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Career guide; Find out about Student visa requirements in Spain and application process

Are you planning to study in Spain? Here you will learn everything you need to know. We will review the whole process of obtaining a student visa on Spanish territory. We will clearly define all the cases where you need it and those where it is not necessary. After examining all the documents and requirements, we will also explain all the possible options for working in Spain with a student residence permit. Are you ready?

What is a student visa?

  • The student visa is the residence permit which allows non-European citizens to stay in Spain while they study in public or private educational centers, carry out research in the country or carry out some kind of training.
  • More specifically, those who wish to enroll in any professional training course, master’s, postgraduate course, P.hD. or a baccalaureate in Spain will find that this permit is the right path for them.
  • It is really important to understand that this visa is intended for citizens outside the European Union.
  • Also, it is not a regular residence permit. The student visa is only an authorization to live in Spain during your studies.
  • This is why, when you count for example the years you need to obtain permanent residence or Spanish nationality, the years lived with the student visa only count for half.

Do I need a student visa to study in Spain?

  • It depends. If you are a non-European citizen, the answer is simple: yes. If you plan to study or research in the country, you will need to apply for a residence permit for study purposes.
  • However, you cannot obtain a student visa if you are from the European Union. Because you don’t need it.
  • According to article 44 of Royal Decree 557/2011, all students from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland can stay in Spain during their studies without a visa. This also applies to the relatives they bring with them after a joint request.

Types of student visas

There are two types of student visas depending on the duration of your courses or studies:

Short-term student visa, the option designed for those who study from 91 to 180 days in the country.
Long-term student visa, in case you study more than 6 months in the country.
Keep in mind that no matter if you are a non-EU citizen or not, if your studies take less than 90 days, you do not need to apply for a student permit. Your tourist visa will be sufficient (in case you need it to enter the country).

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How long does a student visa in Spain last? Duration and validity

In the previous section, we saw that depending on the duration of your studies, you will apply for a short or long-term student visa.

However, how long is the student visa valid for?

The expiration date of your visa and the end of your course will not necessarily correspond.

With a long-term visa, it was one year so far. You could get your permit which allowed you to stay in the country for one year and provided you met the same conditions as those required for the initial application, you could renew it year after year. Until the end of your studies.

Student visa for more than one year

However, this situation has changed. You can now apply for a student visa for two years. This means that if the course or training you are participating in lasts 2 years, you will not need to renew the visa in between or extend your stay.

Once the year is over, you can renew your expired card without applying for a new visa. But you still have to renew it.

Student visa for one year or less

If your academic year lasts more than 6 months, you will receive a residence permit. This means that you will find an additional step in the process, which is to get an appointment at the immigration office during your stay in Spain to receive your resident card.

But if it is shorter than that, you will only get one stamp on your passport. This means that you will not receive any physical card later.

What happens if my course or studies are extended?

So let’s assume that your studies end in June and that your student visa is also valid until this month.

What can you do if your program is suddenly extended?

There is no problem. You can apply for a student visa extension at the police immigration office.

Step-by-step application procedure

Now let’s move on to the main steps you will need to take to obtain your student permit. We will analyze where you need to apply, what documents you need to include, where to submit them, and what requirements you need to meet.