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Both my girlfriend and I are EU citizens (same country) and recently I moved to Spain as I got a job in Madrid. Now, we are planning for my girlfriend to also come along, but the problem is we couldn't find her a job a priori as her field of expertise is rather too specialized (bachelor in classical studies). Also all study programs like the bachelor, masters program at the local universities require a knowledge of spanish (B1 level), which she doesn't speak yet.

I talked to the Spanish consulate in my home country and they said it is possible for an EU person to live in Spain without having a job if they can prove they have the financial means to do so (but didn't clarify what this means, ie what amount of money etc) and a health insurance.

The main problem (and vicious circle) that I foresee is how can you prove you have the financial means to live there without a bank account, which you can only open if you are registered, which you can only do if you can prove you can afford to live there!!!

So, my question is: is it possible for an EU citizen to move to Spain for a long term (>90 days) without a job or having been accepted to a university, but also manage to register properly with the authorities (get a NIE) and open a bank account and all that? If so can you share you experience and any possible options I missed?

PS.1 A friend suggested contacting an abogado (lawyer) who specializes in these kinds of things, but before I do that I would like to get some input first :)

PS.2 I know she can come as a tourist for 90 days and then try to find something, but she is reluctant to do so I'm afraid...

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    What's the difference between 'secured apriori a job' and 'secured a job'? – Gayot Fow Oct 16 '15 at 17:20
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    @HenningMakholm There is no financial requirements for partners of EU citizens (that's one of the reasons why the Surinder Singh route is attractive) but establishing that you have a long-term relationship is more difficult without a marriage or formal partnership. There are also no financial requirements if you are looking for work, but if you do that for more than 6 months, you have to prove that you are still actively looking and have a good chance of finding work. – Gala Oct 16 '15 at 19:24
  • The only situation in which you need to meet specific financial requirements is if you are moving as an economically non-active person, i.e. neither working/looking for work or living with a partner. – Gala Oct 16 '15 at 19:26
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Also all study programs like the bachelor, masters program at the local universities require a knowledge of spanish (B1 level), which she doesn't speak yet.

That's not the biggest problem: she can probably get to B1 in Spanish before she can get her current degree homologado by the Spanish ministry of education, which is a prerequisite for any public university to recognise that she's qualified to study for a masters. If there's a greater than 5% chance that she will want to do postgraduate study in Spain at any point in the future, she should start that process as soon as possible.

The main problem (and vicious circle) that I foresee is how can you prove you have the financial means to live there without a bank account, which you can only open if you are registered, which you can only do if you can prove you can afford to live there!!!

Not so. You can move, get a NIE, get empadronado, and open a bank account within 90 days quite easily. What you can't easily do without work is get a social security number and register with the health system.

Can you share you experience and any possible options I missed?

I moved to Spain without having properly researched the legal details, naïvely thinking that the right to reside was absolute. I didn't register with the state employment agency (which formally you should do if you want to use the worker qualification and you don't have a contract), but just joined the national association for my industry and started putting my CV around. No-one came knocking on my door after 90 days. I seriously doubt that anyone would have shown the least interest in whether I was qualified to remain there until May in the second year, when I had to file an income tax return for the first year. If I hadn't shown any income, it's possible that at that point questions would have been raised.

The big option you seem to have missed is being self-employed. It's not the cheapest option, but apparently they have tried to make it cheaper for new autónomos, so she should be able to be self-employed for 18 months paying 50€ per month in social security and combining whatever actual work she does with looking for employment a cuenta ajena.

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Not a full answer but a two bits of information that might be helpful:

  • “Sufficient resources” for the purpose of settling in another EU country as an economically non-active EU citizen means that you should not “become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State”. I don't know exactly how it works in Spain, but in other countries (France, Germany) it means showing you have savings on the order of €10000 or €15000 for a year.

    You don't need to actually live off those savings and I am not aware of any requirement that the money be in a Spanish bank account, you just need to be able to show that you have that much money at your disposal. As the Spanish consulate explained, you also need to have health insurance.

  • Beside working, having sufficient resources to qualify as an economically non-active person and studying, there is a fourth way for EU citizens to qualify for residence in another EU country: accompanying another EU citizen. It's easier if you have some sort of registered partnership and of course if you are married but being able to document a long-term relationship might be enough.

    Obviously, I am not saying you should marry just for that but I know some people who married more quickly than they might otherwise have for visa reasons and lived happy every after.

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