Student visa: Spain welcomes you!

If you are considering studying in Spain, you may have to apply for a student visa. Spain’s immigration policy is similar to other European countries. It allows people from all over the world to come and start or continue their education over here.

Additionally, have you ever thought about learning Spanish? Or you might only need to improve it!


Do you need a student visa for Spain?

Your eligibility will depend on (a) your nationality and (b) the length of your stay.

1. You are planning a short stay (LESS than 3 months)

Similar to the tourist visa, you will not have to apply for a student visa if you are from a country excluded by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperacion). Bring your passport and/or a national ID card with you since you will need it.

Double check the list with the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including the countries from of the nationals for which a student visa is NOT required.

2. You are planning a long stay (MORE than 3 months)

You’ll have to apply for a student visa unless you are from a European Union (EU) country.

3. You are a non-EU national

You will generally need a student visa to enter Spain regardless of the length of your stay.


How do you get a student visa?

First of all, plan everything well in advance. Contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible and ask about the requirements, as well as for an appointment.

The student visa process can take up to 6-8 weeks (sometimes more!). Actually, it depends your nationality, the time of the year and the number of applications in the pipeline. So make sure you arrange everything way before your flight…

In general, you will be asked to apply for your visa in person. The same applies when picking up your student visa. No postal mail!


Student visa: Spain requirements

Curious about the paperwork needed to apply for a student visa? Although the requirements might vary, you should be aware that some of the documents that may be required are:

  • Spain’s official national visa form
  • Passport and/or national ID card
  • Letter of invitation from the Spanish school/university
  • Proof that you have enough financial means for the length of your stay
  • Medical insurance with international coverage
  • Medical certificate to prove that you are in good health

For example, here are the requirements for a US student. (Scroll down the page until you reach the ‘Student Visa’ section).

You should check this information with the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your country.


Practical information and tips

Mail, email or fax applications are not accepted. Your application must be submitted in person. To do so, check first if you need an appointment.

Similarly, you are only allowed to pick up your student visa in person.

Make sure you start the application well in advance because:

  • Applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis.
  • Your application acceptance can take up to 6-8 weeks, depending on the number of applications and the requirements.

Some Embassies and Consulates do not accept applications more than 3 months in advance. Ask first!

As a rule of thumb, pick a piece of paper and write a list of all the questions you have. Inquire the officials and make sure everything is clear. These bureaucratic processes are long and rigid; don’t make them more painful than what they already are.


If you are planning to travel to Spain and wonder about the need of a tourist visa, you should have a look at a basic travel visa FAQ.

Did you know that applying for a student visa is one of the few options to stay 90+ days in the Schengen Area?