Visas and Residence Permits: Spain

The Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, Euskadi, is institutionally integrated in Spain. Spain is a European Union member state, which means that researchers and professionals coming from the European Economic Area –EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway–, or Switzerland are subject to EU regulations, being able to enter, leave, stay or move freely within the country’s territory. The EU citizens have the right to take up employment, whether working for an employer or for himself/herself as a self-employed person, receiving remuneration in return, and supply or get services.

Student Visas

Those citizens who want to carry out unpaid research or training tasks, or continue their studies in Spanish officially recognised educational centres or scientific institutions (whether public or private) must have a student visa. Student visas must be applied for at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in the student’s country of residence.

Student visas enable foreign citizens to live in Spain for as long as their courses, studies, research projects, or training take. Students or researchers’ family members (spouses and children under 18 or in their custody) can also apply for residence permits to live in Spain, with no need for previous stay on the part of the student/researcher. If the stay must be longer than six months, they must apply for a foreign student card, which certifies that they are legal residents in Spain.

Student visa holders (but not their families) can perform paid occupational activities if they have a request form from an employer, meet the relevant requirements, and the activities are compatible with their studies. A part-time or a three-month full-time employment contract will be necessary.

Additional information

Residence permit

In order to be legal residents in Spain, non-EU nationals must have a residence permit. Residence permits can be temporary (90 days to five years) or permanent (indefinite stay and employment under the same conditions as Spanish citizens).

EU citizens who want to apply to a Spanish Mobility grant or want to open a bank account in Spain (e.g., to receive grant funds) will need to apply for a Citizen Register Certificate. This requires their presence in the Central Police Offices in Bilbao and the procedure will be assisted by the MER Secretariat.

Non-EU citizens who want to apply to a Spanish Mobility grant will need the residence permit in accordance with the Statutory law on rights and liberties of the foreigners in Spain and its social integration. Those with a student residence permit not eligible.