Legal aspects: Visa

Students from the European Union

Students from the EU countries do not require a visa to enter the country. However, they must register at the Central Registry for Foreigners as EU residents at the nearest Oficina de Extranjería , within three months after their arrival in Santander.

Students from outside the European Union

Length of the stay

  • Study periods less than three months
    For studies and research periods lasting less than three months no study visa is necessary, unless the interested party is from a country for which a visa is required as standard practice. The European Directive EC Nº 539/2001 of March 15th, 2001 includes in its annex I the countries whose nationals are submitted to the visa obligation to enter the Schengen Area. [+]more info
  • Study periods from three to six months 
    For periods up to six months, students must apply for a visa for a period up to 180 days. Once in Spain they are not allowed to apply for a Residence Card but they are allowed to apply for a NIE (Identity Number for Foreign Students) which is important for opening a bank account.
  • Study Periods longer than six months 
    If the study period is longer than six months students must apply for a visa for studies and upon arrival in Spain  or the Schengen Area, they must apply for a TIE (Tarjeta de Estancia por Estudios: Student Residence Authorization Card) within 30 days of arrival. The passport stamp or the flight ticket is needed to prove this date. A provisional copy of the Student Residence Authorization Card will be issued until the original card is due in one or two months.


General requirements to apply for a visa

The general requirements to apply for a study visa at the country of origin of the student are to be confirmed for each case at the specific Embassy or Consulate:

  • A document certifying admission to an officially recognized public or private teaching centre for the purposes of study, research or training.
  • The contents of the study, training or research syllabus that the applicant intends to pursue.
  • A medical insurance policy covering medical expenses and repatriation in the case of accident or sudden illness for the entire period of the stay in Spain.
  • A medical certificate specifying that the applicant does not suffer an illness requiring quarantine in accordance with international health regulations.
  • A certificate of solvency for the period in question, if necessary to cover the cost of returning to the country of origin.
  • A criminal record certificate issued by the authorities of the country of origin or the country in which the applicant has lived during the past five years.

Important: All foreign official documents must be previously legalized and, if necessary, must be translated into Spanish or official language of the territory where the application is submitted.

Extension of the visa

Students can apply for an extension of the authorization of stay in an official model addresses to the Delegación del Gobierno within the sixty days before the expiration date of its period of validity. [+]more info 


It is not possible to enter Spain with a tourist visa and then apply for a study visa. Students entering the country only with a tourist visa will have to return to their country of residence and obtain the visa there.
Foreign students studying in Spain may work for up to 20 hours a week provided that the working day is compatible with their study or research commitments. An employer who wishes to hire a foreign student in these conditions must apply to the Foreign Nationals' Office for authorization. The duration of the contract may not be longer than the duration of the study visa.


Mobility within the European Union: Information for non-EU students admitted in another Member State of the European Union and who will take part in an exchange or complete their studies in Spain.

Non-EU students who have been admitted to study or extend their studies in another Member State of the European Union may seek to pursue or complete part of their studies in Spain, and are -since a change in Immigration Law from June 30th, 2011 on- exempted from the obligation to obtain a Spanish visa for their studies.

Instead of a visa, the student has to apply for a Student Residence Permit, either before the entry into Spain in the Spanish Consular Office where the student currently resides, or after entering Spain, within the period of one month after the entry. The documents have to be presented personally by the student.



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