Student Visas in Spain


Are you considering studying in Spain? Read our essential guide below which relates to Student Visas, when you will need one, and how to apply for one in Spain.

Our Lawyers advise that students who are from other countries in the European Union will never be required to apply for a visa for the duration of their study period in Spain. They will, however, require a passport in order to enter and remain in the Country.

Students moving to Spain from non-European countries will be required to have a valid passport and also a student visa. The passport must have a date of expiration which is later than 90 days after leaving Spain. American students can come to Spain to study, without a visa, for a period of up to 90 days. For longer study periods, they will also be required to follow the same visa application process as students from other non-European countries.

How to apply for a Student Visa

Applications are usually carried out, in person, at the Spanish Embassy closest to your habitual residence. It may be necessary to make an appointment before visiting, as some embassies have an appointment system for this type of process.

Before arranging a visit to your embassy, it is essential that you prepare the documentation listed below, and present it when you visit in person. It is important to note that passport applications can take over a month to be processed (time frames depend on the country), so you should apply for a new passport as soon as possible if you do not have one which would be valid until 90 days after the study period in Spain. It must also have some free blank pages available for the processing of the visa. A fee will also need to be paid upon application in the embassy.

The documentation needed for a student visa application is as below:

  • A Passport, valid for at least 90 days after the study period has ended..
  • Birth Certificate
  • Confirmation of Study in Spain (eg. Acceptance of University place)
  • A passport-style ID Photo
  • The Student Visa application form

Many student visas, for use in Spain, also cover the Schengen area.

What is the Schengen area?

The area is made up of 26 mostly EU countries, and some non-EU countries and states which have borders with Schengen member countries. It derived from the Schengen Treaty, which was signed in Switzerland in 1985. It means that holders of a Schengen visa, in theory, can travel freely between the countries which are part of the agreement, without needing multiple visas. In recent times, stronger border checks have been introduced, for example as a result of the migrant crisis and the Paris attack of 2015, however it is still possible to move between the member countries on the same visa. The countries in the Schengen area, which can be accessed with a Schengen Visa, are as below:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are not directly included in the Schengen area, but they have open borders so can be accessed from countries which are Schengen members.

How do I apply for a Schengen Visa?

It is important to submit your application for a Schengen Student visa as soon as possible, as it can take up to 3 months for the application to be approved or refused. Despite this, it is common to receive a response for Student Visas within one month of the application being delivered.

The application form for a Schengen Visa can be found online, printed and filled in, before being presented to the embassy or consulate of the country in which you are planning to study. For studying in Spain, this would be the Spanish embassy or consulate.

The documents required are similar to the standard student visa, including:

  • A Valid Passport
  • Two recent Passport-style photos of the applicant
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support your living in the Schengen area
  • Document to prove payment of the Schengen Student Visa application fee.
  • Document to prove offer and acceptance of a place at their University in the Schengen area.
  • Proof of accomodation for the duration of your stay – this is not always required, if the student has proved they have sufficient funds for their stay.
  • Valid travel or medical insurance to cover the duration of the stay.

Our lawyers can help with student visas in Spain


Important things to consider

The Schengen Visa is only valid for a stay of up to 90 days, after which it is necessary to apply for a residency permit with the local authorities in the country in which you are studying. In Spain, it would be required for you to obtain a NIE.

For further information regarding NIE applications, please visit the NIE applications part of our website (you can click here to visit the page), or contact our English-speaking lawyers by telephone or email.

Should you need further information, or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers. You can contact us by using the contact form below, by emailing, or by telephoning +34 93 514 39 97 .

Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant for your case please contact us directly.

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