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Student Visa in Spain: An Overview

Travelling is great, both for leisure and especially for your professional goals. In recent years, many people have opted to aim for paid hospitality work in Spain as the next step in their career . In this article I will be explaining to all of you why you should choose Barcelona to start your iberian hospitality adventure, how to navigate the fairly complicated visa process and, lastly, how Hospitality Academy can help you do it.

Why should I live in Barcelona?


It’s no secret that Spain is the perfect country to study and work in hospitality, but why Barcelona? Well, anyone who has spent time in the city can attest to the fact that Barcelona is a city of two dimensions.

With its direct access to the beautiful mediterranean coast, history and architecture that screams culture and a vibrant and fun nightlife, the city is a tourist’s playground.

On its other side, Barcelona is the economic heart of Spain, with many of the largest companies in the world choosing to base their headquarters out of the city. The city’s status as an economic powerhouse and a visitor’s paradise make the city perfect for hospitality professionals.

As Barcelona attracts a huge amount of tourists every year, the hospitality industry of the city is one of the greatest in Spain and as a country that attracts more tourists than any in the world (except France) this is a huge feat!

This huge market of tourists combined with Barcelona’s existing wealth has also attracted some of the biggest hotel names in the world to maintain properties in the city. As such, the city is practically a gold mine of hospitality opportunities.

Your life in Barcelona would consist of visiting the sun kissed beaches of the city, sampling some of the greatest food of the European continent and making a great deal of money in one of the best hotels in the world.

However there is just one barricade in your way: the visa.

How do I get a visa for Spain?

Student visa spain

As with most countries, the visa process for Spain is not exactly straightforward, there are multiple options to choose from and not all of them are easy.

However, the best and safest option to get you started is to go for the student visa. The student visa is aimed at (surprise surprise) students wanting to spend time in Spain for a varying amount of time- generally 3-12 months

Step 1: Gather your Documents

The documents you need to obtain the student visa in Spain can vary from case to case, but the following are always necessary:

  • Visa Form completed and signed including two passport size pictures
  • Signed internship agreement (by all three parties: candidate, school, property)
  • Certificate of enrolment and/or School’s transcripts
  • Internship certificate (stating that the internship is a mandatory part of the studies)
  • Health insurance (covering at least 30,000€ for repatriation and valid in the Schengen Zone)
  • Various “home tie” documents that can prove your intent to come back to your country of residence

Step 2: The Embassy process:

After you have collected your documents, you will need to send them directly to the Spanish embassy in your country of residency. In some cases (depending on nationality) The embassy may also request that you attend a short interview at your local embassy. Generally these questions would be surrounded around your means and motive to return home and your motivation for participating in the internship itself.

Step 3: Waiting and receiving

Once you have had the interview and/or submitted your documents, the embassy will review them, this will generally take between 2-4 weeks. Once it has been approved, your passport will be stamped and you can begin your hospitality adventure!

What does the Spanish student visa let you do?

Overall this visa will allow you to travel to Spain and take part in an educational program for up to 12 months without renewal.

During this time you can live in Spain and carry out your studies as a resident of the country and enjoy the privileges that this entails, from the sun and sea to the extensive network of travel hotspots that the country has to offer.

More importantly for those wanting to start a career in Spain, the visa also allows you to take part in a paid internship, as long as it is related to your course and does not interfere with your studies. For all of you hospitality students, this means that you’ll be able to study your subject while having paid work in one of the city’s prestigious luxury hotels.

The main limitation of this visa is that it generally cannot be extended past 12 months, this begs the question: Why am I speaking about the student visa in the context of starting a career in Spain? Well, generally speaking, longer term visas do require links, connections and know-how within the country in order to make it a realistic goal. Starting with the student visa lets you go to Spain and obtain the kind of connections necessary to plan for a longer term visa. This, ideally, will come in the form of gaining a good relationship with your employer who will then be able to sponsor you for a longer term visa.

Overall, the student visa is not and should not be viewed as a way of living in Spain on its own. However it is an effective way for students and professionals alike to get their “foot in the door” of the country, which is a necessary first step for anyone interested in starting a career in Europe.

How can Hospitality Academy help you?

W Barcelona
Sounds pretty simple right? I mean from face value, the process has 3 steps and afterwards you’re free to hop on a plane and start your adventure. Unfortunately, as with most visa processes, the process is only actually simple at face value. Here are some of the difficulties of the above process and how we can help you through them.

The Problem: Let’s start with the first step: the documents. Now, while the documents necessary may not be as long a list as some other countries, most of them are not particularly easy to obtain. Both the certificate of enrolment of the school and your internship agreement can only be obtained if you are a student of an accredited school which has a relationship with a local hotel. This can be difficult and costly to find yourself and the end result may be you doing your internship in a property that does not interest you.

The Solution: Hospitality Academy is an accredited brand of education in Barcelona, allowing you to easily obtain your certificate of enrollment. On top of this, we also have recruitment links with some of the best hotels and restaurants across the city. So not only will you have your internship agreement, but you will also be able to choose from some of the best workplaces to take advantage of.

The Problem: Moving on to the second step of the process. When sending your documents to the embassy, the process itself can be quite daunting. With all of the paperwork that is needed and the limited advice available from the authorities, it’s easy for someone to make a mistake on their documents and accidentally waste their time and money. This can be even worse when the candidate must go into the embassy interview! As many enter the embassy nervous, unprepared and ultimately miss their chance.

The Solution: We want to provide all of our students with an equal opportunity to take part in our programs, as such we have a dedicated visa team to assist you in the harder parts of the process. We can check your documents and make sure everything is in order before you send them. Lastly, for those it is necessary for: we can help you through your interview by practicing common questions asked and reviewing your answers so you enter the embassy confident and prepared.

The Problem: So you have gotten your visa, congratulations! However now you must start the new challenge of moving into a city that you have never been before and have no connections within. This little problem can be even more daunting than even the strictest embassy officer!

The Solution: As a company with an office and campus in Barcelona, we live and breathe this city and are always happy to share our knowledge with you! Pursuing a program with Hospitality Academy Barcelona will give you access to our housing assistance as well as our guidance with cultural and entertainment activities. Lastly, as a student of ours, we will provide you with lifetime membership into our alumni network of like minded students in the city and throughout the world!

The Problem: Now we reach the end of the process and your visa duration, you have had a great time on your program and have learned so much but there is one big problem- you don’t want to leave! Unfortunately you are on the last month of your visa and have no idea how to stay aside from hiding under your bed and hoping the police don’t catch you (top tip: please don’t do this…they will catch you)

The Solution: Overall it is difficult to guess whether or not you will gain the connections necessary to stay in Spain, the process isn’t simple. However with Hospitality Academy, we are dedicated to helping you foster a long lasting relationship with your host employer. As we have close relationships with so many employers across the city, we can guarantee that we can find the perfect host employer for you. With this employer, you will have the opportunity to prove yourself as an invaluable part of their long term staff and begin your career in this beautiful city!

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