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VISA (Non-EU Students)


Non-EU citizens who plan to study in Spain for a period of more than six months have to apply for an “open”, multiple-entry visa for studies (type D). This type of visa (Visado de Estudios) is valid for entering the European Union’s Schengen Area for three months from the date of issue. Please make sure you apply for a student visa and not a tourist/Schengen visa, as any other type of visa does not entitle you to the subsequent processing of your Student Residence Card for Foreigners (TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjera) and you would have to leave Spain after three months.


You must apply for your student visa between 3 months and 1 month before your arrival in Spain. If possible, we strongly recommend that you try to book an appointment as soon as possible at your Consulate / Embassy / BLS office for a date within this timeframe, as appointments are sometimes hard to come by. (Eg: try to book an appointment in March to submit your application in July).

In order to apply for your student visa you will need to submit some apostilled or legalised documents, such as your certificate of criminal records. To avoid any delays with your visa application, please start this process as soon as possible after your admission.


NON-EU exchange students, who will be staying in Spain for a semester, need a short-stay study visa. This has a maximum duration of 180 days and cannot be extended. For this type of visa you will not need a certificate of criminal records. Please look at the website of your assigned Spanish Consulate/Embassy/BLS office to confirm what documents are necessary for the short-stay study visa, and whether or not they need to be legalised before submitting your application.


You have to apply for a visa through your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence before coming to Spain. A visa can never be changed once you are in Spain. The only valid visa is the one obtained from a Spanish Embassy or Consulate. You will find a comprehensive list of all embassies and consular offices as well as more information on the specific visa application requirements of each country on the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation at www.exteriores.gob.es.


You should contact the respective Spanish Embassy or Consulate either  in your home country or country of residence to request your student visa well in advance of your arrival in Barcelona. Keep in mind that consulates and embassies may be very busy in the peak summer months and thus you may not be able to secure an immediate appointment. It is possible that you may have to request your visa through BLS, an authorised visa centre in your country. The section “consular services” of your assigned Consulate or Embassy will provide information on how and where to submit your application, whether it is through BLS or directly to them.

The required documents usually include:

  • Visa application form
  • Passport (make sure that it will be valid for your stay in Barcelona)
  • Formal IBEI acceptance letter (sent to you by the Admissions Office once you have made the deposit payment)
  • Criminal records certificate  from your home country and any other country of residence covering the past five years.
  • Proof of financial means
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Passport-sized photos

Please keep in mind that all official documents must be translated to Spanish by a sworn translator and duly legalised. You can find a list of translators recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation at the following link.