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Residency Type: Getting a “Arraigo Social por Cuenta Ajena” Spanish work permit (Updated: 2019)

You’ve been in Spain for at least three years (either on a Student Visa or “Irregularly”) and you love the country. You want some kind of Spanish work permit but the chances of getting A) pareja de hecho or B) married to a Spaniard or EU Passport holder are slim to none. So, what are your options? Well, one of them is the Arraigo Social.

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit then the Arraigo Social por Cuenta Propia is more your style.

For those of you looking to be able to be contracted full-time or part-time in Spain (instead of working as a freelancer)—then Arraigo Social por Cuenta Ajena is what you are looking for.

Do you qualify for Spanish work permit?

Woman holding her hand out telling you to stop

Arraigo Social requirements. You must:

  • Not be from the EU
  • Have been in Spain (empadronado preferably) continuously for at least three years. You can’t have left the country for more than 120 days during those three years.
  • Speak Spanish fluently and can show that you are integrated into society.
  • Have a job offer and contract that is valid for at least one year (40 hours minimum) and where you will earn the Spanish Minimum Wage (IPREM 2019). More info on this later in this article.
  • Have a clean background check from both the USA (or your non-EU country) and Spain.

arriago social spanish identity card

Integrating into Spanish society

Now some of you are thinking, “How do I show that I am integrated into Spanish society?”

You have to prove it—and that requires evidence.

Spanish integration proof

The most important thing is to save as many official documents as possible over the course of your three years in Spain!

Examples of documents:

  • Spanish Bank Account
  • Correos & Western Union
  • Spanish private health insurance & public health medical docs
  • Gym memberships
  • Work contract
  • Public transportation
  • Documents from any courses taken in Spain.
  • A copy of your empadronamiento as well as a historial de empadronamiento. The latter is only necessary if you have moved over the course of the three years. (Essentially, you want an official document that’s been signed, dated and preferably stamped.)

And in true Spanish fashion, get ready to make copies of everything!

Slow down—There’s more!

Tortoise looking at the camera

To prove integration, depending on the Communidad Autonoma where you want to get Arraigo Social, you will also need to get a Certificado de Insercion Social. Most require an interview to sign you off as “integrated,” which you will need when putting your documents in to be processed.

For specific information related to Insercion Social in each Communidad, please contact your local government:

Arraigo Social in Madrid

If you are looking for Arraigo Social in Madrid, make sure to attend the CEPI “Conoce tus Leyes” course. You will then need to have your interview there at one of the CEPI centers located around the city. Althogugh this course is mandatory to obtain your Arraigo Social in Madrid, it is at least free. Got to celebrate the small wins!

Click on the link for more info: Madrid CEPI Centros.

Arraigo Social requirements: Get your documents in order

Crayons in order

You will need:

  • Valid Passport
  • Certificado de Empadronamiento
  • Police Background check from your home country (Translated & Apostille of the Hague)
  • Proof of your three years in Spain (see Examples list above)
  • Certificado de Insercion Social from your Communidad Autonoma
  • Job Contract valid for one year (minimum of 40 hours and following the Spanish minimum wage requirements (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples, IPREM) Contracts can be from one or various employers to reach the necessary total.

Spanish minimum wage for 2019 (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples, IPREM)

Person with coins in their hand

  • IPREM monthly: 537.84 euros/month
  • IPREM yearly (12 payments): 6,454.03 euros/year
  • IPREM yearly (14 payments): 7,519.59 euros/year

Once you have applied for and receive a “favorable” with your Arraigo Social, you will have a Temporary Spanish Work Permit valid for one year.

What does this get me?

With your temporary permit, you will get:

  • Spanish Identity Number (NIE)
  • Spanish Identity Card (TIE)
  • Spanish Social Security Number, which allows you to use the public health system as well as all of the other social services available.

You are also permitted to work anywhere in the country with this permit. And by having your Social Security Number and NIE, you can change employers and apply for other jobs in Spain—this is important to note for those who are looking to expand out of the English-teaching world.

How long does it last?

Digital clock with time changing

After one year you will have to renew. Once you have received a “favorable” with your first renewal, you will have the same valid Temporary Work Permit valid for two years.

Two years later, you will have to renew a second time, and this will be valid for another two years.

When you go to renew for a third time (third time’s a charm, right?) as you will have been in Spain for five years in total, you can renew for a Larga Duracion Work Permit that is valid for another five years!

What are Larga Duración Permits?

There are two kinds of Larga Duración Permits in Spain—for Spain only and for the European Union. This process is perfect for those looking to stay either short-term or long-term in Spain with a legal work permit.

For the complete list and process on Arraigo Social from the Spanish government see here:

If you would like any further help or advice, you can set up a consultation in Skype or in person in Madrid with trusted English-speaking lawyers.


  • Umair akram 2 months ago

    Thanks for replying me. My family status is that my father has the residency of spain from 2004 to so on. My younger brother has residency fron 2007 to so on the basis of family case. He has its own business here near to alicante. My padron was cancelled because of out of knowledge. And had a gap of 1 year 4 months now i have again enrolled myself in ajuntamento. And my new padron so on from 1 year and 4 months. Do you think that i have a scope on my case. On the base of family and if my brother transfer business on my name then guide me. I will conduct you on your official number.And will pay if there is a chance or scope in my case.
    Waiting… For your annswer.

  • Umair akram 2 months ago

    My padron was disconnect almost 1 year and 4 months when i go to check it was cancelled. And not in my notice. Now i have registered myself again and 1 year and 4 months almost past with my new padron what rules will apply on me.i have complete medical and other record of my presence before.

    • Shaheen S. 2 months ago

      Hi Umair, that shouldn’t be a problem for arriago social as long as you have other proof of being in Spain (bills, medical visits, course enrollment, bank account usage, etc). If you would like feedback on your personal situation, you can set up a consultation. Good luck!

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