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How to Apply for a Student Visa to Legally Teach English in Spain

Spain offers an array of opportunities for foreign nationals to teach English while pursuing further studies.

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If you're passionate about teaching English abroad and dream of immersing yourself in the rich culture of Spain, obtaining a student visa is a crucial step to make your aspirations a reality. It will enable you to live, study and work in the country for extended periods beyond the 90 days that are allowed by a typical tourist visa.

How Can I Get a Student Visa for Spain?

Because it is challenging and rare for Americans and other non-EU citizens to get legal work visas to teach English in Spain, International TEFL Academy offers special Student Visa Programs in Madrid and Barcelona that enables participants who take a TEFL certification course through International TEFL Academy to enroll in a part-time language program and receive a student visa that enables them to live and teach English in Spain legally.

Read more: Visas for Spain

Participants also receive job search guidance in Madrid and Barcelona to assist with gaining employment.  

Below is a general overview of the steps you will need to take to receive a student visa in Madrid or Barcelona. Please note that the process can vary depending on which class you take and which consulate you apply for your visa through. Furthermore, note that visa regulations and the application process for obtaining a student visa for Spain can change at any time.

student visa for teaching English in Spain

How to Apply for Your Spain Student Visa

To apply for a student visa to legally teach English in Spain, you will need to follow certain steps and meet specific requirements. The application procedure and necessary documents may differ slightly between consulates. You must check with the Spanish consulate that presides over your jurisdiction for the most accurate information.

  • Consult your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate about Spanish study visa requirements for your country at least 120 days prior to departure. You should request a Student Visa Application Form.
  • Make sure to arrange an appointment with the Spanish Embassy or Consulate no less than 6 weeks and no more than 12 weeks before your intended arrival.
  • Enroll in a government-recognized language school or university in Spain. You will not qualify for a student visa for Spain unless you are enrolled in a recognized program.
  • If you are looking to participate in the International TEFL Academy Student Visa Program and teach English in Spain:
    • For Madrid you will need to enroll with our sister school, Universidad Europea del Atlantico. Classes for this program will be held at the school, La Aventura Espanola, in Madrid.[Please note prior to granting a Spanish study visa, your local Spanish Embassy will require Universidad Europea del Atlantico to confirm that your Spanish program and accommodation fees have been paid for in full].
    • For Barcelona, you'll enroll with International TEFL Academy and sign up for your student visa class with ITA Barcelona. Language classes will be held at BCN Language Immersion Program Language School (BCNLIP). BCNLIP is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, which is the highest accreditation a Spanish language school can obtain in Spain.
      Please fill out a contact form or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an advisor regarding this process.
  • Certificate of Enrollment – Your “Study Visa Invitation”
    Upon enrollment (and payment), the school you enroll with will send you a Certificate of Enrollment (Study Visa Invitation letter) by email and a hard copy by post on the same day (with a copy sent by email immediately). This will be required by your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate prior to issuing a visa. The document is evidence that you are enrolled in a course and will state your name, the course details, your accommodation details, the dates of study and confirmation of the amount paid for the course and accommodation fees. It is signed by the school's director and is stamped with the school’s seal.

  • Student Visa Application Form - Request this form from the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

    The application should be filled out and filed for processing at the appropriate Spanish Embassy or Consulate at least three months before your departure date.
    Representatives from the program that you enroll in should be able to assist you with questions.

Required Documents for Your Spain Student Visa

Prepare the required documents for your visa application:

  • 4 recent pictures, passport size.

  • Passport valid for a minimum of six months with three photocopies of the personal information and photo page.

  • Completed Spanish study visa application form.

  • Proof of admission to an accredited school or university as a full-time student. This will be provided by the program you are enrolled.

  • Private health insurance policy – The program can advise you on health insurance if required.

  • Original certificate of good conduct/criminal background check issued by the police department of the city or cities where the applicant has spent 6 months or more in the last 5 years - a translation into Spanish must also be provided.

  • Original medical certificate typed on doctor's stationery verifying that the applicant is free from the following quarantine diseases: yellow fever, cholera, and the plague. The certificate must also certify that the applicant is free of drug addictions and mental illness. A translation into Spanish must be provided.

  • Confirmation that accommodation details while in Spain have been paid for in full.

  • Proof of financial means for the period of study in Spain. This could be:

    • Certificate of enrollment from the program stating educational and living expenses have been paid for in advance, or

    • Notarized letter from parents/custodians, assuming financial responsibility while student is in Spain, or

    • Current statement of the student’s bank account with a minimum balance of $800 per month of stay in Spain or $800 worth of travelers checks per month of stay in Spain. 

Please note that if you enroll in the Spain Student Visa Program through International TEFL Academy, the staff in Barcelona or Madrid will gladly assist you in the process of obtaining a study visa, but you will need to follow the strict guidelines of your local Spanish Embassy/Consulate. It is the local Spanish Embassy/Consulate that makes all decisions regarding the granting of study visas and their decision is final. Please note that different consulates and embassies may operate differently when it comes to the process of issuing visas.

Upon Arrival in Spain

Within 30 days after your arrival in Spain you will need to apply for a Número de Identificación (NIE).  To do this, please visit a local Spanish Police Station or Immigration Office. 

Here is a list of documents you will need to apply for an NIE. (Note: once you have arrived in Spain, we will put you in contact with people who can help you with this process if desired.)

  • A letter indicating your need for a NIE number
  • Your Spanish address
  • Two completed NIE application forms available online
  • Two passport photos with white backgrounds
  • Copy of the identification page your passport
  • A valid passport

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Legally Teach English in Spain

Once you've turned in your paperwork you will receive a receipt called a resguardo.  Within 15 days, you should return to the Spanish Police Station or Immigration Office with your resguardo to pick up your NIE.Trainee Support Coordinator will sit down with you about how to obtain your NIE (foreign identification card). They will go through a step-by-step list with you of what needs to be done. You will receive a packet of legal documents that needs to be filled out then presented to the Ministry of Foreigners Department. The TEFL Madrid or Barcelona director will assist you in this process. 

FAQs Regarding Student Visas in Spain

Teach English in Spain Visa TEFLWho is Considered a Student?

Foreigners coming to Spain for the purpose of studying or undertaking research, training or a non-lucrative job at an educational or scientific institution (public or private) that is officially recognized by the Spanish government.

How Long Does the Student Visa Last?

It is granted for the whole duration of the Spanish course or education program that the student is enrolled in.

When Does the Spanish Study Visa Expire?

When the activity for which it was granted comes to an end or when the period for which it was granted is over.

Is the Spanish Study Visa Renewable?

Yes, the Spanish study visa is renewable; this will typically depend on continued study in a program recognized by the Spanish government.

Can Foreign Students’ Relatives Come to Spain?

Students who have obtained a visa can apply for the corresponding stay visas for their relatives to enter and stay in Spain, during the period of their studies or research.  

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