How to become a freelancer in Spain

what you need to do to become a freelancer in Spain if you are a foreigner

In today’s post, we focus on how to become a freelancer in Spain. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to become self-employed in Spain as a foreigner.

What personal requirements do you need to meet in order to be a freelancer, even if you are not a Spanish national?

Firstly, you must meet a series of personal requirements. Among these requirements, you must legally reside in Spain. Moreover, you must prove that you do not have a criminal record, either in Spain or in other countries where you have resided in the last five years. Next, you must not be considered as a persona non grata in other countries with which Spain cooperates internationally in this regard. Lastly, if you were ever prohibited to enter Spanish territory for a certain amount of time, you must make sure that such period has elapsed.

Which professional requirements must you meet?

Firstly, you must meet the requirements for Spanish self-employed workers for the specific activity you wish to carry out. Secondly, you must prove you have sufficient professional qualifications or accredited experience (and membership of a professional association if required). Thirdly, if you are about to embark on a new project, you must be able to prove that your planned investment is sufficient. Moreover, you must prove that you have enough financial resources to pay for accommodation and basic necessities. If the accredited resources derive from the activity you are going to carry out, the assessment will be made after checking the benefits you obtain.

Which permits are required?

Any non-EU citizen who wants to register as a freelancer in Spain needs two compulsory permits: a residence permit and a work permit for self-employment purposes in Spain. It is important that you are aware of your situation as a non-Spanish national, so that you know which documents you will need. 

On the one hand, one of the most common situations among non-Spanish nationals is to have a temporary residence permit. If this is your case, you can only register as a freelancer if your residence document ‘authorises you to work’ or ‘authorises you to work as a self-employed person’. If the document you were granted does not indicate any of the above, you can turn to a Foreigners’ Office and request a modification of your permit. We would like to remind you that you must pay a fee in order to process a temporary residence permit.

On the other hand, you might have been granted a long-term residence permit. This permit must also explicitly state that you are authorised both to reside and to be self-employed.

What can you do if you do not have a self-employment permit for foreigners in Spain?

You could go to the Spanish Consular Office (Oficina Consular Española) or to an immigration office and apply for an authorisation in person using form EX07. You must pay a fee for processing a self-employment authorisation.

Which documents are required to become a freelancer in Spain as a foreigner?

In addition to meeting the above requirements, to apply for the authorisation for self-employment and temporary residence, you must submit the following documentation:

  • A copy of your passport or a valid travel document
  • A criminal record certificate
  • A health certificate
  • A detailed project of the activity you will carry out in Spain as a freelancer and the required authorisations or licences if necessary.

Once the application has been granted, you must register within the Spanish health system (Seguridad Social) during the first month after the date your application was granted.

A brief summary

If you want to become self-employed in Spain as a non-EU foreigner, you need to be authorised by means of a residence permit and a self-employed work permit.

There are both personal and professional requirements that must be met. In addition, you must hand in a series of documents in order to process your application.


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We hope you enjoyed this post on how to become a freelancer in Spain. Some foreigners might find themselves in other situations which were not described in detail, such as asylum seekers. For more information, have a look at the post in Spanish by Declarando.

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