Studying in Spain - Who does need a visa?

Who does need a visa?

Citizens of the European Union or of a signing member of the Agreement on European Economic Area.
Although citizens of the European Union do not need visas, they do need to request an NIE (Foreign Citizen's Identification Number) once they are in Spain to be able to carry out certain formalities, such as opening a bank account, purchasing a transport pass or gaining access to public health care.
To remain in Spain for more than three months you should present the proof of your admission or pre-registration evidence in an officially recognized educational or scientific centre, public or private; course or research programme or training plan; to have a medical insurance and evidence you have enough money to cover your studies fees and stay costs. You must also consult the Foreigners Office or local Police Station in order to register on the Central Foreigners' Register. The certificate issued will also provide a Foreigners' Identification Number (N.I.E.). You must apply for this certification within three months of arriving in Spain. You will find more information in the following site Web.  
Students from other countries
Foreigners wishing to stay in Spain to study, carry out research, training or unpaid internship activities, participate in student exchanges, or perform volunteer services, must obtain the corresponding visa, which will include the initial authorization to stay in Spain. However, nationals of States who are not submitted to the obligation of having a visa for crossing the external borders of the European Union are exempted from the visa requirement provided that the duration of their stay in Spain does not exceed three months (90 days).
For studies or research lasting over 6 months you will also need to request a student residence card in addition to obtaining your visa. This process must take place within the period of one month after arrival in Spain and is carried out in the immigration offices of the National Police.
Where do you apply for a visa?
You may apply for a visa at the Spanish Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office in your country of origin or the nearest to your legal residence. Visa applications must be submitted personally at the Spanish Consular Office in Bordeaux, with prior appointment. When you have all the documents required you can ask for an appointment.
What kind of documents do I have to attach to a visa application?

Documentation that must be attached to the visa application (the original and a copy):  

  • A valid passport to be current throughout the whole time of your stay in Spain. A copy of all the passport's pages, even blank pages.
  • The applicant must provide documentation proving his/her residence status in Bordeaux (permanent residence permit, working permit, study permit, etc.)
  • A recent full-face photograph, in color, on a light, plain and uniform background, without dark glasses or any garment that may prevent identification of the applicant.
  • Confirmation of school/university registration issued by the academic institution in Spain or, if it is a students’ exchange, a letter issued by both academic institutions. Original hardcopy Acceptance Letter as a full-time student indicating: name, address, contact person, telephone and email of the school, full payment of tuition, dates of the program, subjects of study and hours of study per week (20 at least). 
  • Proof of health insurance with international coverage for the intended period of stay in Spain.
  • Proof of accommodation: hotel reservation or confirmation letter from the Academic Institution indicating the conditions of your accommodation. Private housing must be accompanied by a notarized invitation.
  • Proof of financial reliability. - Bank statements, scholarships, etc. A minimum amount of 537,84€ per month of stay is required. If your parents are to cover the costs, you must present a notarized letter signed by them indicating their consent and a copy of their bank statement for the last two months.
  • A completed and signed visa application form

If the duration of the stay is over six months, additionally, will be necessary to present :

  1. A medical certificate issued by the family doctor worded as follows:  “This medical certificate states that Mr./Mrs.….. does not suffer from any diseases that may have serious consequences on public health in accordance with the provisions contained in the 2005 International Health Regulations”. The medical certificate must be legalised.
  2. A negative criminal record check issued by the authorities of the country or countries where you have resided in the past 5 years, including France The negative criminal record check must be legalized with the Apostille of The Hague Convention. 

The visa fee is 60€ and must be paid when the visa application, except when a reciprocity fee applies to some countries, such as Canada and USA. Only cash will be accepted.

The negative criminal record check and the medical certificate should be first legalised (with the Apostille of The Hague Convention) and then translated into Spanish.


PROCESSING STUDENTS' VISAS NORMALLY TAKES AT LEAST 15 DAYS. THE VISA WILL BE ISSUED AFTER AGREEMENT OF SPANISH AUTHORITIES. It is advisable not to finalize any plans nor make any payment concerning travel dates until you have been advised that your student visa has been approved.
Do I have to submit any document at the border post when requesting entry in Spain?
Yes. When you are at a Spanish border check, you must show a valid passport or other travelling document proving your identity to the Police Control officers; these documents should be valid for, at least, the period of time that you intend to stay in Spain, as well as, depending on the case, you should show, the necessary visa.
Must I apply for any documents to reside in Spain?
Yes. If you wish to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months, you must apply for a Foreigner Identity Card (TIE), within a month term from your entry in Spain, submitting among other documents, the visa previously issued for residence purposes by the Spanish Consular Office. A Foreigners' Identification Number (N.I.E.) is issued with this card.
Where may be a Foreigner Identity Card applied for?
You may apply for a Foreigner Identity Card at the Oficinas de Extranjeros or at the Police Departments, where you intend to establish your residence.
You should present the following documents: passport and studying visa, 3 full-face photos, in color, on a light, plain and uniform background and an application form (EX-17). You could downloaded in the Web site:
Do I have to pay a fee for a residence card in Spain?
Yes, if you are going to establish your residence in Spain you must pay a fee for the initial authorization.
May I extend my residence in Spain if I am not working?
Yes. At the end of the validity of your first authorization of non-lucrative residence, if your circumstances are the same as they were when you were granted the initial permit, you may in person apply for its renewal for consecutive periods of two years each.
For more information or any clarification, please contact the Visa Department at the Consulate of Spain (


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