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Studying in Spain

Residence Permits for Educational Reasons Temporary Residence status can be obtained for educational reasons if the period is longer than six months. Students who stay for less than six months are not counted as immigrants, and students residing longer than six months have to get a study visa and be registered. According to Spanish law, a residence permit for educational reasons also enables family reunification.

A student residence card is called NIE and a student should apply for this at the Spanish Ministry of Public Safety (Ministerio del Interior) once he or she is in Spain.This document allows a student to live in Spain during the period of study, and also allows a student to travel throughout the European Union and in countries that have signed agreements with Spain or the European Union for the free movement of persons.


If the country of origin does not have a reciprocal health agreement with Spain, then students are not covered by the Spanish Social Security and must have private health insurance in Spain. Non-EU foreign students will be also required to prove that they have sufficient economic means to support themselves in Spain. Students may be allowed to get a part-time job, but this is considered exceptional, and they should obtain a work permit. Additionally, they have to prove to Spanish authorities that their activities will be compatible with their studies and that the income they receive is not necessary for their own living and permanence in Spain. 

Before they start working, students need to get authorization from the Foreigners' offices (Oficinas de Extranjeros) or the Government Labour offices (Delegaciones o subdelegaciones del Gobierno, área de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales), and they will be required to present some documentation such as their student card and/or work contract.

All the forms can be obtained at the web site of State Secretary of Immigration and Emigration at -

Recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees

Students who have finished their studies at a university or centre of higher education abroad and who wish to continue their studies at a Spanish University can (1) either apply to validate their degree as an official Spanish university qualification or (2) apply to have their studies recognized as being equivalent to the corresponding Spanish studies.

Students should be aware that these two procedures cannot be undertaken simultaneously. Applications for validation of a degree awarded abroad should be sent to the Department of Academic Qualifications, Recognitions and Validations (Paseo del Prado, 28 - 28014 Madrid; Tel. (34) 917 018 500).