We must distinguish between two very important concepts in Immigration Law which define the legal treatment as well as the rights and duties of foreigner nationals on Spanish territory.
On the one hand, there are foreigners who find themselves in a situation of stay of less than 90 days in our country and who do not plan to exceed that limit, such as foreigners travelling for business or pleasure. This is very different from cases where foreigners plan to spend more than 90 days in the country for work purposes or residency, where they must request the corresponding residence and work permit mentioned below. In this case the foreigner must request a long-stay visa before the diplomatic authorities or at the Spanish Consulate in their country of origin.
On the other hand, foreigners who plan to stay in Spain for periods exceeding 90 days must request a residence permit. It is possible that they will be granted a temporary residence permit that will allow them to reside in our country for a timeframe of less than five years. Very often this is the response to work permits, family reunification and exceptional circumstances (arraigo).
Translated by: Katherine Pascal