How to Get a Student Visa for Spain

Studying in Spain can be a truly life-changing experience – immersing yourself fully in Spanish life and culture is the best way to learn the language and open up doors to new adventures. But anyone who has spent some time overseas knows that dealing with official bureaucracy in a foreign country – and foreign language – can be one of the biggest challenges you face. 

Student visa in Spain

At Expanish, we have plenty of experience helping international students realize their dream of studying in Spain. We know how daunting it can be to get all your papers in order, so here’s a guide on how to apply for a student visa for Spain.

Who needs a visa to study in Spain?

All non-EU/EEA citizens will need to apply for a visa if they intend to be in Spain for more than 90 days. If you are interested in a study program then you will need to apply for a student visa (Visado de Estudios). The specific student visa you need will depend on how long you intend to stay in the country:

 

Between 90 and 180 days More than 180 days
You must apply for a short-term (type C) student visa. This allows you to stay and study in Spain for a maximum of 6 months (180 days) and cannot be extended.

With this you will get a NIE (Foreigner Identity Number) that can be used for a number of tasks in Spain (e.g. renting accommodation, hiring/buying a car, opening a local bank account).

You must apply for a type D student visa. This requires some additional paperwork but enables you to get a TIE (Foreigner Identity Card), which will allow you to enter and leave Spain while your visa is valid. You must request the TIE at your local immigration office during your first 30 days in Spain. 

If you are interested in the Expanish University Pathway Program or Long-Term Program, this is the visa you will need.

When should you apply for a student visa?

If you’re interested in studying in Spain you should get in touch with us at Expanish so we can help you decide which course is most suitable for you. 

Our long-term programs begin all-year round. However, if you are planning to study at a Spanish university, pay close attention to the dates you need to begin our Pathway Program in order to be ready for the start of the school year in Spain (September). As a guide, we recommend that students complete their program registration at the latest by:

  • January to start a 14-Month Pathway Program in April
  • March to start a 12-Month Pathway in June
  • August to start an 8-Month Pathway in November

For example, if you want to start at a Spanish university in September 2023, your 14-month Pathway Program would begin in April 2022. We would recommend registering for this by January 2022 at the latest so you have time to get your student visa for Spain. 

Covid-19 Entry Requirements (as of September 2021)
Non EU/EAA nationals coming to Spain with a student visa are allowed to enter the country, provided they arrive within 15 days of the start of their program. All international arrivals must complete a Health Control Form and obtain a QR code to present at the point of entry into Spain. This can be downloaded from here.

All passengers from a country/area considered as high risk for Covid-19 must have at least one of the following: 

  • a certificate or document certifying full vaccination against Covid-19 (completed 14 days before travel) 
  • a negative diagnostic test certificate (within 48-72 hours of travel)
  • a certificate of recovery from Covid-19 (within 180 days of travel).

Entry requirements change frequently, so always check the latest updates with your country’s foreign office before travelling.

How to apply for a Spain student visa (in your home country)

Once you know what you want, it’s time to start the visa application process by following these steps:

1. Book an appointment at your local Spanish embassy or consulate (find yours here). 

In most places this can be booked online or via email. You can submit your visa application no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days before you begin your studies.

💡 TIP: Appointments fill up quickly, so we recommend you book well in advance and try to get one as early as possible. This will give you time to act if there are any unexpected delays in your application process.

2. Get your paperwork together. 

You need to take all of the documents in the table below to your visa appointment. IMPORTANT: Any English documents will need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator. Public documents will also need to be legalized (apostilled). 

💡 TIP: Gathering all the paperwork can take longer than you think, so get started as early as possible. Also we recommend double-checking at your local embassy/consulate if any additional documents are required.

Documentation required Checklist
Completed visa application form
2 recent passport size photos
A valid passport that will not expire during your studies in Spain (photocopy the photo page)
Proof of funds – showing that you can support yourself financially while in Spain:

  • This will be at least €600 per month of your study program, and the total sum should be in your bank account before you apply for the visa.
  • If you’re under 18, your parents can sponsor you. They must prove their family link to you and demonstrate that they also have the means to support themselves during your stay in Spain.
  • You may also need to show you have resources to pay for your return home.
Proof of housing – showing that you have accommodation booked for at least the first 4 weeks of your stay in Spain:

  • Expanish offers its students housing for these first 4 weeks specifically for this purpose. Get in touch with us to find out more!
An official letter of acceptance from Expanish:

  • We will send you this once you pay the fee for your chosen study program.
  • All courses with at least 20 hours a week of classes are valid for this.
If you’re under 18, parental authorization for your study program in Spain.
Health insurance covering the entirety of your stay in Spain:

  • It must be from a company that is authorized to operate in Spain.
  • It should provide the same health coverage as the Spanish national health system.
  • It should have a minimum coverage of €30,000.
  • Travel insurance with medical assistance cover is not valid.
A medical certificate signed by a registered doctor in your country stating that you are in good health.*

  • The wording of this – in English and in Spanish – must be precise. You can find a template medical certificate provided by the Spanish consulate in Miami here.
If you’re 18 or over, a criminal record check from the country you have resided in for the previous 5 years.*

* These are only required if you are going to study in Spain for more than 180 days.

spanish student visa

3. Go to your visa appointment

Give yourself plenty of time to check you have all the necessary paperwork in order. Before going to your appointment, remember the following key points:

  • You must take the original copy and a photocopy of each document.
  • You will need to pay the visa fee (USD160 for US citizens, CAD125 for Canadian citizens, €60 equivalent for other nationalities). Some consulates/embassies will not accept debit/credit card payments, so confirm how you can pay before your appointment.
  • The application must be submitted in person, or via a legal representative. If you are under 18 at the time of the appointment, a parent or legal guardian must be with you.
  • Be careful to double check you have all the necessary documents and that they are completed exactly as required. Any mistakes or omissions can cause a delay in your application process.

💡 TIP: Take care that your documents are not folded or creased – though not a formal requirement, some consulates may not accept documents in poor condition.

You should receive notification from your consulate/embassy about your application in around 4-6 weeks. If approved, you will need to collect your visa in person. It should include your NIE (or Foreigner Identification Number), which is useful for getting most things done when you arrive. 

Congratulations – you’re heading for an adventure in Spain!  

What if your student visa application is denied?
If this happens, you should get in touch with us at Expanish as soon as possible. Depending on the reason for the denial, we may be able to help with an appeal.

If this is not possible, then you should send us the official denial to claim a refund:

  • If we receive the denial more than 15 days before the start of your program, we will issue a full refund with the exception of a €110 cancellation fee. 
  • If this is done with less than 15 days before the start of your program, we will issue a partial refund with less than 25% of the total amount.

4. Get your TIE (Foreigner Identity Card) when you arrive in Spain

If you have a visa for longer than 180 days, you can get a TIE from the local immigration office (Oficina de Extranjeros). You must apply for this within 30 days of arriving. Similar to the visa application, you will need to book an appointment and gather the relevant paperwork (originals and copies), as below:

  • As many of the materials you used for the student visa application as possible.
  • The appointment booking (printed)
  • Photocopy of the passport stamp showing your entry into Spain.
  • The completed TIE application form (Modelo Ex-17)
  • The letter of acceptance to Expanish
  • 3 recent passport photos (in color)
  • Proof of payment of the TIE application fee (Tasa Modelo 790)
  • The empadronamiento certificate (what’s this?)

💡 TIP: TIE appointments fill up quickly, so try booking one online even before you get to Spain to ensure you get a spot within 30 days of arrival. Another option is to travel to a different immigration office in the region.

You should receive your TIE within 1-3 months of your application, and this will be your proof of residency while in Spain. It will also allow you to enter and exit Spain, as long as it remains valid.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I apply for a student visa if I’m already in Spain?

Yes! Since September 2018, non-EU/EEA nationals have been able to apply for a student visa once they are already in Spain. If you already know you’re planning to stay in Spain for more than 6 months, we recommend you get the visa in your home country before travelling, as it will likely be easier to gather all the necessary paperwork there. However, this is a useful option if you arrive on a tourist visa for a short-term Expanish course and then decide to enroll in a long-term program and extend your stay.

To apply locally, you need to submit the same application form and documents as in the table above. Contact the Delegación or Subdelegación de Gobierno in the city or province where you want to start your studies to find out how to get an appointment.

Additional requirements are:

  • That you are in Spain legally with a tourist visa.
  • That you have either a stamp of entry or a declaration of entry into Spain. This must be obtained 72 hours after arrival if you do not have an entry stamp, either electronically or in-person via appointment.
  • The latest you can apply is 30 days before the tourist visa expires, so the earlier the better.

Can I work in Spain with my student visa?

Yes. Your student visa gives you the right to work part-time (up to 20 hours a week), provided it does not affect the completion of your studies. To do so you would need to get a work permit, which requires a job contract and going through an application process that can take several months to complete.

At Expanish we can provide advice and guidance on getting a work permit, but we recommend that you don’t rely on this to finance your stay in Spain. We can also recommend people in Spain that can help guide you through your options.

How long does my student visa last?

Student visas in Spain last for as long as the study program you are enrolled in, up to a maximum of one year. If you want to continue studying in Spain after your original program ends, you can renew your student visa within 60 days before it expires and up to 90 days after the expiration date. You can do this within Spain, and will need to have your original visa, another acceptance letter proving continued studies, and submit similar documentation as for the original visa application (medical insurance, proof of funds etc.).

What is an empadronamiento certificate?

This is a certificate showing that you are included with a fixed address in the local register of residents. To get it, you will need to book an appointment with the local town hall and take your passport ID and rental agreement for the place you are staying at. We offer housing for the first 4 weeks of your program that will provide you with the necessary documents to obtain your empadronamiento certificate.

DISCLAIMER: This is an informative guide, based on available information from official government and other sources. It does not offer any rights or guarantees. Visa rules can change over time, and vary in different countries or regions, so always check information and requirements with official sources.

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