Can I legally teach English in Spain with a student visa?

Many language schools in Spain try to avoid the hassle of applying for work permits for their teachers by only hiring teachers from within the EU. However, this does not stop thousands of non-EU citizens heading to Spain every year looking to work within the field of TEFL. For many of these, this means entering the country and working with only a standard tourist visa. Although this is technically illegal, it is widespread and generally tolerated. If the idea of working illegally doesn’t appeal to you, a student visa is one option that allows you to enter Spain and work legally with some restrictions. With this visa you can typically work part-time as a teacher for a certain amount of hours each week.

How do I apply for a student visa for Spain?

If you want to apply for a student visa you should visit a Spanish Embassy in your own country at least three months before you plan to leave. At the embassy you can pick up an application form and confirm you have the most up-to-date requirements for the visa. You should also make an appointment to return to the embassy to submit your application. The main requirement of a student visa is to sign up for a study program in Spain that is recognized by the Spanish government. The necessary documents when applying for the visa are subject to change, but currently include:

  • 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 do I need to do on arrival in Spain?

If your application for a student visa is successful, you then need to apply for a Número de Identificación (NIE) within 30 days of your arrival in Spain. To do this you need to visit a police station or immigration office with the following documents:

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

Is it easy to get a student visa for Spain?

Although no visa application is ever guaranteed to be successful, your chances of getting a student visa for Spain are good as long as you meet all the set criteria and provide all the right documents when required. Whether your plan is to live and study in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville or Valencia, a student visa could open up many doors for your future TEFL career.

Can I legally teach English in Spain with a student visa?