Student Visa for Spain: An Overview


If you want to further your education abroad, drink in some culture, and learn a new language, Spain could be perfect for you. However, if you’re thinking of taking time out to study there, you’ll need to get a student visa set up, first.

This article contains all you need to know about the different visas on offer for Australian citizens, and how to get a student visa, including the documents required. There’s also some food for thought about how you’ll pay for your tuition fees and every day needs, while you’re away, so you can avoid high international banking costs, and really make the most of your experience.

Visa Types for Spain

Spain is a member of the EU, and as such citizens of the EU, and EEA, do not need a visa to enter the country, to work or study. However, there may be formalities you need to complete, such as registering your address, even if you don’t need a visa.

Assuming you don’t hold a valid EU passport, you will likely need a visa to enter and remain in Spain - here are some common visa tiers to consider:

  • Schengen visa - short term or long term, for travel within the Schengen area
  • Spanish long term visas include a residency visa, a work and residence visa, and a student visa
  • Au pair visa
  • Temporary work visa
  • Work and holiday visa
  • Property investment visa

If you’re applying to study in Spain, you’ll probably need to apply for a long term student visa. That’s what we will focus on in this article - if you need a different visa type, check out the information available online from your local Spanish embassy or consulate.

Which countries are eligible for a student visa in Spain?

You can apply for a Spanish study visa, as long as you have been accepted onto a suitable study course, can pay your tuition and living expenses, and meet a range of other eligibility criteria - discussed below. Your nationality is not important.

Student visa requirements

To get a long term student visa, you’ll need to prepare a pack of documents, which you’ll then submit to your local Spanish consulate or embassy. Because the requirements are quite complex, it’s a good idea to double check the documents you hold will be sufficient before you set out.

Here’s what you are asked to provide:

  • Proof of your ID and residence in Australia. If you’re not an Australian citizen, you need to have a valid visa for your stay in Australia
  • Completed application form
  • A valid passport, which runs at least 6 months after your expected departure. You’ll need 2 blank pages for the visa to be entered into your passport
  • 2 passport photos
  • Original, hard copy, of the acceptance letter sent to you by your study programme
  • Planned itinerary, including details of when you intend to leave Spain after your studies
  • Proof you have the funds to pay for your stay - either a scholarship, proof of savings, or a declaration from your parents/guardians that they will pay where needed
  • Health insurance documentation, and medical clearance
  • A police certificate stating you do not have a criminal record
  • Proof of your accommodation plans once you arrive in Spain

All documents have to be provided in duplicate, and may need to be notarised or translated depending on the situation. Be sure to check exactly what’s needed in your own case, with your local consulate.

How to apply for a study permit

Your application must be submitted in person. That means you’ll have to make an appointment with your local consulate or embassy, and take along your pack of documents. It can take up to 4 weeks to process your permit, so you should arrange your meeting as far in advance as you can. Check the process at your local embassy - in some cases you can simply arrive without an advance appointment, at others, walk-ins are not allowed.

Once you have handed over your paperwork, the embassy may ask for more information, or documentation. You can then track the progress of your application online, before returning to the embassy or consulate to collect your visa.

It’s possible to have a parent or guardian attend the embassy to hand in your paperwork - but you’ll need to collect your visa in person once it has been approved.

Can I work and study at the same time?

Once you have a student visa, you may be able to work up to 4 hours a day if you get a special work permit. You may also be able to apply for a permit to allow you to work more hours over the holiday period.

The visa conditions explained when you get your visa will detail exactly what is - and is not - allowed under your study permit.

Student Visa fees

You’ll need to pay a fee when you attend the consulate to submit your visa paperwork. This is usually $91.30, but cheaper for children and some nationalities. There are additional fees if you need signatures or photocopies to be certified.

Payment must be in cash.

Paying for your studies. The best ways

If you’re planning on furthering your education in Spain, you’ll need money to pay for your tuition, rent, and daily living. This might come from a scholarship if you’re lucky, or you may be relying on your own savings, and help from your family for much of your money while you’re abroad.

In this case, you’re likely to need to make frequent international payments from Australia to Spain - which can quickly become expensive. Not only are there upfront fees to consider, if the exchange rate used is not good, the transfer can cost more than you expect it to.

Often your regular bank won’t be the best provider for international payments. It’s simply not their core business, so they don’t worry too much about beating down the prices. Choosing a specialist in international payments, like Wise, is often a cheaper way to get the euros you need to pay for things while you’re in Spain.

With Wise, all transfers are done using the actual exchange rate - the same as the one you’ll find on google. So there is no need to worry about any hidden charges, or an exchange rate markup - you just pay the transparent upfront cost laid out when arranging the transfer. Payments are quick and convenient, and arranged entirely online.

You might also want to get yourself a Wise borderless account, to save even more time and money on your international payments. This multi currency account lets you keep your money in any of over 40 different world currencies, in one account. You can then switch between currencies using the google exchange rate, and for just a low fee.

Investing a little time in planning before you set off for your international studies is just good common sense. Getting a visa is one hurdle you need to overcome, and once you have that arranged, you can move on to thinking about how to manage your money and pay for your studies without being stung by high international banking charges. Have a look at the fees and charges your bank will apply to international payments, and compare them - and the exchange rate used - to alternatives like Wise, to make sure you get the most for your money.

All sources accurate as of 24 January 2019

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