This is a step by step look at the visa documentation process I followed (April-August 2017) to obtain my Long Stay Student Visa which allows me to live and work in Spain for almost a year. Remember to double-check all the websites that I reference because policies and documents may have changed!
As a future CIEE Language and Cultural Assistant in Madrid, Spain, you are required to obtain a Long-Stay (180+ day) Student Visa from the Spanish Consulate in order to remain in the country.
As stated on the Spanish Consulate website, “The Visa will be valid for 90 days. During the first month of your stay in Spain, you must go to the Local Police Station where you will receive a ‘Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero’ (NIE/TIE). ” CIEE helps with this part too.
The following information is my experience being an applicant from Arizona and going through the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles, focusing right now on the documentation process:
- Make An Appointment In AZ, we have to fly to Los Angeles, CA for an in-person appointment! To successfully achieve your visa before mid-August 2017 (for the Teach in Spain – 4 weeks immersion, other programs differ, see the CIEE Spain Visa Guide for help) we’re instructed to schedule our appointment between June 19th and June 30th. Since there are very limited appointments in the Los Angeles Spain consulate, I booked an appointment in mid-April for June 23rd, 2017! If you haven’t booked now, keep looking and refreshing the page since appointments are continually added. Making the actual appointment when times are available is SUPER easy.
Navigate to the site (link above). Click “Make an Appointment”!
Create a username and password, then follow the prompts and select the time that works best for you.
They will email you appointment confirmation and it will be titled “The Consulate General of Spain in Los Angeles Appointment Confirmation”. On the email they will include links and further instructions for your Visa appointment. (You also must print the email confirmation page and bring it with you too.)
- Read the website for your specific consulate! Now that you’ve scheduled an appointment, you need to invest time in reading the site for everything you need to bring with you! I spent maybe an hour and a half (I’m a fast reader) to read everything and open links and research documents.
- Download the Visa Application Checklist This is literally the list that has all the documentation you need to bring with you for your Visa. Download and print all the documents needed from the website (most documents you need to get on your own, I will expand more on this.)
- Make your own list of steps to obtain EVERYTHING. Here is MINE below:
- Visa application form – (Download on Spanish consulate website, fill out in capital letters with black ink) Original and a photocopy
- 4-6 copies of passport photo (white background, obtain at CVS Photo by house, takes 5 minutes $13.00 for 2 copies)
- Passport – Original and a photocopy of the main page (I have this already.)
- Driver’s License – Original and a photocopy
- Acceptance Letter- Original and a photocopy (Ministry of Spain sends this in early June)
- Evidence of Funds – Original and one photocopy – print 3 months bank statements in mid-June
- Medical Travel Insurance – Original and a photocopy (CIEE sends this in late May)
- Medical Certificate – Original and a photocopy (Print on Spanish Consulate website)
Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor –make sure to let them know they need to print your Medical Letter for the Consulate with their letterhead and sign documents for you, bring the CIEE medical form on the CIEE application site AND bring the medical letter with translation on it already. Keep in mind you’ll need your immunization records if your doctor does not already have them to sign off on CIEE medical form. (Tip: The County Records office will have all your immunizations records, as medical providers are required to send this data there.)
- Certification of “absence of police records” –Original, a photocopy and translation into Spanish.
In Arizona we must obtain a FBI background check. I went through an online FBI-approved channeler at http://www.myfbireport.com/. I obtained fingerprint cards Monday, sent them in priority 1-day mail at FedEx ($26.00) on Tuesday, and then received my FBI background check forms by Saturday ($39.95 +$9.00 for the 1 additional copy we need for our placement school, +$14.00 optional USPS Priority Mail). I obtained the document inside of a week, but it does take a couple stops and exchanges before it’s ready for the Visa appointment. Here are the steps for AZ:
- Stop by Phoenix Police Records Department to obtain 2 copies of fingerprint cards This process only took 15-20 minutes around 8:00 am when they opened, bring an ID and $6.00 per card, $12 total. It was strongly suggested to grab 2 copies just in case a print isn’t readable, the second copy will help provide a second print to analyze. You don’t want to have to go back and do the process all over again.
- Send 2 copies of fingerprint card & Request Forms (print on my FBI report website) to:
- National Credit Reporting
- ATTN: FBI Consumer Report Request
- 6830 Via Del Oro, Suite 105
- San Jose, CA 95119
- Obtain Spanish Translation certified through Rev ($33.00/per page, if no records, the FBI background check is only 1 page) They say it is a 24-hour turnaround but they literally sent my translation in 15 minutes!
- Mail FBI background Check to U.S. Department of State in DC for Apostille. $8.00 per document (need money order–processing time is 5 weeks)
- Visa fees $160.00 Money Order only – Money orders are to be addressed to the General Consulate of Spain Los Angeles.
- Prepaid “Express mail” envelope through U.S. Postal Service or FedEx completely filled out with your name and address in both the “To” and “From” sections, (pick up in early June…)
- Disclaimer duly signed (print this 1 page form from Los Angeles Spain Consulate website)
And there you have it! Again, this is for the Los Angeles Spain Consulate for Arizona residents, even so, always check the Spanish Consulate website! Overall, we spent $155.95 for everything mentioned above excluding Visa fee, gas $ for the drive and hotel for a night for our in-person visa appointment.
It’ll be just as magical as Beauty & the Beast once you’ve finished gathering the documents!
Good luck everyone! As always, post comments if you have any questions and follow me on IG: @CravingCultures