The audiovisual industry is undergoing a global revolution over the last few years, especially in online platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney, Apple, etc.

In recent years this sector has also been gaining more weight in Spain. Some of these companies located abroad are investing in audiovisual projects in spanish territory that generate a high impact in terms of investment and employment and make Spain an Audiovisual Hub.

For this reason, Spain has recently adopted a series of measures to facilitate the process of obtaining visas and residence authorisations for personnel involved in audiovisual or artistic productions. These measures were initially set out in the Plan de Impulso al Sector Audiovisual (Spain Audiovisual Hub) and adopted by DGM Instruction 1/2021 and developed by Order PCM/1238/1.

Who does it apply to?

Applies to foreign artists, technicians and professionals who are going to carry out activities in the audiovisual sector, artistic activities in front of the public or for the recording of any kind for broadcasting by different mass media; examples: cinema, series, animation, video games, eSports, advertising, cinematography, etc.

Permit holders may apply for direct reunification of their family members (spouses, legally accredited and registered partners, minor and adult dependent children and dependent ascendants).

Difference between visa vs. residence

It will be necessary to process and apply for a residence permit when the audiovisual, artistic or broadcasting activity to be carried out by the foreigner involves a stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days (within a maximum period of no more than 180 days).

Otherwise, it will only be necessary to apply for a visa at the Spanish Consulate and, once in Spain, to apply for a NIE number, as well as social security affiliation.

Simplified procedure for visas and residence authorisations

Companies or groups of companies which, within the framework of a provision of services between different companies, do not belong to the same business group, and whose purpose is to carry out an audiovisual production in Spain, with a social and economic impact, may avail themselves of the simplified procedure of Article 74 of the Entrepreneurs Act.

This procedure would be very similar to that of art. 71.1.a) 5 of the same law, given that the audiovisual and artistic sector is considered a strategic industry and of interest to Spain, with the exception that a prior favourable report from the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment will not be required; an important point to take into consideration given that it will further reduce the processing time for residency for these profiles.

The simplified process applies to both visa (10 working days processing time) and residence (20 working days processing time) procedures and applications.

Duration of authorisation

It will be determined by the duration of the contract and the project for which it is contracted, with an initial maximum duration of 2 years. These two years will be renewable (always for duration of no more than 2 years) if the foreigner accredits the continuity of the labour or professional relationship.

AGM Abogados can advise you on the processing of this new type of residence authorisations for professionals in the audiovisual sector. For more information, do not hesitate to contact AGM Abogados.

Marc Fernández de la Peña, Lawyer

Immigration Area

AGM Abogados