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How to Get a Student Visa for Spain (Non-EU/EEA Citizens)

Introduction

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’re unsure, you can use this free online visa calculator to help you determine exactly when you will reach the 90-day limit.  

If you are interested in a study program that lasts longer than 90 days then you will need to apply for a student visa (Visado de Estudios).

In this guide we will:

  • Detail the basic requirements to get a student visa for Spain

  • Give step-by-step instructions for the visa application process

  • Provide useful tips and recommendations based on real-life experience

  • Answer some of the most common questions about student visas in Spain

 

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

Student visa in Spain

What student visa do you need?

The specific student visa you need will depend on how long you intend to stay in the country.

 

  • Between 90 and 180 days: You should 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).

  • More than 180 days: 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 Programs, this is the visa you will need.

 


🔥Hot tip: you can use this free visa calculator to determine exactly how many days you will be in the country, based on your expected arrival and departure dates.🔥


The student visa application process

You can submit your visa application no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days before you begin your studies.

spain student visa application snapshot

Booking an appointment

You will need an appointment with Spanish immigration to submit your visa application. In most cases you can book this online or via email, though the process is different depending on where you are when you apply.

If you're applying from you home country

You will need to make an appointment at your local Spanish embassy or consulate,. If you’re home address is in the US, click here to see which consulate services your state (for the UK click here).

If you're applying from within Spain

You can do this if you are already in Spain legally, and it's least 30 days before your tourist visa expires. In this case you should seek an appointment at the local immigration office (oficina de extranjería) in the city or province where you want to start your studies. You can start the process here.


🔥Hot 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.🔥


What documents do you need?

The table below is a guide to help you gather the necessary paperwork for your visa application. However, you should always check the website of your local consulate in case they require you submit additional or different documents.

Be aware that, in most cases:

  • You will need photocopies of every submitted document (including your passport)

  • Any English documents will need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator.

  • Public documents will need to be legalized (apostilled).

  • If the applicant is a minor, a parent or legal representative must sign the application form and provide ID documents/authorization.

Document

Notes

Completed visa application form (Modelo EX-00)

  • You can download the form here.

A passport

  • The passport must be valid until at least 3 months after the end of your student visa.

2 recent passport size photos

Proof of economic means

  • The minimum required is equivalent to 100% of Spain's Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM​), which in 2023 stands at 600 a month.

  • The total sum for your entire stay in Spain 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 in Spain

  • You must show 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!

Letter of acceptance from educational institution in Spain

  • Expanish can provide this as required for all Spanish courses with at least 20 hours of lessons a week.

  • This will be sent once you pay the fee for your chosen study program.

Parental authorization (for under-18s)

Health insurance plan

  • This must be with a licensed provider that is authorized to operate within Spain.

  • It should provide the same health coverage as the Spanish national health system, without co-payments (copagos), deductibles or waiting periods.

  • It should have a minimum coverage of €30,000 and be valid for your entire stay in Spain.

  • Travel insurance with medical assistance cover is not accepted.

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. Find out what your local consulate requires.

  • As an example, you can find a template medical certificate provided by the Spanish consulate in Miami here.

A criminal record check from the country you have resided in for the previous 5 years.*

  • This is not required for minors (under-18s).

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

The visa appointment

The visa 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.

Before going to your appointment, check that you have all the necessary paperwork (originals and photocopies). Any mistakes or omissions can cause a delay in your application process.

To submit your application 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 outcome

You should receive notification from your consulate/embassy about your application in around 4-6 weeks.

If your visa is approved, you will need to collect it in person. It should include your NIE (or Foreigner Identification Number), which is essential for getting most things done when you arrive in Spain.

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

Student visa Spain travel

Arrival in Spain

If you’re coming to Spain on a student visa that lasts longer than 180 days, you must apply for a Foreigner's Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjera, TIE) from the local immigration office within 30 days of arriving. This is the physical object that contains your personal information – including your NIE – and visa details.

You will need to book an appointment in advance and gather the relevant paperwork (originals and copies), as below:

  • The appointment booking (printed)

  • A photocopy of the passport stamp showing your entry into Spain.

  • The completed TIE application form (Modelo Ex-17)

  • The letter of acceptance from the educational institute (Expanish can provide this)

  • 3 recent passport photos (in color)

  • Proof of payment of the TIE application fee (Tasa Modelo 790 código 12, select ‘TIE que documenta la primera concesión de la autorización de residencia temporal, de estancia o para trabajadores transfronterizos’) – currently €15.92.

  • The empadronamiento certificate (a document from the town hall registering your fixed address in Spain).


🔥Hot 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.