Temporary residence and work permit for research porpuses in Spain

Temporary residence and work permit for research porpuses in Spain

Who can obtain a temporary residence and work permit for research?

Foreign researchers whose main or sole reason for being in Spain is to carry out research projects through a hosting agreement with a research organisation.

The duration of the initial permit will be equal to that of the research project, with a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 5 years.

IMPORTANT: Foreigners who are going to carry out unremunerated research or training activities do not have to apply for this permit, as they will only need a visa for studies.

What is meant by a research organisation?

Any individual or public or private legal entity established in Spain that carries out research and technological development activities and is authorised to sign hosting agreements.

The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation maintains an updated list of organisations authorised to host foreign researchers.

What conditions need to be met in order to secure a hosting agreement?

• That the research project has been accepted by the organisation and adequately defines its aim and duration

• That the necessary material and financial resources are available to carry out the project

• That the researcher can prove they have a higher degree that allows access to doctorate programmes related to the research project for which the temporary residence and work permit for research is sought.

The hosting agreement must contain a descriptive report about the project and the employment contract, with the start date conditional upon a permit being granted.


The research organisation must submit, via its legal representative, the application for the permit on the official form (which can be found at http://extranjeros.mtin.es) to the competent body in the province where the research project will be initiated.

Documentation that must be submitted with the application:

• Tax Identification Number and public deed granting legal representation of the research organisation to the individual making the application

• A copy of the researcher’s full passport or travel document, recognised as valid in Spain

• A signed hosting agreement.

• Documentation attesting the professional qualifications required for the exercise of the profession.

Applicants will also be required to pay the application processing fees.

Research visa

Within one month of the research organisation receiving notification that the permit is granted, the foreigner must apply in person (notwithstanding exceptions) for the visa (which will include the permit) at the diplomatic mission or consulate where they live.

Documentation that must be submitted with the visa application:

• A standard passport or travel document recognised as valid in Spain, with a minimum validity period of 4 months

• A certificate proving the individual does not have a criminal record for any conduct that constitutes an offence under Spanish law, issued by the authorities in their country of origin or countries of residence over the past 5 years

• A medical certificate stating that the individual does not suffer from any of the diseases listed by the International Health Regulations

• A copy of the employment contract stamped by the Foreigner’s Office.

The individual will also be required to pay the visa application processing fee.

Once the visa has been granted, the worker must collect it, in person, within one month of notification. If they fail to do so, it will be understood that they have relinquished their application and it will be filed.

A visa is not necessary in the case of foreign researchers exercising their right to mobility after having begun their research in another Member State of the European Union. Entering Spain and subsequent procedures

The researcher must enter Spain during the validity period of their visa, which will not exceed 6 months. The permit will be effective from the date of their arrival in Spain.

Once the researcher has entered the country, they may begin their activity and register with Social Security system.

If the duration of the permit is more than 6 months, within a month after arriving in Spain, the researcher must apply in person for a Foreigner’s Identification Card (TIE) at the corresponding Foreigners’ Office or Police Station.

When applying for a Foreigner’s Identification Card, if after a month since their arrival in Spain there is no evidence of the researcher being registered with Social Security system the permit may be annulled.

Can the permit be renewed?

Yes, the permit can be one-year periods if the individual continues to meet the conditions required for the initial permit, except for those in relation to the visa. The deadline for application is 60 calendar days prior to expiry (application can also be made 90 days following expiry, though a fine might be applied.

Family of foreign researchers

At the same time as applying for a permit, an application for family reunification can also be submitted for those family members who wish to join the researcher in Spain.

The application can be submitted by the research organisation or by the foreign researcher himself.

The permit will be granted if the researcher meets the requirements for family reunification.

Researcher mobility within the European Union

All foreign researchers admitted in another EU Member State on the basis of a hosting agreement may continue to develop the project in Spain, for a period of up to 3 months.

If they wish to remain in Spain for more than 3 months a new hosting agreement will be necessary and they will have to meet the requirements and procedure established for granting the initial permit, except for the visa application (though evidence of meeting the requirements for granting the visa must be submitted with the application for the initial permit).

Further information regarding procedures can be found at: http://extranjeros.mtin.es

The guidelines contained in this document are purely informative

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