With a widely popular culture and a strong market for foreign TEFL teachers, Spain is one of the top English teaching destinations in Europe. When it comes to getting the right visa for your stay, it largely depends on your nationality. To ensure you have the correct information for your situation, we recommend you visit the Spanish embassy website before you start making any other plans for your overseas teaching adventure. Below is a basic breakdown of the current visa requirements for teaching in Spain.
Do EU citizens need a visa to teach English in Spain?
As Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986, anyone with an EU passport can live and work in the country without obtaining a visa. However, all EU citizens still need to apply for a residency permit and a tax number on arrival in the country. The process for obtaining the permit and tax number are very straightforward and most employers should help you to make your application if required.
What visa do I need to teach English in Spain as a non-EU citizen?
Most non-EU citizens choose to enter Spain on a 90-day tourist visa that is issued on arrival at the airport. Due to the time and expense required to apply for an official work visa, many teachers simply find a job in the local area where they want to live and work with only the tourist visa they gained on arrival. Although this is technically illegal, it is a widespread practice that is generally tolerated by everyone concerned. While some people might be uncomfortable going down this route, thousands of Americans and other non-European teachers follow this path to teaching English in Spain every year.
Is it possible to get a work visa to teach English in Spain?
As previously mentioned, obtaining an official work visa for teaching English in Spain can be a time consuming and expensive proposition which means that many employers choose to avoid this path. The main exceptions to this are in international schools, although these positions typically require a high level of qualifications and classroom experience. One other common exception is for teachers who apply for a placement via the Ministry of Education's public school recruitment program. If accepted on the program you will receive a full work visa for the duration of your contract.
Is it possible to get a working holiday visa to teach English in Spain?
Individual governments often have reciprocal agreements that allow their citizens to work in each other's countries for a certain length of time (usually a year). This type of visa generally has a few restrictions on who is eligible to apply, the most common being age (typically people between 18 and 30 only). Proof of sufficient funds to last for the duration of your visa is also a common requirement. At the time of writing, the countries that have a working holiday visa arrangement with Spain are Australia, New Zealand and Canada, although this can obviously change at any time. For the current regulations, you should visit the Spanish Embassy website.
Is it possible to teach English in Spain with a student visa?
Another option that is possible for some teachers is a student visa which can be issued to people who plan to study at a Spanish language school or university. One of the perks of this type of visa is it also allows holders to legally work for a certain number of hours per week, on top of their normal study commitments. To obtain this type of visa it is necessary to apply from within your home country. Once again, the best advice is to visit the Spanish Embassy website for the latest information on the requirements for the study visa.