Passports & Visas - Spain
All students studying in Spain need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their date of departure. Passports should be applied for five months in advance of departure date through a US Passport Agency (Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC); through a Postal Clerk designated by the Postmaster General; Clerk of any Federal Court; or Judge or Clerk of any Probate Court. It is absolutely necessary to have a passport before applying for a visa.
Please note that for all IAU programs your passport must adhere to the following guidelines: it must be in good condition, with a date of expiration at least 6 months after the end of your stay in the Schengen area (Europe), and issued within the past 10 years and containing at least 2 blank pages.
Needed for a passport application:
- proof of identity
- proof of US citizenship (birth certificate, naturalization certificate, consular report or certification of birth, or previous passport)
- completed application forms
- photographs (two duplicate color passport-size)
There is also an expedited passport option for an additional fee. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for additional details.
On receipt of the passport, check that all information is correct. If not, return it for correction to the office of application; under no circumstances should you correct it yourself. Keep a photocopy of the information on the first two pages of your passport; in case of loss, this information will be very helpful in getting a replacement.
For students studying abroad for a short-term program, please note that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your period of intended stay.
Applying for a Long-Stay Visa Student Visa
U.S. citizens are required to apply for a long-stay student visa for semester programs (90+ days). Individual Spanish consulates operate autonomously regarding visa applications and requirements may vary from consulate to consulate or change without notice. Therefore, students are advised to verify the number of accompanying documents currently required by the consulate in question at the time they request an application form, and to be sure to carefully complete the form with precise dates of arrival in and departure from Spain.
It can take 4-7 weeks after the appointment at the consulate for U.S. students to receive their visas. For international students, it could take up to three months so please read all of the information on the consulate website very carefully. **This means that students must schedule their consulate appointments or submit their materials no less than 4 weeks (more than 4 weeks for international students) before their departure date. Otherwise, students risk not being able to leave on time for the program.
Semester and academic-year students will need a Student Visa to study in Spain. All visa processes go through the Spanish Consulate. To find out which consulate you will visit to apply for your visa, please refer to the Spanish Consulate finder. IAU will provide the necessary documentation needed to prove you will be a student abroad, but the remaining application and materials are the responsibility of the student.
Tips for Completing your Visa Application
- Surname is your last name and Forename is your first name
- Use European date format - DD/MM/YYYY
- Section 11: National Identity Number - Leave Blank
- Section 19: Current Occupation - Student
- Section 20: Main Purpose of the Journey - Studies
- Even if you are partaking in an internship you will choose "Studies"
- Do NOT enter "Residence - Temporary Work"
- Section 23: Applicant's address in Spain - Use address listed in your IAU acceptance letter
- Sections 24 & 25: Leave Blank
- Sections 26 & 27: Leave Blank
- Section 28: Use IAU's contact information provided on your IAU acceptance letter (for the email address, use firstname.lastname@example.org)
For citizens of any country outside of the U.S., visit your country's Spanish consulate website to determine the visa requirements. The visa process for non-US citizens may take much longer than that of US citizens, so please begin the application process as soon as possible or you risk not receiving your visa on time. If you need a visa, please contact the U.S. Office immediately for assistance.
In addition, before arrival in Spain, non-US citizens must check visa requirements of any other countries (outside of the Schengen Zone) to be visited and obtain visas necessary for travel.
Once you have identified the consulate location that processes applicants from your state and gathered the necessary documents, you will need to make an in-person appointment.
Students will need to schedule their visa appointment well ahead of time (but no more than three months prior to leaving the U.S.) because these appointments fill weeks, sometimes months, in advance. This can be done by going to the appropriate Spanish Consulate and making the appointment online. Some consulates do not require students to make an appointment. Therefore, each student will need to check on their specific consulate’s website for this information.
Here are some materials you may find helpful throughout the visa application process:
- U.S. Passports & International Travel
- Spanish Consulate Finder
- Visa Application Form
- SAMPLE List of Requirements (Chicago Consulate)