Studying in Spain is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of this fascinating country, practice your Spanish-speaking skills, and spend a significant amount of time in the country. If you intend to stay in Spain for more than three months then, unless you are from an EU country, you’ll need a student visa in order to study in the country, carry out academic research, or work as an unpaid volunteer or intern to progress your career. The good news is, the Spanish student visa is one of the easiest visas to secure. Here’s everything you need to secure a student visa or permit to study in Spain:
Fulfilling the Eligibility Criteria
In order to receive a visa to allow you to study in Spain for longer than three months, you will need to:
- Be accepted onto a programme with a recognised institution in Spain. Confirm that the schools you are interested in are recognised by the Spanish embassy before you begin the application process.
- Receive an official letter of acceptance or certificate from this institution to aid your application
- Contact the Spanish embassy, and complete the application for a student visa.
- As well as this letter you will also need proof that you have secured medical insurance, a medical certificate demonstrating that you aren’t bringing any infectious diseases into the country, a criminal record check, details of where you will be living, and proof that you can support yourself financially during your time in Spain.
- You are advised to apply for your visa between two and three months before traveling to Spain to allow time for the application to be processed before the start of your course.
What Type of Visa Will I Need?
The type of visa you will need largely depends on how long you will be staying and studying in Spain.
If you’re a non-EU student studying in Spain for less than three months: Unless you are travelling from a country that usually requires a visa to enter Spain, if you’re studying for less than three months then you won’t need a visa to study in Spain. However, it’s important to note that you can’t enter Spain on a tourist visa and then apply for a student visa. This application must be done from your home country. So if you think you will need this type of visa then apply before you travel.
If you’re a non-EU student studying in Spain for between three and six months: If you’re studying for less than 6 months then you will be required to secure a student visa, but it is likely to be stamped ‘180 days total studies’, which means you won’t be able to get a residence card (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero or TIE) that allows you to work in Spain.
If you’re a non-EU student studying in Spain for more than six months: Then you will need to secure both a type D student visa and a student’s residence permit or Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) within 30 days of your arrival in Spain. You can secure this identity card by visiting the local police station as soon as you arrive in Spain.
How to Secure a Spanish Student Residency Permit
As mentioned above, any student working in Spain for longer than six months will need to secure a Spanish student residency permit or TIE identity card. You apply for it at either your local Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station. This process is relatively simple, but to help you prepare thoroughly, here is a complete list of the documents that you’ll need to take with you to complete your application:
- Your original passport or national ID valid for at least six months (a photocopy won’t be accepted)
- A completed residency permit application form
- A photocopy of the passport stamp that demonstrates your entry into Spain;
- Documentation proving your acceptance to the educational institution you will be attending
- Three recent passport photos
- A 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, your Spanish rental contract, or a utility bill.
Once you have secured this residency permit, you will be eligible to search for and apply for a part time or temporary job, provided you're not using this money to officially support yourself whilst you’re in Spain.
Receiving Visits From Your Family Members
If you have a study visa then your immediate family members (for example your spouse, partner or any dependent children under the age of 18) can join you immediately when you arrive in Spain, provided you can meet the following conditions:
- You must prove that you have enough money to support dependents
- You must provide evidence of your relationship, and the stay must be for more than six months. They will also have to apply for their Foreigner’s Identity Card (TIE) a month after arriving in Spain.
Family members are not allowed to work or get a work permit while they are in Spain with you. Your relative will still have to apply for their own visa/permit, but your student status should make this much easier to process and secure.
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