If you are a TEFL student from outside the EU area, you can apply for a 3 month tourist visa, and you are free to study during this period. For candidates from the United States, the 90 day tourist visa is automatic and there is no need for paperwork.
Would you like to stay long term and work in Spain?
For those of you who would like to stay longer than 90 days (tourist visa) and work in Spain who reside outside the EU area, it is quite complicated to obtain a work visa. This is due to government regulations requiring employers to prove that someone from within Spain or the EU cannot do the same job as you. For English teachers, this means getting sponsored for a visa essentially requires you to compete with the entire UK. The odds are not in your favor.
The good news is, it is not impossible! You could apply for a long-stay student visa which allows you to be eligible to work up to 20 hours per week. A minimum of 20 study hours per week over a course of more than 6 months is required for this visa to be approved. This means you’ll need to sign up for some kind of course during that time. Our 4-week Trinity CertTESOL course followed by our TEFL+ Professional Development Course or intensive Spanish course is a great option.
Long-term student visa
According to the Spanish Consulate, a long-term student visa allows the applicant to stay in the country for a period of longer than 180 days. When you arrive you will need to apply for the student residence card (NIE number) within 1 month after the date of arrival at the Immigration Office here in Malaga. With this NIE number (once it’s processed) you’d be eligible to apply for and obtain a work authorization (different process to complete in Spain), which would allow you to legally work for up to 20 hours a week, as long as you have a job offer and this doesn’t overlap with your study hours. For TEFL teachers 20 hours per week is usually a full- time schedule.
Please note that having a long-term student visa doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be able to legally sign a contract as your new employer must be willing to help you obtain this work authorization. In any way, it´s good to know that with a long-term visa you’ll be able to travel in and out of the country or the EU without anyone questioning your reentry and be able to legally extend your stay in Spain without travelling back home.
We do provide assistance for our trainees with the residency permits for an extra fee by going with you to the immigration office to help with the paperwork. If you are interested in this service, contact us for more details.
For U.S applicants, remember that processing times for visas can take up to 3 months including gathering all the required paperwork. Give yourself enough time to complete everything you need.