Study in Spain : How to get a student visa

How to get a student visa in Spain - All You need to know
How to get a student visa in Spain

Applying for a Spanish student visa

Before you can even think of applying for a student visa you need to apply for admission to an institution of learning whether it is to study or research, over either a short or long period.

You need to apply to the educational facility well in advance as you will require 3 months for your visa application to be processed.

The whole process is not difficult, but you need to take it one step at a time.

Short Study Periods

Step 1

Where to study:  Decide what you wish to study/research and where you would like to study.  It is best to choose more than one institution of learning to ensure that you have at least one acceptance.

Make sure that the letter of acceptance is clear on the subject, the course (if relevant).  It is important that whether it is a course or research the number of study hours must exceed 20 per week.

Step 2

Confirmation of acceptance:  Once you have confirmed your place on either a course or a research project you can apply either to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country.

Remember you must apply for your visa at least 3 months prior to commencement.

Step 3


1.      Letter of confirmation with details of training or research including the number of hours of study required, per week (not less than 20 hours).

2.      Proof of medical insurance.

3.      A medical certificate confirming that you are disease free and are not in need of a quarantine period.

4.      Proof that you and financially able to support yourself during your study time in Spain.

  • details of a scholarship, or
  • an affidavit stating who will be assuming full financial responsibility – parents/guardians.
  •  official confirmation of research project funding

5.      Information and confirmation of where you will reside during your study period in Spain.

6.      A certificate issued within the last five years from the relevant authorities, which states that you have no criminal record in your home country.


Extended Study Period

If your study period or research project is more than 6 months then once you have entered Spain on your study visa, you must apply within 30 days for a student residence permit.  This can be done at a local police station or local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros), whichever is more convenient.
Step 4

Student residence permit documents:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months but best if it is valid for the entire study period.
  • If you home country issues a National ID document, this is also accepted.
  • A completed and signed application form, available either at the Foreigners Office or Police Station.
  •  A photocopy of the entry stamp to Spain (in your passport).
  • The acceptance letter/document from the educational institution confirming the course, hours and your registration.

Three recent passport photographs.

Letter of residency, or census registration.  This is merely to confirm that you have an address in Spain.

  • To get this document you will need a utilities bill or rental contract
  •  Present either your bill or rental contract together with your passport at the nearest Police Station and they will issue the required document.

Process Time:

Process Time:  The processing of your documents and the issue of your Student Residence Card can take up to 3 weeks, and you will not be notified when it is ready.

Issuing of the student card: The issued card will be forwarded to the office where you applied.  Either the police station or Foreigner’s Office.  You need to check with them after 10 days and keep checking until you receive your card.

Validity period

Validity period:  The card is valid for 12 months.  Should your study period or research project extend beyond the 12 months you need to re-new you student residence permit in time so that it runs consecutively.  You can renew your permit every year for up to 5 years.
Student jobs while studying

If your study period is longer than 6 months and you have been issued with your student residence permit (card), you are entitled to work either in a temporary job or as a part-time employee in Spain.

However, working with a student residence permit has certain provisos.

Conditions for student jobs

  • The work you undertake is not permitted to be your sole means of support.
  • You may not work for more than 20 hours per week
  • The work cannot be so demanding that it interfere with your studies.
  • You may not be contracted to a job that will last longer than your period of study i.e. not after the expiry date of your study visa.
  •  A work permit is required:  This must be applied for by your employer.  Your employer will need to apply through the Foreigner’s Office.

Internships while studying

If you have been granted an internship at your place of study and you have a student residence permit, you are not required to apply for a work permit.

Visiting dependents

If during your period of study/research any dependent wishes to visit you i.e. spouse, registered partner of child/children under 18, for your period of study/research and you have your study visa, they can do so.

Requirements for dependents

  • The stay must be more than 6 months duration.
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support any dependent/s.
  • Evidence of the relationship between you and your dependent/s.
  • On arrival your dependent/s must apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card (TIE) within 30 days of arrival.

Conditions for dependents:  No student dependent is permitted to apply for a work permit during their period of residence in Spain.  Which means that they may not seek, nor work in Spain for their period of residence with you as a dependent.

TIE (Foreigners Identity Card)

Getting your TIE (residence permit card) is a little frustrating at first, but if you have all the required documents with you it can go reasonably quickly.  Although many websites advise that you can apply at the police station, it is often the case that going to a police station can be frustrating, so it is best to go directly to the Foreigner’s Office (oficina de extranjeria).

Step 1 – Application Form

Collect the application form from the Foreigner’s Office – EX-17.  Complete and sign it.

Step 2 – Documents

Gather together the following documents. All photocopies should be in black and white not colour.

  • 2 photocopies of the first page of your passport – plus your passport.
  • 2 photocopies of your visa
  • 2 photocopies of the page in your passport that displays the customs entry stamp to Spain.
  • A letter from your educational institutions stating that you are registered as a student/researcher at their institution.
  • 2 copies of the EX-17 form (application form).

Euros for Bank Tax

Make sure you have Euros for the bank tax.  The amount varies in the different regions. in some the bank tax is €15, but to be on the safe side ensure you have €20 with you.

Step 3 – The Foreigner’s Office

Go to your nearest Foreigner’s Office (oficina de extranjeria) with all the required documents.

As there is usually quite a queue it is advisable that you take something with you to keep you amused and even something to drink, while you wait.

Once you are at the front of the line the process is very quick.  An official, will take your fingerprints and then hand you a form to take to the bank.

Step 4 – At the bank:

Hand in the form and the required bank tax in Euros, usually €15.  The bank teller will stamp your form and give you a card with your residence temporary numbers displayed.

Step 5 – Collect your TIE

Return to the Foreigner’s Office (oficina de extranjeria) to collect your residence card (TIE). Depending on where you applied, your card could be ready within 30 days but usually the process takes between 40 to 45 days after the date of application.  You can phone to check if it is ready before then.

For more information – See ‘international students’ section on the official Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport website.

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