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What are the rules for working on a student visa in Spain?

The Local Spain
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What are the rules for working on a student visa in Spain?
Can I work on a student visa in Spain? Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If you've come to live in Spain on a student visa, it's important to know if you're allowed to get a job, how many hours a week you can work and how to go about getting a work authorisation.


Student visas are issued for stays in Spain exceeding 90 days specifically for studies, training, internships or voluntary work. This visa may also be issued for stays for au pairs and for language assistants.  

If your course or internship etc. is less than 90 days, you do not require a student visa, but may need a tourist visa, depending on your nationality.

If you are registered on a course and can meet the necessary requirements such as savings to support yourself and private healthcare then the simple answer is yes you are allowed to work while you’re studying.

Even though you can work on a student visa, there are several caveats and rules that you must adhere to to work legally here.

Keep in mind that even though you are allowed to work in Spain on a student visa, the money that you show to support yourself in order to get your student visa cannot be taken into account. This money must be savings or passive income from a different source.

Firstly, work must be compatible with the completion of your studies and you may not work more than 30 hours per week.

There are two different routes you can take – one is to find a job and work as an employee and the other is to become self-employed.

READ ALSO: What are the pros and cons of Spain's student visa?


Working as an employee

If you are doing a course that requires you to do professional work alongside it, in order to complete your studies then you will not need to request authorisation to do so. This will be organised by your specific university, centre or school.

If you simply want to take on a part-time job to earn some extra money, that has nothing to do with your studies, then it will be up to your employer to request the authorisation for you, but they will need several documents in order to do so.

Your employer will also be in charge of paying your social security contributions.

All this means will need to secure a job first, before you get your authorisation.

You and your employer will need to provide:

- Application form EX-12 and a copy, completed and signed by your employer.

- Full passport or valid travel document.

- Documentation accrediting that you have the training and the professional qualification legally required for the profession, as well as approved qualifications, when necessary.

- Documentation proving the compatibility of your studies with your job.

- Documentation that identifies the company requesting authorisation: NIF, NIE, S.A., S.L., Cooperative, etc.

- NIF of the company and copy of the deed of incorporation.

- Public document that certifies that the signatory of the authorisation request holds the legal representation of the company.

- NIF or NIE of the signatory of the application.

- Employment contract signed by the employer and the worker.

- Documentation proving that they are paying you enough to meet contractual obligations.

Your employer will also be in charge of paying work authorisation fees via forms 790 and 062 within 10 days, while you will have to pay a small separate fee.

You will receive an answer to your request within three months. If no answer has been given, then it will be understood to have been denied based on administrative silence.

If you have opted for electronic notification, you will receive it online.  


Becoming self-employed

Working for yourself as a student is a lot more complicated.

In order to do so you will first need to make a solid and viable business plan, which you must present to your nearest Immigration Office. Remember you will have to run your business alongside keeping up with your studies and still only work a maximum of 30 hours a week.

It’s also important to note that you will be in charge of paying your own social security fees. Social security fees in Spain are high. The fees go from €225 to €530 per month, depending on how much you earn. For example, if you earn less than €670 a month, you will have to pay the lowest level of social security - €225.

READ ALSO: The social security fees Spain's self-employed will pay in 2024

Remember, this is not tax, you will also be paying tax on top of this, plus fees to a gestor or accountant to help you submit your quarterly returns.

If you’re sure you can make it work financially, then you’ll have to submit your business plan along with form EX-12, as above for an employee.

Documents you need to provide:

- Form EX-12 and a copy completed and signed.

- Passport. 

- Student visa and residency authorisation. 

- Copies of professional qualifications needed to carry out your business.

- Documentation proving the compatibility of your studies with your job.

You will also need to set yourself up as autónomo and register with Social Security

You will receive a response within three months.


Important points to remember 

Your work authorisation will only last as long as your course does. If you leave your course or are forced to because you can’t keep up with your studies, you won’t be able to continue working either.

For those doing a short course – ie less than three months, you will not need a student visa and will simply carry out your studies on a tourist visa instead. If you are on a tourist visa, however, you will not be allowed to work, even though you are a student.

READ ALSO: How to enter Spain on a tourist visa and stay to study

This can prove tricky for those whose courses last three months and want to be able to work. In this case, it’s best to contact your local consulate and see if they will issue you with a student visa.

Alternatively, you could come to Spain on a tourist visa before you begin your course and then switch over to a student visa.


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