Residence authorization for internships in Spain

residence authorization internship

Would you like to start working in Spain with an internship contract? Do you want to extend your stay in the country while you have a student visa? In this article you will find the solution: the residence authorization for professional internships. We will analyze in detail all the requirements you must meet, how to apply for it, and other advice that will be totally useful to you.

Since 2008 in Spain there is, under the law of Entrepreneurs, the residence for professional internships.

This residence permit gives the student the possibility to work legally in Spain with an internship contract or agreement, thus being able to legally reside in the country for the duration of that work experience.

Thus, this is a totally beneficial alternative.

It allows students to modify their stay for study purposes to a residence permit, extending their legal stay in the country automatically and without complex procedures.

In other words, this way you can start working in Spain without needing to wait for the required 3 years to get a regular work permit as a student.

Together with the job search permit, this is one of the most recommended ways to change from a student visa to a residence card.

In 2018, this authorization underwent important changes. One of the most important changes is that you can now apply for it directly from Spain, without having to apply for a visa in your home country (in the case that you are not yet in Spanish territory).


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Who can get the work permit to internship?

This residence permit is designed for students who have completed level 6 education or higher. Any lower course will not be accepted, and therefore the application rejected.

In other words, we are talking about university degrees, masters, or p.h.Ds; but we also include higher sports education, higher vocational training, and higher artistic and plastic education.

More specifically, the student must have completed these studies within the last two years, although those who are still studying their degree may also apply for this internship work permit.

And those studies could be both in Spain or outside of the country. In other words, you can apply for this authorization whether you are studying in Spain or in your country of origin.

If the student is in Spain, he/she must have a student visa at the time of application.

Main advantages

Like any other residence under the entrepreneur’s law, this authorization has certain advantages that make it an ideal choice. And these advantages apply to both the student and the contracting company.

First of al, it saves companies the need to navigate the long and tedious immigration procedures that any other work permit do require. In this case, it is not necessary to personally attend any immigration office to start the process while presenting infinite loads of paperwork.

Here everything is done online and in a much simpler way.

On the other hand, we are talking about much less binding between the company and the student and more flexible contracts, which means less resistance for the company.

In other words, you usually find short internship contracts (duration of 3 or 6 months), and not necessarily full-time.

As we have mentioned, the whole procedure is carried out online. This means that on the one hand, the process is simpler, but on the other hand, it also means greater efficiency and much faster response times.

Two different paths: contract and agreement

Obtaining a residence permit for internships in Spain allows for two possible and differentiated paths:

  • By means of an employment contract 
  • Or through an internship agreement

Internship contract

Through the internship contract, there is a contractual relationship with the company or self-employed person that hires the student, so the student is a worker of the company and contributes to social security.

These are contracts with a maximum total duration of 1 year, although the norm is to contract for 6 months (the minimum) and renew it once this period has expired.

At the salary level, you may not be paid less than the inter-professional minimum for that particular job position.

If the student becomes unemployed, he or she will be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Finally, note that it is possible to apply for this contract whether you have completed your studies in the last 2 years or are still studying.

Internship agreement

On the other hand, we found the internship agreement path. In this case, the student is NOT an employee of the company.

In other words, there is a relationship between three different parties: the student, the academic institution in charge of internal management, and the company. This is why a direct employment relationship is not contemplated.

In this case, since the university or higher education institution is in charge of issuing the agreement, the student must be studying at the time of application (the option of having already completed the studies would not be possible).

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We find a series of requirements that both the student and the company must meet in order to apply for this residence permit.

  • First of all, the internship must be within the same scope as the higher studies taken, and at the same level of qualification. In other words, the specific daily tasks and the student’s position/functions must be in the same line and level.
  • On the other hand, the student must have private medical insurance with the same coverage as the Spanish public health system, without any shortages or co-payments. The duration of the insurance must be at least 1 year. You can find out more about the insurance requirements here.
  • As with any other residence permit, we find the economic means. You must prove that you have 100% of the IPREM. If you have an internship contract, you can use it as funds here.
  • The company offering the internship must be up to date with payments to the Spanish Tax Agency and Social Security. It will be the company that initiates the application at the government office where it is located or where its operations are carried out.
  • Talking about paperwork, you must present the contract or internship agreement signed by all parties involved. This in addition to the EX-04 form properly completed.
  • Finally, it is necessary to attach a document in which the company details the description of the internship program, its duration, conditions, who the supervisor or instructor is, working hours, etc.

How long does it take to get it?

As everything is done online, the process is much faster and more agile. The maximum resolution time is 30 working days, and if after this period you do not receive any response, by positive silence the resolution is considered as approved.

And the latter is totally beneficial.

The various government delegations are usually quite slow in these procedures, so being able to resort to positive silence will be very useful to you, as you know that the maximum delay is always 30 days.

How long will this residence permit last?

The time depends on whether we are talking about an agreement or an internship contract.

In the case of an internship agreement, the answer depends on the duration of the agreement. In other words, the maximum is 6 months, but it can be less if the agreement so specifies. However, at the end of these 6 months, it is possible to renew the agreement for a further 6 months. At the end of this year, the employer must change the general regime if he wants to continue with the student-worker.

On the other hand, if it is done under a traineeship contract, the residence card has the same expiry date as the traineeship contract. In this case, the maximum is 2 years, but it cannot be less than 6 months.

But you must keep in mind something important. The application is linked to one company in particular. That is to say, if, at the end of the 6 months of the internship contract you want to change the company, you will have to start another application from 0, since the initial one is not useful.

Modification to regular work permit

As we have mentioned, this authorization is a highly recommended route if you are a student and would like to live and work in Spain on a long-term basis.

If you follow the usual path, you will have to study for three full years in Spain before you can apply for a regular work permit.

However, if you use the path of residence permit for internships, you will shorten the way enormously.

Once your internship or agreement expires, you can change your residence permit to an employee’s residence permit, which can be renewed until you can obtain permanent residence in the country.


And if you still have doubts… Our team of immigration lawyers is here to help you! Ask us anything and get an answer in less than 24 hours:

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