International students and researchers wishing to study or conduct research in Spain must be in possession of a visa in order to be able to reside legally in the country.
Student Visas and Length of Stay
For studies and research periods lasting less than three months no student visa is necessary for citizens of the United States.
For periods of between three and six months a visa is required, but no other documents need be applied for in Spain.
For studies and research periods lasting more than six months, visitors must apply for both a visa and a student residence card in Spain. The student must begin the application process with the Spanish Consulate assigned to their state/region, and must continue the process within a month of his/her arrival in Spain. The student’s residence card is processed at the Oficinas de Extranjería (Foreign Nationals Offices) of the Spanish Police.
Many Spanish universities have guidance services for international students and researchers which will help with the processing of the student’s residence card.
Researchers or lecturers who have entered Spain with a residence visa which allows them to work without obtaining a work permit, must begin the procedures for obtaining a resident’s card within 30 days of their date of arrival in Spain.
This information is taken from the Spanish Ministry website. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the site directly at: http://www.maec.es.
The national visa application must be submitted on a duly completed application form (original and copy), which can be downloaded free of charge from this web page or can also be obtained free of charge from Spanish Diplomatic Missions or Consular Offices abroad.
The visa application must be made in person in the Diplomatic Mission or Spanish Consular Office in the country in which the applicant legally resides. The application may also be submitted by a duly authorised representative if it is a visa for the family regrouping of minors or under other duly accredited exceptional circumstances.
When submitting the visa application, the established fee must be paid (generally €60). This fee is non-refundable and therefore will not be refunded if the visa application is unsuccessful. For all other necessary requirements, please consult the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office where the visa application is being made as these may vary according to the type of visa requested and the applicant’s country of origin.
The maximum, non-extendable period for notifying decisions on national visa applications is one month from the day following the date the application is submitted at the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office, except in the case of residence visas for non-profit purposes, for which the maximum period is three months.
If the visa application is successful, the visa must be collected from the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office in which the application was submitted within a period of one month from the notification date, unless it is a visa for family regrouping or studies, in which case the collection period is two months. The visa must be collected in person or, in the case of regrouped minors, the visa may be collected by a duly authorised representative.
If the visa application is unsuccessful, the applicant will be duly notified. In this case, the applicant can file a judicial review appeal before the High Court in Madrid within a period of two months from the notification date or optionally, an appeal for review before the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office within one month from the notification date.
Foreign nationals who hold a valid long term national visa can move freely through other Schengen States for a maximum of three months within any six month period, so long as they meet the following entry conditions:
1. they must be in possession of a valid travel document or documents which allow them to cross the border;
2. they must be in possession of documents that evidence the purpose and conditions of the planned stay and proof of possession of sufficient financial means to cover subsistence costs, both for the duration of the planned stay and the return to their country of origin or transit to a third country in which their admission is guaranteed, or be in a position to legally acquire said means;
3. They must not pose a threat to public order, national security, public health or international relations in any Schengen States or be included on the national list of people banned from entering the Schengen State in question.
All foreign nationals who have been issued with a visa for a period of more than six months will receive a foreign national identity card which they must request in person within one month of entering Spain. Holders of residence visas and temporary work visas are exempt from said obligation.