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)!
Related: TransferWise Review: The Best Way to Exchange Money
*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)
I am a 2 year master in Barcelona. My first semester is worst, I haven’t passed any exam. I would like to change my master when I finish my first year. Is this possible for to renew NIE?
Hi Peter, I’m not sure you will be able to as one of the requirements to stay with a student visa is to pass your courses. You can try to resit them or speak with your uni’s counselor and see what they recommend. All the best!
I think my situation is quite similar to others and different at the same time. I wonder if you can please respond to the best of your knowledge.
I’m a PhD (non-EU) student enrolled in an Italian university. I got 6 months study visa from Italy and nowadays doing research work in a Spanish university. My visa will expire in mid April and I wish to extend my stay here till July in order to continue my research.
My Italian resident permit is also in renewal process and I am not sure if I would get it back before the expiration of visa here. So, can I apply for visa extension in Spain? Or I have to return back to Italy and apply for a new visa as it expires?
PS: As I’m a PhD student, so I haven’t passed any exams during this duration, neither I have bank account in Spain. I’m using my Italian bank account and neither I get any funds from Spanish university.
Hi Rabia. Thanks for your comment. I believe you cannot apply for a visa extension in Spain as you have a visa for Italy and not the Schengen area. From my understanding, you would have to go back to Italy and request an extension for your research as it pertains to your studies in Italy. I believe Spain also offers some type of research visa though that you might be able to look into. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!
Hellp, I’d like to ask what’s this “limbo for”?
I booked my flight back home on the 3rd of July but my TIE will expire this coming June 30.
Is it fine to kind of overstay in spain for a few days?
Hi Aizzle, thanks for your comment. I am honestly not sure how it works with your TIE as I never had one. I would be careful with overstaying though just in case.
The limbo could apply if you have actually applied to extend your student visa. But then you would have to ask for a document that allows you to leave Spain while in limbo. That’s the only way you can ‘overstay’ legally, but I’m not sure that is what you have done?
Hi! I am currently trying to pay the tasa but I don’t have a NIF/Foreigner’s ID number so it won’t let me fill out the form. Any suggestions? Thank you so much for this post! It is incredibly helpful.
Thanks so much for the kind message! I’m glad I can help a few people with this stressful process. If I remember correctly, I put my student visa number in the NIF field as I also did not have a specific number. I hope that helps!
Hi Nicole! Thanks for all the info. I have a quick question regarding translating documents. I only have two documents that are not in Spanish and I’m not sure if they need translation. Those would be the bank statement from back home for proof of sufficient funds and the proof os insurance as it is a Canadian company. Did you translate those too? Seems unnecessary but I just want to double check. Thanks!!
Hi Deborah. Thanks for the question. Unfortunately you would need to translate every document. Also, a note about the proof of funds — it might be better to have the funds in your Spanish bank account. I turned in my bank statements from back home the first time and they turned it down. They also required me to have insurance from Spain — but maybe they’ve changed that. If you have time to wait, I would suggest trying with translated Canadian documents and see if they accept them or not. Let me know how it goes 🙂
Hi Nicole! Thanks for all the info. I have one quick question regarding translating the documents. As of now the only “documents” I would need to translate are my bank statement from back home for sufficient funds and the proof of insurance as it is a Canadian company. Did you translate those too? Seems unnecessary but want to double check.
Hi Nicole, my application was also recently denied because of insurance. Now, I am the process of doing an appeal by submitting the right insurance. Just wanted to ask how long did you have to wait before they gave you answer after you’ve submitted the correct insurance?
Hi Cristina, I believe I waited one or two weeks to hear back. I hope they can respond to you soon!
Hi Nicole, my application was also recently denied because of insurance. Now, I am in the process of doing an appeal by submitting the right insurance. Just wanted to ask how long did you have to wait before they gave you an answer when you submitted the right insurance?
Hi! Great blog, thanks so much! I’m an American PhD student in BCN and applied for my TIE renewal 5 weeks ago. My status online is still ‘EN TRAMITE’. I’m quite worried because it seems like a long time, but I haven’t heard otherwise. Do they update the information online as well as post, or just via post if you apply in person? Thanks so much again!
Hi Amanda, thanks for reading! I’m not quite sure about the TIE process but from my understanding they should update the online status as well. I would give them a call to see what’s going on, but it shouldn’t be too long. Be careful though, as they sometimes send information in the post and for some reason it never arrives 😬. I wish you the best of luck!
Hi Nicole, thanks for your post! I am an American currently in the process of renewing my student visa. My original visa expired on 6/29. I first applied to renew in May and never received an answer, so I emailed them to follow up. They ask me to submit additional documents (sufficient funds and health insurance), which I did in July and they told me I would have an answer in 1 week. Now when I look up my account, the website still says “en tramite” and it hasn’t changed since Sept 3rd. My question is after the 90-day grace period is over on 9/29, do I need to leave immediately or can I leave the Schengen territory and re-enter on a 90-day tourist visa? Thanks for any help and advice!
Thanks for your question — I hope I can be of some assistance. I believe when you submit additional documents, it acts as a “reapplication”, so it basically restarts your 90-day grace period. Don’t quote me on that though — make sure to call the government offices to make sure — but I believe that is how it works because they have to look at everything all over again. In that case, your 90-days should go into October. I would call to see what happened with your application. Either way, when your student visa is no longer valid, you cannot leave the Schengen area and re-enter as a tourist right away. You’d have to leave the area for six months and then you can go back on a 90-day tourist visa. I hope you can get an answer from them soon!
Let me know what happens,
Hello. My name is Veronica. None EU or US citizen. I was here on a 6 month study visa from January this year (2018) before it expired (27th July) I applied for an extension as I am enrolled 1 more year at the same spanish language school. I was even advised to do this by the Spanish consulate in my country. That was on 4 th July. In between I returned to my country and re entered Spain with an official Authorization de regreso. It has been over 2 months with no response. And my status online still says (in proccess) In this post it speaks of ‘administrative silence’ According to what you know are they some cases where no rejection letter is sent and one just has to deduce their application as being rejected?
Thanks so much.
You have about one more month to wait for them to respond before assuming your application is rejected. I would call them to see if they have any update on your application. When I applied I was rejected at first because they didn’t accept two of my documents (health insurance and sufficient funds) but I never received the letter they sent — I ended up calling them (waiting on hold forever) and had them email me a copy of their rejection letter. If I remember correctly though, my status had changed online from “in process” to something else that I can’t remember (which is why I called in the first place).
If the status online is still the same, I wouldn’t worry, but it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call. Just be prepared if they don’t want to help much. It could also be that you applied in the summer when they work shorter hours and it takes them even longer to go through paperwork. I really hope your visa goes through! Please keep me updated and let me know how it goes for you.
Thank you so much for your reply Nicole. I’m only just seeing this as I thought I would get an email notification. Yes I tried to call the number on the website but I spoke with a machine that gave me the same reply as on line (in process) Would you be able to please assist me with the number you used to speak with them?
I can’t remember the number I called — but it is based on the city/region you live in. The number I called only had a machine tell me “All operators are currently busy. Your call will be answered as soon as someone is available” (in Spanish), and then it continued to ring (sometimes for 40+ min). Try calling around, or call an office and ask them for the correct number to dial — some people will be willing to give you the correct number.
Please keep me updated!
Hello again Nicole.
(Update on my situation) So I kept waiting into the middle of October. That would be 3 and a half months with no response. I got my school to email them. They said my paperwork is alright and I should keep waiting. Few days ago I emailed them myself twice and they responded today saying my resolution was favorable and that I should wait for the response at the residence I put on the form. It will have been 4 months 8 days waiting.
But I checked online and my status has not changed from ‘en tramite’! Is it an issue? Also if I get the letter and apply for a TIE card. Is it a must they require an (Empadronamiento)? I don’t have this as I have no fixed place at the moment as I was waiting my extension aproved. And basically what would you know about the tie procedure to get the card? As I am to be on the same course until end of September next year.
Thanks in advance
This information is so helpful!
I have finished one year MBA here and my visa will expire in about two weeks. I would like to stay longer (another 3 month) will my student visa switch automatically to tourist (I’m US citizen) so I get extra 90 days?
Otherwise, I’m thinking to enroll in Spanish classes (although it’s unrelated to my MBA) and submit application in order to buy some time, while it’s being processed?
Thank you so much! (I can’t believe I forgot to say it)
Thanks for your question! I’m very happy you have decided to stay in Spain – unfortunately, the student visa will not turn into a tourist visa. If you plan to enroll in Spanish classes you would need to reapply for a student visa from the States as it is a completely different program. HOWEVER, (mind you, I am not an immigration lawyer…) since you have this 90-day “limbo” after the expiration of your visa, you could, in theory, apply for the visa extension with the new Spanish course after your visa expires and wait for the government to return with the rejection letter. As long as you have proof of the extension application, you should be able to leave Spain 90 days after the expiration of your visa without any problems (as you would be rightfully within the 90-day limbo period and would have submitted an official application). This depends on how much you want to risk. Just make sure not to leave Spain before or during the application, as this will forfeit your application and officially cancel the visa you currently have.
I hope this helped! I wish you all the best!
Thank you Nicole for such a detailed reply!
It’s so sweet of you to help us with this confusing process, I really appreciate
Hi! I have a question. You said we can still apply 90 days after our visa expires? Is that right? My visa will expire on monday and I still don’t have my enrollment certificate. I don’t know what to do.
Yes after your visa expires, you will be in a “limbo” as they call it. You can still apply for your visa extension until 90 days after it expires, but you can’t leave the country. As soon as you leave the country you will give up your visa (even if it’s expired), as well as your extension possibility. I would try to apply as soon as possible though just to make sure everything is ok. Best of luck!
I am lavanya..I stayed in barcelona for 5 months to do my semester exchange program but my visa is for 6 months. I got admission for masters ..my visa will expire on Aug 15 ..can I extend my visa now..please help me with this.
Thanks for your comment. I believe you will have to leave Spain and reapply from your home country for the second visa, as they are two completely different programs. Congratulations on the acceptance though! I really hope you can figure it all out.
Hi Nicole,I had to renew my student visa a 6 month ago,And i went to see the lawyer told me .Its late i need to wait for another year to aply for residence as my boyfriend wanted to help me .
Thank you so much for this very helpful post! Do you know if it is necessary to go back to the US and re-apply if I will be continuing on a student visa, but with a different language/conversation assistant program. Or can I do the renewal here? (I did my maximum 2 years with one program and am doing a new one next year).
Much appreciated! 🙂
Hello Lauren. Thanks for reading!
If your visa is not expiring, then you are able to stay and continue with a different program. If your visa is expiring then you, unfortunately, will have to return to the U.S and re-apply from there. The government doesn’t allow program changes while in Spain – it’s like starting from scratch for each visa. I hope you can figure something out!
Hello Nicole, thank you so much for the post. I have a quick question. I have been in Barcelona for about a year now and wish to extend my student NIE (Non-EU) as well but i only have a month before it expires as i was not aware of this 90-60 days rule. The company is thinking of offering me a contract but it too proves to be quite a complicated process according to the lawyers. Do you think it is still possible as i have gotten an internship and thus want to extend. And if so are there any rules pertaining to extending if you have an internship? Your help will be greatly appreciated.
Hello Hatani. Sorry for the late response. I don’t think it is possible to extend your student visa (NIE) with the internship since you’ve already completed your time with the company. I believe it only works if you have completed your studies and need to extend to complete the internship.
How long have you been in Spain for with your NIE? I believe if you’ve been there for a certain number of years, you can apply for residency, which could probably be an option. But I’m not 100% sure about the visa processes – just from the research I’ve done in my specific scenario. I hope it all works out for you though! Or, better yet, hopefully the company can process the paperwork and get you a work visa! Keep me updated 🙂
Hello , I would like to stay in spain and search for a job after completing masters, whose course duration is 10 months, how long can I stay/extend my student visa ?
Hello, I’m not a visa specialist so I’m not 100% sure however, I believe the only way you can extend your student visa is if you work at a school-approved internship. Meaning the internship is a required portion of the masters program and you have a contract agreement between the university, the job, and yourself. Or, you can try applying for jobs and have the company sponsor you for a work visa instead. Sorry I couldn’t be of much help. Best of luck!
Nice post. I’m (PhD student) going to Spain for 5 months student internship with 6 months visa. However, my spouse gets a 3 months stay. Can I extend her visa for 2 months. Please suggest.
Hello Somu, congratulations on your internship! In regards to having your spouse extend her visa, I would say it’s pretty difficult. You could try to go to the local police department and ask for an extension but I’m not sure if that would work 100% although I’ve heard that some people have done it that way. Another way, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money but be secure, would be to have her enroll in a language school of some sort that is over 20 hours a week and lasts for more than 3 months. Then you could technically apply for a student visa for her as well. But you would both be granted the 6-month stay. Let me know what you end up doing and if I can be of any more help! Best of luck 🙂
Amazing help! Thank you. Appreciate your hard work. x
Thank you so much 🙂
This is amazing and incredibly helpful! My daughter has decided to take a “gap year” before college and we are wading through all of the information. Thank you so much!!
A gap year sounds wonderful! It will be quite an experience for your daughter. Let me know if you have any questions about Spain ☺️