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Opening license in Spain: how to obtain it?

To get started in the business world, it is necessary to comply with certain regulations and key formalities, such as the opening license in Spain. Are you thinking of opening a commercial establishment in the country? Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to apply for this essential document.

What is the opening license in Spain?

The opening license in Spain represents a mandatory procedure whose main function is to demonstrate that a premises, office or warehouse complies with the current regulations, according to each municipality, in order to be able to carry out a commercial, industrial or service activity.

Therefore, it is understood that this license is granted by the Municipal Council to the owner of a business; thus allowing the development of its work and accrediting compliance with the conditions of habitability and use of its activity.

In addition, it is important to note that it must be renewed in case you change the sector in which you operate or when you make a transfer of ownership.

What types of opening licenses are there?

Taking into account the damage, risk and possible inconvenience that the activity you wish to carry out may cause, there will be two types of licenses. These are:

Safe activities

These are those that are not considered likely to cause significant nuisances, do not have a high environmental or health impact and are not harmful or dangerous to people or to the environment in which they operate.

This type of license is generally a simpler process that does not require as many checks and documentation. A common example of businesses classified as innocuous activities are usually small offices or small stores, such as fashion stores or non-perishable food products.

Qualified activities

They are those classified as annoying, unhealthy, harmful or dangerous for both people and the environment; and require the adoption of corrective sanitary, safety or environmental measures.

In these cases, the procedure is a bit longer and more costly compared to innocuous licenses and usually requires the completion of a technical project.

Examples of qualifying activities are usually those involving hospitality or those operating under an industrial floor.

On the other hand, professional, artisan or artistic activities carried out in a domicile are considered exempt activities, as long as they do not cause a nuisance to neighbors or involve sales or direct attention to the public.


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How to apply for your opening license in Spain?

The Royal Decree 19/2012 on Urgent Measures for the Liberalization of Trade determines the districts corresponding to each commercial activity, and in 2012 incorporates a measure to streamline and make the opening license in Spain more flexible by the City Councils, called: express licenses.

In this way, it is understood that the express license allows that in certain types of activities it will not be necessary a previous license from the city council to start your premises.

Therefore, in those premises that have less than 300 square meters, a prior opening license is not a mandatory requirement, but a responsible declaration or prior communication can be made to the City Council.

Now, the procedure to apply for your opening license will depend on each municipality, however, in general terms it is usually done in the following way:

  • Creation of the report or technical project of the opening license by an accredited technician or by a contracted company.

  • The project must be endorsed by the Official College to certify the project.

  • Payment of the corresponding municipal taxes, either at a bank or directly at the City Hall.

  • Presentation of the opening license application and assistance to urbanism or environment with a receipt of your documentation.

  • Visit of the Town Hall technician, who will check that your premises comply with the requested regulations and will allow the granting of your opening license in Spain.

Once you have completed these five steps, it may take two to three months or even a full year, depending on the workload of the municipality in question.

On the other hand, it is possible to make use of “administrative silence” to speed up the start of your business, which allows you to start working in your business without the opening license, as long as you comply with the requirements previously mentioned and you are in the process of waiting for the municipal response.


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How much does it cost to obtain an opening license in Spain?

Now you probably have a question about the price of your opening license in Spain, and the truth is that the amount to be paid is made up of two components:

Cost of technical report

At this point, the complexity of your project will be taken into account, as well as the price of the company or professional selected.

In general, in those innocuous activities the payment is usually between 600 to 1,000 euros, and with respect to qualified activities it can be up to 11,000 euros (mainly in projects that involve works or require special permits).

City Hall Fees

With respect to the City Hall rate, it will be calculated taking into account the following aspects:

  • The commercial relevance of the premises on the street

  • The type of activity to be performed

  • The size of the premises

Likewise, for innocuous activities the price will be less expensive than for qualified activities, and the amount to be paid will depend on the city you are in and how busy the area you are looking for is; it may even be more than 1,000 euros in some cases.


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We know that the time has come to start your commercial activity in Spain and at TAS Consultancy we offer you updated information regarding the procedures and regulations in force that you must comply with in the country. And if you still have any doubts, we remind you that we can clear them up through our website.


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