Spain is characterised as an ideal destination for a complete linguistic immersion. For this reason, most Spanish language students decide to learn the language by visiting our country in order to get to know our culture and learn the language within the country itself. To do this, some of these students must apply for a study visa, which allows them to stay in Spain for a certain period of time, in order to take a course in an authorised teaching centre in Spain, in a full-time programme leading to a degree or certificate of studies.
It should be noted that not all students have to apply for a visa. For this purpose, we have to differentiate them into 3 groups according to the duration of the course:
If you are from a country whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement, you do not need to apply for a study visa. Conversely, if you are a national of a country subject to a visa requirement to cross external borders, you do have to apply for a visa.
This visa is also necessary if you are going to carry out, for more than 90 days, non-working practices, volunteer services, student mobility, Intern, training stays and studies for the schooling of minors. It is also necessary in the cases of the student’s relatives who wish to stay in Spain for more than 90 days.
It is necessary to apply for the visa and upon arrival in Spain, you must apply in person for the TIE, foreigner's identity card, within one month of entering Spain, at the Foreigners' Office or Police Station in the province where the authorisation has been processed.
However, it should be noted that you do not need to apply for a visa if you are a citizen of a European Union, European Economic Area or Swiss state, or a family member of a citizen of one of these countries to whom the EU citizenship regime applies.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Before the pandemic, the European Union allowed citizens from 105 countries or territories to enter the Schengen area with a visa and those from 67 others without a visa. The list of authorisations has been drastically cut, at least for the time being, to minimise the risk of imported COVID-19 cases.
Where to apply for a visa?
The visa applicant can submit the required documentation in person at the Consulate or Embassy nearest to the applicant's home address.
How far in advance do I need to apply and how long does it take?
To ensure that you get your visa in time, you can generally apply at least 31 days before your departure date and documentation will not be accepted more than 120 days before your trip. However, we recommend that you check the website of the Consulate or Embassy in your country.
What is the deadline for the resolution and issuance of the visa?
The maximum period for notification of the decision is one month from the day following the date of submission of the application at the consular office responsible for processing the application. Once this period has elapsed without an express response from the Administration, the application may be considered to have been rejected due to administrative silence. The visa granted must be collected within one month of notification. If the visa is not collected within the aforementioned period, it shall be understood that the interested party has waived the visa granted and the procedure shall be closed.
What documents do I need to bring?
- Duly completed visa application form, which you can download from the Consulate's website.
- Colour photographs, passport size and white background.
- Valid and complete passport or travel document, recognised as valid in Spain, valid for at least the period for which the stay is requested.
- Documentation accrediting the purpose of the stay. It is necessary to present a LETTER OF ADMISSION written by the educational centre.
- Medical insurance arranged with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain that covers the entire period of stay in Spain, i.e. the entire period of the course for which you are applying.
- Letter or certificate of criminal record (generally for stays of more than 180 days).
- Proof of accommodation for the duration of the studies.
- Medical certificate validating that the applicant does not suffer from diseases that could have serious repercussions on public health (generally for stays of more than 6 months).
- Documents justifying the availability of means of subsistence for the entire period for which the visa is requested. If the applicant is economically dependent, the documentation will be that of the family member and must be notarised and duly apostilled.
IMPORTANT: Some countries may require other types of documentation. Please consult the website of the Spanish Embassy / Consulate in your country through this link to check the documentation required:
What are the most common requirements for obtaining a student visa?
- Not to be a citizen of a State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a family member of citizens of these countries to whom the European Union citizenship regime applies.
- Not be banned from entering Spain and not be refused entry into the territorial space of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement to this effect.
- Have sufficient financial means to cover the costs of their stay and return to their country and, where appropriate, those of their family members, in accordance with the following amounts:
- To support themselves, on a monthly basis, at 100% of the IPREM, unless they can duly prove that they have paid in advance for accommodation for the entire duration of their stay.
- To have public or private health insurance with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.
- In the case of under-age students who are not accompanied by their parents or guardians, authorisation from the latter, with proof of the centre, organisation, entity and body responsible for the activity and the planned period of stay.
- To have been admitted to an authorised educational centre in Spain for the completion of a full-time programme leading to the award of a degree or certificate of studies.
In the event that the duration of the stay exceeds six months, it will be required:
- In the case of adults of criminal age, not to have a criminal record in Spain and in their previous countries of residence during the last five years for offences existing in the Spanish legal system.
- Not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health repercussions in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations 2005.
IMPORTANT: Each country has a series of specific requirements, so we recommend that you consult the website of the Spanish Embassy / Consulate in your country through this link
What are the most common reasons for refusal of a student visa?
To answer this question, we must refer to article 39.9 of the Reglamento de Extranjería, which states the following:
The visa or authorisation to stay shall be refused:
1. If applicable, when the applicant has a criminal record in the countries of residence during the last five years for offences under Spanish law.
2. When, in order to support the application, false documents have been presented or inaccurate allegations have been made, or when there is bad faith.
3. When there is a legally stipulated cause for non-admissibility that was not appreciated at the time the application was received.
Furthermore, in order to complement the answer, it is necessary to agree the aforementioned rule with the fourth additional provision of the Aliens Act, which regulates the grounds for inadmissibility of applications in matters relating to aliens. These are the following:
Lack of legal standing of the applicant, or insufficient accreditation of representation.
1. Submission of the application after the legally established deadline.
2. When it is a repetition of an application that has already been refused, provided that the circumstances that led to the refusal have not changed.
3. When there is an administrative sanctioning procedure against the applicant in which expulsion may be proposed or when a judicial or administrative expulsion order has been decreed against him/her, unless, in the latter case, the expulsion order has been revoked or he/she is in one of the cases regulated by Articles 31 bis, 59, 59 bis or 68.3 of this law.
4. When the applicant is banned from entering Spain.
5. In the case of applications that are manifestly unfounded.
6. When they refer to foreigners who are in Spain in an irregular situation, unless they can be found in one of the cases of Article 31(3).
7. When the application is not made in person and this circumstance is required by law.
Can I apply for a visa for an online course?
No, as you need to complete the minimum of 15 - 20 hours per week in person.
How much money do I have to have in order to be accepted for a visa?
As stated in article 38 of the Royal Decree 557/2011, you must have guaranteed financial means to cover the costs of your stay and return to your country, with a minimum monthly amount of 100% of the IPREM, being €564.90/month in 2021.