How to Secure Student Visas and Permits in Spain

There are many reasons you might want to live in Spain: the year-round sun, laid back lifestyle and rich culture attract visitors to the country from all over the world. For many students, studying in Spain is a great opportunity to develop new language skills, broaden their educational base, and learn about a whole new culture. However, unless you are currently based in the EU, EEA or in Switzerland then you will need to secure a student visa in order to study in Spain. Visas are also required to carry out research or training, volunteer for a period of longer than three months, or work as an unpaid intern. Here’s everything you need to know about securing student visas and permits in Spain:

Applying for a Spanish Student Visa

We often ask, what came first; the chicken or the egg. Students in Spain instead ask, what came first; the visa or the university place. The answer is that the place came first, because you must be accepted onto a recognised programme at an official Spanish institute of study before you can apply for your student visa. In conjunction with your acceptance letter, or any other proof that you have been accepted onto a course you must also present the following documentation with your visa application at a Spanish consulate or embassy:

  • Your Passport
  • Details of the studying, research or training you will be completing: this should include the hours you will be studying or training, and must show you will be studying for at least 20 hours per week
  • Proof that you have medical insurance for your time in the country, which you should secure before your visa is granted.
  • A medical certificate from your doctor in your home country. This should confirm that you don’t have any diseases of concern, or that would require you to be quarantined in the country.
  • Evidence that you have adequate funds to support yourself financially for the duration of your course, without working during your time in Spain. This can either be in the form of a scholarship being awarded, bank statement, or a letter from your parents assuming full financial responsibility for you during your studies.
  • A criminal record check certificate confirming that you have no criminal record
  • Full details of where you’ll be living during your time in Spain

Do I Need a Visa?

In most cases, it’s safe to assume that you will need a visa if you want to study long-term in Spain. If you will be staying in Spain for less than 90 days, however, you will not need a visa, provided you are travelling from a country where you don’t need a visa to stay in Spain for up to 90 consecutive days. Be clear though, that you can’t enter Spain on a 90-day tourist visa and then apply for a student visa once you arrive in Spain in order to stay longer: a student visa can only be applied for and issued from your home country.

If your course will require that you stay in Spain for between 90 and 180 days then you will be required to secure a student visa; if the visa that you are issued has the stamp ‘180 days total studies’ on it then you cannot sure a residency permit that allows you to work in Spain alongside your studies, and you will have to leave Spain when your 180 day study period is complete.

Finally, if you need to or wish study in Spain for a period of more than six months then you will need to secure a student visa (type D) and a student’s residence permit or Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) within 30 days of your arrival in Spain from your local Foreigner’s Office or police station.

Obtaining a Spanish Student Residence Card

Securing a student’s residence permit is a legal requirement if you’re staying in Spain for a period of six months of longer. This permit must be secured within 30 days of your arrival in Spain. In order to secure this residence card you most report to either your local Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station and present the following documents:

  • A completed copy of the residence permit application form
  • Your passport or a national identity card. This should be valid for at least six months after your arrival day.
  • A photocopy of the passport stamp you were issued when you entered Spain
  • Proof that you have been accepted onto a recognised course at an educational institution
  • three recent passport photos;
  • letter of residency or census registration (empadronamiento), which is confirmation that you live in Spain. You can get this from the police station if you present them with your passport and proof that you are living in Spain

Once you have secured this card it will be valid for one year, but when this year is complete you can renew your card every year for five years, provided you are still studying in the country and continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Can I Work in Spain With my Student Visa?

Provided that your work doesn’t interfere with your studies, and you aren’t using the money you earn to support yourself, you are able to work a part time job during your time in Spain. This job can be for a maximum of 20 hours per week, and the company who employs you must secure a work permit on your behalf from the Foreigners office. When your student visa expires, so must your period of employment.

Finally, if you have a family then any dependents (such as your spouse, partner or children under 18 can join you whilst you’re studying, provided the following criteria is met: you must prove you have the financial means to support your family as well as yourself, you must be able to prove your relationship, and the stay must be for longer than six months. Whilst family members are able to move to Spain with you, they cannot work during their time in Spain.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Looking to escape the cold and rainy weather in the UK and make an escape to the sun? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you find the Spanish home of your dreams. We’re excited to help you make your next move your best move!