How to get a Spain student visa for non-EU students [covid update]

Have you checked if you need any visa to study Spanish in Spain? If you’re sure you need a student visa (also referred to as ‘study visa’ or ‘long-term student visa’), let’s have a look at the different student visas, the steps you’ll have to go through, and the paperwork needed to get it.

COVID-19 update: travels with a valid student visa are considered to be essential, thus students with a student visa can still come to study in Spain. In other words: unless borders are closed and there are no flights from your country to Spain, you can enter Spain with a student visa. Please find here the actual travel restrictions for Spain (and all other countries within the EU). In case you have any doubt, contact us or the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country.
Brexit update: How to get a Spain student visa for UK nationals

What student visa do I need?

Studying in Spain for between 90 and 180 days You will need to get a student visa type C You won’t be able to apply for a Foreigner Identity Card (or TIE) and you won’t be able to legally work in Spain.
Studying in Spain for more than 180 days You will need a student visa type D Additionally, you will need to get a Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) within 30 calendar days of your arrival in Spain.

Should I apply for a student visa from my home country or while in Spain?

Because of all the documentation you need from your home country if you already know you are going to Spain for a longer time, in most cases it is recommended to apply for the student visa for Spain at the embassy or consulate in your home country.

However, since 2018, non-EU citizens that come to Spain with a tourist visa can apply for a student visa without having to leave the country.

If you are already in Spain and you want to apply for a Spain student visa while in Spain, please read this article.

Here we will discuss the Spain student visa application from your home country.

What steps should I take and what documents do I need?

Before arrival

1. Make an appointment at the Spanish embassy or consulate
The first step is to find and contact the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country or the country closest by. These procedures take some time so we recommend that you plan your appointment at least 4 weeks before your planned date of departure to Spain. To allow for unforeseen formalities or requests, 6 to 8 weeks is ideal.

2. Book a Spanish course (and accommodation)
After that, you should enroll for a Spanish course in Spain with Linguaschools. The minimum number of hours per week is 20, typically students book one of the intensive Spanish courses or a University pathway course preparing for the Spanish University Access exam.

Optionally, you can reserve accommodation with us. If you do, the letter of acceptance will be considered to be proof of housing.

IMPORTANT ADVICE: For a type D student visa (>180 days), apart from starting the visa application in time, we advise you to book a Spanish course for a minimum 30 weeks. This because if you travel to Spain after the start of your visa, when applying for the TIE card, the date you enter Spain and your student visa end date will be taken into account. If this duration is less than 180 days, you will not be given the TIE, the temporary residence permit for foreigners. And you will need the TIE for many things, such as opening a bank account, rental contract, get a job, and many things more!

Once we have received your payment in full, we will provide you with the letter of acceptance, confirming you have enrolled and paid in full for the Spanish course (and accommodation if booked). This letter can be sent to you by email (scanned pdf copy), regular mail, or express mail. For most consulates a digital copy is sufficient, but better check with the consulate to be sure. The express mail may take up to 72 hours, depending on the destination.

3. Go to the appointment with the Spanish embassy or consulate
At the time of making the appointment, you should ask the embassy or consulate for the latest requirements to apply for the visa. The documents you will be asked to present may vary depending on your country but they will include:

Please keep in mind that you should bring all the documents, translated in Spanish by an official translator, and make the necessary copies. The embassy or consulate will normally not make photocopies for you. If you fail to provide them with the required documents, your application will be postponed and you will have to make a new appointment.

You will get a notice of approval or denial of your visa from the embassy or consulate. If your visa has been approved, you must pick it up in person.

With your visa, you will automatically get the NIE number (Foreigner Identification Number). Not to be confused with the TIE, which is the ID card containing your NIE. The TIE you need to get if you have a Spanish study visa D, for stays over 180 days.

Help, my study visa for Spain is rejected/denied. What should I do?

In case your study visa is rejected/denied, you should contact us immediately. Depending on the reason for denial, we can help you with an appeal and in some cases clear the path so you get your visa approved.

In case your visa is denied, we need a copy of the original letter of denial and will refund the whole amount paid minus the administration fee (full information here).

After arrival

Settle in and start your Spanish course with us. Get to know the local administrative staff, they are more than happy to help you with all inquiries you might have getting to know Spain and the inevitable paperwork you will need to go through as a foreign student.

If you have the Spanish student visa to stay longer than 180 days, you have 30 days from the day of arrival to start the procedure of getting your TIE card. However, we recommend making the appointment right after arrival, as in many cases you will have to come back with an amended document.

Frequently asked questions

How long in advance can/should I apply for the visa?

You can apply for a student visa no more than 90 days and not less than 30 days before the beginning of your studies.

To make sure you have enough time to anticipate unforeseen situations, we recommend you start the visa application at least 2 months before your departure date.

If you have a type D visa (>180 days), you will have to get the temporary residence permit (TIE card) when you get to Spain. In order to get your TIE, the date you enter Spain and the end date on your student visa will be taken into account. If this duration is less than 180 days, you will not be given the TIE. And you will need the TIE for many things, such as opening a bank account, rental contract, get a job, and many things more!

To have a safe margin for unforeseen circumstances such as missing paperwork for the visa, flight cancellations, personal situations, we recommend type D visa students not book a course for the minimum duration of 180 days. A course minimum of 30 weeks is recommended.

For example: if apply for the student visa for 182 days and for some unforeseen circumstances you enter Spain 3 days after your visa start date, your stay in Spain is for 179 days and strictly speaking they can refuse the TIE. Unfortunately it has happened in the past.

How long does it take to get a student visa to Spain?

This depends on several things but it usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks to get a Spanish student visa.

How much money in my bank account is required for a Spanish student visa?

One of the requirements to get a Spanish student visa is to have enough funds to support yourself while in Spain. You need at least 100% of the monthly minimum in Spain (IPREM) which comes down to approximately € 600 per month of study. So for example, if you’re applying to study in Spain for 6 months, you’ll need a minimum of 3,600€ (600€ x 6 months) in your bank account. If you can show you have the accommodation in Spain reserved for the whole period, it can be less.

Another option is a pack of sponsorship documents from your parents. In this case, your parents will also have to prove that they can sustain both themselves and yourself and provide a birth certificate, statutory declaration, bank statement, legalized copy of their passport. Only a parent or a legal guardian can be a sponsor, brothers/sisters/spouses and other relatives cannot be your sponsor.

How much does a student visa cost for Spain?

The cost to get a student visa in Spain is €60 for all nationalities except for Americans (135€ or 160 USD) and Canadians (80€ or 95 USD). This is a fee to process the application and it’s non-refundable.

I’m going to stay in Spain for 2 years but my NIE is only valid for 1 year. Do I need to apply for a new visa when my NIE expires?

No. Even though the Foreigner Identity Card (TIE), which contains your NIE number, is valid for 1 year, you can renew it in Spain before it expires without applying for a new visa. Please read here about the difference between the TIE and the NIE.

If you are thinking of working while you study in Spain, make sure you check our guide about how to work with a student visa.

Do you want to study at a University in Spain? Check out our University pathway programs or read how to apply to a university in Spain for international students.

Other relevant articles

The Linguaschools complete and comprehensive guide to Spanish paperwork.

Anything to add? Share your own experience in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: We have gathered information to our best knowledge, from our experience, using many 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.

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