Tips #3: Americans Working in Spain

I get a few e-mails from Americans asking about working in Spain, so here are a few tips I picked up from a recent chat with an American girl who has been working out here for over two years with no EU citizenship and no problems whatsoever. (Of course these rules apply to all non-EU citizens.)

One: You can work! You will find work, mostly English teaching, then bar work and maybe tour guiding. Employers in these fields are prepared to pay non-EU nationals – in cash. But don’t worry, you can open a bank account in Spain with no trouble at all. Bigger cities will have more opportunities, so if in doubt start with Barcelona or Madrid.

Two: The return ticket. Arriving at a Spanish airport from the US with no return ticket is likely to be an expensive mistake. You will probably be forced to buy one there and then, in the airport, at a hugely increased price. You may be able to get a refund afterwards though, so it might not be the end of the world.

Three: The 90 day rule. In theory your entry visa is good for 90 days, but don’t worry, if you spend longer in Spain you will not be thrown into jail or banned from coming back when you try to leave. Just have an excuse handy (“My Spanish studies lasted longer than I had anticipated…”, for example…)

Four: Spending. Don’t turn up with travelers cheques, they are a pain to convert into cash. Just your regular cashpoint card is fine. Match the symbols on the back with those on Spanish cashpoints if you get confused! (Is ‘cashpoint’ only British English? ATM’s then…) And be prepared to spend. The dollar is better than it was but many a traveler arrives in Spain expecting the cheap country it once was. Times have changed…

Only 4? Well there isn’t much more to it than that. The situation is pretty much as I expected, having met many Americans working in Spain with no trouble at all. Just get over here and start having fun: enough excuses already!

Any comments, suggestions, criticisms or refutations welcome, just use the comments link below. Or click here for the Tips archive.

7 Replies to “Tips #3: Americans Working in Spain”

  1. Don’t turn up with travelers cheques, they are a pain to convert into cash.

    That’s a good point, and be sure to check how much you will be charged for withdrawls with your bank – I had a plan that allowed me to take money out for less than some of the fees charged to non-network Spanish of bank cards

  2. I am British and my husband is from the US. We have not lived and worked together in the UK so he doesnt have settled status there. Any idea if he can work legally in Spain?

  3. I’m an American and I’d like to move to Marbella in about a month. I’d like to get a job there, but what does it take to legally work instead of just under the table jobs.

    Also, if I wanted to be a teacher, what are their teaching certification requirements? I have two bachelors degrees, but neither are for teaching.

  4. Joey, I really encourage you to ask on the forum about this, you should get some good feedback there from people that have been in your situation.

  5. Information on moving to Spain in 4 years after my husband retires I’m 49 yrs old ,how can I find work in Spain, I’m Bilingual spanish/english Cuban Desent……………

  6. Managed to secure a work permit in Germany by having the English School request a work permit for somebody to teach American English. Don’t know if that would work in Spain, but it’s worth a shot.

  7. I run an internet business (in the US) and have done so for 12 years. I accept credit cards, that cash ends up in my checking account to which I have a debti Visa card. I am American, my Wife is a Brazilian National and a US educated Nurse. She has gotten great job offers in SPain, and I can run my cash business form there, all I need is an internet connection. I am SERIOUSLY considering this move as I am getting real tired of the nonsense here in the US.

    Thoughts?

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