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Spain - Student Visa Guidelines

Most* students planning to study in Spain for more than 90 days are required to apply for a student visa. 

As a Northwestern student, you must apply for your visa in person at the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago or at the Consulate serving your home state .


You are highly encouraged to apply at the Chicago Consulate before you leave campus in June. The Consulates in New York and California are notoriously difficult to work with, have limited appointments, and/or do not accept individual applications.

Consulate General of Spain in Chicago
180 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 782-4588 

The visa process could take 4 to 6 weeks from the day all documents are presented, plus 10 days for mail delivery.

*Non-U.S. and non-EU citizens should refer to the Consulate General of Spain that services your country of citizenship to determine your visa application process.

**If you are an EU citizen, you may not need to apply for a student visa. Talk with your program's enrollment team to confirm details about your legal entry and stay in Spain.

Visa Timeline for Fall Study Abroad

  • Carefully review the checklist below and the consulate website to determine what you’ll need to submit.
  • Gather the various documents required for the visa application.
  • Schedule a Consulate appointment for no more than 90 days before the start of your program. Student visa appointments are accepted 3 months prior to the beginning of the studies, not before.
    Schedule an appointment
  • Drop off your visa application, passport, and supporting documents at the Consulate downtown on your assigned appointment date and time.
  • Check your email! If your visa is approved, an automatic response will be sent to the email address you provided when making your initial appointment at the Consulate.
  • Pick up your visa in person at the Consulate.
    • If you will not be in the Chicago area when your visa is ready for pick up, the Consulate can Express Mail it to your home address.

Visa Requirements Checklist

To apply for a student visa you must provide ALL of the following to the Consulate. The following guidelines have been adapted from the Consulate website to assist you with the application process. Before submitting, you should review the original guidelines online because the Consulate can change requirements at any given time.

Required Documents to Apply for Student Visa in Spain

Provide both an original and a photocopy of ALL the following:

Confirmation Email The email you received from the Consulate confirming the date and time of your appointment. confirmed appointment is needed to submit the visa application in person at the Consulate.
National Visa Application Form The application form must be signed and filled out in print. Illegible or incomplete forms cannot be accepted.
Original Passport Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the intended date of departure from Spain, with at least one blank page to affix the visa.
ID Card ID must show proof of residency or school attendance in the Chicago Consulate’s jurisdiction. Acceptable forms of ID include: U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. State ID card, Voter’s Registration Card, or current Student ID. They will return this ID card to you during the appointment.
1 Passport-Size Photo Photo must be taken against a white background and be 2 x 2 inches and glued to the first page of the National Visa Application Form. Passport photos can be taken at the Wildcard Office at Norris, Walgreens, or CVS.
Original Acceptance Letter Letter will be from the Spanish University or Provider coordinating your program. These letters will be sent to you directly (IES Granada) or available for pick up at the GLO Office (BU Madrid, CIDE Bilbao, CASA Barcelona).
Proof of International Health Insurance After you register for the required GeoBlue Health Insurance you can log in to your member hub ( and print a Visa Letter detailing your coverage while abroad.
Evidence of Funds Your letter of acceptance should include a statement assuming full financial responsibility for room and board. If included, you do not need additional documentation. If this statement is not included, provide one of the following documents:
  • Proof of financial aid or scholarship of at least €537.84/month or prepaid accommodation for room and board. Financial Aid is accustomed to providing these letters; contact Krista Bethel no less than 3 business days before your appointment at the consulate.
  • Notarized letter of parents/guardians, assuming full financial responsibility for room and board of the specified amount (or its equivalent in USD). Suggested wording: "I hereby certify that I the (father, mother, other) of (...), will support her/him with a monthly allowance of €537.84/month (or its equivalent in USD) while she/he is in Spain and that I am financially responsible for any emergency that may arise."
Non-refundable Visa Fee Money Order for $160 payable to the Consulate General of Spain. Cash, credit cards or personal checks CANNOT be accepted. Money orders can be purchased at the post office or most banks. Confirm the visa fee online beforehand.
Prepaid Express Mail Envelope If you will not be in the Chicago area to pick up your passport/visa, you must include a prepaid, self-addressed Express Mail envelope from the U.S. Postal Service, so your passport can be returned by mail. Note: it is your responsibility to request a tracking method from the Post Office (e.g. delivery confirmation or similar) and this is highly recommended.
Evidence of Immigration Status (non-U.S. passport holders only) Provide an “alien Registration Card” or a U.S. Visa with I-20 / IAP-66 (except B1-B2).

Additional Tips and Information

The Chicago Consulate does not return original documents (aside from passports/greencards) or make photocopies of your documents, as such, we recommend making a copy of all documents to keep for yourself. The Consular Administration has the authority to evaluate and request additional documents, the submission of which does not guarantee the issuance of a visa, as well as to request a personal interview. The Consulate does NOT expedite or rush visa applications.

Application Form Tips:

  • #10 For Minors – SKIP if over 18
  • #11 Spanish National Identity – SKIP
  • #19 Current Profession – Student
  • #21 Intended Date of Entry – Should not be more than 10 days from the beginning of the studies
  • #23 Postal Address – Address from acceptance letter
  • #24-27 – SKIP
  • #28 (All of page 3) – Use address, phone, and contact info provided in acceptance letter
  • On the visa application, all dates must be in the European format day/month/year (e.g. 25/8/17)

Recommendations and Information:

  • Do not purchase your travel tickets until your visa has been approved.
  • Do not travel internationally during the months before your departure.
    • If you already have international travel plans scheduled and need to keep your passport, you must bring proof that justifies not leaving it with the Consulate. Your passport must remain at the Consulate because the visa is affixed inside. GLO cannot assist with this nor make any special requests on your behalf. 
  • If you are studying in Spain for the academic year (August/September - May/June), you have additional requirements in order to obtain a visa, including an FBI background check and a medical certificate. Please check the Consulate website for more details.
  • If you are an international student, we recommend talking to OISS about applying for visas and maintaining U.S. student status while abroad.
  • You must apply for your visa in person and be physically in the U.S. to receive the visa by mail. The visa cannot be sent by mail to Spain by any means.
  • You must enter Spain using the passport with affixed visa, and ensure that your passport is stamped by the Border Authorities upon entry into the Schengen area.
The information provided here is for informational purposes only. Please make sure to check the consulate website to ensure that your documents are correct and that the process has not changed.