Practical Information: Student Visas and Residency

A special visa is required for all foreign students in Spain. Students acquire this visa in a two-step process described below. However, the Office of International Studies on your home campus will provide you with most current information. Students accepted into the VWM program must contact the campus representative to review procedures.

Before Leaving the United States:

  • Application must be made in a Spanish consulate in the United States from one to three months in advance of the date of departure. Click here to access visa information from the Embassy of Spain in the US.
  • All students should apply for a “long-term” visa with a “length of stay” of at least 200 days in order to ensure that you are not simply issued a non-renewable 180-day visa. Such long-term visas, when issued, are valid for 90 days from the date of arrival. With this visa, students must request a temporary residency card within 30 days of arrival in Spain. This will enable them to remain in Spain for the rest of the semester or, if desired, for the rest of the academic year.

Once in Spain:

  • The program staff in Spain will help full-year students apply for the extension of their visa (the “residency card” or tarjeta de estudiante). This application must be made within the first 30 days of arrival in Spain.
  • Students remaining in Spain for one semester only are not obliged to apply for the extension, since the 90-day visa allows them to remain in the country for 180 days (this is true only for US citizens).
  • If students decide to stay on for a second semester, unless they make this decision within 30 days of their arrival, they will have to return to the U.S. and arrange for a new visa. The program staff will help with arrangements but any associated costs for this extra journey are the responsibility of the student.