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I thought that since I’ve been going through the process of getting the Spanish student visa, I ought to christen this section of Velabas with a helpful article describing how to go about getting it. The National Visa Application Form is the principle application that you must fill out for your student visa. Your passport must have validity at least 6 months past the date of the end of your proposed program. DATES: If you received your acceptance letter (the resolucion), then you probably received it by e-mail. TUITION: Another point of contention for me was this idea that I had to have paid the tuition in full.
TIME: My program was starting in September, and I would barely finish the visa application, a 4-5 week process, at the end of July.
Between the time I got the acceptance letter and the time I’d be obligated to make an appointment at the Spanish consulate in Chicago, there was not enough time to wait for my program director to send me the original, hardcopy acceptance letter by regular mail.
If you have scholarship from your Spanish institution, you need a letter that states that your room and board will be fully covered in the amount of at least $2,200 per month. First, you can save up or otherwise prove that you have or will have $26,400 over a twelve month long period (adjust based on how many months your program lasts). To get the Spanish student visa, you need to have health insurance while you’re in Spain.
Normally, you need to have proof of health insurance for the full duration of your program.
For programs over 180 days you need to get a criminal background check for all countries and states in which you’ve legally lived over the past five years.
There are two steps to this process: getting the notarized record, and then getting the apostille.
In order for the spanish consulate to accept your criminal record, it must first be notarized and then apostilled. Once you have reserved your time for an appointment at the Spanish consulate in Chicago, make sure to print out the confirmation that you will receive via e-mail.
When I finally had my appointment, my acceptance letter had arrived the day before, so everything fell into place at the very last moment. After more than a year of living abroad and juggling Schengen visas and French long stay visas, the time has finally come for me to apply for a Spanish visa. Much like the long stay French visa I received last year, this Spain residence visa allows me to stay in longer than the standard 90 days allotted to American citizens.
The visa application process is explained on the consulate’s website but for some reason we never found this Spain visa information before. The most difficult part for me was the fact that I must apply and pick up my issued visa in person, at the consulate within my jurisdiction.
Below are the steps required for the application with some notes and clarifications that I discovered along the way. Note: You can buy this exact travel insurance directly through our site by clicking this link or by using the quote tool on the side bar of this post. So to be fair, the Spain residency process is difficult, time consuming and frustrating at times.
Here are some additional blogger resources for applying for visas in Spain, including the Spanish Residency Visa. Note: If you buy travel insurance directly through our site, this won’t cost you any extra but we do receive a very small commission when you go through our link.
Also if anyone at the LA consulate has been helpful or your appointment goes smoothly it would be nice to know who you talked to. It is great connecting with you both here, after having connected with you on Couch Surfing.
I have read that some consulates require a letter stating your reasons for wishing to reside in Spain.
Most importantly (for me), for this non-lucrative visa did they require that you surrender and leave your passport for the duration of the processing period?
I have read that for student visas they want you to give up your passport and leave it with them.
My daughter just got her application for a non-lucrative visa accepted last week at the Los Angeles consulate.
They required ALL documents to the certified translated into Spanish including financial statements. At appointment #2 she had tried internet printouts of her statements and current balances and Los Angeles would not accept those. Yes I think they will accept that but you probably need your friend to give you a signed and notarized letter with their address inviting you to stay. Hi Bill-I came across your questions on Auston’s blog and was wondering if you could me out!
Did you have to leave your visa at the consulate for the entire time it took to get approval? Hi Auston, I am currently living in Barcelona with a work visa and am looking to switch to a non lucrativa as I am unemployed now. There is no minimum stay requirement in Spain and the visa can be renewed up to five years. After five years those who have invested in Spanish property (and immediate family members) may apply for permanent residency although that will require a minimum residence period of 183 days. Citizenship and a Spanish passport can be applied for after a period of permanent residence in Spain. However as there is no minimum stay requirement, actual physical residence is not necessary. Property investors will be able to own and run a business in Spain but are not free to work until permanent residency is granted. Cee Lou Spain  specializes in Spanish property for international investors with consultants in cities throughout China, Hong Kong and Dubai. Investors can also register find out more details of private sales and investments through Cee Lou International Private Office. There are many reasons for our clients to be seeking immigration and a residency visa in Europe. Cee Lou International has an extensive network of Spain’s top professionals in property, immigration and tax laws. Our partners can evaluate your circumstances and advise on the best option and location depending on your needs.
I used this article about getting the student visa from the Spanish consulate in San Francisco in order to get my bearings, but I had to keep in mind that each consulate is different.
I despise bureaucracy, as anyone who has read into the travel stories probably knows about me. You will then register with the online appointment system to reserve a day and time for your visa interview. This doesn’t pertain to the USPS envelope, the money order, passport photos or appointment confirmation. Much of this application you will leave blank because there are fields that will not pertain to your situation. It is not the policy of the University of Barcelona to charge students before they matriculate.
I therefore created a FedEX account online, created a return shipment label that I e-mailed to him (click here for the whole process walk-through).
At the interview, the girl behind the glass said that FedEX had been unnecessary, that I could have just printed out the acceptance letter. The visa instructions even say not to buy a ticket to Spain until you have your visa, because airlines do not refund flights if the reason is late documents. If you’re following this article to a tee, then you are probably a free-agent, as I described myself. Secondly, you can get a notarized letter from parents assuming full responsibility for at least $2,200 per month. The instructions demand that your coverage be for at least 30,000 euros, which is about 50,000 dollars, and it must necessarily include repatriation coverage (that’s for sending you home). This is a certified letter from the company, signed, stating what the package covers (make sure it includes that repatriation coverage). The Consulate General of Spain in Chicago had very explicit instructions on the wording of this letter.

What you need is to have Hepatitis A and B immunizations, and you need a TB (tuberculosis) test. I was early, and there was no one waiting, so I had the brief interview standing in front of the window and was out of there before my actual appointment time had come.
The girl was surprised to see my application, and suggested that after one year I’d have to return to Chicago to renew the visa. I’m making the process of obtaining a student visa, but from the Spanish consulate in Lima (Peru). While David applied for his visa for Spain last October, I didn’t think the path to Spanish residency was as easy for me.
And like the French visa, you must agree to not work in Spain and that you have sufficient income from outside sources to support you during your stay. Now after a moving to Spain and a year and a half later, I finally figured out to how get a long term visa (aka: long stay visa Spain) and how to move to Spain legally.
Since I’m still technically a US resident, I have to apply in Los Angeles since my home address is in Phoenix.
Note that these requirements are mostly based on the instructions from the Los Angeles Consulate, which should be the same for all US citizens, though I’ve seen differences and discrepancies on each of the 8 Spanish Consulate websites. Passport Photos – You must submit two passport photos with your application – another simple step. Passport – You need to provide your passport during the application process and the catch is that it must be valid for 4 months after you plan to leave Spain. Residence Form – You need to submit the form EX-01 called “Solicitud de autorizacion de estancia y prorrogas” which is essentially the application for the Spain residence permit.
US Residency – If you’re a US resident but not a citizen, there is an extra step to prove your valid immigration into the US, but this did not apply to me. Medical Certificate – You must obtain a medical certificate from a doctor stating you are in good health and don’t suffer any illnesses that would threaten public health. Criminal Record History – You need to submit a Criminal Record History from either your state or the FBI. Proof of Sufficient Funds – Since you aren’t allowed to work while in Spain, you have to prove that you have sufficient income or savings to support yourself during your stay. Proof of Accommodation – You need to also submit proof of where you will live while in Spain, whether it’s property ownership or if you’re renting or leasing. Spouse or Family – If you are married and plan on bringing your spouse, he or she needs to submit the same documents plus your marriage certificate, legalized by the Apostille of The Hague and translated into Spanish.
But if you’re like me and really want to move to Spain and continue working on your own terms, then this is the visa for you.
The criminal background check and medical certificate are only valid from 3 months of issue. You probably need to start planning out this process at least 5-6 months in advance for your Spanish residency visa. I also got confirmation from the Los Angeles consulate that I must apply for and pick up the granted visa in person.
These people have successfully received both residence and student visas at various consulates and give good tips on what you need to do it. Making an appointment with the Los Angeles Consulate has been particularly difficult as appointments were not available until 3 months out. There are just a couple things that my mom is assisting me with in the states to speed up the process with mailing.
They wanted 3 months worth of statements and they would not accept them unless signed by bank official and stamped (notarized or official bank stamp). You probably also need to submit a copy of their DNI (ID card) with their address to prove where they live. Holders of the Spanish golden visa are free to travel throughout the Schengen visa countries in Europe. Personal circumstances mean most cases are different and require professional and legal advice for the best solution. Our focus is to cater to foreign investors to assist them in navigating the system removing any confusion or stress to ensure a positive experience and outcome. Whether this be for family residence, investment, frequent travel, schooling and university, business set up and retirement. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. For instance, in Chicago they didn’t ask for proof of accommodation while in the SF article they apparently did. If you are going to Spain on a study abroad program, some or all of these steps will be streamlined for you.
I was breathing a lot of hot air throughout the process, but I had to suck it up to cool down. We were in the process of moving to a state in the San Francisco consulate’s jurisdiction, and though I did not have an ID from any of those states, I was informed that a lease agreement would work as proof of residency. I communicated with my program director in order to get a new acceptance letter with all these nit-picky items addressed.
So in the acceptance letter, they made it clear that I had paid 180 euros for the pre-inscription (preinscripcion).
In my case, my program director made it clear that he was not going to be checking his e-mail during the entire month. All he had to do was print the label, call FedEX for a pick-up, remind the driver to bring a FedEX envelope (otherwise I’d be charged a lot more), and that was it. I called the carrier with the cheapest flights from Chicago to Barcelona, British Airways, asking for a printout of an itinerary, but they said I had to buy the ticket. And if you are not going through a pre-paid study abroad program of a third-party organization or your university, then you have to prove that you can survive on your own. I heard that some consulates want a $0 deductible, but since it does not specify in the instructions, I opted for the deductible so that my premium was below $300 for the whole year. I discovered that travel health insurance covers a maximum of 364 days from start to finish.
To save yourself a headache, here’s what you do to get it notarized before they send it to you. The US and Spain both subscribe to the Hague Convention, so the Hague’s seal is an internationally recognized certification of authenticity. Instead, I took the notarized letter directly to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office on 17 N. I had to gather my immunization records, and explain very clearly before I paid for an office visit that I needed that letter worded precisely so. She went off to confirm and returned saying that indeed I did have to renew the visa after one year, but that I could do it from Spain. But I recently found out that Spain offers a “non lucrative residency visa,” or basically a visa which allows Americans moving to Spain to live there without working. Though the visa requirements for Spain are mostly clear, it’s one of the more complicated residency visa applications in Europe that I’ve seen. The Spanish visa application form in Step 2 listed above is specifically for the Spanish residence visa and not necessarily for the Spain residence permit itself.
The important part is to ensure the policy covers emergency medical expenses and repatriation services with minimum coverage of 30.000€.
In my case, I am working but because I work for American companies outside Spain, this is acceptable and I just need to prove I earn enough to support myself. In my case, David and I are renting an apartment and we already have a lease with my name listed on the contract. Although David and I are in the process of getting legally married in Spain, this process didn’t apply to me because I am applying for this visa on my own. Alternatively, you can apply to one of the many English teaching programs which make the visa application process much easier.
So for example, if your background check was dated on May 1st, you must apply for your visa before August 1st. The complications of timing with requesting your appointment, getting your background check or applying for a new passport need a bit of extra planning because they can take a 2-3 months to process in some cases.
Other visa types or other consulates may allow you to mail in your application and some allow you to have an authorized person do activities on your behalf. You’ll need to find out which jurisdiction you live in and apply at the consulate within that region.

My appointment is currently scheduled for September 9th and all my documents are either collected or in process.
They offered to process my visa application as a student spouse since David is currently studying for a masters in Spain. I am going to update my post after my appointment this coming Monday (Sept 9th) with any additional tips.
If the address on the ID does not match their current address, you need to submit a utility bill or something similar with their updated address.
I think our situation may be slightly different because we have to go through Houston instead of L.A. Cee Lou International is offering a full visa application and property viewing service covering the key cities and regions throughout Spain that may be of interest to investors. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
The best way to begin the process of getting the Spanish student visa is to take it one step at a time. Typically this should be a bit before your program begins, but more on that below in the section on the acceptance letter.
Other consulates do require such documentation, which I have read could be an official invitation letter from the police station in the city where you would be studying, or a notarized document from a landlord who would be renting to you during your program. It is paramount that you apply for the Spanish student visa at the consulate that handles your state.
If you do not have the professional means, do not take a photo yourself–people do get denied because of photos not being acceptable.
I asked him to buffer the program timeline with two weeks before it started and two weeks after it ended, so that if the Spanish consulate decided to grant me the visa only for the duration of the program, I wouldn’t be arriving the day before the first class.
Regardless of whether your parents can afford such costs, I think the Spanish consulate in Chicago just wants to see that someone is willing to handle unforeseen costs–they must know that $2,200 is a ridiculous sum for a student. I could have gotten two plans but I decided to roll the dice with just the one plan and see if mentioning that I’d renew the health insurance would cut it. The fastest and most convenient way to get do this step in the Spanish student visa process is to use a Livescan fingerprint service. After submitting you fingerprints via the Livescan service, wait 24 hours, and then call the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification at (815) 740-5160. Other Spanish consulates accept cash, but the instructions for Chicago seem determined that you should bring money orders.
The most important things that she handed back were the original criminal records with the apostille and the original medicate certificate. Some states, including Arizona, don’t actually issue background checks so I was required to request my criminal cecord history from the FBI. The same applies to any children you’re bringing, except the extra document would be the birth certificate(s). The downside is that the visa is only temporary for your job contract, you don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to your cities and school placements and obviously, you have to teach English during your stay.
I’ve been emailing them back and forth for months and they did mention the M790 form because I asked if I needed to pay anything else besides what was listed online. In my experience, the consulate is pretty strict so I didn’t cut any corners even though I probably could have translated them myself.
They may also want a copy of the Enpadronamiento which is a registration of their address that they receive from their local town hall. You should look at the website of the Spanish Consulate in Chicago to get your up-to-date info. I downloaded the Spanish student visa instructions, which lists everything that you will need to prepare in order for your visa interview. You need to read through the visa instructions that you’ll have downloaded from the consulate website, and make a list of your own outlining every requirement and stipulation.
Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, the person behind the glass will call you up, and look at your documents one by one.
Despite the proof of accommodation being unnecessary, I figured that this field was of similar importance, and I did not want to leave it blank. On the National Visa Application Form, there is a page where you must include the mailing address of your institution, along with the dates of the program.
If your program lasts longer than one year, it’s OK, you can print out a return flight at the end of that year.
The other challenge is the visa application process can take up to 3 months for approval, though the Los Angeles consulate informed me that most applications are processed within 30 days. Be sure you follow ALL instructions and ask questions by email well in advance if you have any doubts. For me this was annoying because I was already in Spain and not at my official residence in Arizona.
The FBI requires fingerprints to be taken on a special form and then mailed along with the application. An alternative might be to get an extended apartment through AirBnB or another company that provides housing. So if you happen to work from home whether it’s IT, graphic design or another field, then this is one of your only options in Spain. My goal next year is to apply for the non-lucrative visa again so I have an entire year to get my financial records in order.
If all is in order and the small talk went off without a hitch, they’ll tell you that your Spanish student visa will be ready in 4 to 5 weeks. So my plan is to fly to Phoenix to get my medical certificate the week before I apply for my visa in Los Angeles. If you plan on living with friends or family while in Spain, they can provide a letter inviting you to stay. Similar visas exist in France and Germany and the process in those countries are easier and more straightforward. The rest of the application process was fairly straight-forward though I’ve made a few updates to the post above.
I spent about 175€ on this plus you’ll need the criminal background (~25€ fees + shipping) check and doctors letter. I was curious whether they care whether you are going back and forth from Spain during this process. Finally, this article will not discuss the special requirements for minors and non-US citizens. I happened to have a wedding to return to before my year and a half long program was over, so the June, 2015 return date had an alibi. If you want to expedite the process, you can give them your FedEX account number if you have one. I found a doctor in Phoenix specializing in immigration services that charges $140 for the physical and certificate. And if this isn’t already complicated enough, the final document then has to be translated into Spanish.
I don’t know which consulate would handle your application thought I would assume it will default to the region where you were previously a resident prior to moving to Spain. Accurate Biometrics sent my fingerprints to the Illinois State Police, and they in turn sent me my records. So trying to get all this documentation completed before your visa appointment is difficult because the process itself can take 2-3 months.
I would get in contact with that specific consulate and specifically ask them if you can apply for the visa in Spain or if you need to do it in the US.
Make sure you check with both your state and your consulate to determine if you can get your background check at the state or FBI level. Often times, if you are already a legal resident of a country, you can apply for visa extensions in that country instead of returning to the US.
However, Spain is rather strict in my experience and may still require you to travel since you are technically switching visa types.

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