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Olga Galindo Carazo.  

Embassy work permits, Is a work permit required to work in an Embassy?


Local staff of Embassies and Consulates must have residence and work authorization. We receive many inquiries from Embassies and Consulates about the obligation to apply for a residence and work permit (when they Work in Embassies)  in order to hire local employees. The answer is yes, they must apply for the corresponding work permit prior to hiring, even for their own nationals.

The question is to determine which law is applicable, given that the workers are in fact providing services for a foreign government.

The answer to this question can be found in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, signed in 1961, which establishes that Embassies and Consulates must apply Spanish law when hiring local employees.

One of the main requirements for the hiring of foreign local employees is that they must have the necessary documentation authorizing them to reside and work legally in Spain.


Which type of work permit is required depends on the job position.

The type of residence and work authorization will depend, among other things, on the job position to be occupied, the nationality of the foreign employee or whether he/she has previously resided in Spain.

Therefore, the Embassies and Consulates of foreign countries in Spain must be governed by the provisions of the regulations on foreigners, in the same way as the companies that carry out their activity in Spain.

The same reflection must be made regarding compliance with labor and social security regulations when hiring local employees, both Embassies and Consulates are obliged to process the registration with the Social Security, pay the corresponding contributions and be subject to the provisions of the Statute of Workers and the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement in all matters concerning the employment relationship.


Does it apply equally to administrative and technical personnel that work in Embassies and Consulates?

No, it does not apply to them, in this case they are considered to be direct employees or officials of the foreign state who are displaced to Spain to form part of the mission, in the terminology of the Vienna Convention, without being considered for these purposes diplomatic personnel or local personnel.

It is important to point out that the immigration regulations do not apply to the administrative and technical personnel of the foreign Embassies and Consulates established in Spain and that have the corresponding accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of our country.

These are personnel dedicated to the management of internal affairs under the supervision of the person in charge of administrative affairs, as long as they do not have the nationality of the receiving state and do not have permanent residence in the same.


What happens with the domestic personnel in the service of the diplomatic agent?

The regulations on aliens do not apply to domestic staff in the exclusive service of the diplomatic agent and his family either; the Vienna Convention defines them as private servants.

The domestic staff provides services under the accreditation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is issued specifically to the diplomatic agent. Upon termination of the diplomatic agent’s appointment, the accreditation of domestic servants also expires.

In any of the above cases, administrative and technical personnel and private servants, once the accreditation has expired, if they wish to continue providing services in Spain in the private sector, they must apply for the corresponding residence and work authorization in accordance with Spanish immigration regulations.

It is important to note that the immigration offices are considering, in some cases, the time of residence accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the time of legal residence in Spain.

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