The situation

Fragomen reports that processing of all major work authorization types under the Entrepreneur's Act in Spain is now approximately four months, up from the statutory processing time of 20 business days. The delay is due to a backlog at the Large Companies Unit, the main immigration authority for employment-based immigration.


  • Plan ahead. Employers and foreign nationals should initiate transfers and assignments well in advance of their anticipated work start date to compensate for the delays.
  • File administrative silence request. Applicants should request the Large Companies Unit to confirm approval based on the 'administrative silence' rule, under which applications are automatically approved within 15 business days if the statutory processing time of 20 business days has passed and there has not been a request for additional information. Notably, however, this 15-business-day adjudication time is currently delayed.


Spanish immigration authorities have faced processing delays due to a backlog since June 2019, exacerbated by staff shortages in the December holiday period. Separately, appointment delays for many application types in Madrid and Barcelona, reported in October 2019, still persist.

The application processing times in Spain fall on the high end for average work authorization processing times in the European Union:

Looking ahead

The authorities have not yet announced any specific actions to address the backlog. Applications are currently adjudicated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.