If you're an English teacher with dreams of working in Spain, you're not alone. Spain's rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant cities make it an appealing destination for educators from around the world. However, before you can embark on this exciting journey, you'll need to navigate the complex world of Spanish visa requirements.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to secure your visa and provide you with valuable insights and tips to make the process smoother.
Spain offers several types of visas, but as an English teacher, you'll likely be interested in one of the following:
If you plan to take a Spanish language course or complete a teaching certification program in Spain, you can apply for a student visa. This will allow you to work up to 20 hours per week (and in some cases 30), which is perfect for English teaching jobs. Our Developing Teacher course meets all the requirements and is a great way to get set up with a visa, friends and support network from day one in Spain.
A work visa is possible to get but very challenging. Your employer must demonstrate that someone locally can’t do the job, which is a very long process and almost certainly involves expensive immigration lawyers. To obtain it, you'll typically need a job offer with a permanent work contract, 5 year criminal background check and proof of your teaching qualifications. You can find a detailed list of documents here.
This option is also possible, but you’ll need to create a detailed business plan (in Spanish) as well as several other documents. Similar to the work visa, it is recommended that you work with an immigration lawyer to complete this process. You can find a detailed list of the required documents here. If you manage you get your self employed visa approved, it provides more flexibility, but it also comes with additional responsibilities, such as managing your taxes.
Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the Spanish visa application process:
Before you start the application, ensure you have the following documents:
Fill out the visa application form carefully, providing accurate and truthful information. Pay close attention to any specific requirements or questions related to your visa type. Here we have an example of the student visa application form, completed with some guidance notes.
Visit the website of the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country to schedule an appointment. This step is crucial, as you'll need to submit your visa application and documents in person. Here you have a list of all the Spanish consulates and embassies worldwide.
Attend your scheduled appointment at the consulate or embassy. Be prepared to answer questions about your visa application and provide any additional documents requested by the consular officer.
There is usually a visa processing fee that varies depending on your nationality and the type of visa you're applying for. Ensure you have the necessary funds to cover this fee. The student visa costs approximately £120 or $160.
After submitting your application and attending the interview, the consulate will process your visa. Processing times can vary, so it's essential to apply well in advance of your planned departure date. We recommend 3 months.
Once your visa is approved, you'll be notified, and you can collect your visa from the consulate or embassy. Make sure to check the visa for accuracy, including the dates and any restrictions. In some cases the visa will be returned to you in the post, along with your passport.
Navigating the Spanish visa application process can be daunting, but here are some tips to make it smoother:
Begin the visa application process well in advance of your intended travel date, ideally 3 months. Delays can happen, and you want to ensure you have your visa in hand when you need it.
Double-check all your documents and the visa application form for accuracy and completeness. Incomplete or incorrect submissions can lead to delays or rejection.
If you're applying for a work visa, consider improving your Spanish language skills. While not always mandatory, speaking Spanish can be a significant advantage during the interview and your time in Spain.
Consider consulting with an immigration attorney or expert who specialises in Spanish visa applications. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure you meet all requirements.
Make sure you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Spain. A well-organised financial plan can impress the consulate and strengthen your visa application. For a student visa you must show that you have 600€/month for every month you intend to stay in Spain. If you intend to stay for 12 months, you therefore must have 7200€ in your bank account. You can read more about the financials here.
While the visa application process is generally straightforward, applicants may encounter some common challenges:
Solution: If you don’t speak Spanish, you can count on our bilingual coordination team to help you through the application process.
Solution: Apply well in advance to account for potential processing delays. Consulates can become busy during peak application times.
Solution: Carefully review the consulate's website for guidance on required documents and consult with experts if needed to ensure you submit everything correctly.
Securing a Spanish visa to work as an English teacher is a significant step towards fulfilling your dream of living and working in Spain. While the process may seem intimidating, thorough preparation, attention to detail, and a clear understanding of the requirements will greatly increase your chances of success.
Remember that each individual's situation may vary, so it's essential to check the specific visa requirements for your nationality and circumstances. With the right approach and a little patience, you'll be well on your way to teaching English in the beautiful and culturally rich country of Spain.
If you have any further questions or need assistance with your Spanish visa application, don't hesitate to reach out to our team at TEFL Iberia. We're here to support you on your journey to becoming an English teacher in Spain. ¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)