For those of you who have a Spanish student visa that's about to expire, but you plan on staying longer in beautiful España, this information is for you! This post is aimed at U.S. citizens but could possibly apply to other non-EU citizens as well (check additional sources just in case).
Spanish bureaucracy can be a nightmare because the information is all spread out and it's easy to forget something. Hopefully this post and my experience can help ease some of the headache!
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Who qualifies for the student visa extension (A.K.A. prórroga)?
If you fit the descriptions below, you could qualify for the extension of your student visa while in Spain: (instead of having to go back to the U.S. and deal with the consulate all over again)
- You are a non-EU citizen
- You have no criminal record in Spain
- And you have a student visa whose code ends in SSU [a student visa between 90 days and six months] (check picture below for an example) and you plan on staying longer to stay enrolled
in the same education program, by either:
- continuing the same studies
- conducting research
- or taking part in an internship related to those same studies
- AND you have passed all courses or can prove your reason for needing to extend the student visa
**NOTE: the extension from Spain does not work if you're planning on switching from a student visa to a work visa or if you plan on enrolling in a different program entirely (e.g.: studying abroad for a semester and then enrolling in a language course after your original semester has ended).
When do I need to apply?
You need to apply within the 60 days before the expiry of your student visa, BUT you can also apply within the 90 days after it expires.
I know, it doesn't really make sense... but what happens here is that when you apply, you get a stamp on your paperwork showing that you have applied to extend your stay... Meaning you are legally allowed to be in Spain until they come up with an official decision.
However, if you don't hear back within 3 months of your application, it is considered 'Administrative Silence' meaning your application was not accepted.
What documents do I need to show?
This list could seem a little daunting, but just keep good track of all the documents you collect (o riginals AND copies--in Spanish).
It's better to have more copies than none! (Although when I applied, they basically scanned everything and gave me back my forms, BUT they did ask me to show proof of original copies, so be prepared.)
- Application for Authorization of Stay and Extensions (Modelo EX-OO)
- Student visa
- Proof of financial means*
- Health insurance coverage*
- Medical certificate*
- FBI (OR state) clearance & Apostille*
- Proof of course completion and reason to stay*
- Proof of Payment (Modelo 790, Tasa 052)*
- You! (be sure to apply in person)
*Proof of financial means
The Spanish government doesn't really specify how to prove this but I believe they require the same as the Spanish consulates back in the U.S. -- 3 months worth of bank statements showing sufficient funds.
However, they do prefer the money to already be in a Spanish bank account. So if you already have your money in a Spanish bank, simply go to the bank and ask for a letter showing your balance.
(UPDATE: I have no idea why, but different branches of the same company work differently. I went to one Sabadell branch and they said they had to charge me and it would take a day to process the letter. I ended up going to a different Sabadell branch and they printed it for me. Same day. Right then and there. AND, for free. So ask around if you have time.)
The amount of money needed to be considered "sufficient" is difficult to find on the Spanish Government's website so as a base, here are the 2017 economic means requirements from the Los Angeles Spanish Consulate PLUS enough for a plane ticket back home.
**NOTE: If you are going to take part in a paid internship, the money you get from that internship DOES NOT count toward your financial means...they want to know you can take care of yourself without needing funds from the country.
If you need to transfer yourself some money quickly (and cheaply) check out the rates with TransferWise (my lifesavers)!
*Health insurance coverage
This is for the government to guarantee that if anything happens to you, you'll be able to pay for hospitalization and not use Spain's public funds.
There are many options out there for health insurance but I have used the following two (mind you, I have never gone to the hospital so I can't 100% vouch for them in terms of insurance claims).
However they are both good in terms of accepting you right away, being on the cheaper side, and sending you visa letters! But please do your own research if you live a more "risky" life.
**NOTE: I would recommend opting for a plan with a $500,000 minimum and $0 deductible (per my U.S. universities' health insurance requirements)
CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International)
Atlas Insurance [PLUS they can give you a visa letter in Spanish, which takes away the translation process!]
(UPDATE AUGUST 2017: My visa application was denied at first because they wanted proof of UNLIMITED (usually year-long) health insurance. I ended up going with Sanitas (Mas Salud, no excess, no co-payments plan) and the visa extension was granted).
Now in the U.S., you would go to a clinic or hospital to get this paperwork, however, the process here is a little different! I wrote an in-depth post about this here: Getting a Medical Certificate in Spain. Check that out for more information!
FBI (OR state) clearance & Apostille*
This one is also a little more complicated...so check out my other post for more information: Getting A Background Check and Apostille
Proof of course completion and reason to stay*
For this point, be sure to ask your university for either a copy of your grades or a letter stating that you are fulfilling your requirements.
As well as:
- The documentation and proof of tuition payment proving you will be continuing the same studies, OR
- Your offer letter as well as the internship agreement between you, your university, and the company, if completing an internship
Proof of Payment (Modelo 790, Tasa 052)*
For this point follow the steps below:
- Go to the Modelo 790, Tasa 052 page
- Scroll to the bottom and click "Acceder a Rellenar e imprimir el formulario de liquidación de la tasa 052"
- Select the Spanish province you live/are applying in
- Fill out the form
- Under "Autorizaciones y Documentos Para Extranjeros" select 1.3 ("Prórroga de la autorización de estancia por estudios...")
- When done, click "Obtain Document"
- Print this document
- Go to a bank and pay in cash or through your Spanish account (whichever box you ticked on the form)
They will then process your payment and stamp your paperwork. Take this paperwork with you when you apply for the extension
Do I need to translate any documents?
Yes! You need to translate any official public document that is not already in Spanish. They have to be translated by a certified translator (traductor jurado).
In Barcelona, I got my FBI documents translated as an emergency 24-hour job with Hisparos Translations.
Where do I apply?
You need to apply at any public registry office in your region. Find the one closest to you and opening times here.
In Barcelona, you can go to one of the two offices listed below without an appointment:
Registro Auxiliar - Carrer de Mallorca, 278, Barcelona
Registro General - Carrer de Bergara, 12, Barcelona
What do I do after applying?
They say it takes anywhere between 10 days and 3 months to get a response. You will most likely have been given a link to check the status of your application using your NIE and the application date.
After this point, it's basically a waiting game. Once approved, you have to apply for your TIE within the first 30 days of your application coming back "favorable". (This only applies if your visa was extended for a period longer than six months.)
If your visa was only extended for six months, you don't have to do anything else! The paperwork they mailed you is sufficient to prove your legal stay.
If you don't hear back within 3 months, it's considered "administrative silence" which is the same as being rejected.
I know this process is confusing and feels like forever, but just organize yourself and ask questions. Best of luck!!
(This information is up-to-date as of August 17th, 2017)