To come to Spain as a student, the requirements to be met vary depending on the student’s country of origin, as well as the duration of stay:
- Need for study visa depending on the duration:
- For stays for less than three months a student visa is not necessary except in a country is not part of this agreement.
- For stays between 3 to 6 months only needs a visa without any other action.
- For stays longer than 6 months in addition to a Visa, one must apply in Spain for a Foreign Identification card also known as a Student Card (you may apply in the Foreign offices of the police station within a month of entry into Spain).
- Students from the European Union: Citizens of the European Union do not need a visa but must apply for a NIE Number Foreign Identification, once they are in Spain for certain procedures (opening a bank account, purchasing transport cards, access to health care, etc.)
- Students from other countries: Citizens of countries outside the EU and wish to remain in Spain for conducting courses, studies, research or training, or student exchange for more than three months, must arrange for a student visa that includes authorization to stay in Spain.
The student visa shall be requested at the Spanish Consulate in the country of origin or legal residence.
Here you will find a list of Spanish Consulate Generals in the world.
If the length of stay is longer than 6 months, you must also apply for an Identity Card Abroad, within a month of entry into Spain, to the Foreign Office or Police Station.
More information is available on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation:
Remember, many Spanish universities have services for international students and researchers that can help you with the paperwork.
Important note: all non-EU foreign public documents must first be legalized and, if necessary, must be translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the country where the application is filed.
Obtaining a Visa:
According to the Ley Orgánica 4/2000, on rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration and by Royal Decree 557/2011, of the 20th of April, that was approved by the Regulation of the Organic Law 4/2000, citizens of countries outside the EU that wish to remain in Spain for academic courses, studies, research or training, or student exchange over a period longer than three months must apply for a visa:
- Before applying for a Visa:
- Pre-inscribe in a public or private higher education institution in Spain that is officially recognized.
- Go to the Spanish Consulate to process your student visa with the certificate or letter of acceptance issued by the higher education institution.
- Prerequisites for obtaining a Visa:
- Passport or travel document recognized as valid in Spain, with a minimum validity period for the stay requested.
- Admission to an educational, private or public higher education institution officially recognized, to undertake or extend studies or undertake research or training.
- Have sufficient financial means to cover the costs of travel and return home.
- Have paid the processing fee.
- Have public insurance or private health insurance approved with an insurance entity authorized to operate in Spain, covering, throughout the length of stay in Spain, medical expenses and repatriation in case of accident or sudden illness
- If the stay is for longer than six months you are also required:
- Not to have any of the diseases that can have serious implications for public health in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations 2005.
- No criminal record in their previous country of residence for the past five years, for offenses under Spanish law.
- The processing of visa directly at the Consulate General of Spain. Remember that at the Consulate where they will process your Student visa they will clarify any questions that may arise and help with your application.
For an academic stays, you should not travel with a tourist visa ever because such visas do not allow you to study in Spain and also you cannot request a student visa once in Spain, residence or any change in the type of visa.
It should also be noted that the visa is issued to perform a particular activity in Spain (academic course, Master’s, Doctorate, Scholarship), and this activity cannot be modified. Otherwise, the visa would not be valid to get to Spain and it would be necessary to return to the country or origin to start the process again from there.