How to spend a year working in Spain


Have you ever dreamt about working and living in Spain? You’re not alone! It’s an incredible country, with amazing architecture, delicious cuisine and a culture that brings its fair share of fiestas and fun.

But for many, especially those in the UK, there are so many barriers when it comes to actually making the move. 

Can’t I stay for a year on a tourist visa?

Unfortunately not. Otherwise known as a Spain Schengen visa, a tourist visa enables any non-EU citizen to stay in Spain for 90 days. After this time, you have to leave the country.

So, if I want to work and live in Spain for a year, what can I do?

Okay, so there’s two main ways to make this happen. One is the nightmare path full of bureaucracy, waiting times and all kinds of stress. And the other is a little known secret that we’ll let you in on. 

First, the nightmare option… 

El visado de residencia y trabajo (the residence and work visa)

These are the standard non-EU work permits that are issued by local Spanish Work and Immigration offices. You don’t apply for them yourself however; that’s done on your behalf by your prospective employer.

The extra bureaucracy and sheer expense explains why most companies in Spain don’t tend to hire non-EU workers. So, unless you’re lucky enough to be headhunted by such a company, the chances of securing a residence and work visa are pretty slim. 

Okay… now the secret easy option.

The student visa, secured through a TEFL course

The best way to get that visa locked-in is to learn while you earn. The Spanish grant student visas far quicker and easier than regular ones, meaning taking the student path is definitely the best option for non-EU citizens when it comes to working in Spain.

It’s the reason why so many people decide to become English teachers! TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) courses have been a lifeline for many years for people from the US, Australia, South Africa and other countries, all with the dream of living in Spain. It’s something that those from the UK (back off Brexit!) are only just discovering.  

Spending a year studying and working as a TEFL teacher

At TEFL Iberia, we’ve got heaps of experience when it comes to helping students secure their visas, settling into their new accommodation and getting the best out of their time in Spain. We’re based in Barcelona, one of the world’s most exciting cities, and we offer two courses that, when combined, will enable you to study and work in Spain for a year. 

Our foundational Trinity CertTESOL Course, together with our Developing Teacher Course give you the skills and mindset needed to become a great English teacher.  

What if I want to stay beyond a year?

Let’s be honest, you most probably will! 

Once you’ve finished your studies at TEFL Iberia, you’ll have a great opportunity at landing a job and extending your stay in Spain. TEFL Iberia students go on to work for at language academies and other educational establishments, while others start up their own private teaching practice or go into full-time online teaching.

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