How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in Spain?

As Spain is a member of the EU, language schools generally prefer to hire teachers from fellow EU countries as they do not need to go through the hassle of applying for a work visa. However, this doesn't stop thousands of non-EU citizens from coming to Spain each year to work as English language teachers. Many of these simply enter on a tourist visa and technically work illegally. While this is common practice and rarely has any negative consequences, there is an alternative for those who want to live and work in Spain. By enrolling on a study course (typically a Spanish language course), teachers can apply for a student visa that also allows them to legally work a certain number of hours per week.

What is the application process for a student visa in Spain?

To start the process you should visit your nearest Spanish Consulate at least three months before you plan to leave. At this visit you should verify the exact requirements, collect an application form, and make an appointment to submit your application. You also need to enroll on a government recognized study program in the area where you wish to live in Spain. The documentation required may vary, but typically includes:

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Four extra passport photos
  • Private health insurance policy
  • Police criminal background check in English and Spanish
  • Medical certificate in English and Spanish showing negative test results for yellow fever, cholera, the plague, mental illness, and drug dependency
  • Proof of enrollment on study course in Spain
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of finances (bank statement showing funds of $1,000 for every month of your stay, or notarized document from parent or similar declaring they will guarantee the funds)

What should I do on arrival in Spain?

Once your student visa has been approved and you have arrived in Spain, you then need to apply for a Número de Identificación (NIE) within 30 days. To do so you must visit a police station or immigration office with the following documents at hand:

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • Two additional passport photos
  • Your Spanish address

How easy is it to get a student visa for Spain?

As long as you follow the exact requirements laid out by the Spanish Consulate, you have an excellent chance of receiving a student visa that allows you to live and work in Spain. Whether you prefer Madrid or Barcelona, Seville or Valencia, a student visa could be the key to an unforgettable trip.

How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in Spain?