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Special Permits and Licenses for Doing Business in Spain

Special Permits and Licenses for Doing Business in Spain

Updated on Wednesday 28th November 2018

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Every foreign investor who wants to open a business in Spain should know that he or she will need certain licenses or permits issued by the local authorities for performing certain types of economic activities. The Spanish authorities that must be contacted for these permits are the municipal and regional bodies in the location where you need to begin your business. Our team of attorneys in Spain can offer in-depth advice on the documents that must be submitted when applying for special permits and licenses.
 
If you don’t know the legislation in Spain and the local authorities that manage certain fields of activity, you may address your requests to our law firm in Spain. The Spanish lawyers can act on your behalf and obtain the necessary documents from the local authorities through a power of attorney.
 
Your obligation is to provide the required documents that will be submitted to the Spanish authorities by a local lawyer, no matter what type of permit or license you may need. In this sense, our team of Spanish lawyers can provide legal advice and in-depth assistance for all the steps related to the issuance of a license or a permit
 
More information on the special business permits and licenses in Spain are presented in the video below:
 

 
If you want to modify the premises in which you perform your business activities  – demolish certain parts, modernize, build a new structure etc., you will need a construction permit for which you will pay a fee. Other types of licenses are required if you intend to open a travel agency, a repair shop, a tattoo studio and they can vary depending on the specific operations carried out by the Spanish company
 

Obtaining Spanish business permits 

 

When conducting a business activity in Spain, the investors will be required to obtain special permits and licenses that will be issued in accordance with the business activities of the company. In the situation in which the investor purchased land in Spain and he or she is interested in developing a construction project for business purposes, it will be necessary to receive a construction license (licensa urbanistica). The construction license will be requested by the local authorities for both interior and exterior construction projects.
 
The businessmen will need to pay a fee for the issuance of the licensa urbanistica, which will depend based on the surface of the respective building. Any company operating in Spain will need an opening license issued by the Town Council in Spain. In this sense, the investors will have to present various aspects of their new company, such as: a map depicting the premises of the business location, a description of the company’s main business activities and a receipt attesting that the company was registered for tax purposes and paid the required taxes. 
 

What are the main types of Spanish construction permits? 

 
Persons purchasing a property in Spain for commercial or residential purposes will need to obtain specific licenses provided that a construction project will be developed in the respective premises. Basically, the Spanish construction licenses are divided into two categories, for major construction projects and for minor constructions. Our team of Spanish lawyers can assist with advice on the issuance of the following: 
 
  • municipal works permit – a type of permit that is necessary in all types of construction projects, from refurbishment projects to demolition projects;
  • municipal activity permit – the permit is necessary in order to prove that the respective construction project is in line with the current safety and health requirements;
  • municipal first occupancy permit – issued once the local authorities have visited the site and verified if the construction complies with the technical standards;
  • municipal opening permit – it grants the right to use the respective space in accordance with its designated purpose. 
 
 
Please note that the issuance of the first type of permit presented above – the municipal works permit, can only be completed if the applicants have provided information on the construction project, signed by an architect. The application for the permit will also incur a set of taxes, which are paid by the applicant.  
 
When applying for an opening license, the company’s representatives should also provide documents such as: the lease contract/ deed of the company’s premises, the company fiscal identification number and the company’s articles of association.
 
Another important aspect is that companies in Spain also require a business license, which presents information on the ownership of the company. In the situation in which the company will have new owners, the investors will need to change the business license, providing details on the modified ownership.
 

What are the environmental permits in Spain? 

 
Environmental permits in Spain are legal documents that attest the fact that the holder of the permit develops his or her commercial activities following the environmental regulations available in Spain. Thus, any business in Spain that develops operations which have a negative impact on the environment must obtain an environmental permit
 
The issuance of the environmental permit is necessary for a wide category of business activities that are related to waste, water supply, air pollution and other similar fields. The legislation in Spain concerning this subject is regulated under the Law 16/2002 on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, which created a single permit, that is issued for a wide category of fields which are related to the protection of the environment. Thus, investors can apply for the integrated environmental authorization, which is issued for a specific object. 
 

Are there any permits for polluted land in Spain? 

 
Yes, in the case in which an investor purchases a land in Spain that was previously exposed to any kind of pollution, he or she has the legal obligation to perform the due diligence procedures and verify if the respective land is still under any risks (provided that the respective land was used for developing a business activity that could potentially harm the environment). This will require the owners of the land to submit a non-intrusive report
 
In the case of local businesses that develop various commercial activities that are labelled as being harmful to the environment to a certain degree, it will be necessary to file a preliminary report in a period of maximum two years since the activity started. 
 
It is important to know that, if the owners of the land want to change the destination of their property, they should apply for a permit to develop a non-contaminating activity. Our team of Spanish lawyers can offer further information on the legislation regulating this type of activity.  
 

Who grants Spanish environmental permits? 

 
Businessmen who will need to obtain an environmental permit in Spain should know that the issuance of the documents is based on a three tier system. The most basic structure granting environmental permits is the Autonomous Regions in the country, which have the right to establish the basic legal requirements in the field. 
 
Spanish municipalities are in charge with issuing environmental permits for specific activities, such as waste management and waste disposal or noise requirements. The sector is regulated under the rules established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing, Food and Environment, but also by the Climate Change Spanish Office and the Service Nature Protection Civil Guard (SEPRONA).  
 
The regulations in Spain also stipulate that specific business activities will require specific special permits. This can be the case of companies operating in agriculture, import-export, IT industry and numerous others. It is also important to know that a Spanish permit will also include legal and technical requirements that have to be met by each applicant, based on his or her respective field of activity. 
 
If you need more information about the permits and licenses required for a certain business activity in Spain, you may contact our law firm in Spain. Our Spanish attorneys will help you obtain the documents you need without the obligation of presenting yourself in front of the Spanish authorities.