Study in Spain

Study in Spain

How to get a long-term Spanish student visa type D (Non-EU Students) to study, work and live in Spain

If you are a citizen of a country out of the European Union and you would like to study in Spain, you need to obtain a student visa. A long-term visa is called “type D” and is given for courses lasting longer than 6 months.

Since September 2018 students can apply not only in the consulate in your country of origin, but also directly in Spain.

The long-term student visa type D is an easy way of moving to Spain. You can study and work part-time; and after your first course finishes you can renew your visa from Spain (no need to go back to your country). After 3 years you can change your student residency to a working one.

With this type of visa you get a NIE number and a student ID card (TIE). That card will be your ID in the European Union for the whole period of your studies. You need this card for everything: to travel, to buy monthly metro tickets or to get a package from Amazon.

To apply for the student visa you need to choose a full-time course in a university or in a language school accreditated by the Cervantes Institute. If you are planning to stay in Spain for several years, it would be better to start with a language school than university. Language courses give you the opportunity to study up to 4 years and switch to Master later. While Masters course last for 1 or 2 years (which is not long enough to get a working residency), and it is risky to lower your level of studies changing a higher educational institution to a language school. Besides, language schools are easier to enter and the courses are cheaper than a Masters course.

As a Non-European Union citizen when you are preparing to study in Spain, you need to arrange your legal situation, depending on the duration of your stay.

Mobility within EU countries: All of those non-UE citizens who hold a valid EU residence permit can enter Spain without applying for a new VISA as long as their EU residence permit is still valid. Check the steps for this procedure here.

Period of studies up to three months:
1) The European Directive EC Nº 539/2001 March 15th, 2001 includes in its annex II the countries whose nationals are exempted from the obligation to obtain a visa for study periods of up to three months. Those have to fulfill the legal requisites described in the Shengen Code, and in case of having to prolong the stay, it is possible to request an extension for a maximum of three more months. For more information consult Informaton Forms from the government. 

2) The European Directive EC Nº 539/2001 of March 15th, 2001 includes in its annex I the countries whose nationals are submitted to the visa obligation (type C) to enter the Schengen Area. For more information, check the Immigration Office web.

Period of studies up to six months:
There is a visa (type D) for studies that allows you to stay in Spain for a period of up to 180 days (Visado D Estudios hasta 180 días). This type of visa does not allow you to obtain the Residence Card for foreign students (TIE).

Period of studies longer than six months:  
Those non-EU citizens who are going to study in Spain for a period of more than six months have to apply for an ?open? visa for studies (type D). This type of visa (Visado D Estudios, Investigación) is valid for three months for entering the Schengen Area and once you have entered Spain you have to obtain the Student Residence Card for Foreigners (TIE) in order to remain legally in Spain. For more information, you can check check the information about how to get your TIE

The TIE is a temporary permit that permits you to stay in the country for the period of your studies. The card is valid for a maximum of one academic year and can be renewed annually until you finish your studies. Your academic performance will be taken into account when renewing your permit.  The document gives you the right to remain legally in the country while you study.

You will have a maximum of 30 days after entering the European Union to begin the process of applying for the Student Residence Card (TIE). For this, you will need to present your flight ticket (boarding ticket) or the stamp on your passport showing the date in which you entered the European Union.

You can apply for a visa through your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate.

Important: A visa can never be changed once you are in Spain. The only visa valid is the one obtained from the Spanish Embassy or Consulate before coming to Spain.

Important: All foreign official documents must be previously legalized and, if necessary, must be translated into Spanish or official language of the territory where the application is submitted.
For more information, see the Informaton Forms from the government.

Lost or stolen visa:

To report your visa lost or stolen, email the police report (preferably in Spanish or English) to:

Sección Visados
C/Ruiz de Alcorcón, 5
28071 Madrid

Be sure to include your personal data, an address where you wish to receive the confirmation of your visa and an e-mail address if you wish to receive a copy of this confirmation beforehand.


The initial residence permit is a procedure by which the person from a non-EU State is authorized to request  a residence permit for studies in Spain.

a) Requirements:

– Non-EU citizenship.

– Be in Spain in a regular situation:

_If you have a short stay visa (maximum 90 days) or failing that, you can stay 90 days in the Schengen area without a visa, you must proceed to the processing of the stay permit for studies within the first 60 days of your stay.

_If a residence and work permit is available, the study permit must be processed at least 30 days before the expiration of your residence and work permit.

– Not be forbidden from entering into Spanish territory.

– To have enough financial means.

– Have a public or private medical insurance of a company that is allowed to operate in Spain.

– Be admitted to a higher education centre in Spain to participate in a full-time program. The academic load considered for this case is 60 credits or at least 20 hours per week.

b) Documentation:

-Official form EX00

– Copy of all passport pages (Valid up to 3 months after the end of your stay in Spain).

– Entrance stamp or declaration into the EU.

– UAB admission letter or enrolment.

– Medical insurance policy

– Enough economic means for your stay.

    – Bank statement with the entity’s stamp. If is a foreign bank, the bank statement must be legally translated by a jury translator.

     – Notarial certificate from a familiar in which the familiar declares to be economically responsible for the economical expenses of the student during his study period in Spain. This letter must be legalized and legally translated into Spanish.

 c) For longer than 6 months:

– Criminal record certificate of the countries that you have lived in the last 5 years (Legalized and translated into Spanish).

– Medical certificate certifying that there is no disease that may have public repercussions. This is an easy step. Once you are in Spain, you must go to a “TABACS” and buy this certificate. Then, you can go to a hospital (could be the SAS, the one located in the UAB or the one of your private health insurance) and tell them to fill it.

Visa for US students for Spain, for stays exceeding 90 days for studies, training, internships, or volunteer work. This visa may also be issued for au pairs and teaching assistants (auxiliares de conversación). Those studying in Spain for less than 90 days do not need a student visa. Depending on the applicant’s nationality, a short-stay visa may be required (see “Schengen visas”).

The following family members may obtain a visa to accompany the student:

Spouse or civil partner
Children who are minors or have a disability
Visas for students’ family members do not constitute a work permit.

Activities that Merit a Student Visa

Full-time (minimum of 20 hours per week) studies at an accredited school or educational center that will result in a degree, diploma, or certificate
Doctoral studies
Training activities
Secondary school (middle or high school) exchange programs with an accredited school or scientific center.
Internships or traineeships at public or private entities that do not qualify for an internship visa (see “Internship visa”)
Volunteer services for programs working in areas of general and/or public interest
“Au pair” programs
Teaching assistants (auxiliaries de conversación)

Required documents for the student

1. Visa application form. Each applicant must complete and sign a visa application, filling out every section. If the applicant is a minor, a parent or duly accredited representative must sign the application. In the event that the application must be signed by a duly accredited representative, said accreditation may be demonstrated by way of a notarized letter from the applicant or a letter from the applicant’s university or school.
2. Photograph. A recent, passport-size, color photograph, taken against a light background, facing forward, without dark or reflective glasses, or any garments concealing the applicant’s face.
3. Valid, unexpired passport. Original and photocopy of the biometric data page(s). The passport must be valid for at least the duration of the planned stay and contain two blank pages. Passports issued more than 10 years ago will not be accepted.
4. Proof of acceptance for the study, training or volunteer activity or internship.
The applicant should provide an original and copy of the document proving:

Acceptance to an accredited school for full-time studies
Acceptance to a research or training center
Acceptance to a student exchange program, including proof of acceptance to a school, accommodations with a family or at an institution, and the organizer’s commitment to cover these expenses
Acceptance for an unpaid internship (signed contract)
Acceptance to a volunteer program (contract with the volunteering organization)

5. Proof of financial means. The applicant must provide an original and copy of documents certifying that he/she (or the legal representative or relative that supports him/her) has sufficient financial means to cover the expenses of student’s stay and return, as well as that of the family members accompanying him/her. The minimum required amount is equivalent to 100% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM). 75% of the IPREM must be added for the first accompanying family member and 50% for each additional family member.

Medios económicos año 2022

If documentation is provided demonstrating that accommodations for the entire length of the student’s stay have been paid for in advance, this amount will be deducted. If the student is traveling to Spain alone, the minimum required amount in 2022 is 700 USD per month.

Non-Spanish documents must be legalized or apostilled and, where applicable, must be submitted together with an official translation into Spanish. If the student is traveling with family members, he/she can see the required minimum amounts here.

At least one of the following documents must be submitted:

If the applicant him/herself bears full financial responsibility for his/her room and board, his/her three most recent monthly bank statements, including the applicant’s full name and a final balance that covers the required minimum funds. The bank statements do not need to be translated into Spanish.
Statement from the applicant’s U.S. or Spanish university or school assuming full financial responsibility for room and board (normally included in the aforementioned acceptance letter). The applicant should preferably submit an original and copy of this statement or letter (electronic copies may be submitted without an original, as long as they include an electronic signature), including an official seal and signature from the issuing institution. Photocopies and online printouts will not be accepted. A translation of this statement to Spanish must also be included.
Documentation proving the issuing of financial aid, loans, scholarships, or other economic aid that covers the minimum amount required for room and board. If the original documents are in English, a translation into Spanish must also be submitted.
Notarized letter from at least one of the applicant’s parents or guardians, in which they assume full financial responsibility for the applicant’s room and board. Suggested wording: “I hereby certify that I, [full name of parent of guardian], [mother, father, legal guardian] of [full name of applicant], assume full financial responsibility for his/her round-trip ticket between Spain and the United States, as well as his/her monthly room and board expenses while he/she is in Spain, and any addition emergency expenses that may arise during his/her stay.”
The applicant must attach all of the following documentation to this letter: 1) a notarized copy of the parent of guardian’s ID; 2) original and notarized copy of the student’s birth certificate, demonstrating the parental link, or the ruling or decision by which a legal guardian was established; 3) the parent or guardian’s three most recent monthly bank statements, showing his/her full name and a final balance that covers the required minimum funds (which must cover the student’s room and board, as well as the cost of the student’s studies or tuition). The bank statements do not need to be translated into Spanish.

6. Health insurance. The applicant must submit an original and copy of documentation proving that he/she will have public or private health insurance coverage provided by an insurance entity authorized to operate in Spain. The insurance policy must cover all the risks insured by Spain’s public health system. Travel insurance will not be accepted. Health insurance cards will not be accepted as proof of insurance.
The applicant must have health insurance with coverage in Spain during the entirety of his/her stay. If the insurance company is U.S.-based, the supporting documentation must expressly say that the company offers coverage in the rest of the world, or at least in Spain.

The policy cannot have copays, deductibles, or qualifying periods, meaning that it must cover 100% of medical, hospital, and outpatient costs.

If this is not including in the student’s acceptance letter, he/she must provide a letter from his/her individual insurance provider indicating that he/she has international coverage at no additional cost.

The proof of insurance must demonstrate a minimum general coverage of at least 500,000 USD, with no deductibles or copays.
If the applicant is participating in a volunteer program, in addition to proof of medical insurance, he/she must also provide a copy of the organization’s civil liability insurance policy.

7. Criminal record check certificate. Applicants of legal age who apply for a visa for a stay of more than 180 days must submit the original and a copy of their criminal background check(s) issued by their country or countries of residence in the past five years. The criminal background check must be issued by the U.S. Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). State background checks issued by the Department of Law Enforcement and those issued at a local level will not be accepted.
The background check must be issued within the five months preceding the submission of the visa application. It must be authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish. The applicant must submit a notarized copy of both the original document in English and the Spanish translation.

Under no circumstances will a criminal background check be accepted if it has been altered or damaged in any way, including damages caused by removing staples.

If the applicant has lived outside the United States during the past five years, he/she must provide an additional criminal background check from every country where he/she has lived, authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish, with a notarized copy of both documents. If the country in which the applicant has lived in the past five years does not subscribe to The Hague Convention of 1961, the background check must by authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and then by the Consulate of Spain in said country.

8. Medical certificate. Those applying for a visa for a stay of more than 180 days must submit the original and copy of a medical certificate demonstrating that the applicant does not suffer from any diseases that could have serious repercussions for public health, in accordance with the International Health Regulations of 2005.
This certificate must be issued a maximum of 90 days prior to submitting the visa application and must be signed by and include the stamp or letterhead of a doctor. If issued in English, a Spanish translation is required. The recommended model can be found here. If this model is used, an additional translation is not required.

Certificado Medico

9. Proof of residence in the consular district. I.D. Card that proves your place of residence is within the jurisdiction of the Spanish Consulate of Los Angeles (original and photocopy). Jurisdiction extends through Southern California (Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties), Arizona, Colorado and Utah. You can provide one of the following documents: U.S. Driver license, State I.D. card, Voter’s Registration Card, current Student I.D. The applicant must provide proof of their legal residence in the consular district or that they are attending classes, in person, in the consular district.
Non-U.S. citizens must also submit their U.S. Green Card or long-term stay visa (notarized copy). B-1 and B-2 visa holders cannot apply for a student visa in the United States; they must apply for it in their country of residence or origin.

10. Proof of the representative’s identity and capacity. If the applicant is a minor, he/she must submit one of his/her parents’ or guardians’ ID or passport, as well as a document proving kinship. The originals must be shown when submitting the application. If the application is submitted through a representative, a copy of the representative’s ID or passport, as well as power of attorney or a document accrediting the representative relationship, must be submitted. An original and notarized copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, showing the parent-child relationship, or the ruling or decision by which a legal guardian was established, must be submitted to prove kinship; these documents must be issued a maximum of 90 days prior to submitting the visa application. Non-Spanish documents must be authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague. The copies of the identification documents must be notarized. If the visa application is submitted by mail, the originals of the identification documents must be shown when the passport with the visa is retrieved.

11. Authorization of legal representatives. If the applicant is a minor, he/she must submit the original and a copy of the parents’ or guardians’ notarized authorization for the minor to go to Spain and indicate the person who will be responsible for him/her during his/her stay in Spain. This notarized authorization must expressly include the following information of the person who will be responsible for the minor in Spain: full legal name, DNI or NIE number, address. This person or persons must also submit a notarized copy of his/her ID.
Non-Spanish documents must be authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish, if Spanish is not the original language. Copies must be notarized.

If the applicant is a minor, the person or persons responsible for the minor during his/her stay in Spain must submit a certificate ensuring they are not a sex offender (certificado de Delitos de Naturaleza Sexual) issued by the Registro Central de Delincuentes Sexuales, part of the Spanish Ministry of Justice (application found here), or express permission for the Spanish Government to obtain said certificate (authorization document found here). This person or persons must also provide a declaration in which they officially take responsibility for the child, which must be authenticated by a Spanish notary public.

If the applicant is a minor and is traveling alone or with an authorized person, an original and notarized copy of power of attorney, signed by both parents or guardians, and authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague, must be submitted, along with a copy of both parents’ or guardians’ passports. If the minor is traveling with an authorized person, said document must also include the following information about the authorized person: full legal name, passport, DNI or NIE number, address, travel dates and route.

If the minor is traveling with only one of his/her parents or guardians, an original and notarized copy of power of attorney signed by the non-traveling parent or guardian must be submitted, authorizing the other parent or guardian to travel with the minor.

13. Payment of the visa fee. VISA FEE. Payments are made at the time of your appointment, only money order is accepted (no credit cards, no debit cards, no personal checks). Money orders are to be addressed to the “Consulate General of Spain Los Angeles”.

Required documents for family members

The following must be submitted for each family member accompanying the student:

The documents listed above under numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12, and, if applicable, 10.
Documentation proving kinship to the student (marriage, civil union, or birth certificate, or other documentation, depending on the relationship).

For married couples, an original copy of the marriage certificate, authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish, must be submitted.

For civil partners, a certificate confirming that the relationship is accounted for in a civil registry or documentation proving that the couple qualifies for a civil partnership, even if not legally registered as such, must be submitted. This documentation must be authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish.

For children, an original birth certificate, authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague. must be submitted.

For children of divorced parents, the final divorce and custody filings for the minor, authenticated with the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish, must be submitted.

For au pair visas, an original and notarized copy of the applicant’s contract with the host family with which the applicant will be living must be submitted.

When necessary, the Consular Office reserves the right to request additional documents or information, and/or call the applicant in for an interview.

Documentation issued by government authorities of countries that do not subscribe to The Hague Convention of 1961 must be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and then by the Consulate of Spain in said country.

Required Documentation for Teaching Assistants (auxiliaries de conversación):

These applicants do not need to submit the aforementioned proof of financial means or proof of health insurance. However, they must submit the original copy of their acceptance letter from the Spanish Ministry of Education, including the name of their assigned school or center, said institution’s contact information (address, phone, point of contact, email), duration of the program, and health insurance.


This Consular Office is competent to accept visa applications from individuals residing in the consular district or who are regularly in the consular district for study purposes even if they are not a resident.

Applying for a study visa also entails applying for a study stay permit.

Who can apply for a visa: Visa applications must be submitted in person by the applicant or by one of their parents if the applicant is a minor. They may also be submitted through a duly accredited representative.
Visa application period: The application must be submitted no earlier than 90 days prior to the planned date of travel. Visa applications must be submitted sufficiently in advance of the beginning of the pertinent study programmes, as the procedure entails consultations with other authorities.
Place of submission: Applications must be submitted in person at the Consular Office. An appointment is necessary. Make an appointment here.
Proof of receipt: The Consular Office will provide the applicant with proof of receipt of the application with a code that enables them to check the status of the dossier through the following link:
Rectifying the application: The Consular Office may ask the applicant to submit any missing documents, or to provide additional documents or data that are necessary for a decision regarding the application. The applicant may also be called in for a personal interview.
Decision period: The legal period for reaching a decision is of 1 month from the day after the application submission date, but this period may be extended if an interview or additional documents are requested.
Collecting the visa: The visa must be collected in person by the applicant or by their representative (if the applicant is a minor) within a maximum period of 2 months, counted as of the day after the date on which the favorable decision is notified. The Consular Office will inform the applicant regarding the procedure for the return of the passport and any other original documentation.
Refusal of the visa or study stay permit: Refusals of the visa or study stay permit will always be notified in writing, setting forth the grounds on which the decision adopted was based.
Appeals: If a study stay permit or visa is refused, the applicant may submit an appeal for reconsideration to this Consular Office within 1 month of the day following the date on which notification of the refusal is received. An application for judicial review may also be filed with the High Court of Justice of Madrid within the 2-month period beginning the day after the date on which the applicant receives notification of the visa refusal or of the dismissal of the reconsideration appeal.
Validity period of the visa: If the study stay does not exceed 6 months, the visa will be valid for the entire stay and it will not be necessary to obtain a Foreigner Identity Card.

If the study stay is for longer than 6 months, the visa will be valid for a 90-day stay. The student must apply for a Foreigner Identity Card within a period of 1 month from their entry into Spain, at the Foreign Nationals’ Office or the Police Station of the province in which the permit was processed.

Study in Spain

Full guide for US students interested in going to Spain.

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