The procedure necessary for American candidates wishing to obtain a visa (also knows as the Schengen Visa) to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days used to be a straight forward process which could easily be done while in the country. However, it is now a little more complicated, especially as each Embassy and Consulate handles things differently. Please note that for our program, if you choose to get a visa, then you will be applying for a STUDENT VISA.
Adelante accepts candidates of all nationalities – however, you are responsible for finding out the visa requirements.
It is necessary for you to obtain your student visa before you leave the States. It is not possible to get your visa once in Spain and you can’t have it sent on to you. The visa, once issued, is fixed in your passport. In most cases, your passport must be valid for six months after your program ends. If you are in need of a new passport or have to renew your existing one, please visit the U.S. State Department website.
Visas are basically permits that enable you to be in a specific country for more than 90 days. Adelante will happily guide you through the visa process and do anything we can to help you understand the visa process. The process for obtaining your visa can take some time, so be prepared to apply for the Adelante program well ahead of time. As a general rule, if you know you will be pursuing the visa process, you should aim to apply for the visa at least 2 months ahead of your departure date. Consulates will accept your paperwork no later than 45 days prior to your departure date. Most of the Consulates now require you to apply in person, so you also need to take this into account if your Consulate is some distance from you.
The first step in applying for your visa is to contact the Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State in which you live or where your permanent address is. This can be difficult – we have found that fax may work best, since often times opening hours are just 9 – 12!.
Most Consulates require you to make an appointment to submit your documents, be sure to check this in advance.
Click here for a list of Spanish consulates and their jurisdictions.
The documentation required for your application will vary with each Consulate so check the exact requirements with them. The list below will act as a guide to the documents you may need to provide.
- A completed visa application form plus three photocopies. Click here for details on how to apply and a link to the Schengen Visa Application.
- Passport, plus 1 copy, valid for a minimum of 6 months. Your passport must be signed and must have a blank page to affix the visa.
- 4 recent color passport-size photos.
- Original and 1 copy of the Acceptance letter from Adelante addressed to the Consulate General, verifying full-time enrollment in an official University or School abroad. This should include verification of full payment of tuition, room, board, and full medical insurance coverage for the length of the program.
- Original and 1 copy of the letter of acceptance as a full time participant from the University or academic institution abroad. This letter must indicate the address of the center, specific dates and number of hours per week, type and level of the studies to be completed. Proof of available accommodation abroad, such as letter of invitation from the hosting family, University dorm reservation, etc.
- Verification of financial support: notarized letter from the student’s parents explaining financial responsibility for the student while abroad (at least $350 per month of stay), copy of their last bank statements, and photocopy of the student’s parents last Income Tax Return (pages 1 & 2 of the 1040 form).
- Original letter on doctor’s letterhead and 1 photocopy, verifying that the student is in good physical and mental health, free from any contagious or infectious diseases and drug addictions.
- Airline tickets to and from Spain plus 1 photocopy. If the airline just provides e-tickets, proof of payment is necessary (i.e. credit card statement).
- Cash or money order only in the amount of $100 for visa fee (US citizens). This fee must be satisfied in the exact amount and is not refundable.
If you do not wish to go to collect your passport and visa in person, and your Consulate allows this, then you can arrange for it to be sent to you. This may mean providing a pre-paid US Postal Service Express Mail-Overnight envelope. Again, check this with your Consulate.
For more information on student visas and Spanish Consulates in the USA, go to the Spanish Embassy website.
Please note that even though you obtain a student visa prior to departure, you will still be required to report to the nearest police station to your program abroad. You must do this within the first 90 days in the country. There, they will examine your visa and stamp it or give you other documentation showing you may stay up to the 6 months shown on your student visa. Because there have been so many changes recently, often the advice you receive from your Embassy or Consulate here will not coincide with what the police department abroad tells you. This is not a big deal, just be prepared for a variety of different procedures both here and abroad should you opt to obtain a student visa.