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Success story: Residence and Self-Employment Permit

This is a very happy occasion. A client of mine has received her residence and self-employment permit after presenting a complicated but comprehensive application at the Spanish Embassy in Berlin.


For all of you who are not aware of this: The residence and self-employment permit as per the general regime for non-EU citizens in Spain is surrounded by myths and generally considered to be one of the most difficult work and residence permits to get. There are many half-truths and even complete falsehoods to be found about this application on the internet. Some say that you have to present a certain amount of money, many mentioning 60.000 €, irrespective of the business activity and other circumstances, others claim that it is basically impossible to successfully apply for these permits and that the Consulates do not issue them, regardless of the case and documentation presented.

That is not true. You do not have to present a fixed amount of money to apply for the self-employment permit. What you do have to show is that you have access to the financing your business project requires in accordance with the business plan you present. The money you need has to be covered by the money you prove that you have at your disposal.

Furthermore, there is no residence and/or work permit that is just generally not issued by the Consulates. There are applications and circumstances that are more difficult and the process to prepare the documentation required may be tedious and take a long time but if you comply with the legal requirements and those that the respective Embassy or Consulate deems relevant, then you will be granted the permit. If not, then lawyers like me are here for you to present the necessary appeals.

Attention to Detail and Planning: Preparation of Documents

At the heart of every application is the preparation of the documents to be presented. You need a variety of aspects to guarantee the best possible outcome:

  • attention to detail (correct legalisation, translation, timing)

  • a list of documents that has been prepared as per the specific requirements of the Consulate or Embassy you wish to apply at and

  • HUMOUR! Kill them with kindness and keep calm. Not every request or reaction by a Consulate is reasonable but together we can get through it.

Successful Application in at the Embassy in Berlin

My client, a US citizen, had worked as a photographer in Berlin during the past years and wanted to relocate to Ibiza to continue working in the same profession as a freelancer. She had already established many valuable business contacts on the island and was well prepared for the transition.

First Step: Preparation of documents

Knowing that she would have to present documents on her person as well as her business, we began going through the list of documents in order to make a plan. Most of the documents such as criminal records and the medical certificate are only valid for 90 days after they are issued, so you have to time everything quite well, keeping in mind that public documents have to be legalised (in this case with the apostille) and translated by a sworn translator.

Regarding the business project, besides other documents, my client prepared a comprehensive business plan, detailing her qualifications, experience, plans and projections as well as the equipment she has and requires to realise the activity. She also had her college diploma legalised and translated. Furthermore, she prepared letters by future clients showing that she already has people in Ibiza waiting to hire her services and showed that she owned the required equipment by presenting invoices etc.

On a personal level, since she had lived in the US and in Germany during the past 5 years, she had to present her criminal records for both countries. This meant dealing with two very different administrative systems and getting the US document from the FBI, legalised in Washington and then translated by a sworn translator.

Second Step: Presentation at the Embassy

Once all the documents were prepared, she obtained an appointment at the Embassy in Berlin. This appointment involved more waiting in the cold hallway than anything else, due to Covid restrictions. There was no interview, only the reception of the documents. Once all the documents were presented, she was told to wait.

Third Step: Receiving the Resolution

My client had her appointment on November 16th in Berlin and I received notification of her favourable resolution on December 9th. The process went fast and without any problems. The authorities on the Balearic Islands informed me electronically even before they informed the Embassy in Berlin that the work permit had been granted and once Berlin was informed, my client could collect her visa.

We are now preparing the last steps my client has to take in order to receive her foreigner identity card (TIE) at the police station in Spain and she is very happy to get started with her life in Spain.

If you are planning on applying for a residence and/or work permit for Spain, get in touch!

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