Change in the foreign students spanish regulation in August 2018

There has been a recent modification in immigration regulation relating to students.

Prior to this change, if a student wanted to commence work in Spain, they had to have been studying here for three years, and only after proving they had finished their studies could one apply to change their student authorization into a residency and work authorization evidencing a job offer.

Since the change of law, students reaching study level six - according to European qualification regulation, equivalent to a “Degree” - can apply to remain in Spain for an additional year (e.g. to seek employment related to their studies or to start a new company), one year into their student authorization period, instead of the three years as previously stipulated.

The student must prove they have concluded their studies, that they have sufficient money to live in Spain for a year, and that they have private health insurance. The application must be presented online, within sixty days of their study´s authorization expiring date. If the immigration office does not respond to the request within twenty days of the submission date, any subsequent answer beyond this period has to be positive.

During the one-year residency period, if the student finds a job related with their studies or would like to open a company, they must apply for a residency and work authorization or a self-work authorization, in order to maintain their legal authority to live in Spain.


The second modification relates to where students can apply for their visa.

Before the change of law, a student who wanted to apply for a student visa, did so at the Spanish Consulate in their country of origin or residency. The law now allows this kind of application to be presented when the student is already in Spain, but only if the student is legally authorized to be in Spain at that time (e.g. the three months they can reside in Spain as a tourist), and must be presented more than one month before the expiration date of the legal authorization to be in Spain (within the first sixty days since they arrived to Spain). The immigration office has one month to give provide an answer, though If the authorization is presented in Spanish Consulate, they have only seven days to reply, after which time, again, the answer must be positive.

These modifications are really positive for students because, in the first instance, some students finish their studies and can´t find a job immediately, so having a one year period to do this provides some peace of mind. The negative is that this only applies to those who finished a degree or higher, and not other studies like languages or intermediate education. 

The second modification is all positive, as the students and their families will save money on travelling, first to Spain in order to formalize the admission in a study center, then back to their country so they can apply for the visa, and when they have the visa, again to Spain to begin studying.