A foreigner who decides to start a business project in Spain will have to initiate several procedures, starting with the immigration procedure (phase 1) and then continue with the commercial registration (phase 2).

Phase 1: Migration Procedure

In order for the migration process to be possible, you will first need to obtain recognition of your entrepreneurial and business activity from ENISA (a body attached to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism). ENISA will evaluate your entrepreneurial activity and your business project based on 2 criteria: the innovative nature and/or whether it is of special economic interest for Spain.

Once you have obtained the recognition report from ENISA, you will need to apply for a residence permit, for which you will have to demonstrate a series of fundamental requirements, such as financial resources for you and your family members, no criminal record, medical insurance, etc.

Both the application for residence authorisation and the request for recognition by ENISA will be processed through the same platform and will be addressed jointly to the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit (UGE).

ENISA’s assessment process will take 10 working days, to which must be added the 20 working days necessary for the UGE to resolve the residence permit once ENISA issues a favourable report.

Once you have completed the ENISA report and the UGE permit, you will be able to start the activity in Spain and your permit will be valid for an initial period of 3 years. If you want to know more about the characteristics of the residency for entrepreneurs in Spain, in our article on the new startup law we explain it in detail.

Phase 2: Incorporation Of The Company

At this point, you will already have your entrepreneur visa in Spain. In addition, you will have a NIE number, i.e. the Foreigners’ Identification Number, which will be used to identify you to the Spanish administration for certain acts, such as setting up a company.

As with immigration procedures, the incorporation of a company in Spain goes through several stages and formalities that must be followed. Moreover, these formalities may vary depending on the legal form chosen, for which several aspects must be taken into consideration, such as the number of partners, the administrative body, the share capital, the corporate purpose, etc.

Marc Fernández de la Peña

Head of Immigration Area

AGM Abogados