Can I Work in Spain with a Student Visa?

Can I work in Spain with a student visa?

A large number of foreigners who live in Spain do so for study reasons. People from all around the world who decide to move to the country to complete their higher education course, degree, master’s or PhD), and their student visa is the document that allows them to do that legally.

But at some point, the question that many of them ask themselves is quite common: is it possible to work in Spain with a student visa? Does the Spanish immigration law allow me to work on weekends when I do not have a class, for example?

In this article, you will find the answer to this question, including everything you must know about it (spoiler: yes, that is possible, although there are different options that you will have to evaluate to do so).

First things first. The student visa, per se, does not allow you to work in Spain. But this does not mean that the foreigner with a student visa does not have any extra tool at her disposal to end up working while completing her studies.

There are 2 legal options that will allow any foreign student to work:

  • The so-called work authorization. This is an authorization that allows the foreigner to perform certain specific jobs, both as an employee or as a self-employed individual. Next in this post we will explore all the limits of this option.
  • On the other hand, it is also possible to work through curricular or extracurricular internships (which can be paid or unpaid depending on the university and the company hiring you). Here, only in the case of extracurricular internships will it be necessary to carry out an extra procedure with the Immigration Office.

We will now analyze in detail the first option: the authorization to work.

This is usually the preferred option for most foreign students because it actually generates extra income and because it allows those students to combine comfortably combine their studies with a part-time job.

This is the case, for example, of university students who study from Monday to Friday and during the weekend work as waiters in a restaurant. This work authorization would be the legal instrument they must apply for in order to be able to work while studying.

It requires a specific procedure and a series of requirements to be met in order for the immigration office to validate and approve the request.

Let’s see those below, although remember that if you have any doubts you can ask anything to our lawyers here:

Requirements to work with a student permit

First of all, let’s remember that the main purpose of the student visa is to allow the foreigner to study in Spain, to complete an academic course in the country, whatever that course is. Therefore, the ability to work (under any legal option) is relegated to a mere complement.

Thus, as long as occasional work activities are performed (and never full time, as would be a regular 9 to 5 job), the foreigner with a student visa will be able to work by requesting the authorization to work (“autorización para trabajar” in Spanish).

It is important to note that this is not a residence and work authorization. The student would continue under a stay status, and even if she can work once she obtains this authorization, the time in Spain while studying would not be counted for the calculation required to obtain citizenship.

In addition, she will have to renew her student visa at the end of the academic year, although when renewing the student card the authorization to work would be automatically renewed too.

In order to carry out this procedure, there are 2 fundamental requirements: 

The first one states that the job cannot become the student’s main source of income. In other words, the student must continue to rely on her own economic means to support herself in the country, so the salary received from work must be limited.

In this sense, the income generated through this job contract will not be counted towards the economic requirement that appears when extending and renewing the student visa.

On the other hand, this job cannot be a full-time one, and the working hours cannot affect class time. In short, the contract must be part-time, and must never coincide or overlap with lectures. 

Extra documents and requirements for a successful application

But, in addition, there are a series of extra requirements that will be fundamental to obtain this authorization to work:

  • The student must have sufficient qualifications to carry out the professional activity for which she is hired (something that can be demonstrated through the accreditation of the required professional training, whether it is a high school or higher education dipoloma, degree, etc.).
  • The hiring company must be registered with the Social Security and be up to date with its payments and tax obligations with the Tax Agency and Social Security.
  • In addition, this employer must have sufficient economic capacity to hire and pay the student’s salary, providing the corresponding supporting documentation to prove it.
  • The employment contract signed by both parties must also be presented.
  • In case that the student wants to perform economic activities as a self-employed individual (called “autónomo” in Spain), she must present a business plan (which must be approved), viable from an economic point of view.
  • The application form to be completed is form EX-12, which you can download here.
  • Finally, as in any other procedure, complete passport plus copy must be also submitted.

Legal procedure to get your work authorization

This authorization to work as a student is not granted automatically.

It will be important to follow the established legal procedure in which the employer (and not the student) will initiate the application at the immigration office located in the province where the student will end up working (and not where she is studying).

The corresponding fee must be paid, and the student must wait for the resolution of the foreigners’ office in order to start working.

Moving from student visa to work permit

So far we have analyzed the case in which the foreign student combines her studies with a job. In other words, she carries out a professional activity during her studies.

However, this poses a major problem: either through an internship agreement or through the authorization to work, the maximum hours that the student can work are limited, as well as the remuneration or salary that can be generated.

That is why the solution presented below may be the ideal path for many.

Once they finish their studies, these foreign students can quite straightforwardly obtain a work permit.

A residence and work permit that allows them to have a full-time employment contract with a salary that better suits their needs.

In that sense, there are 3 different ways to go from a student visa to a work permit in Spain:

And up till here the main ways for a student with a student visa to work legally in Spanish territory. If you have any doubts or you would like our immigration lawyers to guide you with your procedure, we can answer all your questions through the following link:

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Can I work in Spain with a student visa?

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