The new application process for licensed business activities in Spain, often referred to as the 'express license' process - which removes the requirement to apply for a license for specific types of establishment before commencing trading - is to be extended to new businesses with larger premises.
The measure was introduced in 2012, initially for those premises smaller than 300 m2 with the intention of removing red-tape and bureaucracy and thereby facilitate the creation of new businesses (and much needed jobs) in Spain. The new system would permit trading to commence within 15 days from starting the paperwork.
The new system meant that qualifying businesses would be required simply to obtain an intermediary permission stating that the premises complied with the relevant legal regulations, which would allow them to start trading immediately. An inspection would be carried-out at a later date to ensure that the establishment complied with the relevant regulations.
Up to this point there had been two stages to obtaining the necessary approval to start trading: first, it was necessary to obtain a license for the establishment and then another license was required depending upon the activity being carried-out. Now this has changed and new businesses can start trading once they have made the necessary presentation to the effect that they are compliant with the relevant regulations and - where necessary - a technical review, signed by an architect as well as payment of the relevant municipal charge.
The new system applies not just to brand new business concerns but also to those existing businesses that are changing hands. Those activities that it applies to include: butchers, fishmongers, fruit shops, greengrocers, bakeries, ice cream parlours, newsagents, hardware stores, furniture shops, drug stores, book shops, jewellers, real estate agencies, hairdressers office suppliers and more or less any other small retail concern.
As a result of the initial success of the project, the new measure was extended to include any new business with premises of up to 500 m2 as well as more activities including supermarkets, professional services such as lawyers, architects offices, repair shops, academies and small textile operatives.
According to the Government Minister responsible - Jaime García-Legaz - the new measure has permitted the opening of 7,000 more businesses than in the same period during the previous year.
The maximum size of the premises whereby a business may avail of the Express License process is to be increased to 750m2 and will pass into law once approved by Parliament.
All of this makes starting a business in Spain a little bit easier, especially for expats.