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Tips for Getting a Student Visa for Spain from the UK

where to get a student visa for spain

Planning to study in Spain? Before you pack your bags and dream of Spanish cafes and coastlines, there’s an essential first step you need to take—securing your student visa. If you’re from the UK and looking to study in Spain for more than 90 days, understanding the different types of student visas is crucial. 

This guide will help you navigate the visa process clearly and efficiently, so you can move forward confidently towards your academic and cultural adventure in Spain. Let’s simplify the visa process and get you ready for your exciting educational experience!

Types of Student Visas for Spain

Navigating through the various student visa options can seem daunting, but knowing what’s available is key to planning your educational journey in Spain. Here’s a breakdown of the main student visas for students from the UK:

Overview of Different Student Visas Available

Spain offers two primary types of visas for students depending on the duration and purpose of their study:

Type C Schengen Visa for Short-term Courses (Up to 90 Days)

For shorter educational pursuits, such as language courses, summer schools, or seminars lasting less than three months, the Type C Schengen visa is appropriate. This visa is easier to obtain than the Type D and also applies to tourist and business visits within the Schengen area. Note, however, that it does not permit you to work during your stay in Spain.

Type D Visa for Long-term Studies (More than 180 Days)

If your academic program in Spain extends beyond six months, you will need a Type D visa. This visa is ideal for students enrolled in full-degree programs, doctoral studies, or extensive academic courses. It allows for multiple entries into the country, which is perfect if you plan to travel home during breaks or explore other Schengen countries.

When and Why You Might Need Each Type of Visa

  • Type C Visa: This visa is suitable for brief academic programs that combine learning with tourism. It’s straightforward, but keep in mind that it strictly prohibits employment during your stay.
  • Type D Visa: Choose this visa for academic engagements longer than six months, especially if you need the flexibility to travel or if your course spans multiple academic years. It also allows you to work part-time, complementing your studies with some practical experience.

Bear in mind that no matter if you are a non-EU citizen or not, if your studies take less than 90 days you don’t need to apply for a student permit. Your tourist visa will be enough (in case you need one to enter the country).

Selecting the right visa will depend on the length of your study program and your additional needs while in Spain, such as travel and work opportunities. Make sure to choose the one that best fits your academic and travel plans to ensure a smooth and enriching experience in Spain.

Spain Visa Requirements for UK Students

For UK students aiming to study in Spain, understanding the visa eligibility criteria is crucial for a smooth application process. Here’s what you need to meet to secure a student visa:

Essential Eligibility Criteria

  1. Non-EU Nationality:
    1. You must be a non-EU citizen to apply for a student visa in Spain. EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals do not require a student visa.
  2. Admission to an Accredited Institution:
    1. You need to be accepted into a course or program at a recognized public or private educational institution in Spain. The course should be part of the educational institution’s regular offerings and not a leisure or hobby class.

Tthe course and entity should be registered in the RUCT (Registro de Universidades, Centros y Títulos) in Spain to allow for the Student Visa to be granted.

  1. Financial Means:
    1. Applicants must prove they have enough funds to support themselves throughout their stay. The financial requirement is typically around €600 per month, which can be demonstrated through bank statements, a letter of financial support, or proof of scholarships.
  2. Comprehensive Health Insurance:
    1. You must have health insurance coverage from an insurer authorized to operate within Spain. The policy should cover all your medical needs throughout your stay without limitations.
  3. Clean Criminal Record:
    1. A criminal background check that shows you have no records of any criminal activity. This must be legalized or apostilled by the authorities of the countries that issue them, and translations are needed for all records that are not issued by Spanish-speaking countries.
  4. Medical Certificate:
    1. A medical certificate stating that you are free from any diseases that could pose serious public health risks, according to the International Health Regulations (2005). This certificate must also be translated into Spanish.

Application and Documentation Requirements

  • Documentation: You’ll need to submit your passport (including copies of all pages, which must be valid for at least one more year), visa application form, acceptance letter from your educational institution, proof of financial means, health insurance documentation, and a medical certificate.
  • Process: The application must typically be submitted in person at the Spanish consulate or embassy. However, recent changes allow some applicants to submit their applications while already in Spain under certain circumstances.

Additional Notes:

  • Duration of Stay: The general rule is that the student visa is granted for up to a year. However, if your course leads to a superior degree, you may be eligible for a visa of up to 2 years.
  • Work Permission: Student visas issued after recent immigration law reforms allow you to work part-time up to 30 hours a week, but only if it consists of an unpaid internship related to your studies or if your studies are of a superior character leading to a professional certificate (certificado de habilitación profesional). If your situation does not fall under these scenarios, you will need additional authorization to work either as an employee or as a self-employed individual.

Understanding these eligibility requirements and preparing your application accordingly will help ensure a successful visa application process for studying in Spain.

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How to Apply for a Visa for Spain as a UK Student

Getting a Student Visa for Spain from the UK

Navigating the visa application process can be one of the more daunting aspects of planning your study abroad in Spain. Here’s a step-by-step guide to simplify the process:

Step 1: Gather Your Documents

Before you can apply for a student visa, you’ll need to compile all the necessary documentation. This includes:

  • Passport: Valid for the entire duration of your stay in Spain and with at least one blank page.
  • Visa Application Form: Completed and signed. You can usually download this form from the website of the Spanish consulate.
  • Acceptance Letter: From your Spanish educational institution confirming your enrollment.
  • Proof of Financial Means: Such as bank statements or a scholarship letter, showing you have sufficient funds to support yourself.
  • Health Insurance: Comprehensive coverage valid in Spain.
  • Criminal Record Certificate: From the UK, apostilled and translated into Spanish.
  • Medical Certificate: Stating you do not suffer from any diseases that could pose a threat to public health.
  • Recent Passport Photos: Generally, two color photos that meet the specified size and background requirements.

Step 2: Schedule Your Visa Appointment

Once your documents are prepared, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at the Spanish consulate nearest to you. This can often be done online via the consulate’s website.

Step 3: Attend Your Visa Interview

At the visa interview, you’ll submit your documents and answer questions about your study plans and background. This is to ensure that you meet all the requirements for the student visa.

Step 4: Pay the Visa Fee

There will be a fee associated with the application, which you must pay at the consulate. Fees vary depending on the type of visa and the duration of your studies, so check the latest information on the consulate’s website.

Step 5: Track and Receive Your Visa

After your interview, you can track the status of your visa application online. If approved, you’ll need to pick up your visa from the consulate. Some consulates might offer the option to have your visa mailed to you.

Additional Tips:

  • Apply Early: Visa processing times can vary, and delays are possible, so apply as soon as you have all your documents ready.
  • Check for Specific Requirements: Each consulate may have slightly different requirements or processes, so it’s important to verify details with the consulate where you will apply.
  • Prepare for Possible Delays: Especially during busy periods, visa processing can take longer than expected. Allow plenty of time before your intended departure.

Following these steps will help ensure a smooth application process for your Spanish student visa, allowing you to focus on preparing for your exciting educational journey ahead.

Option to Apply For a Student Visa From Spain

Good news for those already enjoying the sunny streets of Spain on a tourist visa! There’s an option to apply for a student visa while still in the country. If you’re within the first 60 days of your 90-day tourist stay in the Schengen area (meaning you have at least 30 days of legal stay left), you can submit your application online directly from Spain.

This approach mirrors the standard application process but comes with a couple of perks. First, you skip the hassle of scheduling an appointment at the consulate. Second, you get to remain in Spain and even start your course while your application is processed. Once approved, the resolution will act as your visa sticker, eliminating the need to collect it from any external office. It’s a seamless way to transition from tourist to student without leaving the country!

Settling in Spain on a Student Visa

where to get a student visa for spain

Arriving in a new country with a student visa comes with a few more steps to fully establish yourself as a student. Here’s what you need to do once you land in Spain:

Step 1: Register Your Address

Upon arrival in Spain, one of your first tasks should be to register your address at the nearest town hall (Ayuntamiento). This process is known as empadronamiento, which is essentially registering yourself as a resident in your local area. This is crucial for several administrative processes, including health care.

Step 2: Obtain Your Foreigner Identity Card (TIE)

Students staying in Spain for more than six months must apply for the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE), which is your foreigner identity card. You should apply for this at the nearest Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police station within 30 days of your arrival. To complete the application, you’ll need your passport, proof of address registration, an application form, and payment of the required fee to issue the TIE card.

Step 3: Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account in Spain can make daily financial matters much more manageable. To open an account, you’ll typically need your passport, proof of address, your TIE, and possibly your empadronamiento certificate. Some banks may also require a letter from your educational institution.

Step 4: Set Up Health Care

If your health insurance from home is not valid in Spain, you will need to sign up for a health insurance plan that meets the Spanish government’s requirements. If you are from the EU, ensure your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid; if not, consider local health insurance options.

Step 5: Get Connected

Setting up a mobile phone and internet service will help you stay connected with family and friends both in Spain and back home. There are many competitive plans available from various service providers.

Step 6: Cultural Integration

Integrating into Spanish culture can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your study abroad experience. Take advantage of orientation sessions offered by your school, connect with fellow students, and don’t hesitate to explore local customs, cuisine, and language. Consider joining clubs, sports teams, or other social groups to build your network and enhance your cultural understanding.

Additional Tips:

  • Learn Basic Spanish: Even if your program is in English, knowing basic Spanish will make everyday interactions much smoother.
  • Understand Public Transportation: Get familiar with local public transportation options. Most cities in Spain have reliable bus and train systems that can be cost-effective for students.
  • Stay Legal: Keep track of the expiration dates on your visa and TIE and understand the process for renewing them if you plan to stay in Spain longer than initially planned.

By following these steps, you’ll not only be well-prepared legally and logistically but also well on your way to a rich, immersive experience living and studying in Spain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Student Visa for Spain from the UK

Getting a Student Visa for Spain from the UK

Can I bring my relatives or family members with me?

Yes, students on a Spanish student visa can bring their family members, including spouses and dependent children. You must apply for their visas simultaneously with your own or after you arrive in Spain, demonstrating sufficient financial resources to support them (an additional 75% of the IPREM for the first relative, and 50% for each additional one).

Can I apply for a student visa while in Spain?

You can apply for a student visa from within Spain, especially if you entered the country on a different type of visa, such as a tourist visa. It’s crucial to start the application process well before your current visa expires to ensure the continuity of your legal status in Spain.

What happens if my course or studies are extended?

If your studies are extended beyond the duration initially approved, you can apply for an extension of your student visa. This process typically involves providing updated documentation from your educational institution and proof of continued financial means and health insurance coverage.

How do I renew my student visa if I decide to continue my studies?

To renew your student visa, you must submit an application before your current visa expires, or up to 90 days after it has expired. Your application should include updated documentation from your educational institution, proof of financial means, and valid health insurance. Depending on the specific requirements of the Spanish consulate, the process may also include a visa interview.

Can I work in Spain while studying with a student card?

Yes, recent changes in immigration law now allow students to work up to 30 hours per week during their studies without needing additional authorization. This opportunity enables students to gain valuable work experience and supplement their income while studying in Spain. 

However, this is only applicable if the work consists of an unpaid internship related to your studies or if your studies lead to a professional certificate (certificado de habilitación profesional). If your situation does not fit these scenarios, you will need additional authorization to work either as an employee or a self-employed individual.

How can I transition from a student visa to a work visa after completing my studies in Spain?

After completing your studies in Spain, transitioning to a work visa is a viable option for those looking to extend their stay and begin their professional careers in the country. The process involves modifying your student residence permit into a work permit. There are several pathways depending on your situation:

  • Residence Authorization Modification for Employment: You can apply for a work permit if you find employment that meets the conditions set by Spanish immigration laws. This permit allows you to work part-time or full-time and is typically linked to the specific employer sponsoring your application.
  • Highly Skilled Professional Visa: If you receive a job offer in a highly qualified profession, you may qualify for this type of visa. It requires the job to meet certain salary thresholds and is often associated with managerial or technical positions.
  • Entrepreneurial Activities: If you plan to start your own business, you can apply for a visa that supports entrepreneurial activities. You’ll need a comprehensive business plan and proof of investment capacity.
  • Job Search Visa: Recently graduated students can apply for a one-year residence permit extension to seek employment or set up a business in Spain. This is especially helpful for those who wish to transition smoothly from academia to the professional world.

Each of these options has specific requirements and conditions, so it’s important to plan ahead and seek advice from immigration experts to ensure compliance and improve your chances of a successful transition.


Navigating the student visa process for Spain from the UK can seem complex, but with the right preparation and understanding, it’s entirely achievable. 

Remember, the key to a successful application lies in meticulously gathering your documents, understanding the specific visa requirements, and ensuring you meet the financial, health, and legal criteria. But don’t let the process intimidate you. 

With careful planning and a proactive approach, you can ensure your study experience in Spain is both enriching and exhilarating. The legal eagles at Lexidy is here to assist every step of the way, from understanding visa requirements to settling into your new Spanish life.

Ready to start your journey? Fill out the form below or contact us for personalized assistance and make your dream of studying in Spain a reality.

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