requirements, how to apply and if it allows you to work

(CNN Spanish) – Andrés, 27, has been excited about coming to study in Spain since 2020, but, due to the pandemic, he couldn’t until last year. He obtained a degree in Literature in his country, Colombia, and wanted to specialize in the cinematographic field. That is why he decided to study the Master in Script, Narrative and Audiovisual Creativity at the University of Seville, and apply for a student visa in Spain. He is now finishing his postgraduate studies and hopes to obtain a residence permit.

Spain offers students from all over the world the opportunity to come and study. But in the case of those who are not citizens of the European Union, like Andrés, it is necessary to apply for a student visa, unless your studies last less than 90 days.

According to Martina Mastrantoni, a lawyer specializing in Private International Law, Civil, Family and Immigration Law, getting a visa “is easy” and “quick to process”. “If you already have a letter of acceptance from the center where you want to study, the Immigration Offices do not usually cause problems,” she says.

This is an authorization that allows you to be in the country to carry out or further your studies in an authorized educational center (whether public or private) with the aim of obtaining a degree or a certificate of studies. In other words, you can do any degree, master’s degree, postgraduate degree, professional training or doctorate in Spain.

“One of the most frequent questions from students is whether a language course is worth it and yes, any course in an accredited center would be accepted on the student visa,” Mastrantoni tells CNN en Español.

This visa can be short-term —between 90 and 180 days— or long-term —to spend up to two years in the country with the option of extending the time depending on how long your training lasts—, and it allows you to work with a prior authorization.

How do I apply?

You can apply for this visa outside or inside Spain.

If you apply outside of Spain, you can do so at any Spanish consulate where you reside. And if you request it from Spain —as long as you are in the country regularly, such as with a tourist visa—, you can do it through the foreigners platform or, by appointment in advance immigration office of the province in which the educational center is located.

Once you deliver the documentationthey will notify you of the resolution within a month and the visa can be collected in two months from the notification.

Andrés explains that they gave him the visa in approximately 15 days. “It was pretty quick,” he says. However, to get an appointment it took up to 3 months. “Getting an appointment is the most worrying part of the process,” he says.

In this sense, both the students consulted in this article and the lawyer Martina Mastrantoni emphasize the importance of being aware of the dates of the appointments.

“I recommend that you keep an eye on appointments and dates. I know cases of colleagues who have arrived in the country three weeks late because they did not make the appointment on time. And once you are in Spain, be aware of what you have to ask for with the police and take your fingerprints to apply for the NIE”, says Andrés.

“Dating is chaos even for us who handle dating sites a lot. It is not easy to make an appointment, so you have to be very careful”, explains Mastrantoni.

Which are the requirements?

According to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, requirements that you must fulfill to study in Spain are:

  • Be admitted to the educational center where you plan to study.
  • Not be a citizen of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
  • Have sufficient financial means for the expenses of the stay and the return to your country. According to Andrés, this is usually the most complicated procedure for students: “I have colleagues who take out quite a lot of loans and have to wait for them to accept them. It’s about 550 euros a month, but if you convert it, it’s quite a lot, at least in Colombia”.
  • Pay the processing fees for the procedure.
  • Have public or private health insurance in Spain.
  • Authorization from your parents or guardians if you are a minor.
  • And if the duration of the stay exceeds six months, it will be necessary not to have a criminal record for the last five years and not to suffer from any illness that you may have “serious public health repercussions“. You also have to apply for the residence card (known as NIE) within one month of entering Spain.

Can I work while studying?

You must bear in mind that you can work or do internships as long as it is compatible with your studies and the income obtained is not the resource you need to pay for your stay in Spain. In both cases, you cannot work more than 20 hours per week, which will not contribute to Social Security.

Mastrantoni explains that “although you can work, it is not the main objective of this visa. The person is required to study, go to classes and pass the exams.”


There are two types of internships: curricular and extracurricular.

Curricular internships are contemplated within the study plan and may even be compulsory in your center. It is not necessary to request any authorization to carry them out, while in extracurricular internships it is necessary for your employer to request a work authorization at the immigration office.

To work

To work, the contract must be formalized in writing and the shift can be part-time.

If it is full-time, its duration cannot exceed three months or coincide with the periods in which the studies are carried out and, in addition, it will be necessary for the employer to request authorization. According to Mastrantoni, “they always give it without setting limitations.”

Here you can check the documentation that they demand of you and the process what you should follow

You can also work on your own account -being self-employed-, but Mastrantoni explains that it is not usual for them to grant you a authorization.

In this case, they ask you to possess the professional qualification that is required or have experience for the professional activity, in addition to proving that the planned investment is sufficient and that you have sufficient financial resources for your maintenance and accommodation.

Can I get a residence permit after my studies?

Mastrantoni explains that, if you meet all the general and study requirements – complete the course, pass all the exams and certify the results – you can apply for a modification from the situation of stay for studies to a situation of residence to be able to continue in Spain. To do this, you have to be in the country between one and three years.

“In any case, I recommend that the student who goes to a foreign country, as in this case Spain, go to a professional who informs him about the procedures so as not to make mistakes and not miss out on opportunities,” adds Mastrantoni.

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