Q: Do you know if I will be legally able to work or do an internship with a student visa?
To answer your question, we have to break down the concept of “work” and “internship” into two separate categories, because Spanish law divides them into different legal concepts. Internships: If the internship in question stems from your Berklee master’s degree program, your student visa grants you the right to participate in the internship. Spanish immigration law is designed, in part, to protect Spanish workers in a global labor market while giving students opportunities to continue their education with practical internships in both public and private companies. Therefore, foreign students have the right to participate in internship programs sponsored by their universities, and these arrangements are not considered labor contracts even if the student receives economic compensation by the company for his or her participation; this compensation is in the form of a student grant or expense reimbursement. Please contact the International Career Center on campus for more information about internships. Work: Under Spanish law, the concept of “work” or “a job” involves a different kind of economic relationship that comes with different rights and responsibilities than does an internship. Your student visa permits you to work part-time in a job that does not conflict with your class schedule. It also permits you to work full-time for up to three months under the same conditions. However, the business that hires you must solicit permission from the government and many employers are reluctant to take this administrative step. Therefore, few foreign students receive legitimate job offers during their studies. More information in English can be found here for student visas and here for work visas. Both links lead to the Spanish Ministry of Labor website.
Q: Can I stay in Spain past the expiration date on my student residency card?
There is a gray area of the law that could be beneficial to you if you only want to stay for a few months after your card expires. Technically, you have to renew your card before it expires. However, there is a grace period of 90 days for people who did not renew in time. That means you could still legally be in Spain for up to 90 days after your card expires. However, remember that your card is what allows you to re-enter Spain if you leave, and your card will be expired during that 90-day grace period. This means that if you leave Spanish national territory during the 90-day grace period, you will not have the right to get back in, especially if you are not from the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong and Macao (China), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, or Venezuela.
Q: What is the difference between a student residency card and a NIE?
A student residency card is a type of Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero, or a foreigners’ residency card. This is a physical card that all non-EU foreigners must obtain if they are staying in Spain more than six months. This card contains your photo, your fingerprint, and your NIE.
Q: What is a NIE?
NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero, or a foreigner’s registration number. This number is used to identify foreigners while they stay in Spain and it is imperative to have for all administrative and financial matters.
Q: Can my wife/husband and child/children accompany me?
Yes, your immediate family members can accompany you during your studies in Spain. Each family member will have to apply for a separate visa; they should each apply for a Non Lucrative visa. Depending on the consulate that corresponds to you, each family member may need a separate appointment in order to present their visa application. We recommend checking with the consulate to see what their procedure is. Remember to bring a copy of your marriage certificate and/or birth certificates with you to Spain, because Spanish police will want to see them in order to issue your family members their own residency cards.
Q: Can I enter Spain before the date posted on my Visa?
Entering Spain a few days before your student visa is in effect won’t be a problem if you are from the countries listed below*. Just be sure that when you enter the Schengen Area, you get your passport stamped. If, for some reason, an immigrations officer doesn’t stamp your passport (this is rare, but does occasionally happen), please be sure to keep your boarding passes and the paid receipt for your flight. You would need them to get your Spanish student residency card. *These countries are: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong and Macao (China), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Q: Will the official acceptance letter provided by Berklee in my accept pack meet the requirement for my Visa application?
Yes, the acceptance letter Berklee provides meets the acceptance letter requirements for the Spanish government. The official acceptance letter is written in Spanish and certifies that you are a full-time student in Spain from the Spanish University/School or US program indicating: name, address, telephone and fax number, and registration number with the Ministry of Education of Spain; full payment tuition; duration of the program (date of start & date that finishes); subjects of study; hours of study per week (20 at least).
Q: Do I have to pick my visa up in person?
Spanish law states that you must come to the consulate in person to get your passport. There have been cases in which a consulate will let someone use a courier service to retrieve his or her passport, but that decision is at the discretion of the consulate. You would have to negotiate that, and you may or may not be successful in doing so. The better you document your case (paid airline tickets, for example) the better chances you have of being able to have a courier pick up your passport. Also, there is an important nuance that you should be aware of. The consulate usually holds the passport while it processes the visa, so if you want to fly to Spain during this time, you should let the consulate know of your plans when you submit your application (again, bring paid airline ticket receipts, hotel receipts, etc.)
Q: I have a visa appointment in late August, and my visa won’t be ready in time to come to Spain. What are my options?
You CAN get into Spain for 90 days without a tourist visa IF you are from: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Hong Kong and Macao (China), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, or Venezuela. If your visa will not be ready by the time your classes start, and you are from one of the above countries, you could come to Spain and start your classes and then return to your home country to pick up your visa when it is issued. Remember, you have up to 90 days to be here without the student visa. Once you are notified that the visa is issued you have 60 days to pick it up in your home country; be careful, if you don’t pick it up within 60 days, it will be canceled!Also remember that the consulate will hold your passport while it processes your visa application, but you will need your passport to come to Spain. Therefore, you will have to ask the consulate if it will let you keep your passport while it processes your visa. The best way to convince the consulate is to bring paid plane tickets/hotel accommodations to your visa appointment. Since each consulate has a degree of administrative leeway, we cannot guarantee that it will let you hold on to your passport. Have in mind that some consulates might be more strict than others and therefore, buying tickets and paying your hotel will be risky. So far, all of our students and employees who have found themselves in this situation were able to keep their passports.
Q: If I present a defective visa application, how long do I have in order to correct it?
You have 10 business days to correct (subsanar) any problems in your application after you have submitted it. The 10 days are calculated starting the day after you present your application, and the days that count are Monday through Saturday (not Sunday, nor any holiday that causes the consulate to close. These holidays might be Spanish national holidays or local holidays in the country where the consulate is located).