International students who wish to study abroad in Spain will likely need to obtain a student visa. Spain welcomes thousands of students to its universities and colleges every year, and its educational prestige is renowned globally. This is why Spain is a top study destination for internationals who wish to receive a quality education while enjoying the climate, great outdoors, and the numerous opportunities Spain offers. Although many countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Spain, citizens of other countries must obtain some type of visa before becoming eligible to pursue studies in Spain.
Find all you need to know about the student visa to Spain just below:
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Do I Need a Visa to Study in Spain?
If you are an international student from countries outside of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will need to apply for a visa to study in Spain. American citizens wishing to study in Spain will only need a student visa if their program’s duration is more than 90 days. If they are visiting for less than 90 days for study purposes, they will not need to apply for a Spanish student visa. International students from non-EU/EEA countries wishing to conduct research, training, or pursue their studies in Spain must apply for a student visa.
International students from EU/EEA member countries and Switzerland will only need to apply for a residence card at Spanish authorities and do not need to undergo the process of applying for a student visa to Spain. Anyone else will have to apply for a Spanish student visa and submit proof of financial stability or health insurance. There are three main types of student visas for international students wishing to pursue their studies at Spanish universities.
Types of Spanish Student Visa
There are several various visas available for international students wishing to study in Spain. The type of visa you need depends on your nationality and your program’s duration.
Here are the different types of student visas in Spain:
Schengen Student Visa (Less Than 3 Months)
International students from countries other than EU/EEA member states and Switzerland will need to apply for a Schengen Student Visa for courses shorter than 90 days.
On the other hand, students from countries that do not need a visa to travel to Spain for up to 90 days are eligible to pursue studies in Spain without applying for a visa (if the study program is shorter than 90 days).
Short-Term Student Visa (3-6 Months)
The short-term student visa or the 180-days D type visa allows students to undergo a study course that lasts up to 180 days (3-6 months). These student visas have a less complicated application process and cannot be extended. Through a short-term student visa, the student can take up any short-course. If the course duration is longer than 180 days, the student should apply for a long-term student visa to Spain.
Long-Term Student Visa (Over 6 Months)
The long-term student visa to Spain allows you to undertake courses longer than six months in Spain. You will be eligible to enroll in undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs and reside in Spain for the duration of your study program. The application process for this type of visa requires more paperwork than the previously mentioned type of visas. You will need to provide proof of financial resources and medical insurance.
After obtaining a long-term Spanish student visa, international students should also apply for a student residence card within a month after arrival. (More on this at the FAQs section below).
How to Get a Student Visa for Spain
To get a student visa for Spain, you should first gain admission to your chosen course or program in Spain. The letter of admission is a necessity among the student visa requirements. After gaining admission, you should contact the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country or the one closest to your home country to submit your documents and application. Find the student visa to Spain requirements listed below.
Spain Student Visa Requirements
The Spain student visa requirements depend on various factors, with the main one being your country of origin. Usually, the set of documents required for your student visa application to Spain include the following:
- Two duly completed application forms.
- Your valid passport.
- Your valid identification card (ID card).
- Two recent passport photographs.
- Letter of admission from chosen university.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Proof of sufficient funds:
- Bank account statement.
- Proof of financial aid/scholarship.
- Notarized letter from parents/legal guardian (assuming financial responsibility).
- Letter from university/school (assuming financial responsibility).
- Proof of fee payment.
- Medical certificate.
- Certificate of criminal record (at most three months old).
Where to Apply for Spanish Student Visa?
You should submit your Spanish student visa application at the Spanish Embassy/Consulate in your home country (or the closest one to your home country). If you are in Spain at the time of your application, you should request authorization to stay in Spain to pursue your studies from the Government Delegation or Sub-Delegation in the province you plan to study at.
Ensure that you submit your application in due time, meaning at least two-three months before your travel date to Spain.
When to Apply for Spanish Student Visa?
The application for the student visa to Spain should be made when you are offered a place in your chosen study program. You should begin the preparation process as soon as you get your admission letter. Additionally, to avoid any visa processing delays, it is essential to apply for your Spanish student visa at least two or three months before traveling to Spain.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Student Visa to Spain?
The processing time for a Spanish student visa is usually somewhere between 1-3 months, depending on the workload of the embassy or consulate. Sometimes, you might receive an answer for as little as 15 days. However, you must apply well ahead of time to avoid any possible delays. Make sure you begin preparing the required documents as soon as possible after receiving your letter of admission from your chosen education provider.
Spanish Student Visa Cost
The cost of your student visa to Spain varies depending on the visa type and your country of origin. The Spanish student visa fee is usually €60; meanwhile, the cost of a Schengen student visa to Spain is €80 (for citizens of countries excluding the US or Canada).
US citizens will have to pay €132 ($160) for a student visa to Spain and €115 ($140) for a Schengen student visa to Spain. Canadian applicants will have to pay €80 ($98) for a Spanish student visa and €97 ($118) for a Schengen student visa to Spain.
Can My Spanish Student Visa Get Rejected?
Your student visa to Spain may get rejected on certain occasions. Applying for a student visa can be a complicated process because you have to make sure you have all the required documents and meet the requirements (including proof of financial resources or health insurance).
Here are some of the reasons why your Spanish student visa can get rejected:
- Lack of financial support.
- Incorrect documentation (or missing documents).
- Failure to provide suitable answers to the consular officer during the interview.
- The Spanish authorities are not convinced of the applicants’ intentions.
Just because your student visa to Spain can get rejected does not mean it will get rejected. Simply make sure you provide the correct documents, prepare for the interview and state your intentions of studying in Spain clearly and efficiently.
Can I Work While I Study in Spain?
Yes, you can work in Spain during your studies while being on a student visa. The Spain student visa allows students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, meaning students (on a student visa) cannot undertake full-time employment during their studies in Spain. Your employer in Spain has to obtain a work permit for you, from the Foreign Office. Meanwhile, your student ID will be enough if you want to undergo an unpaid internship.
Student Visa to Spain FAQs
1. When Does Spain Student Visa Expire?
The duration of your Spanish student visa will depend on the duration of your course/program. For example, if your study program is six months, your student visa will also expire after six months. Likewise, if the duration of your study program is one year, your student visa will also be valid for one year. The expiration date will be stated on your visa.
2. When Should I Apply to Extend My Student Visa?
Ideally, you should apply to renew your student visa up to 60 days before it expires, so it gets renewed right on time for its expiration date. In some cases, you can apply for the renewal of your student visa up to 90 days after the expiration date. After you apply for an extension of your student visa, the Immigration Office will give you a document that makes you eligible to stay in Spain until you obtain the visa extension.
3. How to Apply for Student Residence Card in Spain After Visa?
You should obtain your student residence card (TIE or Foreigner Identity Card) after arriving in Spain. Specifically, you should apply for this card within one month of your arrival. Do so by visiting the nearest Immigration Department branch or local police station in Spain. You should submit a set of documents such as a letter of residency, letter of admission to studies, passport, and ID, as well as recent photographs.
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