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, or throughout the week?
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 DOES allow you to work in Spain, and does so up to 30 hours per week.
Generally speaking, there are 2 legal options that will allow any foreign student to work:
- First, through the student visa itself, which now already authorizes to work. However, if the card was issued before the 16th of August, 2022, the foreigner must apply for compatibility with studies in order to be able to work.
- 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.
Regarding the first option, to work with a visa for studies, it is important to consider that it can be done in all of Spain since there is no geographical limitation.
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 a complement to the student card.
It is important to note that 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, and once renewed, the capacity to work will be too.
Furthermore, there are 2 fundamental considerations:
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 (just 30 hours per week), and the working hours cannot affect class time. In short, the contract must be part-time, and must never coincide or overlap with lectures.
Apply for the compatibility of studies and work
As mentioned above, as long as a student visa was obtained after the entry into force of the modification of the immigration regulations, it is possible to work automatically with the visa.
However, if the card was issued before that, it will be necessary to apply for the compatibility of work and studies.
This involves complying with the following requirements to obtain this authorization to work (again, only for student cards prior to the modification):
- 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 a foreign student combines her studies with a job. In other words, she carries outa professional activity during her studies.
However, this poses a major problem: either through an internship agreement or through their student visa itself, 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 effortlessly 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:
- After one year as a student in Spain, it is possible to move to a work permit as a highly qualified worker as long as you get a job offer as a manager or in a technical position, and that the salary is higher than 40,000€ per year.
- Also after one year in the country under a visa for studies, it is possible to modify to a job search visa, a non-lucrative residence for one year that allows the foreigner to stay in the country while looking for a job.
- On the other hand, after completing her studies (and no matter their length) it is possible to change to a regular work permit, either employed or self-employed (in the latter case upon presentation of a business plan).
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: