How to find a job in Spain with a student visa

from student visa to work permit

If you are in Spain with your student visa, keep reading. In this article you are about to learn how to stay in the country and start working, and for the long run!

There are several ways in which you can change your student permit into a work visa, and after reading this post the requirements for each of the 5 different alternatives will be clear.

Yes, the student visa can be converted to a work permit.

And, in fact, that is why many non-EU citizens decide to enter Spain with a student visa: because finally obtaining a residence and work authorization is much easier following the student path first (instead of directly applying for it).

In fact, as we will explore in the next section, the Spanish immigration law offers 5 different options to move from student visa to work permit.

Hence, if one does not fit your particular case, the other one will.

Even though the requirements for this transition are specific to the type of work permit you are moving to, there is something you must always make sure to consider.

If you wish to get a work permit while on your student visa:

  • The job you find must be directly related to your studies. That is, if you study medicine, you can’t obtain a job in a restaurant.
  • The specific requirements of the job offer must match the capacities obtained through your studies. That is, if you have finished a master’s, the position must be (at least somehow) qualified.

Meeting these 2 requirements is just the first step. Next, we must take a careful look at what exactly are your different options to obtain your work permit.

How to change from student visa to work visa in Spain

As we mentioned before, the Spanish Immigration Law offers 5 different paths to change from a student visa to a work permit.

Basically, you will follow one or the other based on the number of years you have been studying in Spain, and your level of qualifications.

Let’s explore each option carefully.

Working while studying

Can I work in Spain with my student visa? We have already explored and answered this question in this other article, and the answer is yes.

The first option is to get an internship agreement between your university and a company so that you can work while completing your studies.

You will be allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week, and your lecture plus working hours can never exceed 40 hours during that week.

So, for example, if you have 30 hours of class during any week, then you can work for a maximum of 10.

Apart from the internship agreement with your university, the company hiring you will also need to start a legal procedure with the immigration office (on your behalf).

Obtaining a regular work permit

After finishing your studies, you will be able to move to a regular work permit as an employee (“por cuenta ajena”), or as a self-employed worker (“por cuenta propia”).

In the first case, you must find a valid job offer, and in the second, prepare a business plan detailing the business idea you are about to develop.

Here the main downside is that in order to execute this transition, you must have been studying for at least 3 years in Spain.

Less than that would not allow for the switch (even though with the new immigration law that will be published soon, this will change).

Nevertheless, this extra effort is compensated by the fact that the national situation of unemployment is not considered in this case.

Hence, many foreigners try to renew their studies as much as possible, or start new ones until those 3 years are completed.

But, aren’t there any alternatives for those who have been studying for just 1 year?

There are, and that is what we will explore next. Nevertheless, if you have any question up to this point, do not hesitate to contact us through the following form (we will answer all your doubts!)


From student visa to highly qualified work permit

After just one year in Spain with your student visa, you can move to a work permit as a highly qualified worker.

This special type of work visa under the Entrepreneur’s Law is designed for those who occupy a managerial or really technical position, and who earn a high-enough salary.

Hence, you will be able to get this type of work visa only if:

  • You have completed a university degree, master’s or Ph.D
  • Your offered salary is at least 45.000€ (annually)
  • The specific tasks you will perform are as a manager or really technical

In this case, the institution in charge of analyzing your application and granting a positive response is the UGE-CE.

Nevertheless, there is another option for those who have just been in Spain with a student visa for one year, but who can’t apply for a highly qualified permit.

Residence permit for students looking for a job

Provided that you have completed your studies successfully, you have private health insurance and can demonstrate possession of at least 7.000€; you can move from a student visa to a special type of non-lucrative residency.

This type of residence authorization, introduced in 2018, does not allow you to work in the country.

Nevertheless, it allows you to stay in Spain for one extra year until you find a job offer or become a self-employed worker (or set up your own business).

Once with this permit in Spain, by the time you find a job, you will be able to easily move to work permit.

But, bear in mind that during the first 10 months of this looking for a job visa, you can just move to a highly qualified work permit.

From months 10 to 12, any job offer would work (as the national situation of unemployment won’t be applied).

You can learn more about how to go from looking for a job visa to a work permit here.

Internship residency

Finally, the other alternative many non-EU students go for is residency for internships.

This residency, which can also be applied from your country of origin (not necessarily after being a student in Spain), allows you to intern for any Spanish company provided that you finished your studies within no more than 2 years.

It just works for students who have completed level 6 or above studies (that is, university degrees, masters, or PhDs).


These have been your 5 different options to find a job with a student visa. If you have any doubts, our immigration lawyers will solve them all! Click the link below and get in touch with us today:

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