This is a brief synopsis of the 'rules' as applied to EU and non-EU citizens by Spain. Further info can be viewed at:
The Spanish Rules
Citizens Of The EU
Citizens of the EU, in principle, should be able to move and stay freely, without any limitations within the territory of the EU and EES. As a matter of fact, not only citizens, but anyone with a residence permit in any of these countries. Otherwise, the maximum period a tourist can stay on Spanish territory is 3 months (6 if your come from overseas).
This requirement is very much a 'paper tiger', since one can now move within the "Schengen-territory" from Spain and up to Scandinavia without a passport and without anyone asking for it.
Citizens From A Country Where A Visa Is Not Required
If you are not a citizen from such a country where a visa is needed, the options after having stayed in Spain for the legal time period as a tourist, are the following:
- apply for an extension for another 90/180 days as a tourist, or
- leave Spanish territory (only long enough to get an entry stamp at the border), which permits you coming back for another stay of 90/180 days in the same calendar year.
Citizens From A Country Where A Visa Is Required
Citizens of countries requiring a visa must, of course, leave the country before the visa runs out and apply for a new visa to come back.
EES Citizens Face No Obstacles To Starting A Business Or Seeking Employment
For a citizen from the European Economic Space, there are no obstacles to starting a business or seeking employment. Simply go to the Foreigners' Office in the provincial capital, or to the nearest National Police station with a foreigners department with the papers and documents needed and get your "tarjeta" marked for working. With this card you then have the same rights as any Spanish citizen.
Persons From Outside The EES
For a person outside the EES, the matter is more complicated. He has no automatic right to start a business or seek employment, but must apply for it. The Spanish authorities are very restrictive at a time when unemployment is still high. The rule is that a person outside the Space must have 90,000 Euro on his account in Spain to be permitted to start his own business.
Dangerous To Work Without A Work Permit
To work in Spain without a work permit is very dangerous, both for the employee and employer. Heavy fines for the employer can be imposed and the employee may be put on a plane leaving Spain and told not to come back before three years have passed. Our advice: Never work, self-employed or as an employee, without having all your papers in order!
Hope that helps