Brexit Guide: How to get a student visa for Spain

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Brexit marks the end of freedom of movement and the right to work for Brits in Europe, meaning finding work as an English teacher is more tricky than before. But if you’re a UK citizen wondering how to get a job in Spain, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered!

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The UK is now considered a ‘third country’ in Spain, meaning that Brits will need a visa to be able to stay for longer than 90 days and to gain paid employment. This has long been the case for students from countries such as the USA, Australia and South Africa so at TEFL Iberia we have years of experience helping students navigate the visa process. 

For English teachers, by far the best option is to obtain a student visa. This allows you to work for up to 20 hours per week as a paid student intern while honing your skills on a course such as our Developing Teacher programme throughout the year. A student visa can be for up to one year, and can be extended yearly within Spain if you decide you would like to stay on for more time. 

How do UK citizens get a visa to teach English in Spain?

It is really important that you have your visa sorted before you arrive in Spain. Firstly, you must get an appointment with your nearest Spanish consulate, which in the UK are situated in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. You can get an appointment by emailing with your personal details, the type of visa you require and the time and date you would like the appointment. 

The Spanish consulate pages can be tricky to navigate, so we’ve provided you with some direct links here:

London Consulate Visa Information

Edinburgh Consulate Visa Information

Manchester Consulate Visa Information

Guidance (in English) for applying for a student visa (pdf)

Once you haven an appointment, there are some key requirements that you must meet in order to get your student visa and be able to find paid work.

For a short-term visa (under 6 months)

  • Visa application form (can be downloaded here)
  • A recent passport photo.
  • Your passport, which must be valid for the whole duration of your stay.
  • Letter of acceptance from a recognised course provider for full time study (20 hours per week). Our Developing Teacher course is valid for student visas. 
  • Evidence of funds: you must be able to prove you have enough money to cover your living costs for the duration of your stay. Living costs are calculated using a measure called the IPREM, which for 2021 works out as €564.90 per month. For example, if you wish to stay for 12 month you must show 12 x 564.90 = 6778.80€. To prove this you must provide 6 months of bank statements (original and stamped by the bank) showing that you have the funds to support yourself.
  • Health insurance: Brits are no longer covered for healthcare in Europe so you must purchase health insurance from a provider recognised in Spain. It should include a minimum international coverage of 30,000€ for the period of your stay and cover repatriation costs. Contact us for specific recommendations and discounts. 
  • Visa fee: £50.40

For a long-term visa (over 6 months)

  • All of the above
  • Medical certificate stating that you have no serious illnesses. The certificate must be accompanied by a sworn translation into Spanish. 
  • Criminal background check for Spain and anywhere else you have lived over the last 5 years. This document should either be legalised or carry the Hague Apostille. The criminal background check should also be accompanied by a sworn translation into Spanish.
  • Visa fee: £174.00

If you are unsure about terms such as ‘sworn translation’, ‘Hague Apostille’ and ‘legalised translation’ there are many companies online that provide these services. Contact us for specific recommendations and discounts. 

Once you have gathered all your documents, make 2 photocopies of each (just in case) and take everything to your appointment at the consulate. 

Visa applications can be submitted up to 90 days in advance of the date you plan to arrive in Spain, and it is recommended that you leave at least 30 days for the request to be processed. So if you plan to arrive in Spain on 1st July, you can apply for your visa as early as 2nd April but should definitely have your application submitted by 30th June. 

The Bottom Line

Sadly, the glory days of free movement are over but it is still possible to live and work in Spain! What we have outlined here is exactly the same process all North American, Australian, and South African students have always had to go through. At TEFL Iberia we’ve got years of experience in organising student visas, so you are in safe hands.

If you’re thinking about moving to Spain to teach English and would like more guidance through the visa process, please contact us at coordination@tefl-iberia.com

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