This guide is intended to help researchers coming to and settling in Guipúzcoa. Below your find a series of guidelines for the main administrative procedures, aimed at making your arrival and stay in Guipúzcoa easier and more enjoyable.

European Citizens

Spain is a European Union member state, which means that researchers and professionals coming from the European Economic Area –EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway–, or Switzerland are subject to EU regulations, being able to enter, leave, stay or move freely within the country’s territory. The EU citizens have the right to take up employment, whether working for an employer or for himself/herself as a self-employed person, receiving remuneration in return, and supply or get services.

Arrival in Guipúzcoa

The only entry requirement for EU citizens coming to Spain is having a valid passport or ID card showing their nationality. Both employees or self-employed persons and students can live in Spain without a residence card. If you want you, however, you can request a residence card or permit, which can be useful for administrative purposes (rental contracts, bank accounts, etc.).

Family members

Irrespective or their nationalities, the family members of EU citizens settling in Spain have the right to live in the country. If they are EU citizens, or EEA or Swiss citizens themselves, they will only need a valid passport or ID card to enter Spain, and they will be able to live in the country without a residence card. Otherwise, they will need a visa besides the passport, and they must apply for a family permit, which will be valid for as long as the EU citizen resides in Spain.

Economic activities

With respect to economic activities, EU citizens shall abide by the regulations in force, under the same conditions as Spanish citizens. Spouses, children, and spouse’s children have the right to have the right, if so requested, to perform economic activities under the same conditions as Spanish nationals, with no need to apply for a work permit. They just need their family permit.

Eures Network

The Public Employment Services of the EEA have established a cooperation network –EURES, European Employment Services– to make workers’ mobility easier. EURES gives advice and provides services to jobseekers, facilitating their mobility and giving them information on job opportunities.

Non-EU Nationals

People from other countries must apply for a visa, which enables foreign citizens to live in Spain under the conditions the visa is valid for. Having a visa does not preclude the obligation to have a foreign resident card.

General visas

Some countries do not need visas for stays shorter than 90 days per semester without working. Longer stays require a visa. The documents required depend on the applicant’s country of origin.

Which Countries Need a Visa?

Citizens requiring an entry visa must apply for it at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in their country of residence.

Detailed information about entry visa applications can be found at the websites of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Office of the Secretary of State for Immigration and Emigration and the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.

Student visas

Those citizens who want to carry out unpaid research or training tasks, or continue their studies in Spanish officially recognised educational centres or scientific institutions (whether public or private) must have a student visa. Student visas must be applied for at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in the student’s country of residence.

Student visas enable foreign citizens to live in Spain for as long as their courses, studies, research projects, or training take. Students or researchers’ family members (spouses and children under 18 or in their custody) can also apply for residence permits to live in Spain, with no need for previous stay on the part of the student/researcher. If the stay must be longer than six months, they must apply for a foreign student card, which certifies that they are legal residents in Spain.

Student visa holders (but not their families) can perform paid occupational activities if they have a request form from an employer, meet the relevant requirements, and the activities are compatible with their studies. A part-time or a three-month full-time employment contract will be necessary.

Resident permit

In order to be legal residents in Spain, non-EU nationals must have a residence permit. Residence permits can be temporary (90 days to five years) or permanent (indefinite stay and employment under the same conditions as Spanish citizens).

The new regulations of the Immigration Law reduce the time to get a temporary residence and work permit for non-EU researchers from 90 to 45 days.

Where to apply for a residence permit:

Spanish Government Office in Guipúzcoa.

Immigration Office

Plaza. Pio XII, 6 • 20010 San Sebastián
(Entrada por C/ Javier de Barkaiztegi)
(+34) 943 98 91 10 / 943 98 91 20 / 943 98 91 22
De Lunes a viernes, entre las 9:00 y las 14:00

Location map

Foreign Resident Card

The foreign resident card is the only valid ID card for foreign citizens legally residing in Spain. In order to be granted a foreign resident card, applicants must follow a series of procedures.

The foreign resident card certifies that its holder is a legal resident in Spain. It identifies him/her and is proof that its holder, in conformity with the regulations in force, is authorised or has the right to stay in Spanish territory for six months or more.

The foreign resident card has to be requested at the corresponding office.

EU citizens

European citizens have to obtain an NIE (Foreign Identification Number), which is granted on the spot.

Where to obtain an NIE:

Subdelegación del Gobierno

Comisaría de Policía:

Pº Urumea, 17 - 20014 Donostia / San Sebastián. 
Tel.: 943 44 98 71
Tel. cita previa: 902 24 73 64

Non-EU citizen

Technicians, researchers and scientists invited or contracted by the central government, the state government, universities, private organisations or organisations whose objective is promotion and development of the research programs promoted or participated mainly by the mentioned organisations. They have to apply previously for the residence authorization and the work permit exemption (See work permit in this web)

Where to apply for:

Oficina de Extranjería en Gipuzkoa

Plaza. Pio XII, 6 
(Entrada por C/ Javier de Barkaiztegi) 
20010 - San Sebastián. 
Tel.: 943 98 91 10 / 943 98 91 20 / 943 98 91 10 
De Lunes a viernes, entre las 9:00 y las 14:00

More info:

Before coming to Spain, find additional information on the following websites:

European Union

Spanish Ministry of the Interior 

Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: Office of the Secretary of State for Immigration and Emigration 

For more specific information, you can call the Spanish Consulate in your country of origin.



Spain is a European Union member state, which means that researchers and professionals coming from the European Economic Area –EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway–, or Switzerland are subject to EU regulations, being able to enter, leave, stay or move freely within the country’s territory. The EU citizens have the right to take up employment, whether working for an employer or for himself/herself as a self-employed person, receiving remuneration in return, and supply or get services.

All non-EU citizens over the age of 16 must get a work permit if they want to live and work in Spain. However, this permit is not required of people who have already gained permanent residence.

There are different categories of work permits, for persons who are to work for an employer, for persons who are planning to start a business, for temporary workers, and for persons who have a specific job offer.

Work permit exemption:

Technicians, researchers and scientists invited or contracted by the central government, the state government, universities, private organisations or organisations whose objective is promotion and development of the research programs promoted aor participated mainly by the mentioned organisations.

Invitation letter or employment contract signed by the person in charge of the legal representation of the organization, where the description of the project and the professional profile of the applicant required for the development of the project are mentioned. Two photocopies of the same must be submitted.

The work permit exemption has to be requested at the corresponding office.

Spanish Government Office in Guipúzcoa 
Immigration Office

Plaza. Pio XII, 6 
(Entrance on C/ Javier de Barkaiztegi) 
20010 - San Sebastián
(+34) 943 98 91 10 / 943 98 91 20 / 943 98 91 22 
Mon-Fri 9:00 a.m -  14:00 p.m 

Location map


Social Security consists of a group of state-administered schemes that provide protection, in those contexts and situations set forth by law, to the individuals who perform professional activities, or to those who are not forced to pay monthly contributions, as well as to their family members and dependants.

All Spanish citizens living in Spain and non-Spanish citizens with legal residence in Spain, irrespective of sex, marital status or occupation, who work within the territory of Spain, pay their monthly contributions, and fall into one of the following categories can benefit from the Social Security system:

  • Individuals who work for an employer
  • Self-employed persons
  • Workers in cooperative enterprises
  • Students
  • Civil servants or military personnel

More info

Social Security Administration Office in Guipúzcoa:

More info


All people who take up residence in Donostia-San Sebastián have the right to register with the local authority. Registered citizens become legal inhabitants of the city and have the right to access public healthcare and schooling in the case of school-age children.

Registration is required to prove residence in the city and to carry out various administrative procedures.

Where to apply for registration:

Donostiako Udala - Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián

Ijentea 1, 20003 San Sebastián
(+34) 943 48 10 00

Location map

Individuals can apply for registration at the Town Hall, or they can do so online or over the phone.

Social Welfare (elderly people, dependants)

At the Department for Social Welfare they help travellers who come along with a dependent person, an elderly person who needs special care, or someone who has special social needs.


The Citizen Card, issued by Donostia-San Sebastián Town Hall, identifies its holder for a series of services and administrative procedures, and gives access to a series of town facilities.

What can it be used for?

The Citizen Card

  • Identifies its holder as a student of the Town School of Dance and Music.
  • Identifies its holder as a member of the Town Sports Board and so gives access to municipal sports facilities, plus 90’ free parking in the area of Anoeta (members of Donostia Kirola/Donostia-San Sebastián Sports Board only).
  • Gives access to free WiFi hotspots in town, both in town buildings (libraries, cultural and civic centres, sports centres, citizen service offices) and outdoor spaces (streets, squares, promenades).
  • Gives access to personal information of interest in the Citizen’s Folder at the Town Hall website.
  • Allows you to check the documents you have submitted at the E-Register and manage administrative procedures that do not require an e-certificate for identification.
  • Pay the fees of some town services.

How can you get it?

You can fill in the e-form in the link below

  • You can go to the Udalinfo offices with our ID card or NIE (Foreign Identification Number) and a recent photograph.
  • Citizens under 14 must have the ID card or NIE of a parent or guardian. (If the parent or guardian does not come with them, they must have a photocopy.)

  • Town Hall: C/ Ijentea,1
  • Rotonda de Morlans, 1
  • Municipal Tax Office: C/ Agirre Miramón, 4
  • Palacio Goikoa: C/ Ijentea, 6
  • Plaza de San Martzial, 4

You can fill in the form in print and send it to:

Ayuntamiento de Donostia-San Sebastián/Donostia-San Sebastián Town Hall P.O. Box 202 F.D. (codired 2000010) 



Or you can fill in the e-form at the free WiFi hotspots in town.

Hotspots in public buildings

  • Alderdi Eder Central Library
  • Children’s Central Library
  • Altza Cultural Centre
  • Tomasene Library
  • Larrotxene Cultural Centre
  • Loiola Cultural Centre
  • Etxarriene Cultural Centre
  • Ernest Lluch Cultural Centre
  • Okendo Cultural Centre
  • Egia Cultural Centre
  • Intxaurrondo Berri Cultural Centre
  • Larratxo Children’s Library
  • Lugaritz Cultural Centre
  • Town School of Dance and Music
  • Palacio de Aiete – Meeting Room
  • Cristina Enea Foundation – Environmental Resource Centre
  • Altza Sports Centre
  • Zuhaizti Sports Centre
  • Paco Yoldi Town Swimming Pool
  • Benta Berri Sports Centre
  • Bidebieta Sports Centre
  • Casa de la Paz de Aiete
  • Altza Town Hall Delegation

Outdoor spaces

  • Ondarreta Gardens
  • Paseo de La Concha
  • Alderdi Eder Gardens
  • Boulevard
  • Paseo de la Zurriola
  • Sagüés
  • Cristina Enea Park
  • Paseo Anoeta – Ernest Lluch Cultural Centre Outdoor (Amara)
  • Plaza José María Sert (Antiguo)
  • Plaza Ander Arzelus (Martutene)
  • Plaza de San Martzial (Altza) 


In Guipúzcoa, the agency responsible for administering, collecting and enforcing payment of most taxes –currently, all taxes, save for import duties and charges, special taxes and VAT payable on import of goods– is the Treasury Department of the Provincial Government of Guipúzcoa.

Foreign nationals are required to obtain an NIE, Foreign Identification Number, to be able to pay taxes in Guipúzcoa.

How to get an NIE:

For taxation purposes, professionals must know if they are considered as tax residents or not, because tax laws treat both categories differently.

Tax residence:

An individual will be either a tax resident or a non-resident throughout the calendar year, as changing residence or domicile does not interrupt a tax year. The proof of residence for tax purposes is a certificate issued by the relevant Revenue Department. Such certificate is valid for one year. An individual may have a residence or administrative residence permit in a country and still be not treated as a tax resident.

Foreign nationals who are residents for tax purposes in Spain must pay taxes as well as file an income tax return including worldwide income. If an individual is a tax resident in two different countries and the foreign country has a double taxation agreement with Spain, the individual is entitled to claim exemption or tax relief in one of the two countries, depending on each treaty.

Individuals who earn income in Spain but are non-residents will be subject to retention under the laws in force, depending on the type of income. When they leave Spain, non-residents shall pay taxes in their country of residence on the income earned in Spain, under the laws in force in their country of residence or the double taxation agreements, if applicable.

According to the Spanish Revenue Department regulations, taxpayers can file tax returns online. To do so, they must get a certificate of digital user or a digital signature.

Municipal Taxes and Charges:

Residents in Guipúzcoa must pay local charges if they own a vehicle or a home.

More info


All life events, including births, statements of absence or death, marriages, neighbourhood registration, nationality, etc., shall be registered at the Register Office. Applications for Spanish nationality are dealt with at the Register Office as well.

There are several ways to apply for Spanish citizenship. The most frequent one is applying for citizenship after gaining permanent residence.

Requirements to apply for Spanish citizenship:

Register Office

Plaza Teresa de Calcuta, 1, 
20012 Donostia-San Sebastián
Tel. 943 00 07 30

Location map

More info


Guipúzcoa is home to a wide range of banks and saving banks, whose services and charges may vary widely. It is advisable, therefore, to compare products and services from different financial institutions before making decisions.

Foreign citizens can open a current account or a savings account in Spain. There are two options for them:

  • If the person is living in Spain, he/she must have a Spanish passport or a resident card.
  • If the person is not living in Spain, he/she can open a non-resident account. He/she must have a non-resident certificate issued by the Police or the Consulate or a registration certificate issued by the Town Council.

The Bank of Spain website contains information on the Spanish banking system.

Banks and savings banks are open 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; some remain open until 3:00 p.m. Many bank branches are open on Saturday mornings or stay open late some days per week.


The list of subject matter protected by intellectual property rights includes original literary, artistic or scientific works in all their modes or forms of expression. Authors should register original works for protection before submitting them to publishing houses for publication or evaluation.

The General Intellectual Property Registration Centre is the only IP office in Spain. It comprises the Central Register and the Regional Registers run by the Autonomous Communities.

In the Basque Country, the provincial offices, which are part of the Basque Department of Culture, provide information and receive applications that are, in turn, submitted to the Central Register.

Intellectual Property Registration Centre in Guipúzcoa

Andia, 13
20004 - Donostia-San Sebastián
Tel.: 943 02 29 67 - 943 02 29 67 
Fax: 943 02 29 65
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Location map

More info


All citizens shall have access to legal services and have the right to be defended and represented by a lawyer. Lawyers act as their clients’ legal advisers and representatives; they defend their clients' rights and interests before public institutions, other people, or private organisations.

Those citizens who cannot afford professional legal assistance have a legal right to free assistance by a lawyer under the provisions of the law.

Before hiring the services of a lawyer, citizens have the right to ask and get a quote for the cost of the case.

Free Legal Assistance

The law establishes that all citizens who are economically disempowered and cannot afford to pay for legal advice or representation deserve legal protection and have a right to free professional legal assistance in the defence of their legitimate interests.



Guipúzcoa has excellent public health services. Public services are free, but citizens can pay health insurance premiums or individual medical fees to access private health services.

The public health service covers 60% of the costs of prescription medication; the remaining 40% must paid by the individual, provided they hold their Health Service Card.

With regard to dental health, the Social Security covers dental extractions only. Some private health insurances cover dental services.

Emergency telephone number: 112

Public Health Services

In Guipúzcoa, public health services are provided by the Basque Government through the Basque Health Service-Osakidetza.

Non-Spanish citizens working in Guipúzcoa who are registered with the Social Security will get a card with their personal information and Social Security number.

This card enables its holder to request a Health Service Card at the closest healthcare centre to his/her home. The Health Service Card is necessary to get free medical treatment or hospital services both for the card holder and his/her family.

Primary Healthcare Centres:

Primary healthcare centres provide GP services. They have general practitioners, paediatricians, and nurses, as well as administrative staff

The health center for residents in Talent House is: Amara Berri Health Center

Centro de salud Amara Berri

J. Barkaiztegi, 18

20010 San Sebastián

(+34) 943 00 79 00

Location map

Donostia - San Sebastian Hospital 

P.º Dr. Beguiristáin, 107, 111 y 115
20014 San Sebastián
(+34) 943 00 70 00
(+34) 943 00 60 00
(+34) 943 00 74 00

Location map


Health Service Card

The Health Service Card is used as the common identifier for medical assistance. It is the only document its holder needs to access to medical treatment and health services or benefits.

To get an Health Service Card, the applicant must be registered with a Town Council in the Basque Country.

How to get the Health Service Card (Osakidetza Social Security Card)

If you do not have your health service card, please, ask for it in the Customer service area of your health center.

The Customer Service areas at the healthcare centres belonging to the Basque Health Service-Osakidetza will give the forms to fill in on request. Applicants must submit a certificate of application and all the necessary documents.

Required documents (original and photocopy):

  • Town Hall registration certificate
  • Passport/NIE
  • Document accrediting the right to health care issued by the National Institute of Social Security
  • Minors: Family Book

Non-Spanish EU citizens

Before coming to Guipúzcoa, citizens from EU countries plus Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland should contact their national Social Security to get the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC gives access to a GP and all state-provided healthcare services.

Non-Spanish non-EU citizens

Some non-EU countries have bilateral agreements on Social Security which allow third-party nationals to access healthcare services. However, citizens from countries that do not have bilateral agreements with Spain on these issues can receive urgent medical care in state-run hospitals, but they should better get private medical insurance.

Basque Government Office in Guipúzcoa


Most medicines can only be sold or supplied at a pharmacy. In general, patients must have a medical prescription written by a healthcare professional.

24-hour service, 365 days a year

Pharmacies are open during normal business hours. Every day (on weekends too) there are pharmacies open all night. All pharmacies display a list of all-night pharmacies in their area.

In addition, the Guipúzcoa College of Chemists official website contains a list of all the pharmacies in the region, their on-duty hours, and general information on the pharmacy system.

Private Health Services

Those who want to receive private health care can get medical insurance for Spain in their countries of residence or hire private health services from a provider based in Guipúzcoa.

It is important to bear in mind that some private health plans may not provide services for pre-existing conditions, maternity care, or surgery for a period of time ranging from several months to one year.

Top Private Healthcare Centres in Guipúzcoa

Guipúzcoa General Hospital

Paseo Miramón, 174. 20009 Donostia 
Tel.: 943 00 28 00

Location map

Quirón San Sebastián Private Hospital

Parque Alcolea 7
Tel.:. 943 43 71 00

Location map


Paseo Doctor Begiristain, 121
Donostia - San Sebastián,
20014, Gipuzkoa

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Buscador de Abogados en Gipuzkoa

Todo ciudadano tiene derecho a la defensa y asistencia de un abogado. El abogado es un profesional independiente que le asiste como asesor y representante en la defensa de sus derechos e intereses frente a los organismos públicos y el resto de las personas y entidades privadas.

Todo ciudadano que no disponga de recursos suficientes tiene derecho a obtener asistencia jurídica gratuita en los términos que disponga la ley.

Todo ciudadano, antes de contratar los servicios profesionales de un abogado, tiene derecho a solicitar y obtener un presupuesto indicativo del coste económico que acarreará la tramitación profesional del asunto.

Buscador de Abogados en Gipuzkoa

Asistencia jurídica gratuita La Ley ha regulado el reconocimiento del derecho a la asistencia jurídica gratuita, para que todos aquellos ciudadanos que acrediten insuficiencia de medios económicos para litigar, puedan acceder a la tutela judicial para ver realizadas sus legítimas pretensiones o defendidos sus derechos.

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