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Old 14th June 2010, 12:03 AM   #1
abroadinspain
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Default Becoming Autónomo in Spain

I'm American and currently studying in Spain. When I finish my studies, I'd like to become an autónomo here and open up a small English class/translation business. Here's my question: are there any Americans out there who have successfully become autónomos in Spain? I really need to know if what I'd like to do is possible. I consider myself a pretty well-educated, hard-working individual and I think that my business would go well, but I'm afraid that the "bureaucratic paperwork nightmare" that is Spain could hang me up.

To give you a bit of background information about myself, when I finish my studies I will have a Master degree from a Spanish university, I have a B.S.Ed. from the USA that is being "homologado" as we speak, and I am fluent in Spanish so there won't be any language barrier in doing the paperwork to create the business. I also have already started writing a business plan in Spanish and I have some money saved up to make an initial investment.

I understand that, to become autónomo, I have to go back to the USA and ask for a visa to enter Spain as a self-employed person, and to do that I have to present a project and prove that I have a certain amount of money to invest in the company. The problem is that nobody seems to be able to tell me exactly HOW MUCH I have to invest. Even the consulate's website in NYC tells me that I have to be "financially sound" but it doesn't say exactly how much is "financially sound."

I've been looking at websites about the subject and I've found sites that say that I only need roughly 3,000 Euros to become a S.L. in Spain and that I need no investment to become autónomo; however, I've also found other sites that say that if you're American and you want to go to Spain and become self-employed, they're going to ask you for about 100,000 Euros as an initial investment and you'll have to prove you are creating jobs. The latter is a little bit "more than I can chew." Does anyone know if it is true?

If any non-EU citizen has successfully set himself/herself up as an autónomo in Spain, please reply. I'd really like to hear your experience. Alternatively, If you know of a good immigration lawyer in the Madrid area who might be able to help answer my questions, I'm also open to your comments. All I’m trying to do is find a way to legally make myself self-employed in Spain and I’m starting to get a bit frustrated because nobody I talk to seems to be able to give me solid answers about what I need to do. I went to the extranjería office, they told me to ask the consulate in NYC, I tried to get in touch with the consulate in NYC and they didn't return my phone calls or emails, I don't know if a "gestor" can answer my questions since they typically don't work with immigration issues, I can't seem to find anyone who knows how I have to do this....

Thank you all in advance for your help!!! I appreciate it!
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Old 14th June 2010, 12:28 PM   #2
ribeirasacra
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I know you asked for replies from non-EU citizens but some of your questions can be answered by EU citizens.

You are quite write about needing money to set up as an S.L. But there could be tax advantages in the long term and you should take professional advice as what is best for your situation. You should speak to a Spanish Gestor once in Spain. You will need one no matter which route you take as they will do your tax returns and they will also help you through the paperwork to register your business and to live here in Spain.

If you do not get answers to some questions then maybe you should get to speak to someone at the Spanish embassy. It is not impossible to live your dream.
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Old 14th June 2010, 06:14 PM   #3
abroadinspain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribeirasacra View Post
I know you asked for replies from non-EU citizens but some of your questions can be answered by EU citizens.

You are quite write about needing money to set up as an S.L. But there could be tax advantages in the long term and you should take professional advice as what is best for your situation. You should speak to a Spanish Gestor once in Spain. You will need one no matter which route you take as they will do your tax returns and they will also help you through the paperwork to register your business and to live here in Spain.

If you do not get answers to some questions then maybe you should get to speak to someone at the Spanish embassy. It is not impossible to live your dream.
Thanks for your answer, ribeirasacra. I have looked into the differences between an S.L and simply being autónomo, and I think autónomo is right for me... my business proposal is not complicated and I think autónomo will do. I'll take your advice though and talk to a gestor to be sure.

The thing is, I'd like to know what type of investment they will ask me to make in Spain as a foreigner trying to get a visa to become autónomo. If it's 10.000 euros I can make it, but if it's 100.000 euros I can't. Nobody seems to know the "magic number." My actual business wouldn't require that much of an investment: I'd simply be doing translations and private English classes, but... they tell me that the #1 thing they look at when you submit your paperwork to open a business and you're a non-EU citizen is the amount of money you're going to bring to Spain, so I'm curious about how much I need to prove I will bring to Spain in order for them to approve my application.

I'd still like to hear from others who might have accomplished this, especially non-EU citizens. Specifically, I have questions about how much time the consulate in the USA takes to sift through the application, exactly how much of an "investment" they are going to ask me to make, etc. I've tried talking in person with two different immigration lawyers in Madrid: the first one just laughed at me for being a non-EU citizen and wanting to work here. In fact, his only advice for me to was to "casarme" with a Spaniard. The second one gave me information that I later found out to be inaccurate and false. I've also written to the consulate in NYC but I haven't had any response from them and they don't answer their phone.... but I'll keep trying.

Anyone who has done this before or who knows of a good immigration lawyer who isn't going to misinform me or tell me to go get married for papers , I welcome your advice.

Thanks again for your response, I appreciate it a lot!
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Old 14th June 2010, 07:33 PM   #4
lenox
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Should say that the Spanish authorities (Rubalcaba and his crew at the ministerio) don't like furriners much. I'm British with an American wife. Our daughters (American passports) came here thirty years ago, at the ages of 1 and 3, are firstly Spanish speaking, went through Spanish schools in Madrid and the País Vasco, university in Madrid etc. One of them is a certified simultaneous translator.
Both now in America as they couldn't renew their 'residencias' here unless they lived as our dependents or were retired.
Also watch for the trick here of accepting foreign titles and distinctions, called 'homologación'. It's simple. They don't.
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