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A Guide for International Students in Spain: New Visa Regulations, Updated 2023

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In August 2022, the Spanish government introduced new changes to the student visa process, which have made it easier for students to stay in Spain for a longer period of time. The changes aim to improve the getting of work permits for non-EU foreigners, both employed and self-employed, and to promote self-employment. In this text, we will explore the main ideas introduced by this new wording of the law and their impact on international students who wish to study and work in Spain.

Regarding the new structure and conditions introduced in August 2022 related to the Student Visa and the students who stay in Spain (which has made the option of keeping them and their talent in Spain for a longer period of time much easier) and these are the main ideas introduced by this new phrasing of the law:

  • First, to enable the receiving of a work permit for non-EU foreigners, both employed and self-employed (thus also boosting self-employment).
  • Secondly, to facilitate the obtaining of work permits compatible with the study permit, as well as to facilitate the modification to a residence and work permit at the end of the training.
  • And, finally, to create a new figure of residence for foreigners in an irregular situation so that they can receive training and begin to occupy technical jobs that require personnel (a new “arraigo”).

Furthering on the relevant changes on Student Visa.

Work permit renewals will be for 4 years (instead of 2).

Until now, the process was as follows: you got your temporary card for 1 year, renewed for 2 more years, renewed again for 2 extra years, and then you could get the long-term residence. Now for the work permit, after the first 1-year card, the renewal will be for 4 years, making the foreigner’s life in the country much easier and stopping an important bureaucratic burden.

In addition, renewals will now be much easier, with less demanding requirements, as the new regulation will avoid situations of irregularity, making the renewal assumptions more flexible: They just need to have worked 3 months (instead of 6) and have actively sought employment (with registration in the SEPE), and with this, it will be possible to renew an initial authorization of residence and work or social roots, for example.

Increased ease for obtaining a self-employed work permit.

The economic means that the foreigner must present in the application to demonstrate that the project will have sufficient financial backing are reduced. In addition to this, self-employment figures have begun to be contemplated, which are very current in today’s economy, such as people with online stores or who offer online consulting services.

Foreigners with student visas may work longer hours.

With the new reform of the law on foreigners, this range is increased from 20 to 30 hours per week, undoubtedly benefiting the student community to be able to generate income more easily while studying.

Geographical limitations are eliminated, so students will be able to work anywhere in Spain as long as the such displacement is not an impediment to continuing with their studies.

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Students will be able to work automatically with their student visas.

Until now, if you had your student visa and wanted to work, the company that hired you had to initiate an immigration process so that you could get a work permit. From now on, students will be able to work as employees or self-employed directly with their student visa without having to go through any extra steps.

And this will be the case as long as the foreigner is studying:

  • Higher education
  • Regulated training for employment
  • Training aimed at obtaining a certificate of professionalism or technical aptitude.
  • A professional qualification is required for access to a specific occupation.

And, if none of the above is fulfilled but your study plan includes the need for an internship, you will not need a work permit and you will be able to do it directly.

It is no longer necessary to wait 3 years to modify the visa.

Until now, in order to be able to change to a residence and work permit, the student had to have spent at least 3 years with his or her visa for studies.

However, with the approval of the new law, this 3-year term is eliminated along with the geographical limitation. It will now be possible to change from a student visa to a work permit automatically once the studies are completed, regardless of their duration.

One of the most significant advantages of the new changes to the student visa process in Spain is the increased availability of internship opportunities for international students. With the streamlined process of obtaining work permits, students can now pursue internships while studying in Spain, which can be a great way to gain practical experience and improve their career prospects. Internships also offer students the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge in a professional setting, build their networks and connections, and learn about the culture and work practices of Spain.

Options for internship in Spain while being a Student.

The new changes to the student visa process in Spain have opened up many exciting internship opportunities for international students, which can significantly enhance their academic and professional development. Currently, we are seeing two main options for students to conduct the internship:

  1. Sign an agreement between your studies’ entity and your intended employer. For this option and since the modification of the law, you do not need to request a special permit, as it is included in the rights you have as a student visa holder. The requirements for this option are:
  • Be a full-time student.
  • The internship must be related to your studies.
  • The internship must not exceed 50% of the academic year.
  • The internship must be compatible with the student’s schedule.
  1. Seek an internship through an intermediary company or provider. Intermediary companies, like Internship Spain, have agreements with many different companies throughout Spain and can help connect students with the right internship opportunities. These companies will usually provide additional support services to help students with the logistics of moving to and living in Spain during their internship.

The changes to the student visa process in Spain have made it easier for international students to study, work and pursue internships in Spain. With the streamlined process of obtaining work permits, international students can now stay in Spain for a longer period of time, allowing them to gain practical experience, improve their career prospects, and learn about the culture and work practices of Spain.

Whether you are interested in pursuing an internship, self-employment or employment in Spain, the new changes offer exciting opportunities to explore your interests and develop your skills. If you are considering studying in Spain, be sure to explore these new opportunities and take advantage of the many benefits they offer.

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