I am moving to Spain to a transfer with my company, what should I do?

Every year, a large number of foreigner workers from a non-European Union country who work in a multinational company are transferred to Spain to work at the Spanish headquarters.  This type of transfer is legally possible because of the residence permit for intra-company transfer. 

In its efforts to boost the Spanish economy, one of the initiatives Spain has advanced is the intra-company visa under its Entrepreneurs Law that seeks to promote the presence of foreign companies and attract international talent. 

What is an intra-company transfer visa?

The residence permit for intra-company transfer is a type of work permit for two years intended for those workers transferred to Spain by companies based in various countries around the world.  The intra-company residence permit allows the worker to remain legally in Spain while he or she carries out his or her professional activities. The Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Groups (CGU) is the unit in charge of reviewing all the requests and granting the residence permit, making the process streamlined and quick.

Here are the things you need to know and do if you are a foreigner from a non-European Union country and your company is transferring you to live and work in Spain.

What are the company activities that need an intra-company residence permit?

  • The worker can complete training that requires the worker to be in Spain
  • The worker needs to carry out their professional activity on a regular basis, continuing with their work but at the Spanish headquarters for reasons of restructuring
  • The worker needs to manage one or several teams in the country

What are the advantages of an intra-company residence permit?

  • Spouses, children and dependent parents are included in the application
  • An average of twenty days from application to approval
  • The intra-company residence permit can be applied for while in Spain as a tourist
  • The national unemployment situation is not taken into account
  • It is granted for two years
  • Possibility of entering, residing and working in any European Union member state by obtaining the EU ICT card.

The EU ICT (European Union Intra-Corporate Transfer) is a work residence permit valid in any of the European Union countries. It is granted to qualified third-country nationals by a European Union member country.

In the case of Spain, the worker is not registered in Spain and therefore will maintain the contract in the country of origin. The company will oversee the transferring of the salary, pay the social security contributions and maintain the legal obligations with the worker.

Types of visa for intra-company transfer:

Residence permit for intra-company transfer EU ICT

This EU ICT residence permit is for the following workers where the duration of their transfer is from 1 year (in the case of training) to 3 years (in the case of the other two):

  • Workers who need to carry out training activities at the Spanish headquarters to integrate into the company’s processes and operations
  • Specialists who have valuable knowledge and skills that need to be shared with the team in Spain
  • Directors and managers who need to manage a division or department at the Spanish headquarters

The main advantage of this type of intra-company transfer is that any foreign worker at company headquarters located in any other European Union country can be transferred to Spain. Or if the worker is from Spain and moved to any headquarters located within European territory, although always with prior notice to the CGU.  In other words, this type of authorization allows the worker mobility within the European Union.

Transfer between companies that are part of the same group also apply here and are valid.

National Residence permit for intra-company transfer

This type of residence permit is national in nature and is applied when EU-ICT permit has expired or when a worker is transferred within Spain.

Who initiates the requests for the intra-company transfer residence permit?

The multinational company or business group initiates the application process with the Unit of Large Companies and Strategic Services Sector CGU) of Spain that manages the permits and procedures related to companies, entrepreneurs, and permits for highly qualified workers.

What are the requirements of the intra-company residence permit?

  • Applicant has to prove that the company in Spain is legal and fully operational
  • The company to which the applicant is transferring is part of the same group of multi-national companies
  • Applicant must be highly qualified with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate
  • Or must have minimum of 3 years professional work experience in a managerial position
  • Applicant must have at least 3 months working experience in one or more companies of the multi-national group
  • A certificate of no criminal record is required
  • The transfer of the worker and the reasons for it must be accredited with the CGU
  • Applicant must have private insurance