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Understanding How The US Immigration System Works For Spanish Nationals

Understanding How The Us Immigration System Works For Spanish Nationals

There are many different immigration options available to Spanish citizens who want to immigrate to the United States. These include extraordinary ability visas, work visas, investor visas, family-based visas, and diversity visas. While you can apply for a non-immigrant or immigrant visa, most foreign nationals prefer permanent residence in the United States.

Immigration to the United States is not just for Mexicans. It is also for Spanish nationals who want to move to the US. The US immigration process has many policies and requirements, which can be confusing and overwhelming for many people. For example, if you are new to the US immigration system, you may not know how to begin your immigration to the US.

If you do not know how to start your immigration to the US, you can get many helpful tips from an immigration attorney in Texas. It is important to note that mistakes in your forms and application process can result in significant delays and additional steps to be taken to rectify them.

If you are a Spanish citizen who wants to move to the US and need help, an immigration attorney in Texas can help you apply for the necessary approval. To go through the US immigration system without issues, here are some vital info you should know.

Enter the US without a visa

Before deciding to immigrate permanently to the US from Spain, you must know that you can travel to the US through the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) system. The ESTA authorization is valid for 2 years. Spanish citizens do not need to apply and wait months for visa approval. They can stay for 90 days in the US.

This means that Spain is a participating country in the US Visa Waiver program, which allows Spanish citizens to avoid lengthy visa applications by registering through the ETSA system. Under the ESTA, Spanish nationals can travel to the United States multiple times during the period of validity of the ESTA and stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days.

You can apply for ESTA visa waivers online if you meet all the requirements. As a Spanish citizen, you are not required to have a visa to visit the United States. However, if you plan to fly or cruise into the US, you must apply for the US ESTA visa waiver. The ESTA visa waiver process is quick, easy, and takes just a few minutes.

It can be tricky, though. It is a good idea to go through the process with the help of an immigration attorney in Texas. The ESTA is a web-based system that enables citizens from eligible countries, including Spanish passport holders, to apply to visit the US.

ESTA permits the US to keep records of visa-exempt travelers, which helps the US better protect its citizens and travelers. The ESTA was created in the early 2000s to facilitate the entry of travelers from more than 30 countries (including Spain). The ESTA permits Spanish nationals to visit the US for tourism, business, or transit.

These ESTA permits are valid for two years, or until the traveler’s Spanish passport expires, whichever comes first. A Spanish citizen wishing to stay in the US for more than 90 days must apply for an American visa.

You must apply for another visa if you are planning on immigrating to the United States for any other purpose (i.e., work, study, etc.). You can talk with an immigration attorney in Texas for more information.

Who is eligible for a Visa Waiver?

There are a few requirements for a US ESTA visa waiver for Spanish citizens:

  1. A valid Spanish passport, valid on the date of your planned arrival in the US;
  2. A valid method of payment of ESTA fee (e.g., credit card, debit card, etc.);
  3. An active email address where you will receive your approved ESTA;
  4. Valid contact information (home address, phone number, etc.); and
  5. Optional emergency contact information.

When entering the US, Spanish travelers must present the passport they used to complete their ESTA application. The ESTA is connected to that passport electronically. If the passport you used to complete your ESTA application gets lost, damaged, or stolen, you must re-apply for your ESTA and enter the details of your new passport. If you are a dual citizen, ensure you use the same passport for your ESTA and US travel.

Other options to move to the US

1. EB-5 visa.

This visa is sometimes called the “golden visa” because you can get a green card by investing up to $1.5 million. You must invest between $800,000 and $1.05 million to get this visa. Depending on which EB-5 visa you choose, you may not need to manage the business. If you wish to explore this option as a Spanish national, talk with an immigration attorney in Texas.

2. E-2 treaty visa.

This visa permits an investor to move to the US at a lower investment than an EB-5 visa. As a Spanish national, you can establish a business with an initial investment of $80,000. This visa does not provide you with a green card but allows you to work in the US for up to five years and can be extended indefinitely. While running your business in the US, you may also consider other immigration options that lead to a green card.

3. E-1 treaty visa.

A Spanish investor can use this visa to enter the US for up to 5 years to engage in commercial transactions. Unlike the E-2 visa, there is no requirement for an individual to have an office in the US, and no minimum investment is required. Instead, the Spanish investor is required to prove that there is an active commercial relationship between the US and Spain. This visa does not lead to a green card but can be extended indefinitely.

4. L-1 visa.

The L1 is a mix of the E-2 and EB-5 visas. The L-1 visa is like the E-2 visa in that it is a “temporary” visa with a minimum investment amount of about $100,000 to $150,000. The main difference between the L-1 visa and the E-2 visa is that the L-1 visa is a “dual intent” visa. This means a Spanish investor can enter the US temporarily but then move on to a “permanent” green card by applying for an EB-1C visa.

5. EB-1C visa.

A Spanish entrepreneur can use this visa to run a business in the US. Most applicants first enter the USA on an L-1 visa. After running their business for one year, they can apply for an EB-1C visa for permanent company management.

6. EB-1A visa.

Spanish nationals with exceptional science, art, education, commerce, or sports skills can apply for this visa. They must show that their accomplishments have been acknowledged in their expertise. The EB-1A visa allows immigrants to enter the US without a job offer or a connection to an American citizen.

7. EB-2 visa.

Applicants must have an “advanced degree” or “exceptional ability” in a “sophisticated field” such as “science, art, or business.” They must also show that the US government should not require the applicant to have a job offer because the applicant’s presence in the US is “substantially significant” and “of national importance.”

Employers may sponsor this waiver for employees. An applicant can also self-sponsor. Like the EB-1A visa, an immigrant is not required to have a “job offer” or a relationship with an American citizen.

8. Marriage-based green card.

One of the ways to get a green card as a Spanish national is to marry an American Citizen or a green card holder. To get a green card, an immigrant must prove that they are legally married to an American citizen or green card holder and the marriage is real.

Marriage-based green cards are one of the fastest ways to get green cards. An American citizen can marry a Spanish national and sponsor both the Spanish spouse and child (under 21) for green cards if the marriage occurs before the child reaches the age of 18 years.

9. Family-based green card.

A Spanish immigrant can obtain a green card if they are the parents, children, or siblings of a US citizen. A green card can also be obtained if the Spanish immigrant is the child of a green card holder. Spanish parents or siblings of green card holders can not apply for a green card.

You cannot apply for family-based green cards for your Spanish uncles, aunt, grandchildren, or cousins. Processing times vary depending on the relationship between family members.

10. Diversity visa

You can also apply for a green card in the US if you cannot meet the eligibility requirements. The green card lottery is open until the end of October, and applications are usually accepted. If an immigrant does not have any family members living in the United States or has no job prospects in the United States, they can apply for a diversity visa through the Diversity Visa Program (DVP).

The DVP grants over 50,000 green cards annually to immigrants from various countries. The US State Department releases a list of immigrants selected annually by country and the number of immigrants who apply yearly. Immigrants from Spain often obtain green cards through the diversity immigrant visa program.

If you apply for the lottery, don’t hesitate to contact an immigration attorney in Texas for more information on how it works. If you wish to learn more about available options, contact an immigration attorney in Texas.

Get Legal Help!

Spanish and other foreign nationals have many options to enter the US. However, the process takes a lot of time and effort due to the many forms, information, things needed to prove the case, and so on. Hiring an immigration attorney in Texas is more appealing than ever.

At Gehi and Associates, we have a team of experienced immigration attorneys in Texas who can guide you through getting any visa you may need in the US. Our track record of success over the years speaks for itself. You can count on us to handle your immigration application and provide an unforgettable experience. Get in touch with us today to learn more!


1. Can I stay in the US permanently with an ESTA?

No. With an ESTA, you cannot stay in the US for more than 90 days.

2. How long does an ESTA last?

It is only valid for two years if you meet the requirements and get an ESTA.

3. Can I enter the US more than once with an ESTA?

Yes, the ESTA comes with the right to enter the US as often as possible within the validity period. But you can only stay for up to 90 days on each entry.

4. Can I work with an ESTA?

No, you are not allowed to work with an ESTA because your ESTA is just a travel permit, not a US visa for Spanish citizens.

5. When do I need a new ESTA?

If you change your passport, name, gender, or citizenship, you must re-apply for a travel permit (ESTA). You must also do this if your responses to the eligibility questions change.

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