Are you thinking of travelling to Spain to study? In this post we will explain you all you need to know before doing it. Depending on the country you are travelling from, there are certain documents that you will need and some formalities that you must complete beforehand.

Passport or ID Card?

Citizens of the European Union and of some non-member states with which the EU maintains close relations do not need a passport; in these cases the identity document or card of each country would be sufficient (in Spain it is called DNI; in France, carte d’identité; in Germany, Personalausweis; etc.).

However, if your country is not on the list and is not a member country either, you must get a passport. In both cases, whether you have an ID Card or a passport, the document must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to return to your country of origin.

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Tourist Visa

There are some countries where a visa is required to cross borders. You can find out if this is your case on this list from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.  If your country/region is on the list and you are not in possession of a residence permit or long-stay visa in a Member State, make sure you apply for a travel visa at least 3 months in advance, as these administrative procedures usually take a long time.

If you have a visa or residence permit in another Schengen State, you can travel through Spain for a maximum of 90 days, within a maximum stay of 180 days. However, beforehand you must indicate to the authorities the reason for your stay in the country, as well as your purchasing power to be able to cover your expenses during that time here, not being subject to a ban on entry to Spain (registered in the Schengen Information Service or in the National Register) and not posing a danger to health, public order, national security or the international relations of Spain or other States with which Spain has an agreement.

Whether you have a visa or an ID Card, we recommend that you always have a photo of the document on your mobile phone and a printed photocopy in your suitcase, and when you arrive in Spain, keep it in a safe place that you will remember. The reason for this is that, if the original is lost or stolen, it will be much easier for you to get another one.

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Student Visa

If you are going to spend more than 90 days in Spain, you must apply for a Student Visa. There are two types of Student Visa: a short-term visa (from 91 days to 180 days) and a long-term visa (for more than 6 months). The requirements are the same as for a normal tourist visa: you must not be a citizen of the European Union, you must not be banned from entering Spain and must possess sufficient economic funds to maintain yourself in the country.

To obtain a long-stay visa, another requirement is that you must have clear criminal background records in Spain and in your previous countries of residence for the last 5 years for offences under Spanish law; also bear in mind that if you suffer from any disease that could have serious public health repercussions (recognized by the International Health Regulation of 2005), you will not be able to obtain a long-stay visa even if you meet the other requirements. In addition, in order to be able to apply for this visa, you must have private medical insurance with full coverage.

For your studies in Spain, you will need to provide proof of your enrolment. You can ask us for this proof at the school; in order to provide it, we ask you to pay the full amount of the programme (in some cases 50% is enough) and to have enrolled in a course with a minimum of 20 lessons per week.

Confirmation of accommodation

In your visa application you will need to include a confirmation of your accommodation address for the time you will be studying in Spain. Our school offers different accommodation options. For long term students the most recommended option for accommodation is a shared flat with other international students. We will include the address of your accommodation during your stay in Spain in the letter of confirmation of enrolment and payment that we will send you for your student visa application.

Preparation of visa documents

Before you start the application process for a student visa, we recommend that you contact your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate to find out the exact requirements and documents. Without a doubt, a good preparation of the documentation usually facilitates the approval of the visa.

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Moreover, even if you do not need a visa to study in Spain, you may need the following documents:

Private medical insurance or European Health Insurance Card

European Union citizens can apply for a European Health Insurance Card on this page; the form is quite simple to fill in and in a few weeks you will receive the document at your home address (although it is better if you apply with more time in advance).

If you are from another country and cannot get a European Health Insurance Card, we recommend that you get a private medical insurance contract for your trip; otherwise Spanish private health care is usually quite expensive and if you had an accident, you would have to pay for it.

Furthermore, you may exceptionally be asked to present medical certificates required by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so before travelling you should check this website or ask your Embassy/Consulate.

Travel insurance

Taking out travel insurance can also be a good option. This type of insurance covers theft, lost or damaged luggage, missed flights, family emergencies that require an early return home, etc. This insurance is important when you are going to spend many weeks in the country or if you want to be sure that you have everything covered in case of unforeseen events.

Are you a minor?

If you are below 18 years old and you do not come accompanied by your parents, you must carry a legal authorization signed by your parental or legal guardian to ensure that they are fully aware of your travel. Similarly, if you are a minor and you are travelling with your parents or one of them, border agents may request your documents or ask for the express authorisation of your other parent to ensure that they are not breaking the law regarding your custody or lying about the real reason for your travel (don't worry if this happens to you, it is very often and is done routinely).

If you have any health problem

It is recommended that people with a specific health condition, in addition to travelling with the medication they will need for the duration of their stay, and even double the amount needed, have a document stating: who to contact in case of emergency (name and telephone number of your doctor) and details of the medication and prescribed doses, so that other people can help you if you need it.

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Travellers' Registration

In some countries, it is recommended that you notify the Consulate or Embassy in the country you are travelling to, providing your details and all the information related to your stay in the country. The reason is that, in the event of an emergency or conflict situation, thanks to this registration they can locate you and tell you how to act (this is only preventive and optional).

We also suggest that you always have the telephone number of your country's Embassy and/or Consulate in Spain at hand.

Covid situation

Finally, keep in mind that in the current Covid-19 situation, additional measures may arise such as PCR tests or antigen tests, mobility restrictions or even the requirement to be vaccinated with all doses. We therefore recommend that before travelling you check the restrictions adopted by the Ministry of the Interior on border crossings, as well as the health measures adopted by the Ministry of Health.

NIE and TIE, what are they?

The NIE is the Foreigners' Identification Number, which will be assigned to you automatically when you are going to reside in Spain for more than 90 days. It is a sequence of numbers that begins and ends with a capital letter (usually X or Y). It is unique and forever, that is, it does not expire. It is usually printed on the visa issued by the Spanish Embassy or Consulate; if the NIE is not on the visa, when you arrive in Spain you will have to request it by appointment.

The TIE is the Foreigners' Identification Card. It is compulsory for stays in Spain of more than 6 months (180 days) and you will have to renew it according to your study plans. It must be applied for within the first month of the foreigner's arrival in Spain. To obtain the TIE, you must book an appointment at this link, and select the option: “Policía- Toma de Huellas (expedición de tarjeta) y renovación de tarjetas de larga duración”.

On the day of fingerprinting to obtain the TIE, you will be asked for the following documents:

  1. Official form EX-17. This form must be submitted in duplicate, duly completed and signed.
  2. Proof of payment of the fee (which must be made beforehand in accordance with Form 790, code 012).
  3. Recent colour photograph.
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City Registration

If you are going to live in Spain for a long period of time, you can register in the city or municipality where you are going to study. The Padrón Municipal is an administrative register that lists all the people who live in the municipality. Being registered is legal proof that you are a resident in the municipality. To carry out this procedure you will have to:

  1. Request an appointment at the corresponding Town Hall to register in the Municipal Register.
  2. Present all the necessary documentation to justify the address of your accommodation (rental contract, utility bills, etc.).
  3. Request your census registration certificate (in many cases, this can be done online through the electronic headquarters of each Town Hall).

Here we have explained all the procedures that you should do in order to travel without any worries and enjoy 100% of your stay in our country. Remember that some of them are optional and not all of them apply to your specific case. So don't let the paperwork stop you from coming, we are convinced that it will be worth it! 😉 Check our long-term Spanish courses here!

Enjoy and learn a lot! We are looking forward to seeing you in Spain!

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