Spanish Student Visa Made Easy

studentviSAWhat is a Visa?
It is a stamp on your passport from Spain that permits you to legally live in Spain for a limited amount of time for a particular purpose.
A Schengen Visa permits you to travel (for a short period of time) to and within countries that are a part of the designated Schengen territory; all countries within the European Union- including Spain.
A Student Visa permits you to live in Spain for a duration that is longer than 3 months for the purpose of realising a course of study – like Spanish language courses, for example.

Students who come from countries that are not members of the European Union are required, by law, to obtain a student visa in order to legally undertake a course of study in Spain hat lasts longer than three months i.e.  enrol in a Spanish language course in Spain of long duration.

The procedure could seem complicated if you have no idea where to being.
Here, I will give a general summary of the process of obtaining a Student Visa in order to bring some clarity to it all:

Before any Step is Taken
Do keep in mind, however, that each procedure could differ according to the specific requirements of your country.
Please be sure to contact or visit the local Spanish embassy(or consulate) in your country in order to clarify all details of the visa application process specific to your nationality – even before you start the course registration process with a school in Spain. It will be in your best interest to be completely and accurately informed.

Step 1 – Register with your School
The moment that you have confirmed your registration or pre-registration with your Spanish language school in Spain, you are ready to apply for your student visa.
In order to officially confirm your registration with your school, most schools require that you send them a partial or full deposit of the course tuition fees. On reception, you are sent an official document from the school that attests to your student registration at the school as well as the length and nature of your studies.
This document will be an essential part of your visa application.
Please try to register with your school as soon as possible so that you have sufficient time to obtain your visa.

NB:  In the case that your visa is refused, majority of schools do not completely reimburse the tuition deposit.

Step 2 – Organize your paperwork
Gather all necessary documents that justify and support your purpose for going to Spain i.e. going to Spain to study Spanish. Typically, the required documents are as follows:

visacheklist

  • 2 Schengen Application forms – filled and signed.
  • Passport – must  be valid until a date that goes beyond the length of your stay in Spain. It needs a blank page where the visa stamp will go if the application is successful.
  • Another form of official ID – drivers license, National ID card, plus current student ID
  • 2 recent Passport Photos with a white background. Be sure that the photos suit the specifications of those accepted by the Spanish embassy. You could be required to attach theses photos to your Schengen Forms.
  • Acceptance Letter or Official Registration document from your school in Spain that includes your details, the details of the school i.e. name, address, registration number at Spain’s Department of Education; (Ministerio de Educación de España) and the details of your course at the school i.e length, hours per week (no less than 20 as is the legal requirement to have a status of a full-time student in Spain)
  • Attestation of Health Insurance (general health and accident) that will cover you for he duration of your stay in Spain for a minimum of around 28,000 euros.
  • Medical Certificate or a document from a health-care provider that states that you are in good physical and mental health and free of contagious diseases.
  • Background check or Certificate of Absence of Police Records issued by the Police Department of your state/region/country where you have resided more than six months in the past five years. Should be an official, legal document.
  • For those under 18 years old – A notarized authorization from both parents or legal guardians and a copy of the applicants birth certificate or legal document showing parents or legal guardians’ names.
  • A means of payment, like a -”Money-Order,” cheque, cash etc.  for the non-refundable visa fee payable to the Consulate of Spain: Please verify the means of payment and the fee amount based on your individualize country.
  • In the case of the visa stamped passport being returned by mail, you are requested to include a self-addressed  pre-paid envelope – specification would again depend on your country. You are permitted to use a tracking service for the envelope as it is your responsibility to assure an avoidance of loss of your passport.
  • Return ticket to Spain showing your departure date and your return date to your home country
  • Proof of Financial Means during your stay in Spain.

NB: At times, certain documents may need to carry a specific legal seal particular to your country or to Spain.
Please verify that you have notarized all documents correctly.

All of the above documents may or may not be required depending on your nationality and the rules that apply to your country. It is better to come over-prepared with too many documents than under-prepared with the need to return to the embassy/consulate another day and pay a whole other fee for another visa application.

Proof of Financial means 
In general, international students studying in Spain are not permitted to work (there are a few exceptions), hence, the Spanish government would need to see proof that you will be able to live comfortably in Spain without a job throughout the duration of your course.  Include a document that attests to the claim of the full financial responsibility of your entire stay in Spain from a valid organism or person in a valid position to make such a claim.

  • Financial aid or scholarship (for room and board)
  • Statement of full financial responsibility claim from a school or external organism
  • Notarized letter from Parents or Legal guardians assuming full financial responsibility
  •  Personal bank account statements

The document(s) claiming full financial responsibility should attest to a provision of at least around 500 euros a month depending (individually or combined).

nextstepNon-EU Student Residents already in the EU
If you are an international student residing in a country within the European Union, know that often-times you are not held to the same standard to the true nationals of that country when it comes  immigration. Although you are permitted (with certain conditions) to travel freely within the EU, when it comes to long-term plans to study in Spain, you would still be required to obtain a Spanish student visa.

NB: Be sure to include a valid copy of migratory status within the EU in your visa application form i.e. resident card, student visa etc. 

Step 3 – Make an Appointment at the Embassy
Secure an appointment at the Spanish embassy or Consulate in your country. You are usually required to file the visa application from as early as 4 months and as late as 7 weeks before your date of departure to Spain so try to set a date that is well in advance before the start of your Spanish language courses. Time is crucial! The process to get an appointment at the embassy, to file the application, for the embassy to process the application, and for the embassy to deliver the your visa could take some good weeks to realize. Please plan ahead and procure an appointment date even if you do not yet have your all documents ready to file as sometimes the appointment date can be much later in time.

Step 4 – Ace your Application interview

  • Be early! If the embassy opens at 9 am, be there at east at 8.30 am. Depending on your country, there could be a long queue to get through, even if you do have an appointment.
  • If you can, go with someone to assist you who speaks Spanish. Embassy and Consulate staff are often required to speak the local language of the country of residence – but you cannot always be too sure.
  • Take all originals and at least 2 copies of all documents to be filed
  • Be mindful that sometimes originals are not returned even after the visa has been processed so day month year.
  • You are required to leave your passport with the application so that an official seal can be placed within in
  • Go with a positive attitude and be ready to explain concisely your purpose for going to Spain and refer to all documents in your file that support your explanation.

While waiting to receive the visa confirmation, calls for questions or concerns on the status of your application, unfortunately, are often not entertained.

Step 5 – Happy Dance! 
You’ve done it! Your application was complete and you have been told when to expect your visa.
Visa-Approved11Now you may either need to return to the embassy/consulate to pick up your stamped passport (and sometimes even go for finger prints etc.) or you will receive your passport in the mail at your home.

Now you will be able to travel to Spain via transit through any country within the Schengen territory.
Take note of the date of validity of your student visa (indicated by the day/month/year with “del….al….”) which usually corresponds with the end of your studies in Spain.

Once in Spain, with the official stamped visa in your passport, you will be able to obtain  your NIE number and required to obtain your official Student Resident Card which will give you a lot of flexibility in regards to day to day operations during your time in Spain.

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