your company can do it on your behalf. You must produce the following at the Social Security office in order to be issued with the card: Application form (TA-1) and Identity document. You will then be given a Tarjeta de la Seguridad Social [Social Security Card], which must be presented at the corresponding health centre so that a doctor can be assigned and you will be given a tarjeta sanitaria [health card].
The minimum working age in Spain is 16, although minors who are not legally emancipated require permission from their parents or guardians in order to work. However, persons under the age of 18 may not work night shifts, overtime or in other unhealthy, laborious, harmful or dangerous conditions.
All contracts, with the exception of training contracts, may be signed on a full-time or a part-time basis. A work contract may be open-ended (known as “fixed contracts”) or for a specific duration (“temporary contracts”).
Types of contracts
- Indefinite contracts: These work contracts are agreed between the employer and the worker and are not limited to a specific period of time.They can be agreed verbally or in writing and may be on a full-time or a part-time basis.
- Fixed-term (temporary) contracts may be drawn up in the following circumstances: Contract for a specific task or service: These are signed to allow the worker to perform a specific task or service limited in time, when the duration is not known. They can last up to three years, and may be extended for a further twelve months under a collective agreement. Contract for production contingencies: These contracts aim to cover circumstantial requirements of production or the employment market, to meet backlogs or serve a large number of orders received, even when they involve the normal operation of the company. This contract may not run for more than 6 months within a 12 month period. Temporary replacement contract: These are used to replace a worker for a short time when that worker has the right to maintain their position in the company. This could be the case for a worker taking sick leave. The contract must mention the name of the replaced worker and the reason for replacement.
- Work experience contract: By means of this kind of contract, workers acquire professional experience relating to their studies. This kind of contract requires that: a) The worker possesses a University or intermediate or higher Vocational Training qualification, or equivalent, or a professional certificate. b) More than five years have not elapsed since completing the corresponding studies (or since the studies were validated in Spain if the qualification was obtained abroad). This period will be seven years in the case of a contract with a disabled employee. In the event that this is the first job for young people aged under 30, this type of contract may be concluded even if five or more years have elapsed. This contract must last for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.
- Training and apprenticeship contract: This may be concluded with workers aged over 16 and under 25 who do not have the qualifications required to conclude a work experience contract. Some groups may be employed under the terms of a training agreement even though they are over the age limit. This kind of contract shall be valid for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. In all cases, this contract may only be concluded on a full-time basis.
- Other kinds of contract: Release contracts, domestic-work contracts, permanent seasonal contracts and job creation contracts for persons with disabilities.