Excerpted from the Spain Career Guide
The visa or work permit required to study or work in Spain depends largely upon both the applicant’s citizenship and his or her desired length of stay. Once granted, a specific type of visa cannot be changed without first returning to the applicant’s home country; thus, it is important to apply for the correct visa from the outset.
Spain is a member of the Schengen Convention whose purpose is to eliminate controls at common borders and promote free movement of people within the Schengen area. The countries covered under the Schengen Agreement include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Short-stay Visa (Schengen Visa)
Schengen visas are issued when the purpose of the visit is leisure, tourism or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan the journey within the time frame of the Schengen visa as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing an individual to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen rules and regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a six-month period. As a general rule, the applicant should present his/her request at the consulate of the Schengen country that is the main destination.
Long-term Visa (National Visas)
All foreigners who do not hold the nationality of a European Union member state, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and who wish to remain in Spain more than 90 days out of every six months, must in all cases apply for a long-term visa, which may be a:
- Resident’s visa: this allows the holder to reside in Spain without undertaking any type of work or professional activity.
- Work and resident’s visa: this allows the holder to undertake work or professional activity, either for third parties or on his or her own behalf.
- Student visa: this allows the holder to remain in Spain in order to pursue courses, studies, research or training programs.
A work permit and a residence visa are required when planning to work in Spain. The prospective employer must apply for the work permit and obtain the resolución at the Spanish Ministry of Labour before the applicant can apply for a residence visa at the consulate general. The work permit applications must be made at the Spanish consulate in the applicant’s country of residence, country of nationality or the country where the applicant has been legally admitted before moving to Spain. A residence visa cannot be obtained with a tourist visa once in Spain, and applicants must apply for the residence visa within the first month after receiving the resolución. The visa must be applied for in person.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Spain Guide.