Until not long ago, non-EU students couldn’t apply for a student visa while they were already physically in Spain. They had to do all the paperwork in their home countries before arriving. This created many problems because there were students who were already in Spain so they had to go back to their home countries and then come back to Spain making the process slow and expensive. However, in September 2018, the law changed, and now non-EU can apply for a student visa in Spain.
This change in the Immigration Law is great news for international students because it means that they can come to Spain with a tourist visa, enroll in a Spanish course, and then apply for a student visa without having to leave the country.
Because of all the documentation, you need from your home country, if you already know you are going to Spain for a long time, it is recommended to apply for a student visa for Spain at the embassy or consulate in your home country. But if you are already in Spain and decide to study (Spanish) here, it is good to know you can do the whole application process while in Spain.
Who needs a student visa to study in Spain?
It depends on where you’re from. Every non-EU (better: Schengen area) citizen who wants to study in Spain for more than 90 days needs a student visa. More information about who needs a visa to study in Spain.
Who can apply for a student visa while in Spain?
Any non-Schengen area citizen can apply for a student visa while they’re in Spain regardless of where they’re from.
How to apply for a student visa while in Spain?
If you want to apply for your visa while you’re in Spain, you should contact the Delegación or Subdelegación de Gobierno in the city or province where you want to start your studies. This might work with a previous appointment or not. Some places even allow applications online.
You will need to submit several documents, which are roughly the same documents you need if you apply for a Spain student visa from your home country:
- Visa application form (Model EX-00) and 2 recent passport size photos
- A valid passport that doesn’t expire during your stay in the country
- Certificates of any study you have completed
- Proof of funds (at least 600€ per month of stay in Spain, read more)
- Proof of housing
- Letter of acceptance for your Spanish course at Linguaschools. All courses with an intensity of 20 lessons per week or more are eligible. So any intensive Spanish course or University Pathway course. You can reserve your course here.
- Medical insurance during your stay (read here all you need to know about this special health insurance)
- A medical certificate signed by a doctor [example medical certificate provided by the Spanish Consulate in US]
- Criminal record check from the place where you have lived the past 5 years (not needed for students <18 years old)
- Parental authorization (only for students <18 years old)
All the documents in another language than Spanish should be legalized and translated into Spanish.
On top of that, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- You must be in Spain legally, so with a valid tourist visa
- You should apply during the first 60 days of your arrival in Spain or at least 30 days before you are due to leave Spain. The earliest possible is recommended.
What else do I need to know to apply for a student visa while in Spain?
Apart from the requirements, it’s important to note that your student visa will be granted for the duration of the course you’ve enrolled in. This means that if you’ve signed up for a 6-month course at Linguaschools, you will be granted a 6-month visa. So, if you want to stay in Spain for a year, for example, your course should be one year long.
Additionally, you must enroll in a course in an officially recognized Spanish school or institution (all Linguaschools’ schools meet this requirement). Otherwise, your studies may not be valid and your visa won’t be granted.
Frequently asked questions
- How long does it take to get a student visa to Spain?
- Can I apply for a student visa in Spain if I’m on a tourist visa?
- Can international students stay in Spain after graduation?
- Can I stay in Spain after my student visa expires?
- Are students allowed to work in Spain?
How long does it take to get a student visa to Spain?
In most cases, it takes between 2 and 4 weeks to get a Spanish student visa. It depends on several factors but if all goes well, it shouldn’t take more than a month.
However, we recommend you start the process at least 2 months before your departure date to make sure you have enough time in case there are unforeseen circumstances.
Can I apply for a student visa in Spain if I’m on a tourist visa?
Yes. Until September 2018, non-EU students couldn’t apply for a student visa in Spain. However, the law changed and now it’s to do it from Spain. This means that you can enter Spain with a tourist visa, enroll in a course, and then apply for a student visa without having to leave the country.
This applies to non-EU students who want to study in Spain for more than 90 days. Those non-EU citizens who want to study for less than 90 days and people from the Schengen area don’t need a student visa.
Can international students stay in Spain after graduation?
It depends. Spanish student visas are granted for the duration of the course you’re enrolled in. This means that if you’ve signed up for a 6-month course at Linguaschools, your visa will be granted for 6 months.
However, you can stay in Spain after graduation if you get a new visa. You can either apply for an extension or try to get a new visa. Some of the most popular ones are the job search visa (Autorización de residencia al estudiante para la búsqueda de empleo), the Highly-skilled Professional Visa, and the entrepreneur visa.
Can I stay in Spain after my student visa expires?
It depends on where you’re from. If your nationality doesn’t require a visa to come to Spain as a tourist, you can stay in the country for up to 90 days after your visa or your Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) expires.
Are students allowed to work in Spain?
Yes! Spanish student visa entitles you to up to 20 hours per week throughout the duration of your visa.
When you finish your studies, you can legally work in Spain if you get:
- A regular work permit with a student visa
- Hired as a highly qualified worker
- A job search visa (Autorización de residencia al estudiante para la búsqueda de empleo)
- An entrepreneur visa
- Spanish residency/citizenship
Other relevant articles
- How to get a Spanish study visa for non-EU citizens? (applying from abroad)
- How to apply for a student visa while in Spain?
- How to renew a Spanish student visa?
- Medical insurance for Spanish student visa – all you need to know
- What is the NIE and how do I get it?
- What is the TIE and how to get it?
- Can I work in Spain with a student visa?
- How to apply to a university in Spain for international students
- The Linguaschools complete and comprehensive guide to Spanish paperwork.
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DISCLAIMER: We have gathered information to our best knowledge, from our experience, using several different (official) sources. Regulations change and interpretations may vary per country or region, but also between public office or staff. No rights can be derived from any of our articles. The content is merely a guide and we recommend you to check information with official sources before and during the process.