One of the most popular countries for students who follow an Erasmus exchange programme, but also for those who pursue a full degree, Spain has its long tradition of academic excellence. Over the years, Spain has been rated by international students as a great study destination, so you will surely not regret choosing to study in this country.
If you decided to study abroad in Spain and come from an EU/EEA country, good news! You won’t need a Spanish student visa. Otherwise, follow the next steps and prepare to apply for your student visa:
1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter
If you’re still not sure where you want to study in Spain, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Spanish university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.
Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study.
- Master's degrees in Economics in Spain
- Master's degrees in Political Science in Spain
- Master's degrees in Business Administration in Spain
- Master's degrees in Design in Spain
- Master's degrees in Architecture in Spain
Consider some of the best universities in Spain:
- Pompeu Fabra University
- Autonomous University of Madrid
- University of Valencia
- Universidad de Jaén
- University of Salamanca
2. Find out what type of student visa you need to study in Spain
You will have to apply for a specific student visa, depending on the duration of your studies, as explained below:
- 180-days D type visa – if you plan to study in Spain between three and six months
- Student visa (type D) – if you plan to study in Spain for more than six months
This type of visa allows you to obtain the Residence Card for foreign students (TIE). The TIE is a temporary permit that lets you stay in the country for the period of your studies. TIE is valid for a maximum of one academic year and can be renewed annually until you finish your studies.
Keep in mind that you cannot apply for a student visa while you are in Spain on a short-stay visa. You can only apply for it from your home country.
Once arrived in Spain, you cannot change the type of your visa. The only valid visa is the one obtained from the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your area, before coming to Spain.
3. When and where to apply for the student visa in Spain?
- After you got accepted to a Spanish university, contact the Spanish embassy/consulate in your area and check out the list of documents that you need for the visa application process. Required documents may vary depending on each consulate or regulations from your home country.
- Some consulates require you to schedule an appointment, while in other consulates, this is not necessary and you just have to leave the documents.
- It is recommended you schedule or reach the consulate to leave required documents within 7 – 10 weeks before the start of your programme, as this is how long it usually takes to process your visa application.
Always check the consulate's website for the most up-to-date estimations on processing time.
4. Language requirements for my study in Spain
According to Spanish regulations in regards to applying to higher educational institutions, proof of Spanish language proficiency is not a mandatory requisite for international students in order to be admitted to a university.
However, most universities offer Spanish-taught degree programmes require applicants to have a very good command of the Spanish language.
The main Spanish test accepted is the DELE test (Diploma de Español Como Lengua Extranjera).
If you decided to pursue an English-taught programme in Spain, unless you come from an English-speaking country, you will also have to deliver evidence of a good command of English. Accepted tests are:
- Cambridge Advanced
5. Documents for a student visa in Spain
- Completed visa application form
- Passport – it must be valid for the intended period of your stay in Spain
- 2 recent passport size photos
- Letter of acceptance from a Spanish university
- Information about the study programme (extended details regarding your chosen degree within the university, such as the hours of study per week)
- Health insurance – a minimum coverage equal to 30,000 EUR during the whole period of your studies
- Proof of financial means during your stay (at least 900 EUR/month)
- Medical certificate
- Visa application fee (60 EUR)
- Criminal record certificate (issued in the last five years by the relevant authorities in your home country)
Useful information about my student visa in Spain
6. Apply for a work permit in Spain
As an international student in Spain, you are allowed to work under the following conditions:
- During a part-time job, working hours should not overlap school hours.
- If you consider a full-time job, you are allowed to work only up to three months and again, not interfering with any term during the academic year; simply put, you can only work on a full-time basis during holidays.
For each option you choose, you will need a work permit that will be valid for the whole duration of your work contract but it cannot be longer than the duration of the student residence permit.
More information on the documents required and the application procedure for a work permit is available at the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Security official website.
In the case of an internship, whether in a public or a private institution, as long as it is related to your field of study and it is part of a collaboration agreement between the university you’re enrolled in and that institution, you won’t need a work permit.
7. Conditions to apply for a residence permit
Regardless of your nationality, if you intend to stay in Spain for more than three months, you will have to register with the local authorities within one month of your arrival in Spain and get a residence certificate (Tarjeta de Residencia) that includes an NIE number (identification document containing your personal details).
For this procedure, you have to reach the Police Department in Spain ("Policia Nacional). The residence certificate is valid for five years and can be renewed.
Find more information about the residency card in Spain.