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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become an Foreign Nurse in Spain


It’s easy to understand why Spain remains as one of the most popular places in the world for international nurses to work in. The country is a dream destination for many healthcare professionals, due to its excellent working circumstances, and advanced healthcare system. In fact, Spain has one of the top 20 healthcare systems across the world. Aside from those, working in Spain also allows you to hone your Spanish language abilities, which could be useful in many areas of the world. The country is also known for its sunny beaches and delicious food, which will make you want to live in the country.

About the Country

As a highly developed country, there is no doubt that the country’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world. This makes the country a great place for nurses to work in. Aside from that, the public transportation system in Spain is also very accessible, as it allows individuals to get to the place they have to be in quickly and hassle-free. Furthermore, Spain has a generally lower cost of living as compared to the other Western European countries. For instance, renting an apartment in Spain would cost you 45.28% less as compared to when you pay for rent in the United States (U.S.). Furthermore, you would spend 120% more if you choose to rent an apartment in London, as compared to in Barcelona.

Spain is also well known for their dishes, such as Paella, Gazpacho, Pollo al ajillo, and other delicious dishes that you definitely cannot leave Spain without trying. The very famous Cochinillo Asado or the Spanish roast suckling pig is also very famous in the country. There are not many restaurants that serve international cuisine in the country, so you may end up craving Filipino food when working in the country. However, Spanish food and Filipino food may not come so far from one another, as there are many Filipino foods, which include Callos, Morcon, Pochero, Empanada, and Cocido, that have been influenced by Spanish food.

Type of Nurses

There are various types of nurses in Spain. However, the most common types include Registered Nurses (RN), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Registered Nurses (RN)

Registered nurses generally monitor patients, dispense drugs, maintain records, discuss with healthcare providers, educate patients, and fulfill other important responsibilities, involving patient care.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists, treat and diagnose illnesses. They also provide assistance and advice to the public regarding particular health concerns, manage chronic diseases, engage in ongoing education in order to stay informed of technical, methodological, as well as other advancements in the profession.


The average salary of nurses in Spain is 2,630 EUR (₱150,179.24) per month. Entry-level nurses often earn an average of 1,760 EUR (₱100,500.17) monthly, whereas senior nurses earn as much as 4,880 EUR per month. The salary of nurses is highly dependent on the amount of experience, qualifications, and job position of a nurse. They may also vary based on the nursing career that they have. For instance, staff nurses in the country earn an average of 2,190 EUR (₱125,054.19) monthly, while a neonatal nurse practitioner earns an average salary of 3,060 EUR (₱174,733.26) per month.

Demand for Nurses

There is a great number of physicians in Spain, however, they are in need of more practicing nurses. According to Hernández-Quevedo & Moreno-Casbas (2019), statistics gathered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that there is an average of 5.3 nurses for every 1000 individuals in 2015. The value is lower as compared to the average in other EU countries, which is 8.4. These data show that the country is in need of more nurses to care for the increasing number of patients.


The hospitals in Spain are generally classified into public and private hospitals. 

Public Hospitals

Public hospitals in Spain are operated by the government, and they can be further classified into three major categories: general hospitals, mid-level hospitals, and high-technology hospitals. They are classified based on the level of care that they provide to their patients. Some of the public hospitals in Spain are Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron, and Hospital La Paz

General Hospitals

General hospitals in the country offer necessary services, which include consultations with general practitioners, certain specialty physicians, as well as nurses. 

Mid-Level Hospitals

Mid-Level Hospitals have a higher number of specialists, as compared to general hospitals. They also provide more complex diagnostics and treatment options for patients to choose from. 

High-technology Hospitals

High-technology hospitals are equipped with advanced technology, and expert specialists, allowing them to handle patients with more obscure and severe health conditions. 

Private Hospitals

The private hospitals in Spain are managed by private healthcare providers. These hospitals are often smaller as compared to public hospitals. In addition, they also offer more specialized services. Some private hospitals in the country include Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Hospital Universitario Quirón Madrid, HM Universitario Sanchinarro/ CIO Clara Campal, Hospital Universitario Sanitas La Zarzuela, Centro Médico Teknon – Quironsalud, and Hospital Universitario Sanitas La Moraleja

In order to be able to work as a nurse in Spain, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

You must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from any institution that is recognized by the country. This must be equivalent to one that is obtained in Spain. The organization to which you must present your diploma is determined on where you attended university. If you got your education in another EU country, you must apply to the Ministry of Health, Consumption, and Social Welfare. Unlike in several other European nations, a degree from another EU member state does not immediately qualify you for employment. If you earned your degree in a third nation, that is, outside the EU, you must have it evaluated by the Ministry of Science and Innovation. If your degree is considered to be equal to a Spanish degree, you will be given documentation to prove it. If not, you may have to continue your education in Spain.

Language Requirement

The official language of Spain is Spanish, therefore if you wish to work in the country, it is essential for you to be able to speak the language. It is not necessary for you to be an expert in the language, but you must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the Spanish language. As a nurse in the country, you will be speaking with your co-workers, patients, and their families. You will have to speak with your patient to ask them how they are feeling, or you may have to follow the orders of the doctors. These are just some of the tasks that will require you to communicate effectively with the Spanish language. With this, you must have a certificate proving that you are able to communicate with B2 level Spanish.


Most private healthcare centers in Spain require postgraduate clinical experience, however, freshly graduated nurses could also have good chances in acquiring a job in the country. Despite this, it is important that you are fit to practice, and do not have any records of bad practice that led to you being suspended or disqualified from practice.


Prior to being able to work as a foreign nurse in Spain, you must first register with the Professional Nursing Association, which is located throughout the country. It is important that you register in the area where you will work. The requirements per association may vary from one another. The documents that are often required are listed below.

  • Official degree certificate
  • Original and photocopy of Academic certificate
  • Certificate of your specialization (if any)
  • 2 photographs 
  • Original and photocopy of National identity document 
  • Bank account number (for the payment of fee)
  • Proof of payment

If you obtained your nursing degree outside of Spain, and you would like to apply as a foreign nurse in the country: 

If you obtained your nursing education outside of Spain, you will be required to submit additional documents, such as your ID document (NIE) or passport, certificate of equivalency or recognition (issued by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities or the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare), and a certificate of suitability or good practice. The certificate of suitability or good practice must be issued by an accredited authority from your country of origin. This is to ensure that you have not been disqualified or suspended from practicing nursing. If the certificate is written in any language other than Spanish, it must have a sworn translation. 

Alongside the requirements above, your qualifications must be further verified if your degree was obtained outside of Spain. Degrees obtained in other European Union (EU) countries are to be regulated by the Royal Decree 581/2017 of 9 June, which is executed through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. Furthermore, degrees obtained in non-EU countries are handled by several ministries. The recognition of nursing degree equivalency is handled by the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities. Its equivalence will be applicable across Spain. Before the procedure will begin, necessary payments must be paid; wherein fees may vary. Applicants may begin their postgraduate studies and apply for jobs once their request has been accepted. In addition, the recognition of specialist qualifications obtained from non-EU countries is governed by the Royal Decree 459/2010 of April 16, 2010, which implements Article 18 of Law 44/2003 on the Management of Healthcare Professionals. Recognition is acquired from the Ministry of Health, Consumption, and Social Welfare.

Submit all the necessary documents to prevent further delay in your application. Once your degrees and credentials have been successfully validated, you may now work as a foreign nurse in Spain!


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