Getting a Visa to live in Spain can be tricky if you don’t come from an EU country. Here are some of the things you need to know before traveling to Spain.
What is a Spanish Visa?
A Visa is an authorization. It’s a stamp in your passport that certifies that you are allowed to remind in Spain for a certain amount of time.
Types of Visas to live in Spain
The most common Visas are: Tourist Visa, Work Visa and Student Visa.
A tourist Visa is a short term Visa. It’s valid for up to three months from your arrival in Spain.
If you are planning to live in Spain for a longer period of time, you’ll need a long-term Visa.
It could be either a work Visa or a Spanish student Visa. However, let’s say getting a work Visa in Spain is a bit complicated—to put it in a nice way.
The good news is you might be good on a Spanish student Visa, and student Visas in Spain are way easier to obtain.
I have written a guide about it, so stick with me for more about the requirements and application process.
Do you need a Student Visa to live in Spain?
It all comes down to where you are coming from. If you are an EU citizen, you’ll be fine. You’ll only have to register with the authorities and get a national identity number.
On the other hand, if you come from any other country like the USA, odds are you’ll need to apply for a Visa.
How to apply for a Student Visa in Spain
There are two ways to get your Spanish Student Visa.
The first and easiest, is working as a teaching assistant. I wrote a post about how to become a teaching assistant in Spain, what it is like, among a few more things. This option requires less money and on top of that, you’ll make some money along the way.
However, if you don’t see yourself teaching at an elementary school or high school, then you’ll need to follow a different process to get your residence permit.
Enroll in a government recognized language school.
There’s a good variety of academies that provide these courses in Madrid.
All you need to do is find the course you are interested in. You can sign up for a course to learn Spanish, or a TEFL course to teach English in Spain.
TEFL academies usually offer job search guidance at the end of their course. In addition to that, they sometimes collaborate with English teacher recruitment agencies, to help you land a job and start making money ASAP.
It’s important to note that student Visa holders must commit to a minimum amount of hours in a classroom (20h per week).
If you want to get a job and make money while living in Madrid you would have to apply for Autorización de Trabajar por Estudio. Sometimes your employer takes care of this so you won’t have to worry about it.
With a student Visa you’ll be able to work up to 20 hours a week.
What documents do you need?
The documents and the application process to obtain a student Visa in Spain may differ in every country. Therefore, you’ll need to get in touch with the nearest consulate and get some information about their students Visa requirements.
Some consulates will ask you to make an in-person Student Visa appointment, and some others will be fine with just a phone call.
These are the general requirements to get a student Visa in Spain. Be aware that the list may be subject to change. Nevertheless, it’s a good start to give yourself an idea about what you’ll need and plan ahead:
- Four passport size photos.
- Passport valid for six months.
- Criminal background check.
- Medical certificate and health insurance.
- Completed Spanish study Visa application.
- Proof of admission (letter of acceptance from the school you’ll be attending).
- Proof of finance showing you have funds to cover your expenses for the months of your stay. Sometimes it’s enough to present a proof of a second party supporting you.
- Proof of accommodation.
When to apply for a Visa
The process is open all year round. However, keep in mind that paperwork takes time and you might need a few appointments with your local Spanish Embassy or consulate. In addition, you’ll fill out a bunch of papers, so start at least three months prior to departure or as soon as you have your letter of acceptance.
The sooner you start the better. The most important thing is to get the ball rolling.
I got my Student Visa – How long does it last?
A Spanish student Visa is usually valid for a year, or for the duration of the course. Once the Visa expires, you will need to renew your student Visa proving that you are still enrolled in the course.
Overstaying your student Visa is not a good idea. Explore other options to stay legal.
One last option to live in Spain – Getting an AU pair Visa.
If neither of the above mentioned sound good to you, you can apply for an AU pair Visa.
Some families in Spain want to host English speakers at home in return for helping their kids improve their English. The specifications vary from one family to another. Some families would provide accommodation, others may not, and sometimes they’ll even give you an allowance.
Among the requirements to apply for a AU pair Visa are:
- Be between the ages of 17 and 30 years old
- Show an agreement with a host family
- Proof of funds to self-support
- Medical insurance
If you want to dive into this option, here are some companies that put host families and English speakers in contact.
You can also check Facebook groups to get some testimonies first-hand.
I have my Spanish student Visa – What do I do next?
You can start preparing everything before you move to Spain.
Once you get to Spain, you’ll have to get your NIE (identification number). Make an appointment at your local police station.
I hope you found this post useful. Here are some other articles you might find interesting: