Endings are burdensome, like a noose around the neck that is tightening, also in the case of migratory processes. Imagine, for example, a person who has arrived in Spain with a visa to study. And who, after studying their degree, master's and postgraduate studies, sees how their time in the country that welcomed them is running out. The pressure can be too much.

Is there a solution to this case, to the situation of the student who, after several years in Spain, sees his or her time in Spain vanish, a way that would allow him or her to continue to accumulate time in the country with a view to a future application for permanent residence?

The truth is that yes, there are several ways to change an authorisation to stay for study purposes into a residence permit. In this article we present four of these possibilities. And we accompany everything with a recommendation by way of conclusion.

1— Modification of stay for study purposes to residence and work

This is the simplest way to change the study permit to a residence and work permit. To do so, the applicant will have to provide a job offer of at least one year's duration and in which he or she will be paid at least the minimum wage - in 2023, the SMI in Spain for a full-time job is €1,080 per month.

In the absence of such an offer, the applicant could always provide several contracts totaling about 30 hours per week, all of them in the same job category, and all of them earning at least the minimum wage. More difficult, no doubt, but not impossible. Finally, if you have your own business project, you can also apply for a change of residence and self-employment.

2— Applying for a jobseeker's residence

Another option to replace the residence permit for studies is to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of seeking employment before the expiry date of the NIE for studies or during the 90 days after its expiration date. The residence permit to seek work after higher education is valid for a maximum of 24 months, and if your application is not resolved within 20 days, it is considered granted.

In this regard, it should be noted that there are professions in which it is easier to get a job and which will avoid a passage through the national employment situation. For example, the job category of "sports trainer" is in the Catalogue of Occupations of Difficult Coverage of the Community of Madrid.

3— Contrato como trabajador altamente cualificado

Otra opción, para las personas que hayan cursado estudios superiores o cuenten con un alto nivel de especialización laboral, es la de conseguir un contrato como profesional altamente cualificado (PAC). Este tipo de contrato lleva asociado un estatus especial, cuyas características son las siguientes:

Another option, for those who have completed higher education or have a high level of job specialisation, is to obtain a contract as a highly qualified professional (HQP). This type of contract is associated with a special status, the characteristics of which are as follows:

  • It is an authorization that is granted for the duration of the contract, but if the contract is indefinite, it will be granted for three years.
  • Higher education and verifiable experience will be taken into account when accepting the designation as a highly qualified worker, as well as the salary to be received and the characteristics of the company making the job offer.
  • The application shall be made by the employer, not the employee.
  • The downside of this authorisation is that the residence permit is conditional on the employer. If the applicant stops working for the employer, he/she will have to apply for a new HQP residence as soon as possible. This also affects persons who have access to residence as family members of aHQP.

4— Applying for residency as a Spanish family member

A fourth option, if you have a stable Spanish partner, is to consider applying for residency as a family member of a Spanish citizen. In this case, one of these three conditions would have to be met:

  • Have been living in Spain for one year with the Spanish citizen, with registration at the same address.
  • Marry.
  • Or register as a domestic partner.


In any case, this article on the four ways to obtain a residence permit after studying in Spain is only a brief summary. Each of these procedures has its own specific processes and requirements, so the best idea to deal with them safely is to consult a lawyer specialised in immigration issues.

The reward for any of these routes to be successful is very high, since residency in Spain is a precious asset for many, as it allows them to accumulate time to apply for Spanish nationality. But the counterpart is not very pleasant: ending up in an irregular situation. Therefore, there is nothing like putting yourself in the hands of those who know and increase the chances of everything going well.

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