Student Visa Spain: In-Depth Guide

Table of Contents

1. What is the Spanish Student Visa?

The Spanish Student Visa allows a non-EU foreigner to stay in Spain for studies, research activities, internships or volunteering. As a general rule, the permit has a duration of 1 year, extendable annually. However, in the case of higher studies, the initial permit may be granted for 2 years.

As we will see below, under certain circumstances, the student permit may entitle the holder to work.

This permit is also an excellent option to set foot in Spain and facilitates the subsequent modification to a residence and work permit.

The time spent in Spain under a student visa does not count towards the Spanish nationality by residence and only 50% for the long term residence authorization.

Student Visa Spain

2. What are the requirements to apply for the Spanish Student Visa?

Please note: We would like to point out that this permit is not intended for EU citizens. They have another mechanism at their disposal – the EU citizen registration certificate.

There are two types of requirements to apply for this visa: some of a general nature that must be proven in all cases and others that are added in the case that the stay for studies has a duration of more than 6 months.

2.1. General Requirements to apply for the Student Visa in Spain.

These requirements must be met in all cases when applying for a Spanish Student Visa.

1. Be admitted to an authorized training center in Spain.

2. Have sufficient financial means for the duration of the stay.

3. Medical insurance to cover you for the entire stay

2.2. Additional requirements in case the course lasts more than 6 months.

The following requirements must only be fulfilled if the training you intend to take lasts longer than 6 months.

1. No criminal record in the countries where you have resided in the last 5 years.

2. Not suffer from a disease that could pose a danger to Spanish public health.

3. Documents required to apply for the Spanish Student Visa

By means of the documents we must demonstrate that we comply with all the requirements mentioned above. For this purpose, the Immigration Offices have crystallized certain guidelines. and it is important to know them. Let’s see what documents are requested:

3.1. Documents that all applicants must provide

Required Document Translation required Apostilled/Legalized Notes
No
No
No
No
Complete Passport
No
No
With entry stamp (if you apply in Spain)
Enrollment Certificate
Simple
No
Click here for more information
Proof of Financial Means
Simple
No
Click here for more information
Private Medical Insurance
Simple
No
No waiting periods; no co-payments.
Proof of Payment of Admin. Fee
No
No
We can pay for it on your behalf

3.2. If the duration of the training is longer than 6 months, you must also provide the following:

Required Document Translation required Apostilled/Legalized Notes
Criminal Background Certificate
Sworn
Yes
Of the countries in which you have resided in the last 5 years
Medical Certificate
Sworn (if not in Spanish)
Yes
It can be requested in Spain, in which case no translation or apostille is required.

3.3. Documents to be provided by family members traveling with the Student

Required Document Translation required Apostilled/Legalized Notes
No
No
Complete Passport
No
No
With entry stamp (if you apply in Spain)
Financial Means
Simple
No
The amount depends on the number of family members applying
Private Medical Insurance
Simple
No
Required if there is no Social Security registration
Criminal Background Certificate (of legal age)
Sworn
Yes
Must be recent (no more than 3 months old)
Medical Certificate
Sworn (if not in Spanish)
Yes
It can be requested in Spain, in which case no translation or apostille is required.
2 Passport- Photos
No
No
Passport size, taken from the front with the face uncovered, in color and with white background.
Documentation proving the family relationship
Sworn
Yes
Certificate of Birth/Marriage
Proof of Payment of Admin. Fee
No
No
Consular Fee

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3.4. Regarding the enrollment certificate from an authorized training center in Spain:

First of all, we recommend that you make sure that the training center in question is duly authorized. It should be registered in an official registry – either in the RUCT, in the case of higher education, in the RCD in the case of non-university centers, or in an official registry at the regional level. In the case of language schools, it is extremely important to ensure that they are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes.

In addition, we usually also check that the course/training itself is duly authorized.

Formal requirements of the enrollment certificate

As for the letter of admission, it is advisable that it reflects the following points:

3.5. Regarding the documentation proving financial means.

The financial means to be accredited depend on whether you are traveling alone or accompanied by family members:

Student alone +1 Family Member +2 Family Members For each additional family member thereafter
Required Financial Means
100% IPREM / month (600 € in 2023)
175% IPREM / month (1050 € in 2023)
225% IPREM / month (1350 € in 2023)
For each additional family member +50 % IPREM (300 €) / month

To prove these financial means you can provide the following documents:

Tip: The bank certificate should reflect the name of the holder, state the currency in which the amounts are expressed, include the account number and be stamped by the bank. In case of requesting the permit from Spain, we recommend that it is a bank with an office in Spain.

3.6. Regarding medical insurance in order to apply for the Student Visa in Spain

Medical insurance must cover the entire stay in Spain and it is advisable to also provide proof of payment of such insurance. Elements to take into account:

We can help you obtain the right insurance to successfully apply for your study permit!

3.7. Regarding the criminal background certificate

It will be necessary to provide the criminal record certificates of the countries in which the applicant has resided during the last 5 years.

We recommend that you always provide a criminal record certificate that includes the criminal record at the national level – i.e., not at the regional level.

For example: In the United States there are criminal record certificates issued by the different States. The Spanish Public Administration, however, usually requires the provision of a criminal record certificate issued by the FBI (federal authority).

The document must be legalized or apostilled, if applicable, translated by a duly authorized sworn translator and not older than 3 months from its issuance at the time of filing.

3.8. Regarding the medical certificate

The purpose of this document is to certify the absence of diseases that may pose a danger to public health in accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005. Generally it can be issued by any duly licensed medical practitioner and the format is always quite similar. If the document is not issued in Spanish, it must be translated by a sworn translator and if it is not requested in Spain, it will need to be legalized or apostilled.

Please note: Some consulates offer a list of recognized doctors and will only accept analysis from certain doctors or laboratories.

4. How to apply for a Spanish Student Visa?

The authorization for students can be requested either from abroad, through the corresponding Spanish Consulate, or from Spain at the Immigration Office of the province where the training center is located. Below we will see the most important aspects to be taken into account in both options.

4.1. How to apply for a Spanish Student Visa from abroad?

In this case the application may be submitted within 90 days prior to the start of the training. We recommend applying as far in advance as possible. It will be necessary to request an appointment for each person who applies (in case of a family unit of 3 persons, it would be necessary to request 3 appointments – one for each one). The deadline for a decision is 1 month from the day following the submission of the application.

Once resolved, you will have a period of 2 months to withdraw the visa. For this, as a general rule, no appointment is required. In case the duration of the visa exceeds 180 days, you must apply for the Residence Card (TIE) when you arrive in Spain. It is advisable to have the corresponding entry stamp in your passport.

Advantage: This path is less risky. In case of having to provide any additional documents or correct any other documents already provided, it is relatively easy to do so, since the applicant is still in the country of origin and many of the documents have to be obtained there. 

Disadvantage: You must be very careful with the timeline. If you apply too late you may not get your visa before the course starts.

4.2. How to apply for a Student Authorization from Spain?

First of all, we would like to point out that the application from Spain can only be formalized as long as the applicant still has at least 30 days of regular stay, for example as a tourist, in Spain. Otherwise, the application will not be admitted for processing.

The Immigration Office of the province in which the training center is located will be competent to process the application and will have a period of 30 days to resolve it, although depending on the competent Immigration Office it may take considerably longer.

The application may be made either telematically through the Mercurio platform or in person, by appointment, at the Immigration Office.

In the case of requesting the permit from Spain, we can present the file on your behalf and do a complete follow-up of the same.

Advantage: In this case we can make the application on your behalf and take care of the follow-up of the whole file. In addition, once you make the application you can stay in Spain even if the Public Administration delays in issuing a resolution.

Disadvantage: In case there is a problem with certain documents, it may be difficult to correct the error.

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5. How to apply for authorization as a student's family member?

The family members of the holder of a Permit to Stay for study purposes must necessarily apply for their permit from their country of origin through the corresponding Spanish Consulate.

In this case, unlike in the case of students, it is not possible to apply for the permit while in Spain as a tourist.

6. Who can obtain a permit as a student's family member?

These family members may opt for authorization as a student’s family member:

  • Spouse
  • Registered partner
  • Children under 18 years of age or disabled

 

The permit for the student’s family members will not authorize them to carry out an employment or professional activity during their stay in Spain.

7. Post-approval procedures: What to do when I am approved for the Student Visa in Spain?

Please note: In case the permit has a duration of less than 6 months it is not necessary to apply for a Residence Card (TIE). The following formalities are therefore only required if the stay for study purposes is longer than 6 months.

7.1. Empadronamiento (Census Registration)

In Spain, registration is a mandatory procedure for all persons residing in the country. It consists of notifying the local authorities of your place of residence in Spain and to carry out this procedure you must complete the following steps:

1. Search for accommodation

There are several situations that entitle you to live in the property: a rental contract, being the owner of the property or having the owner's authorization.

2. Appointment at the town hall

The competent authority to carry out the registration is the town hall of the locality in which you are going to reside. It is advisable to make an appointment.

3. Go to the Town Hall

On the day of the appointment, go to the town hall with your passport and the title that entitles you to live in the dwelling in question (contract, property title, authorization).

4. Request the census certificate

Once the registration has been formalized, do not forget to request the corresponding empadronamiento certificate. You will need it for the next step.

7.2. Residence Card (TIE) application

You have finally reached the finishing straight. The migratory journey is almost over. Once you have your residence card, you will be able to reside in Spain for the duration of your permit. What do you have to do to get it?

1. Make an appointment

You must first request an appointment for the fingerprinting*. Due to its scarcity it can be a difficult task. Be patient. We will be at your disposal if you need help.

2. Collect the documents

In order to apply for a residence card (TIE) it is important that you prepare the necessary documentation. More information below.

3. Appointment for fingerprinting

On the day of the appointment you must present the corresponding documentation and your fingerprints will be taken.

4. Pick up your residence card (TIE)

After 30 to 40 days after the fingerprinting you will be able to pick up the residence card. For this you will again need an appointment.

*You can get your appointments HERE.

Documents you need to apply for the residence card (TIE):

8. Can I work in Spain as a student visa holder?

As a general rule, students who wish to work must apply for work authorization in a separate file. In other words, the work authorization is not normally inherent to the student permit.

However, students pursuing higher education, regulated training for employment or for the purpose of obtaining a certificate of professionalism may work, either as employees or self-employed, as long as the work or professional activity does not interfere with the training and in any case for a maximum of 30 hours per week.

9. Extension of the Student Visa in Spain

The Spanish Student Visa may be extended annually when the applicant proves that the requirements for the activity for which he/she was authorized to stay in Spain are still met. If applicable, the applicant must also prove that relevant tests for the continuity of his training have been passed.

We recommend requesting the extension within 60 days prior to the expiration of the permit, although it may also be requested within 90 days thereafter.

The request for extension will extend the validity of the previous authorization until the corresponding resolution is issued. Finall, the term for resolution is 3 months, although, in practice, delays can be observed in certain provinces.

10. Modification of the Student Visa in Spain

When it comes to modifying the student visa, there are several options available, although for all of them it will be necessary to have successfully completed the training in question. The following is a brief overview of the most common ones:

Job Search Visa

The Job Search Visa entitles its holder to reside in Spain for 2 years in order to seek employment or start a self-employment project. It does not authorize to work. To be eligible for this permit, it is necessary to have completed training at level 6 or higher according to the European Qualifications Framework.

Employee Authorization

It is very common for students who finish their studies to start working as employees for a Spanish company. To qualify for this permit it is essential to have an employment contract that meets the requirements of the applicable regulations.

Highly Qualified Professionals Permit

The difference with respect to the permit for employees is that in this case there are stricter requirements regarding the applicant’s academic/professional background and salary. It is a permit that will be processed before the Large Companies and Strategic Collectives Unit (UGE). This body will resolve the files in only 20 days.

Self-Employed Worker Authorization

Ideal for those students who want to build their own business project. The applicant has to design a business plan and demonstrate that sufficient capital is available to start the project.

Entrepreneur Authorization

It is closely related to the authorization for self-employed workers. The difference is that in this case the business project must be innovative and economically promising. It will be necessary to complete a questionnaire on the ENISA (Empresa Nacional de Innovación, S.A.) website to obtain the corresponding favorable report.

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