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What is a highly qualified professional and how to apply for a visa to work in Spain?


Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a highly qualified professional in Spain? Or how you can apply for a visa to work in this country? Here, we’re going to delve into these questions, providing you with the information you need to take the next step in your career. So, don’t go away — read on to find out more!

What is the highly qualified professional permit under the Entrepreneurs Law? 

The work permit as a highly qualified professional is a residence authorization granted to EU foreigners. Specifically for those who plan to perform a technical function or one that requires work experience.

This permit is designed for directors or managers with teams under their charge. As well as for positions that require highly specific training.

That said, the Permit as a Highly Qualified Professional (PAC) is governed by Law 14/2013, on Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalization. And it aims to attract talent and promote the country’s economic growth by offering extensive facilities to foreigners.

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From where can you apply for this work visa?

One of the main advantages of this permit is the possibility of applying for it directly in Spain. The interested foreigner can initiate the process either from his country of origin or directly in Spanish territory.

In other words, as long as the foreigner is in a legal situation in Spain. Either with a tourist visa, a stay for study purposes, or any residence permit, such as a non-profit one. You can start your application for highly qualified worker and obtain the corresponding residence.

If as a foreigner you are outside Spain, you must start the application from your country of origin. In this case, you first apply for the residence authorization at the Spanish consulate in the region where you have your legal residence. Once granted, you will receive the visa and you will be able to enter Spain to register your fingerprints. Then, you will obtain the residence card or TIE directly.

Job characteristics to qualify for a highly qualified personnel visa 

This is one of the most relevant requirements or aspects for this highly qualified worker application. A document that is highly valued is a detailed description of the functions of the position you will occupy in the company. Along with what activities you will perform, who your bosses will be, what duties you will have, etc.

This is how the CGU determines whether or not the position has a sufficient level of qualification. But that’s not all. There is another job-related requirement that you must meet exactly: the salary.

There are specific criteria on the minimum that the highly qualified worker must receive with some exceptions, but in general:

  • In the case of an executive or manager, the salary must be at least €50,000 per year.
  • 40,000 per year for a lower category. 

Employee training

The academic profile of the foreign applicant is also very important.

The general requirement states that you must have a university degree, master’s degree or doctorate to be eligible for this residence permit. This highly qualified permit is available only for profiles with a technical or advanced level.

However, it is still possible to apply for this work permit if you have not completed or obtained any of the above levels of qualification.

How? By demonstrating a minimum of 3 years of work experience in the sector performing tasks similar to those you will be doing in the contracting company. However, the more years of demonstrable experience the better.

Keep a list of these requirements handy:


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Initial housing allowance for highly qualified professionals’ family members 

Is it possible to bring your family members with you? The answer is yes, and in a much faster and more flexible way. In that sense, you have two options in relation to when they come with you.

You can make an initial joint application, whereby you include them in your application for a work permit. Arriving in Spain all together. However, they can also come some time later, when you have been in Spain for, for example, 3 or 4 months.

What family members can you bring with you?

  • To your spouse or partner 
  • Minor or adult children dependent on the owner
  • Dependent ascendants

Options in case of change of job offer with residence permit

During the term of your Highly Skilled Worker Card, do you find a better job offer, get laid off, or just don’t want to work? You should be aware that you would lose your residency status and would not be able to renew it.

In this case, you will have 30 days to inform the Large Business Unit (UGE) about the situation. This being the case, you will have two options to consider.

The first option is to seek a new job offer so that the CGU can assess whether you qualify as highly qualified. This would allow the change. The second option would be to modify your residence permit to another type.

Not every company qualifies

It is important to note that not every company is suitable to hire a highly qualified worker. Even if your profile and the job offer fit the requirements, it does not guarantee that the permit will be granted. Since the type of company plays a crucial role, and not all of them are eligible.

In order to be eligible to hire a highly qualified professional (HCP), the company must fall into one of the following categories:


However, there is an exceptional situation. One in which a company that does not belong to any of these groups can hire a highly qualified worker.

This applies in cases where the company plans to hire a graduate or postgraduate from a prestigious business university in Spain. In these cases, neither the size of the company nor the sector of activity would play a relevant role.

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If you are considering applying for a visa to work in this wonderful country, our experienced team can facilitate the process for you. Are you ready to start a new professional stage? Do not hesitate to contact us at, we are here to help you receive your highly skilled worker visa. 

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