The cost of obtaining a work permit in Spain (permiso de autónomo) depends on a number of factors, principally on whether you use a gestoría or a lawyer or feel that you can handle the application on your own, and whether you have found a job or will work on your own account.
If you have a job, your employer will pay most of the expenses and will probably steer you through the entire process. If you are self-employed, you had better figure 500€ to 700€, including all the taxes and fees.
If your Spanish is reasonably good, you can handle the matter yourself. Obtain the forms from your local police station or from the Delegación de Trabajo, fill them out, and wait to see what happens. The first step is for the police to clear your residence permit application. This can take a month or more. Then the papers go to the Labour Ministry office in your province, where they rule on your work permit request.
The Government Sub-Delegate (formerly Civil Governor) office also vets it. If granted, you then receive a combined work and residence permit.
Application form for obtaining a work permit in Spain
The application form itself, the solicitud, is free, but it is the only item on your list that is. By the time you have added your first Social Security payment of 250€, plus any possible costs for opening permits and other fees, you are looking at a real expense.
Few foreigners, however, will feel confident enough about their Spanish and their familiarity with bureaucratic ins and outs to handle their work permit application on their own.
Perhaps you will turn to a competent gestoría. The only way to find one is to make enquiries among people who have work permits and who recommend a particular gestor. Their advice can be invaluable.
As in any country, these are right ways and wrong ways to go about things, and a good gestor will know the right way. He will also be up to date on recent rulings of the Labour Ministry, and can advice you on whether or not you are likely to get a permit. He may suggest that you word the application in a certain way, for example.
For a work permit, one gestor recently charged the rock-bottom figure of 300€, with the taxes and fees added to this.
Or you can use a lawyer. This, of course, can cost you 500€ or more, in addition to the fees and taxes. Nevertheless, if you are starting a business, employing others, purchasing property for commercial use, or if you feel your particular case may need a little extra explaining, this fee can seem quite reasonable.
A lawyer will be able to advise you on many questions outside the competence of the gestoría, such as aspects of investment procedures.
Again, make enquiries among people working already to find a lawyer who has given satisfaction.