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Study Abroad Blog

I’m Legal!

Posted on November 1st, 2007 by Matt Brattin

So, I’m finally a legal Spanish resident€¦even have the card to prove it! I must say it was a long and often frustrating process, but it is over now (for the first year) and I’m happy about that. I said before that I would describe the process I had to undergo in order to get this student resident card, so that is what this post is about.

First off, if you’re planning to study in Spain for longer than a visa will allow, you’ll probably have to go through this process. So, the first step for everyone will be, get a passport! After this, follow my tips in the So You Want A Student Visa post and be sure to check with your local consulate to ensure you don’t have different processes or required documents. Once you have your visa done, you’re on your way to becoming a temporary Spanish resident.

From here, I must say I was relatively annoyed that the Spanish government doesn’t seem to communicate well with its consular branches. At the consulate in San Francisco, there were two documents I was required to provide for my visa that were subsequently stamped and given back to me. This included the letter of clearance and the letter of good health. These were two of the more difficult documents to come by, so I was told to keep these safe and be sure to present them to the Spanish government upon my arrival in order to obtain my residence card…strange, because I haven’t had to touch these documents since my arrival €“ not requirements for the student resident card!!!

On the contrary, these were the documents I needed to obtain:

Evidence of housing
Basically, my landlord had to go to the local police station and get a document stating that I am living in his place€¦easy enough. If you wind up with a landlord who isn’t as helpful as mine, just take a copy of your contract to the police station and they’ll get you the document.

Evidence of funds
It was recommended to have a Spanish bank account with something like 4,000 Euros in it, but I heard they also accepted non-Spanish account information for the first year. Next year, when I have to renew the card (and re-do the process) a Spanish account will be required. This wasn’t a problem, but it was annoying having to pay seven euros just for a certificate stating my balance€¦couldn’t a statement just have sufficed?!

Copy of your visa and inbound passport stamp
Unfortunately, you cannot bypass the visa process, as you need to provide a copy of it to prove that you completed this step. Additionally, you need a copy of the page where your passport was stamped when you entered Spain. This actually was a problem for many folks, as not everyone had their passports stamped. So, people were having to get new copies of boarding passes and train tickets to prove when they entered the country. The reason is if you wait more than thirty days to apply after your arrival, you get fined€¦so try to get your passport stamped upon entry and apply within 30 days!

Four DNI sized photos
No, passport size will not be accepted, they are too big€¦I should know, mine were rejected. DNI is something like 3×4 cm and they will only accept this. It was frustrating finding a place to do this during the hours I am available, especially considering they don’t seem to do these on weekends for some reason, despite the stores being open. Only cost like four euros€¦well, seven if you count the money I wasted getting passport sized photos.

Proof of health insurance
Yeah, make sure you have evidence that you have insurance coverage, make copies of these, and you’re good to go.

In addition to this€¦
The only other thing I would have needed if Blanca were applying with me would have been a translated marriage certificate. Also, if I had children, a translated birth certificate would be required as well€¦I know personally one of my classmates had a lot of issues because they assumed, quite rationally, that his nine-month old baby’s visa would be sufficient to obtain her card€¦but leave it to the Spanish authorities to question that the child was even his, so they needed a birth certificate with his and his wife’s name on it, translated, as proof that their child was in fact theirs€¦glad I don’t have kids.

Other than that, I was thankful ESADE provided an attorney to do all the dirty work. It was pretty straight forward, just furnish the documents and he got it all done. It wouldn’t be impossible to do without an attorney, so don’t fear if you don’t have one, just make sure you know where to go and what to bring.

Hopefully this is somewhat helpful, and if anyone has endured this process as well, please share your experiences!

Quotes are cool…but then again, if they weren’t, no one would quote them. – Marabeth Madsen

5 Responses to “I’m Legal!”

  1. Paris Says:

    Wow thanks for the info! You had so helpful things in there and that good thing is that this info doesn’t only have to apply for Spain. If can help you remember important stuff for other places. (^__^)

  2. Lyn Says:

    Great information. I am thinking of doing a course in Spain next year. Will I need any of this for just a few months?

  3. Matt Brattin Says:

    Hi Lyn,

    If you’re going to be in Spain for less than 90 days, then your passport should be sufficient. If it is beyond 90 days, then you’re probably going to need a student visa and likely yes, you’d need all of the items I discussed in the “So you want a student visa” post. Hope this helps, and sorry it took me so long to respond!


  4. Cyril Says:

    Whow this is some nice information!!

    You can indeed travel without visa if you are staying for 90 days or less. I have some experience regarding to the visa etc. but I haven´t experienced a lot of problems with it. As long as you now what to bring when you are visiting Spain, everything will go pretty easy.
    It is indeed not necessary to have a Spanish bankaccount, I think this would be hard to obtain if you haven´t entered the country yet!

    Thank you for all the good information about this subject!

  5. djoana Says:

    heyhey, this is pritty helpul
    so i have been accepted to study abroad for one year in madrid sapin.
    im in great confusion as to wheather i need a student visa or not. or if just need to go to the polce station on my arrival and recive a resident card.
    I have deul citizenship to Bulgaria(memeber of EU since 07)and to the united states.
    I live in the states , but can i just use my bulgarian passport and not get a student visa.??
    thanks for your help
    do i need a NIE and a resident card?

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